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Friendship formed from opposite sides of the holocaust

Frederic “Fritz” TubachFrederic “Fritz” Tubach, professor emeritus of German at the University of California, Berkeley, will present “The Legacy of War: Story as Bridge, Liberation and Transformation” Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield College.

Tubach, along with Bernat Rosner, is the author of ”An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust.” The book tells the story of Tubach, the son of a Nazi officer, and Rosner, the only member of his family to survive Auschwitz. In 1944, 13-year-old Tubach was almost old enough to join the Hitler Youth in his German village of Kleinheubach. That same year in Hungary, 12-year-old Rosner was loaded onto a train with the rest of the village’s Jewish inhabitants and taken to Auschwitz, where his whole family was murdered. Many years later, after enjoying successful lives in California, they met, became friends, and decided to share their intimate story – that of two boys trapped in evil and destructive times, who became men with the freedom to construct their own future, with each other and the world.

Born to German parents in San Franciso in 1930, Tubach grew up from the age of three in the German village of Kleinheubach, not far from Frankfurt. His mother died young, and his father joined the Nazi party and went to war leaving Fritz with a grandmother and stepmother. Following World War II, at the age of 18, Fritz renounced his German citizenship and obtained an American passport (by virtue of his birth) and returned to San Francisco. He attended San Francisco City College and the University of California at Berkeley where he received his Ph.D. in German literature with specialties in medieval literature and religious history. He was a professor at U.C. Berkeley from 1959 to 1994 and directed the U.C. Education Abroad Programs in both Germany and France. Since 2003 Tubach has been a frequent lecturer on the legacies of multiculturalism and religious conflicts for Cal Discoveries alumni travel programs in Europe.

The author of numerous scholarly articles and books, Tubach received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bordeaux in 2002. His major scholarly work was “Index Exemplorum,” a study of 5,400 medieval religious tales. His newest book, “German Voices: Memories of Life During Hitler’s Third Reich,” appeared with the University of California Press in 2011.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Frazee Lecture in Bible and Religion, which honors Gordon Frazee, who served Linfield for 32 years as chaplain and professor of religion. It is also part of the Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE) pilot project that is designed to integrate learning while heightening global and multicultural awareness. The program provides a platform for the integration of courses across disciplines and offers a focal point for lectures and guest speakers. This year’s campus wide theme is “The Legacies of War.”