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Born Jewish in Dresden, Germany, Inge narrowly escaped the Holocaust by fleeing to America in 1938 with her mother and father. There were no survivors in her extended family in Germany.
The threat from Hitler and his growing army ostracized her family further and further from the lives they had made for themselves. The school that Inge loved banned her from attending, and the government seized her father's small silk wholesale business. The only thing that her father was able to take from the store were the scissors in his pocket. Thus, her parents decided that in order to survive, they must escape to America. In New York as a teen, living in poverty and able to read only in German, Inge completed her education. She worked on Wall Street, married an American soldier who she had never met, moved to Tennessee, started a kindergarten, and eventually enrolled in Vanderbilt's Peabody College. After earning her Masters degree, Inge served in the Appalachians and Mississippi by helping to develop the Head Start program where her life was threatened several times for bringing food and education to low income families. During Head Start, Inge had the opportunity to create a private elementary school that would eventually serve as a role model for several independent schools throughout the U.S. and Europe. For history fans, there is a great description of the Dresden, Germany that she left in 1938, return visit when the city was under Communist rule, and another visit after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The book reads more like fiction but it's all true. Highly recommend! Full disclosure: I was in Inge's first kindergarten class but even as a small child I knew that Miss Inge would have a fascinating life story to tell.
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