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“We just simply started talking, and we have never stopped.”

Posted on Saturday, May 10th, 2008.

For the past few weeks, MobileBooth West has been in beautiful Sacramento, California, in partnership with Capital Public Radio. We are parked outside the Sacramento Public Library, just blocks from the State Capital Building. While we remain on the lookout for Governor Schwarzenegger, we’ve been hearing stories more extraordinary than any Hollywood thriller.

Last week, Riki Friedman (R) came to the booth with her good friend Dorothy Finkbeiner. Riki met Dorothy the day she moved into Eskaton Senior Residences, a year and a half ago. Dorothy welcomed Riki by inviting her to her apartment for tea, and the two women talked for hours. This immediate connection was a surprise to both of them: Dorothy is from Germany, and Riki is a Jew from Brooklyn. Riki’s late husband, Israel, had been in the first American military outfit to liberate Buchenwald concentration camp, and had written vivid letters to Riki describing the horrors he witnessed. “If I had met you right after the war,” Riki told Dorothy, “I wouldn’t have given you the time of day.”

At their first meeting, Riki and Dorothy discovered their shared love for gardening, exchanged stories about their sons, and talked about what their lives were like during World War II, in which Dorothy lost two brothers. During that conversation, Riki admitted to Dorothy that she was her first German acquaintance since the war ended, and asked her, “What did you know?”

Dorothy answered, “Way too little. I didn’t even hear the word Auschwitz until the war was over.” Through their friendship, both women have realized that individuals should not be blamed for the terrible actions of countries, and that war is never the answer.

Riki and Dorothy are now the best of friends. “We see through the same eyes,” Dorothy said. “I wish the whole world could meet this way.”

3 Responses to ““We just simply started talking, and we have never stopped.””

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  • Will do, Sarah. Thanks again.

    Comment from Richard Friedman on July 2, 2008 at 1:32 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Thank you, Richard. Meeting your mom and Dorothy was one of the highlights of our stay in Sacramento–they are an inspiration. Please tell them both I say hello.

    Brooklyn, NY

    Comment from Sarah on July 2, 2008 at 1:05 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Riki is my Mom and her move to Sacramento was not an easy transition. Her friendship with Dorothy is endearing, enduring and totally unexpected. It’s a testament to the fact that we’re never too old to stop growing. Thanks for giving them the chance to share their story.

    Comment from Richard Friedman on June 30, 2008 at 4:05 pm - Reply to this Comment

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