The Wheel of Life is a memoir not only about the Holocaust, our rescuer Anton, and our liberation by the Red Army but also about life after the Holocaust in Europe and the United States. My family and I eventually reached the shores of the United States where I was afforded the opportunity to enjoy a most exciting and productive life. Of first importance was to integrate into the educational and cultural system. After my education, I wanted to give something of myself and to serve my country by joining the U.S. Army and finally getting a most important document, my U.S. citizenship papers in Macon, Georgia.
After serving in the army, my brother, father, and I went into business, entering the open but competitive U.S. system with its challenges, hurdles, and rewards.
While in the business arena, the opportunity arose that enabled me to travel back to Europe and partake in the important global enterprise of detente. I firmly believed that the people of the Soviet Union and the people of the United States have the same needs and desires and are philosophically parallel.
My involvement in international business was gratifying for two reasons: 1) This gave me the opportunity to thank the Soviet Union for liberating me, making the rest of my life a possibility, and 2) this made it possible for me to find our rescuer, Anton, whom we thought lost, and to reciprocate the goodness and kindness he had shown us during the Holocaust.
I have continued this relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by introducing Russian art to the American people and am in the process of exporting some of our culture to the Russians. This is an ongoing relationship, and I am sure that it will continue as long as life allows me. International business relationships are important. Our businesses advance the Russian economy as well as ours.
I am grateful for the support I have received from the U.S.
and U.S.S.R./Russian governments. Most important, I am grateful for the support that I have received from my family, especially from my wife, Marion.
My journey has been most exciting, sometimes turbulent, but never dull. I look forward to the challenges that await me.
Authorâ€™s Preface i
Editorâ€™s Note iii
Marionâ€™s Preface Golden Years vi
Part I Family
Chapter One The Night the Bells Rang 1
Chapter Two My Mother and the â€śFoolâ€ť 3
Chapter Three The Soviets in ZborĂłw 5
Chapter Four Blitzkrieg and Barbarossa 10
Chapter Five Summer 1941 13
Chapter Six ZborĂłw Ghetto 16
Chapter Seven Antonâ€™s Root Cellar 20
Chapter Eight Antonâ€™s Courage 24
Chapter Nine Evaâ€™s Testimony 27
Chapter Ten Outside the Shelter 31
Chapter Eleven To the West 38
Chapter Twelve Bavaria 42
Chapter Thirteen Sacred Ground 45
Chapter Fourteen Assimilating 48
Chapter Fifteen Circling Back 53
Chapter Sixteen Return to ZborĂłw 56
Chapter Seventeen Reunited 59
Chapter Eighteen Unveiling the Monument 63
Chapter Nineteen A Moscow Menorah 65
Photographs Family 67
Table of Contents
The Wheel of Life
Part II Business Ventures
Chapter Twenty The Wine Business 85
Chapter Twenty-One The Fellowship Bank 89
Chapter Twenty-Two Taj Rum 92
Chapter Twenty-Three Capitol Plaza 95
Chapter Twenty-Four DĂ©tente 99
Chapter Twenty-Five Pan Am to Aeroflot 101
Chapter Twenty-Six Imports 105
Chapter Twenty-Seven Delegation 110
Chapter Twenty-Eight The Unbroken Circle 114
Chapter Twenty-Nine Dough Balls From Heaven 115
Chapter Thirty TrenMos 122
Chapter Thirty-One Cultural Exchanges 129
Chapter Thirty-Two Economic Exchanges 135
Chapter Thirty-Three Revitalization of Trenton, NJ 137
Chapter Thirty-Four Trenton Marriott Hotel 142
Chapter Thirty-Five Honors and Awards 145
Photographs Business Ventures 148
Part III The Present
Chapter Thirty-Six The Patriarch of Georgia 171
Chapter Thirty-Seven The Georgian Port 173
Chapter Thirty-Eight Development in Trenton, NJ 177
Chapter Thirty-Nine Republic of Turkmenistan 180
Chapter Forty Reflections 183
Photographs The Present 192
Works Cited 212
When Shelley M. Zeiger conceptualizes his life, he sees a circle or a wheel. He sees points of his life as having come full circle from his past to his present to the future with the circle or wheel continuing to revolve as his life journey continues.
Circles are symbolic in many cultures. In the West, the circle is the symbol for infinity because the circle has neither a beginning nor an end.
The Shield of David (Magen David) or Star of David with a triangle pointing to heaven intertwined with another pointing to earth symbolizes the balancing of heaven and earth.
Connecting these points creates a circle. Also the inside of the triangles is a circle, the center of things.
Another symbol is the Ouroboros. Paul Calter, a mathematician and artist, explains that the Ouroboros, that is, the snake or dragon with its tail in its mouth continually devouring itself and being reborn from itself, is a â€śsymbol of eternity and of the cyclic nature of the universe. It expresses the unity of all things, which never disappear but change form in a cycle of destruction and re-creation.â€ť Yet another the circle can be seen in the Indian or Tibetan mandala. â€śIn Sanskrit, Mandala literally means circle and center or Holy Circle, and is essentially a vehicle for concentrating the mindâ€ť (Calter).
A Buddhist circle, the Wheel of Life, illustrates and symbolizes the essentials of Buddhist teachings. The pictures on the Wheel of Life remind viewers that everyone is â€śresponsible for his or her own fate, because, according to Karma, causes and their effects are the fruits of oneâ€™s own deedsâ€ť (â€śThe Wheel of Lifeâ€ť).
As you read Shelley M. Zeigerâ€™s memoir, bear in mind these symbols of the circle and the wheel, and you will understand his conceptualization of his life as circular, the wheel of life, a circular journey experiencing the consequences and fruits of deeds.