The Impact on My Life of Being Stationed in Germany From 1970-1972

By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

September 1970 – My U.S. Army second lieutenant husband and I got off the charter flight in Frankfurt, and after a complicated 24 hours in Frankfurt, we were on the train south to Munich.

As American Jews, we stared out the train windows at the passing trains, wondering if those cattle cars were the ones that had transported Jews, Gypsies and others to the death camps.

Yes, we had wanted to come to Europe for a year before my husband could expect an unaccompanied tour (to Vietnam).  No, we did not want to live in Germany.

We were fortunate that, when we first arrived in Munich, a Jewish chaplain and his wife were still stationed there and took us under their wing.  Then when they returned to the States, my husband took over as Jewish lay leader since the replacement Jewish chaplain was sent to Augsburg instead of Munich.

Phyllis Zimbler and Mitchell Miller at the Coronation Ball at Michigan State University on Saturday, November 18, 1967, sponsored by the Cadet Officers Club and the Arnold Air Society.

When we had saved enough money to tour Europe “on the cheap,” we spent time visiting the remnants of Jewish life – life that had in many cases been extinguished by the Third Reich.

Our experience as Jews in Europe only 25 years after the end of World War II had a huge impact on our subsequent lives.  When we returned to the U.S. in May of 1972, we decided we would start keeping kosher and becoming more observant.

Flash forward many years:

Mitch and Phyllis visit the USS Midway aircraft carrier on February 1, 2007, in San Diego after attending the U.S. Naval Institute conference.

I self-published my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT – a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist based on my experiences at Ft. Knox as a new Mrs. Lieutenant in the spring of 1970.  Next I started blogging at www.mrslieutenant.blogspot.com

Then I formed an online marketing company, Miller Mosaic LLC, with my younger daughter, Yael K. Miller.  Yael taught herself how to build WordPress websites, and she builds websites for our various online interests (and for clients of Miller Mosaic LLC).

I began to pay attention to the shortage of Jewish chaplains in the U.S. military today.  Remembering what it felt like to be so isolated in Germany, I wanted to help Jewish military personnel.

The result: Yael built the site www.OperationSupportJewsintheMilitary.com and the site serves as a resource for Jewish military personnel.  On it can be found all the chapters of SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION, the Jewish holiday book I wrote with Rabbi Karen L. Fox (see http://amzn.to/R6XoM1 on Amazon).

Yael also built the site www.InSupportOfOurTroops.com on which I feature my interest in spreading information about PTSD.

Recently I have formed a triad with two other former military spouse wives to promote our military fiction books on Amazon.  For information on these three books see http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/triad-us-military-war-novels/

I have all my original documents from my time in Germany, including a copy of a letter I typed to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam sending a donation from the Munich U.S. Army Jews to help prevent the site from closing due to lack of funds.

And I plan to eventually write a book about this experience of living in Germany as a Jew and as a member of an occupying force during the Cold War.

Meanwhile, one of my newest projects is www.SolomonsJustice.com – a proposed TV drama project about the L.A. County Veterans Court.

And you can find all my fiction and nonfiction books – including LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS, a Navy thriller written with my husband, and CIA FALL GUY, a spy story based on some of my experiences in Germany – at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller

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One Comment on “The Impact on My Life of Being Stationed in Germany From 1970-1972”

  1. Phyllis, thank you for sharing your unique perspective as a young Jewish person stationed in Germany and how it affected you. I have visited the sites you mentioned, they are great, and so is your book Mrs. Lieutenant. It is one of my favorites. (Mary Elliott Raynor — http://ellieraesmilitaryretro.blogspot.com). I’m publishing this comment under my WordPress sign-in; I don’t have a WordPress blog to speak of.)


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