Bernardo Jerochim, a Buenos Aires shoe polisher, returns to Germany after being away for almost seventy years.
Invited by Berlin’s Mayor, Klaus Wowereit, Bernardo will visit the German capital city for a week. In Germany, a special program prepared by pastor Annemarie Werner, leader of the Vaterunser Church, among other activities, is waiting for him.
Being German and son of Germans -his father was honored with the Iron Cross during the First World War – Bernardo had to escape from Germany with his family when he was only ten years old.
”I never thought I would live enough to see this moment”, Bernardo said with his eyes filled with tears.
The Wallenberg Foundation gave Jerochim a farewell party on September 1st, at the Portofino, the city bar where Bernardo polished countless pairs of shoes over forty years of continuous activity.
The president of the IFRW, Oscar Vicente, Dr Alejandro Candioti, lawyer and friend of Bernardo; Stefan Schlütter, Minister of the German Embassy in Argentina; Aldo Nasjleti and Israel Faerman, of the Board of Directors of the Foundation; cafe regulars and Bernardo’s children and grandchildren, among others, attended the party.
On the occasion, Bernardo gave symbolic gratitude certificates to those present and to the owner of the Portofino, José Vázquez, in recognition of the ”help I received so that after so many years I was able to regain my German nationality stolen by the Nazis on one the darkest nights of history”.
”We cannot forget those who need us; specially those who have undergone aberrant injustices, like Bernardo”, pointed out Baruj Tenembaum, founder of the IRWF, from New York.
Translation: Belén Closas