Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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German immigrant, U.S. Navy vet reflects on WWII service



Henry Burger, pictured today with his wife, Lottie, far left, escaped Hitler’s oppression as a young man and joined the U.S. Navy. Courtesy of Moldaw Residences

People have many reasons for volunteering to serve their county. A victim of Nazi oppression growing up Jewish in Germany, former longtime Los Altos resident Henry Burger was motivated to enlist at 17 after his family successfully immigrated to the U.S.

Burger’s parents were able to bring their family to New York in 1938, escaping Hitler’s oppression. By the mid-1940s, Burger attempted to join the military to fight those who were persecuting his family and friends who remained in Germany. However, he was rejected because he had not been in the U.S. long enough to apply for citizenship and was therefore categorized an “enemy alien” during much of World War II. Later, Burger was drafted into the U.S. Navy and finalized his citizenship after completing boot camp.

Now, looking back at his time in the military, the 87-year-old resident, who moved to Palo Alto’s Moldaw Residences in 2010, said he is grateful for what he believes was an enlightening and interesting experience.

“I was in the same mindset as countless others – stop Hitlerism any way you could,” Burger said. “Having been a victim of the Nazis, I was anxious to serve in any capacity and glad I had the chance to repay the U.S. for what this country has done for me.”

Burger’s family lived in one of the worst cities under Hitler’s control – Nuremberg, where Hitler addressed the masses. He recalled the different ways he and other Jews living there were oppressed during his childhood.

“In ’34, we couldn’t go to public schools anymore – we were sent to separate Jewish schools – and the next year all non-Jewish teachers were told they could no longer teach us there,” he said. “My parents got us out just 10 days before Kristallnacht, a series of violent attacks and demolitions targeting Jews, so we were very fortunate.”

After finishing boot camp, he went before the court to verify his U.S. citizenship before deployment.

“If I had been captured by the Germans during the war, I would have been killed on the spot as a ‘traitor of the nation,’” he said.

Burger underwent additional training in Fort Lauderdale and Guantanamo Bay, and then was sent to various naval bases. He was also stationed on the USS Oregon City, a newly built heavy cruiser.

“Although I didn’t get the opportunity to engage in combat, I am glad I served,” he said. “It was an interesting experience for sure, and I think everyone learns a lot when serving in the military.”

Burger said being in the military makes one more sensitive toward the needs of others and develops deep relationships. Probably the most important life lesson learned during his time in service, he noted, was how to get along with different kinds of people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Burger maintains that it’s important to hear the stories of those who have served and be reminded of veterans’ sacrifices.

“America is the greatest country in the world, despite the many problems we may face,” he said. “In my opinion, we need to do more to meet the needs of our nations’ veterans once they return from service.”

When Burger finished his military duty, he enrolled in college and simultaneously finished his high school requirements during night classes. He enjoyed a successful career in public accounting and married his childhood sweetheart, Lottie, who had escaped from Germany with her family at approximately the same time his family did. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

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