A busy day is planned. After breakfast, Mrs. Weinhandl, the mayor's wife, finally convinces us to do a little sightseeing. After picking up my antihistamine, we drive through the beautiful rolling countryside for about 30 minutes to get to the Castle Riegersburg. This is an immense brick and stone edifice sitting on top of a big mountain at the edge of a sheer cliff. From a distance, it appears that the Castle simply grows out of the mountaintop. We learn that this place has never been conquered and it is easy to see why. It has an ideal defensive position. If you wanted to attack the place, first you'd have to climb to the top of the steep mountain. Then, you'd have to get past the moat and through the heavy wooden drawbridge. Just like in the movies.
But the castle visit is the prelude to the most important business of the day.At 11:30 am, we are back at St. Anna am Aigen's school to meet once again with Mrs. Lackner's daughter, Mrs. Kikelj. Remember, she is a teacher at the school. Another teacher also joins us. Apu is here to give the school a unique gift: "Vandor's Math Exercises," a series of textbooks my father authored.
When my daughter Mollie was in 3rd grade, she had a trouble with math. I asked Apu,who is a mechanical engineer, to help her. In response, he created a math exercise program for 3rd graders. In the years since, Apu has expanded the program to include 1st through 6th graders. And he has given these books to teachers in several schools in Ventura, California. "Vandor's Math Exercises" has proven to be quite successful in helping young people understand the logic of math. Now, as part of our visit to St. Anna, he has arranged to give the program to the schoolchildren here as a way of saying thanks for the kindness of their grandmothers and great aunts. This is very important to Apu. And the teachers receive the material with great interest and enthusiasm.
The preparation of any trip requires some work. Besides getting the travel documents in order, one might think of what gift or special memento would be appropriate to present the host with. In front of my eyes the two little sentences were appearing constantly: “Sankt Anna am Aigen, a little village. Was my life spared there to be a life partner for Anna?” Preparing the trip to St. Anna, was forcing me to face a dilemma. If my life was spared there, than any ordinary present will not be sufficient. The present had to be special.
Yes, I developed Vandor’s Math Exercises. The tutorial material is my own creation. The fruit of my intellectual work and it is very special to me and I found worthy to be a special gift. I presented my gift to the local school for the advancements of the math studies of the student’s. Two teachers were assigned to receive my gift. Besides their German native language, both teachers spoke English also. Although one of the teacher had a better command of the English language than the other one and her name is Cäzilia Kikelj. Cäzilia is one of the daughters of Mrs. Maria Lackner. Was it by design or by sheer coincidence that among 14 teachers, Maria Lackners daughter, Mrs. Kikelj was designated to receive Vandor’s Math Exercises in the name of the School?
1:00 pm. Over lunch, reporters from two newspapers interviewed my father. To each, he reviews how the local citizens of St. Anna am Aigen helped save his life.
2:30 pm. Dr. Eleonore Lappin, who has been studying the history of the Nazi occupation of Austria, joins us. She has been communicating with Apu via e-mail for several months. Now, she has come from Vienna to finally meet him in person and to visit some of the historical sights with him. Mr. Franz Josef Schober also joins us, once again. After lunch, the mayor takes us to
The Lippe House.