Book follows family’s escape from Nazi Germany
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Salomon and Rosa Gutmann had no choice. It was 1937, and Hitler’s grip on Germany was growing ever tighter. They had to uproot their family, which included two young sons, and move to the United States before it got worse.
Lud Gutmann, M.D., professor in the West Virginia University Department of Neurology, was one of their sons. He has chronicled his family’s escape from Nazi Germany and emigration to the United States in his latest book, “Richard Road: Journey from Hate.”
In the book, Dr. Gutmann recalls how his family was affluent in Germany. His father was a successful businessman, who had received the Iron Cross for fighting for Germany in World War I. They had a chauffeur, maid and nanny and lived in a nice house. After they relocated to America, however, things changed drastically. His father could not find work and used the money he was able to bring with him to purchase a farm in New Jersey.
As a result of the hardships they endured after arriving in the United States, the Gutmanns, particularly Rosa Gutmann, stressed the importance of education to their sons and found the ultimate source of pride in Dr. Gutmann’s acceptance to Princeton University in 1951.
“I was the first kid to go to a school like Princeton from my little country high school. For me, the ultimate accomplishment was when I graduated in 1955. For my parents, it was when I got in,” Dr. Gutmann said.
Since then, Dr. Gutmann has received an honorary medical degree from the University of Mainz in Germany and re-established his German citizenship.
Though it took six or seven years to complete, Dr. Gutmann is proud of his latest publication. Writing it, he said, was a meaningful experience, and he hopes those who read it enjoy it.
“This book is different from most books about the Holocaust because none of the main characters go to concentration camps. The obstacles are different because they escape and survive,” he said. “This story is as much about my parents and their struggle as it is about me.”
Dr. Gutmann will hold two book signings for “Richard Road: Journey from Hate.” The first will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 12 near the Pylons in the Health Sciences Center. The second will be from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 19 at the WVUH Friends Gift Shop.
The book is available for purchase at the bookstore, the Gift Shop and on Amazon.com.