To see part of the interview and Derenburg, where my grandfather was taken, click the following link: Derenburg.
It was quiet. That was the first thing I noticed. The floor creaked under my weight as I pushed through the door, but overestimating its willingness to open, I slammed the door against its supporting wall, slicing through the silence. The sound echoed across the ballroom walls as Guenther Eisenhauer and I stepped in. Gary trailed behind staring down into the screen of a Sony EX1 pointed at our backs. Large headphones covered most of the top of his head. I stopped moving and let the silence sit. Gary settled into a shot that he wanted. Here, in the Weisser Adler in Derenburg, was where the Gestapo took my Half-Jewish grandfather and his brother as forced laborers. I found myself standing alongside a former Hitler Youth member and good friend of my grandfather. For the first time, I stood in a place my grandfather wrote about as a 21 year old man.
My name is David Mayer. I was born in Durham, North Carolina and have lived there my whole life. So, naturally, I love James Taylor, Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, anything Alison Krauss touches, the Avett brothers, and recently the Mipso Trio – a band from UNC that everyone should check out. I also love BBQ and sweet tea.
I have a twin brother who plays basketball at Williams College who is 5 inches taller than me and an older brother who graduated from Villanova University who is 2 inches taller than me; everything in life is a competition. I absolutely love basketball and have played my whole life. I walked on to the Duke Basketball team at the beginning of my freshman year, but left the team the summer after because I found that my passions mostly lay outside the hardwood of Cameron.
I love puppies (especially my miniature poodle named Chipper) and I dabble on the ukelele. My go-to songs are You and I by Ingrid Michaelson and Hallelujah (the Shrek version).
But, more importantly, I am a brother, a son, and a grandson, so with this interest in family, I will be studying my grandfather’s diary, which he wrote starting in 1945 in Nazi Germany. Continue reading