IMAAM Center presents “Indonesian Lullaby: Courage and Compassion in a Time of Hate,” a story telling by Dr. Alfred Munzer. Dr. Alfred Munzer is a physician specializing in lung disease who is Director of the Pulmonary Medicine Department at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Maryland. He has served as President of the American Lung Association and in 2000 he was awarded the Will Ross Medal, the highest honor given by the association for volunteer service at the national level. He currently chairs the Board of Trustees of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and remains intimately involved in the global implementation of the first treaty developed under the auspices of the World Health Association, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Dr. Munzer was born in the Nazi occupied Netherlands in November 1941, the third of three children of Gisele and Simcha. In August 1942 when he was nine months old, Alfred’s parents made plans to avoid deportation by going into hiding. His sisters, Eva, 6 and Leah, 4 were placed with a devout Catholic family and his parents took refuge in a psychiatric hospital, his father pretending to be a patient and his mother as a nurse. Jewish male children were harder to place because they were circumcised and could be identified as being Jewish. But a neighbor of the family, Annie Madna, agreed to care of Alfred and hide him from the Nazis. Two months later, however, Annie grew scared and passed Alfred on to her former husband, an Indonesian man Tolé Madna. The plan was to find a place for Alfred in the countryside. But the Madna family decided that they did not want to entrust him to anyone else and instead chose to care for him themselves. Like many children in hiding from the Nazis, Alfred was given a new name, Bobby, and became the younger brother to Tolé Madna’s three other children Willie, Dewie and Robby. And it was the nanny who had previously taken care of them, Mima Saïna, who adopted Alfred as her own child. Mima Saïna could not read or write and spoke no Dutch; but like Tolé Madna, she readily placed her own life at risk to shelter Alfred. … (to be continued at the event)