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Story of Elijah
I was born in Ansbach,
Germany during a time when the Germans were trying to rebuild
their country after World War II. Immediately after birth, I was
placed in an orphanage, never to know that first loving embrace
of a caring mother or a proud father's smile.
My first four years were spent in an unloving environment -
an environment torn by the war. I was not Jewish, my family was
not Jewish, but they suffered loss of family members, experienced
concentration camps, the Berlin bombing, etc. My biological mother
(I learned years later) did not have the strength nor the funds
to take care of me.
I have little recollection of Ansbach but have been told that
my situation was unbearable - food was scarce and diseases, such
as diphtheria, were prevalent. By the time I reached the age of
four, I was still unable to chew food because I had only been
I vaguely remember looking out a window on the top floor, searching,
and searching for something better. My soul longed to soar.
Oh window -what
secrets do you hold? Where is the opening?
A well-known philanthropist, Dr. Herre
Uslar from Caracas,
Venezuela heard about the abandoned children of Ansbach and
was determined to find proper homes for them. There were many
well-to-do families in South America who were childless thus began
the "matches made in Heaven."
In my adult life, I was able to contact
Dr. Usler before he passed away and send him a letter expressing
my gratitude for his rescuing me from the Orphanage.
Time Magazine, Latin American edition, 1950, (Credit: Robert
Halmi/Time Magazine) documented the transference of the first
group of children from Ansbach to Caracas, Venezuela. I am the
"straw-haired" little girl named Karin Janin Leschnik,
in the arms of the man who changed my life - Dr. Herrera Usler.
It is impossible to express in words the significance of this
According to "the" plan, I was to have been adopted by a Venezuelan
family. There were complications though, and the Venezuelan family
did not know how to handle me! My health was poor - I suffered
from malnutrition. Naturally there was a language barrier which
didn't help the situation.
The attending physician, later to be my Godfather, Dr. Rodriguez
Del Fino, knew an American family, the Russell's, who had a son
the same age and wanted a sister/playmate for him. I want
to thank Dr. Rodriguez for his support and concern for my well
being and placing me in a loving environment. There is no
question in my mind that I was synchronistically paired with this
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