Join us as we welcome Polish-German-American-North Dakotan Claus Lembke to Main Street Books!
From a KFYR-TV feature:
Born in Nazi-occupied Poland, Claus Lembke just wanted to be a farmer. But there was nowhere for him to farm.
So, in 1965, at 22 years old, he came to America. He didn’t speak the language and knew just one person.
Fifty-six years later, he says it’s the best thing he ever did.
Born in Poland and raised in Germany, Lembke spoke very limited English.
“I knew the Beatles song, ‘She loves me, yeah, yeah,’” he recalled with a laugh. “Of course, that limited English I did know, but I couldn’t speak it. I didn’t think it was a giant step of any sort.”
He knows now, moving to the United States was a big step. He became a citizen in 1970.
“It was exactly five years,” Lembke said.
He eventually started a career in real estate, and in 1979 Lembke and his wife and their three children moved to Bismarck. He became involved in politics and now, he’s a published author.
He never planned to write a book.
Lembke originally intended to just write down a few memories to share with his family.
He thought he’d print out the story and put it in a three-ring binder. Instead, he’s got a soft-cover 270-page book. “Koming to Amerika” is the story of Claus Lembke’s life: growing up in Europe during World War 2 and his journey to America.