The Nazis Failed to Destroy the Artist David Friedmann

Now his daughter is searching for his Nazi-looted and lost artwork

Since childhood I watched my father paint with an intensity and passion that struck a chord within me. I was intrigued about his successful prewar career and the fate of his Nazi-looted art. He had little to show from a collection of hundreds of paintings, drawings, lithographs and etchings. This fueled my passion to find these works and to rescue him from obscurity.

David Friedmann in 1936 in his apartment at Paderborner Strasse 9, Berlin-Wilmersdorf. In the background his painting of the Berlin Cathedral appears. After World War II, it was found in his sister-in-law’s apartment. Friedmann’s painting of the Schlossbrücke und Zeughaus (castle bridge and arsenal), today the German Historical Museum, also appears. These paintings are among hundreds of Nazi-looted and lost artworks.

David Friedmann was born on December 20, 1893, in Mährisch Ostrau, Austria-Hungary, now Ostrava, Czech Republic. He studied etching with Hermann Struck and painting with Lovis Corinth in Berlin. He painted some of the most important events in modern history, surviving World War I and World War II as an artist. Friedmann produced late impressionist landscapes, still lifes, interiors, nudes and achieved acclaim as a painter known for his portraits drawn from life. He exhibited at the Akademie der Kunst, Berliner Secession and numerous galleries throughout Germany and Czechoslovakia. His use of light and dark, his ability to convey expressions on faces, the composition, are all hallmarks of his work. With pencil and paper, he captured the great chess champions of the 1920s. In 1924, his quick-sketching skills launched a secondary career as a freelance press artist. He sketched hundreds of famous contemporary personalities from the arts, music, theater, sports, politics, and industry, published mainly in the Berlin newspapers and the radio-program magazine, Der Deutsche Rundfunk. Among the portrayed luminaries were Albert Einstein, Arnold Schoenberg, Thomas Mann, Max Liebermann and Emanuel Lasker.

“Richard Réti at the Chessboard”, Lithograph, 1923. This appeared in a portfolio entitled “Das Schachmeister Turnier in Mährisch Ostrau” and alternatively “Köpfe berühmter Schachmeister”. Five portfolios have been found. (© Miriam Friedman Morris; image courtesy of the National Library of the Netherlands)

Friedmann’s flourishing career in Berlin was terminated in 1933 by the Nazi regime. As each of his options narrowed, he continued to produce art illustrating the events and his personal experiences of the time. In 1938, Friedmann fled with his family to Prague, escaping from the Nazis with only his artistic talent as a means to survive. He depicted human fate as a refugee in Prague, as a prisoner in the Lodz Ghetto, in the Auschwitz subcamp, Gleiwitz I, and as a survivor. His wife Mathilde and little daughter Mirjam Helene were murdered in Auschwitz.

In 1941, the Gestapo looted his left-behind oeuvre in Berlin. He lost his studio furniture and materials, hundreds of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, etching prints and lithographs. After Friedmann’s deportation to the Lodz Ghetto, Nazi authorities looted his Prague art production. In 1946, when mail service from Berlin to Prague was finally restored, Friedmann received portrait prints and photos of his work in an album. The Prague portraits dated 1940 to 1941 gave face to numerous known and unknown victims — historically significant evidence of a dynamic Jewish community destroyed by the Nazi regime. Additional portrait prints were found at the National Museum in Prague, Beit Theresienstadt in Givat Haim (Ihud), Israel, and in two family-owned collections. Numerous works, including portraits and landscapes, surfaced at the Jewish Museum in Prague.

Surviving photos of still lifes painted by David Friedmann in 1939 and 1940 in Prague. His last residence before deportation to the Lodz Ghetto was Dušní 10 in the city’s Jewish Quarter.
These portrait prints by David Friedmann of Jakob Edelstein, František Weidmann and Herbert Langer were produced in 1940-1941 in Prague. The album was later gifted to the Yad Vashem Art Museum.

Artwork was systematically confiscated and sold at auction by the Nazi regime. The whereabouts of the remainder of Friedmann’s looted art is unknown.

Descriptive title: “At the Water’s Edge”, Oil on wood panel. Signed Dav. Friedmann lower left and dated 1932.
This was one of several paintings to later emerge in France with the red number “6198”, suggesting an auction sale reference number.

From his incarceration period, a portrait drawing of a Polish prisoner in Gleiwitz I was discovered at the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Evidence also surfaced of Friedmann’s work in the ghetto. His 1942 etching of the Lodz Ghetto bridge appeared as a header on pages of The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto, 1941-1944. A handmade album with thirty-three drawings documenting the activities of a hat-manufacturing workshop (“ressort“) in the Lodz Ghetto in 1943 is also held in the collection of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

This colorized drawing is from a 1943 album by David Friedmann documenting the activities of a hat-manufacturing workshop (“ressort“) in the Lodz Ghetto.
(Photo credit: E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw; Inventory No. MŻIH B-419/24)

Liberated at age 51, an age significantly older than most survivors, Friedmann believed there was a reason he lived. The responsibility to bear witness weighed heavily on his conscience even before deportation. His burning desire was to show to the world the ruthless persecution and inhumanity as practiced by the Nazis, in the hope such barbarism would never happen again. Friedmann captured the scenes he could not erase from his memory — forced labor, torture, killings and the death march. He called the series, Because They Were Jews!

“Death March from Camp Gleiwitz I to Camp Blechhammer”, Oil, 1947. David Friedmann depicts himself as the prisoner with the eyeglasses as a reminder that his art is a first-person witness to evil. He was liberated at Blechhammer by the Red Army on January 25, 1945. (© Miriam Friedman Morris)

Friedmann continued to paint throughout his postwar journey. In 1948, in Prague, he wed Hildegard Taussig, a survivor of several concentration camps. Their marriage began at a refugee’s pace. One year later, the couple fled communist Czechoslovakia to Israel, where their daughter, also named Miriam, was born. He worked in a sign shop and contributed to the founding of Israel’s commercial art industry.

Every spare moment he painted for himself. Friedmann’s color palette changed to brighter, sun-filled hues as he left behind his old dark world to explore his newly adopted country. After two years, he established his own advertising business and freelanced for the newspapers, permitting more time for artistic pursuits. Besides portraits, he painted landscapes of Lake Kinneret, Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Naharia and Tiberias. Some works are signed “Dfri” in Hebrew letters Daled, Peh, Resh, Yod.

He also enjoyed painting the Yarkon River views and Hadar Yosef, where we lived. Sympathetic to the impoverished Jews who had emigrated from Yemen, he portrayed beggars on the streets to express their plight. David Friedmann had captured the landscape of the beginnings of the Jewish state. Decades later, I had immense pleasure tracking down the dramatically changed scenery he painted, now difficult to find or nonexistent.

“Yemenite Jewish Beggar”, Oil, 1950. From a private collection
“Street between Tel Aviv and Jaffa”, Oil, ca 1950. From the Miriam Friedman Morris Collection

Israel was a new state in poor economic circumstances. Undeterred by his being 61-years-old, Friedmann set his ambitions on America, arriving in New York in 1954. He had to forget what was hidden in his heart, the paintings from the concentration camps and make a living. Straight from the boat he auditioned for the billboard company, General Outdoor Advertising (GOA). He painted as fast as possible, because only this would save our family from poverty. GOA did not care about his age or that he barely spoke English.

They were impressed with an accomplished artist who painted with astonishing speed — the same skill that saved his life in 1944 in Gleiwitz I where Friedmann had improvised with primitive materials, making his own paints and brushes out of camp supplies to paint a mural across a barrack’s wall in order to show the SS officers his artistic ability and spare him from death. What could he produce to impress them? He thought of the Havel River, painted in Berlin with “white clouds in the blue sky, trees, and in-between a few small houses with red roofs, water, white sailboats and their reflections on the surface of the water.”

“Havel River Landscape, Berlin”, Oil, 1923. This painting hung for decades in the home of Andrea Kress, who became curious about David Friedmann. She learned about the artist’s daughter’s pursuit for lost art and sent this photo.

GOA moved the family first to Chicago and then to St. Louis. After only fifteen months in America, Friedmann had been appointed to the top artist position at this branch. Instead of pictures from the concentration camps, he painted the iconic Clydesdales and happy folks selling beer on two-story tall billboards. The new career brought recognition and satisfaction with life in America. In 1960, the Friedmann family became proud United States citizens and symbolically dropped the double “n” spelling of the surname.

After retirement in 1962, his art would not be silent. He produced a second series of Holocaust art to fight antisemitism and race hatred of all people. The David Friedman Exhibition opened in Baltimore, Maryland in 1965, marking 20 years after liberation, and was even reported in the Israeli press.

David Friedmann adds final touches to his charcoal drawing, “Liberation?” The artist depicts himself as the prisoner with eyeglasses. (Photo: Peter Rosvik, St. Louis, Missouri, 1964)

Friedmann died at the age of eighty-six on February 27, 1980. He is recognized internationally with works on permanent display at the Holocaust History Museum, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; the St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center; and the Sokolov Museum in the Czech Republic. His works are in the collections of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland; and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, among other institutions and museums. Exhibition venues include the Berlin Philharmonic Hall in Germany, the Terezín Memorial in the Czech Republic, the United Nations Headquarters and the German Consulate General in New York.

In 1954, Friedmann was among the first to win restitution from Germany for Nazi-looted art. The sum incorporated claims for all his looted property. He continued to fight for justice. In 1961, the International Supreme Restitution Court in Berlin adjudicated an upward adjustment.

This painting by David Friedmann was found in a 2002 catalog for auction house Joseph Weiner. Although titled “Stilleben”, the appropriate title is: “Vase mit Anemonen” / “Vase with Anemones”, Oil, 1923. Last known location: Haidhausen Kunst und Antiquitäten GmbH, Munich, Germany
“Liegender Häftling” (“Lying Prisoner”), Charcoal, 1945.  Last seen in Israel, the location of this drawing of a Gleiwitz I concentration camp prisoner is unknown. The drawing, one of eight from the collection of Zeev Shek, was intended as a donation by his widow Alisa Shek to the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem. Three drawings from this collection are on permanent display at the Holocaust History Museum, Yad Vashem.

David Friedmann was a successful artist with both Jewish and non-Jewish clientele. Art was sold privately, at galleries, exhibitions and auctions. Fleeing the German Reich, most emigrants found it necessary to sell their art to finance an escape. Others managed to flee with their art.

Artwork often continues to find new owners — sold at auction or through private sales — purchased by people who are not known as collectors. Pieces are displayed on walls of family homes for generations, art they enjoyed all these years, not knowing the paintings have a history and the artist’s daughter is searching to find them. David Friedmann artwork has surfaced all over the world — the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Israel, Australia, China, Canada and the United States. I have started to find his prewar art just over the last two decades.

Every painting to emerge is a victory against the German Reich. David Friedmann made important contributions both in the realms of 20th century art and in the creation of materials that play a powerful humanitarian role in educating people about the reality of the Holocaust.

My goal is to publish a catalogue of his works, evidence of the brilliant career the Nazis could not destroy.

Painted by David Friedmann in 1915 in the student atelier of Professor Lovis Corinth, Berlin, this is a rare surviving work from before World War I. After a decades long search, the author had the fortune to connect with the owner’s family and see the original painting in Israel in 2012.


For more about David Friedmann and to provide information you may have about existing works, please visit: or the “David Friedmann—Artist As Witness” Facebook page.


This article has been published as part of Gesher L’Europa, the National Library of Israel’s initiative to share stories and connect with people, institutions and communities in Europe and beyond.


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‘You never knew when there was going to be a pogrom’

Why my grandfather left Europe

Victims of the Khorkov Pogrom, 1919. From the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

When I was six years old, I listened with fascination as my oldest brother interviewed our maternal grandfather, Isidore Weisner. As the youngest in the family, I sat cross-legged beneath the kitchen table, the only place in our cramped kitchen where I could find a spot.

“Grandpa, why did you leave Europe?” my brother asked.

“The pogroms, the pogroms were terrible, and you never knew when there was going to be a pogrom. I didn’t want to live that way, so I left.”

Grandpa died when I was 11, and in the half century since then, the questions I would have liked to ask him have multiplied exponentially. By studying life in Galicia, particularly for young men at the turn of the 20th century, I have begun to better understand the reasons why my  grandfather, like so many others, left his family and the country of his birth.

My grandfather was born in 1889 to Abraham Wiesner and Rose Fleisig. They lived in Kulikow (now Kulykiv, Ukraine), which was just north of Lemberg, Galicia’s provincial capital. Abraham worked as a grain merchant, a common occupation for Galician Jews. At that time, roughly 35% of Kulikow’s inhabitants were Jewish. My grandfather was the youngest of a large family. All his siblings later perished with their spouses and children in the Holocaust, except for one nephew.

Isidore Weisner’s mother Rose in Kulikow, 1926. Inscribed on the back of the photo in German: “A memento from your mother.” (Courtesy: Sharon Taylor)

But long before the cataclysm, in December of 1908, my 18-year-old grandfather left his home and made the long journey to Rotterdam, where he boarded a ship bound for Ellis Island. On the ship, with his funds dwindling, he befriended a well-to-do family who paid him to look after their young children. He spent the 12-day crossing teaching the children to play chess, a skill that has been passed down in my family through generations. He arrived in New York on January 5, 1909, where immigration officials recorded his name as Asryel Wiesner. Sometime after his arrival, eager to sound more American, he changed his first name to Isidore and the spelling of his surname to Weisner.

While most Jews left Galicia in the late 19th and early 20th century to seek better economic opportunities, my grandfather’s decision to emigrate was motivated by anti-Jewish violence. During his childhood, anti-Semitism was on the rise across the crownland. In the spring of 1898, when my grandfather was nine, The Standard of London reported “bread riots” in Lemberg which were quickly crushed. Although hunger was the motive there, the riots spread west and began to target Jews. Just 81 miles (130 kilometers) away in Przemysl, rioters entered the Jewish section of the city, ransacking Jewish homes and shops.  Despite Austrian military intervention, the attacks in Przemysl became so violent that on May 29, The Observer of London reported that “the entire Jewish population has fled.”

Jews and uniformed officials in Przemysl, ca. 1900. From the Folklore Research Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; part of the National Library of Israel Digital Collection

Throughout the spring and early summer of that year, anti-Jewish riots continued, mostly in western Galicia. Jewish homes were looted and then set on fire. Christians placed crucifixes, candles, and figurines of saints in their windows in an attempt to save their homes. The military was called to control the violence, but the rioting didn’t subside until the end of June when the equivalent of martial law was proclaimed in several of the most affected districts.

Unlike the pogroms of 1898, most Galician pogroms were local events that were never reported in English-language newspapers. In his book Shtetl Memoirs, author Joachim Schoenfeld gives several accounts of how more localized violence was a daily threat underlying Jewish life in Galicia around the turn of the century. In his hometown of Sniatyn (present-day Snyatyn, Ukraine), Jewish boys rarely ventured from the Jewish parts of town, and Jewish wagon drivers moved their merchandise in groups to avoid becoming targets of violence.

Victims of the Bialystock pogrom, 1905. From the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

An unfavorable bargain in the market square or too much to drink at a wedding could easily turn into a pogrom, with peasants marching through the Jewish streets of the town yelling “Kill the Jews!” Jews were beaten, windows were broken, and shops were looted. Often, it was all over before authorities could arrive. According to Schoenfeld, the Jews of Sniatyn would spend the following days replacing windows and nursing bruises and broken bones, but it wasn’t long before the same peasants were back in the market square doing business with Jewish merchants as if nothing had happened.

A woman surveys her destroyed and ransacked home following the Kishinev Pogrom, 1903.  While the Kishinev Pogrom elicited outcry from around the world, pogroms were a common occurrence throughout Eastern Europe, often garnering little attention outside of the immediately impacted community. From the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel

It’s likely that this type of violence occurred in Kulikow, particularly around the time of the contentious election of 1907, which saw the National Democratic Party, with its anti-Semitic rhetoric, winning a number of seats in the Imperial Council in Vienna (the Reichsrat).

My grandfather began his journey to America the very next year. I will never know the details of the pogrom that caused him to leave Galicia, but if I could go back in time to that long-ago interview, that would be one of the first questions I would ask.


A variation of this article first appeared as part of “Leaving Galicia – Poverty, Pogroms, and Draft Evasion” in the March 2020 edition of The Galitzianer, the quarterly research journal of Gesher Galicia. It has been published here as part of Gesher L’Europa, the National Library of Israel’s initiative to share stories and connect with people, institutions and communities in Europe and beyond.


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Hand in Glove? or Not? How Manuscripts Should Be Handled

We decided to check, once and for all, whether gloves are necessary when handling rare manuscripts

“But why are you handling that manuscript without gloves?!” This is perhaps the most common question scholars come across every time they are photographed with a manuscript. No doubt about it- handling a manuscript with gloves looks much more impressive. However, in most cases – this can actually do more harm than good.

There are two main reasons for this: The first is the issue of sensitivity. Wearing gloves causes us to lose the natural sensitivity in our hand – our sense of touch. This increases the chances that the person handling the manuscript will damage the very work that they are seeking to examine and preserve. This is especially true when it comes to manuscripts with fine or thin pages.

The second reason is that cotton gloves used by libraries and universities around the world can get just as dirty as bare hands – if not more so.

At most, wearing gloves can be said to be a neutral approach (though as aforementioned, it probably does more harm than good). However, many institutions indeed demand that gloves be used due to norms that have been established over time. A strange result of this is that these institutions often don’t bother teaching their handlers how to properly hold and browse through manuscripts, based on the assumption that glove-use is sufficient. An assumption that turned out to be mistaken.

Dr. Yacov Fuchs, of the National Library of Israel’s Manuscript Department, gloveless while handling a manuscript from the department collection

So the next time you’re handling a rare manuscript (and every manuscript is rare, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), remember that the best way to read it is with bare hands, which were washed in soap and dried carefully beforehand. However, if the manuscript you intend to touch is infected with a harmful fungus or covered in some sort of hazardous material, it is recommended, and even crucial, that you use gloves. In addition, the room should be properly ventilated and a protective mask should be worn as well. Why would a manuscript be hazardous, you ask? In one recent case, researchers at the University of Southern Denmark discovered three books dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries which were covered in a green pigment containing arsenic – a highly toxic substance that would become even more common in the Victorian era, when it could be found in everyday items. At the time, people were not fully aware of the dangers of the substance.

Incidentally, it is unclear when people started using gloves in libraries and universities in order to handle rare manuscripts and books. This is probably a new practice, which began in the second half of the 20th century. Some associate it with the practice of photographers, who as early as the nineteenth century, used gloves when working with negatives. Or perhaps the answer is concealed in the book, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Have you read it?


The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, (Hebrew edition) Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir Publishing, 1987

Read more on the topic in this study from 2007.


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“The Caine Mutiny”, “The Juggler”, Hemingway – Michael Blankfort and Me

Howard Kaplan looks back on his special relationship with his mentor – legendary Hollywood screenwriter and author, Michael Blankfort

Howard Kaplan (left) and Michael Blankfort (right) during the 1970s

Tuesday night, July 13, 1982. Michael Blankfort died today. Twelve highly acclaimed novels; one biography, theatrical plays; a horde of movies, collaboration on the film version of The Caine Mutiny, adapting the film The Juggler from his novel of the same name, the first Hollywood picture shot in Israel starring Kirk Douglas as a Holocaust survivor, 1953.  I met Michael in 1973. I had returned from Israel clutching a 300 page manuscript about my travels and arrest in the Soviet Union. I had heard the name Michael Blankfort as a board member when I attended the Brandeis Camp Institute.

The Juggler, 1953

I looked up his number in the phone book. In a rush of nervousness: I was interrogated by the KGB for four days, I had been among the first to meet with the Hebrew teachers in Moscow, told him I’d written a book about my experience and asked if he had time to read it.

“No,” came his response. Then he said, “But I’ll read it anyway.”

That was Michael, he never turned anyone away. The following day I met him in his office. He was 65 and I was 23. For the next nine years we had lunch together about every ten days.

I walked through his world in Beverly Hills that morning in 1982, stood outside the Writers and Artists Building, subsidized by a patron of the arts. It once housed Billy Wilder, Ray Bradbury and Jack Nicholson. An old manual Royal typewriter sat on his desk beneath a cork wall crowded with the pictures and clippings. His row of pipes and classical tapes rested to the right of the paper-strewn desk. Books spilled from the shelves and there was always the volume (or more likely the two) that he was reading at the time, there on the narrow cot against the wall behind his chair.

Though earlier he had shunned art as bourgeois, in the 50s he and his friends started to buy contemporary works they liked and rarely paid more than $100 a painting. Michael’s de Kooning, Montauk Highway, is now on permanent display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His hundreds of other works were all bequeathed to LACMA and I was there at the preview reception in March 1982. I did not appreciate how unique and fabulous my young life was.

Montauk Highway, Willem de Kooning, 1958

Michael lent his precise eye and understanding to everything I wrote. I would leave each of my manuscripts with him, then wait nervously. When he finally called, there were no wasted words. Either there would be praise or he would say quietly, “I’ve read your material. You better come over.” When that happened, I knew as I grabbed a notebook and pen that I would be out of trouble before the long lunch was over — he would exhaust himself repairing my work during the time he should have been resting from his own.

Always lunch. Unlike many people who listed their office numbers and held their homes sacrosanct, Michael did the opposite. The day I looked him up in the phone book, I found only his home number. He thought he wouldn’t be disturbed as much with his office unlisted. It didn’t work. The phone rang constantly and with a humanity I came to be in awe of, he made time for everyone. There was a different name scribbled in pen every day at 12:45 in his little appointment book. In addition to me, there was an entire stable of young writers he helped.

An elegant, dashing man, with a moustache and a full head of wavy gray hair, Michael was always ebullient and full of humor. He had a breadth of spirit: there was nothing small or petty about him, something I only partially achieve as I’m inclined to dream of revenge though I don’t pursue it. And perhaps most of all, he was a lover — of people, and especially of women. The eyes of the maître d’ at the Swiss Café lit up when he came through the door; he always had a few moments to smile that huge smile of his and talk to her.

He transformed Mrs. Kramer, a little old lady who owned a tobacco shop near his office, into a young, beautiful woman with all his attention and the way he flirted with her. He went to see her every day, and if he didn’t need anything, he’d buy a candy bar or some gum. But most importantly was Dorothy — Dossy — his wife, partner, companion. He discussed everything with her and made no major moves without her counsel.

Once he took me to see The Juggler (Columbia Pictures 1953), screened as part of a Film Festival at UCLA. He was in a wonderful mood, bear-hugging friends as he always did though a little nervous; he had not seen the movie in over twenty years. I watched Kirk Douglas, as a German juggler, the toast of Berlin who believes he won’t be touched by the Nazis, a concentration camp survivor running through the streets of Haifa, unable at first to accept either his new homeland or what had happened to him.

Afterwards Michael told me that he had been set to direct the picture but the McCarthy hunters had taken his passport. The only part of the movie he saw filmed was the scene of a hora danced around a fire shot in a Hollywood backlot.

Michael’s fiction is a remarkably eclectic yet cohesive body of work. The Brave and the Blind (1940) about the Spanish Civil War which Hemingway panned in a national review and then apologized years later to Michael saying it was a great novel and he had been worried it would eclipse the coming For Whom The Bells Toll. The Strong Hand (1956) about the dead hand that holds back change when an Orthodox rabbi falls in love with a woman whose husband has been killed over the Pacific but not declared legally dead; I Didn’t Know I Would Live So Long (1973) about an out of fashion painter who leaves his marriage and then returns; Take the A Train (1978) about a Jewish boy who befriends a charismatic black con man from who he learns honor.

The day before the accident, Michael came to my Third Annual 30th Birthday Party. In the nine years we had known each other, it was the first time he visited my home. Two years before he had forgotten my (first) 30th birthday party (the second was never held) and called the following morning. He had remembered as he went to bed, and upset, had lain awake much of the night. He wanted to apologize and asked if I would forgive him.

He had finished his new novel on Saturday, the day before the party, and was rereading it. On Monday, he took it home with him as he did each night, stood near the bottom of his steep driveway, the manuscript in one hand, the garage door clicker in the other, pushed the button, lost his balance and toppled backwards. All six feet of him. Unable to break the fall, his head crashed into the cement. Neighbors across the street immediately called the paramedics, then ran to the house to get Dorothy. Though bleeding, Michael was still alert. They exchanged a few words and she kissed him on the lips, twice. He went into surgery, then into a coma and never regained consciousness. The world lost a treasure.


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