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February 01, 2008

The Invisible Wall


Harry Bernstein was born in 1910, on a narrow street in a small English mill town. He was just a child when World War I broke out, but he remembers it vividly. Many young men left to fight and never returned. When their families got word, they poured into the street to grieve and be consoled by their neighbors.

Harry's book, "The Invisible Wall," is already published in other languages.

It was one of the few times Harry can remember that the Jews and Christians on his street came together. The rest of the time, they lived in strict separation - the Jews on one side of the street, Christians on the other. Harry came to see the self-imposed divide between them as an invisible wall.

Now 97, Harry Bernstein has written a book about his childhood memories of that street. He describes being bullied by Christian kids coming home from school, spitting on the ground when he passed by churches, and doing his best to protect his sister Lily when she fell in love with a Christian boy.

Harry joins Dick from his home in Brick, N.J. to share some of those stories. He also talks about the love of his life, Ruby. When he lost her a few years ago after 67 years of marriage, Harry found that writing, which had always been a struggle, suddenly came easier and helped him get through his sadness.

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