Site Links
Home (
Back to My Story
Back to Montana
Choose a U.S. state

Achim Kurzawa.....Lewistown, Montana

(From East Berlin to Central Montana)

My wife, Susie Hogeland Kurzawa, wrote this and read it at my memorial service, December 4, 2010, at the Bonanza Hills Nazarene Church in Lewistown, Montana. I was buried the Jewish way, the same day I died, the day before Thanksgiving, November 24th, 2010. As you look at the distinctive Jewish star, which marks my grave, please don't think of me as lost for I knew my Messiah Yeshua! As you will soon find out, I was doubly watched over and found by G-d.

A gravestone has been ordered but at this time, this is how my grave is marked.

This is what Susie wrote. She read it herself at the memorial service, brave woman.

I can see the Lord and how He moved in Achim’s life in so many ways; the paths of His Love, protection, and God’s Amazing Grace. When his mother was expecting him she was overdue and lost her reservation at the hospital where he was to be delivered. They had many Jewish friends and one of these friends said I know where we can take her and this friend and Achim’s dad got her into a car and drove her to The Jewish Hospital of Berlin Germany. Due to the complications of birthing a 10 plus pound baby, Achim and his mom spent several days in the hospital. When it came time for the Jewish boys born at this time, on their 8th day of life, they and Achim were circumcised. We would think nothing of that here and now, but there and then it was a sign of being Jewish and you could have lost your life if found out. Achim related an event that happened several times when he was a toddler. People would gather around his grandmother's kitchen table. Jewish friends would gather around and they would be playing with him while his dad and granddad worked on various items. He found out when he was older that they were helping them get papers to get out of Germany. These people wanted the family to leave with them but granddad said that they could not.

I was 5 months old in 1937 with a Jewish star on my birth certificate in what would become East Berlin.

When it came time for Achim to attend school his parents found that this would not be possible. Achim had a Star of David on his birth certificate. To enable him to go to school they burned his birth certificate and Achim’s dad moved them out to the country to the grandparents where they found a little, old lady school teacher who said I will teach him no matter what anyone says.

I learned to read and write through a retired schoolteacher who wasn't afraid of the Nazi's.

During this time in the country the grandparents home was bombed. Achim said he remembers the bomb hitting the house and as it hit he ran through the front door. He ran from tree to tree with shrapnel whizzing by his ears. This was at the age of about 5 and it took his mother over 4 hours to find him.

My family in quieter times

The war was over when he was 8 years old. He could not believe the total devastation of Berlin when his father took them home. His father came out to the country and put the grandmother in a handcart and pushed her back into Berlin with Achim walking by his side. No building in Berlin had a glass window left. It was years before they were able to replace the cardboard with glass. The grandmother lived with them until she died of bone cancer. About this time Achim contracted TB and once again was not able to go to school. His father made sure that he learned though. He taught Achim about the wonders of the library and would bring him home books to read.

As a young man he served an apprenticeship as a waiter. He became headwaiter in one of the larger restaurants in Berlin. Achim was always a very outspoken man and the Russians were no match for him. They took him in several times for questioning and wanting him to join the party. His reply was that there was always someone missing from his or her group each time and so why would he want to join such a thing. The Lord was watching over him and someone took him aside and told him they were surprised that he wasn’t in prison yet. Achim took the warning and he and his brother started making plans and made their escape to West Berlin. They later moved on to Frankfurt. In the mean time they were still trying to convince his parents that they needed to get out. Achim’s aunt finally went and talked with the father and he relented and they made their exit one week before the Berlin Wall went up.

East Berlin after WWII was under Russian control (photo taken in 1966) courtesy of Beth Turner on the Germany page (slow loading so click later!)

Achim spent two years in Liberia and then came to the United States. He worked as a waiter in NYC while attending Queens College where he was number 1 in his intensive English class. They finally told him they could do no more for him and his reply was that he still had an accent and wanted to continue until the accent was gone. He was told that he would never get rid of it so use it as Americans love accents.

He worked his way through Cornell University and their school of Hotel and Restaurant management where he got his Bachelor of Science degree. He worked in that field for a while and decided that he did not like the politics involved. The rest of his working career he did general factory work in the publishing industry.

My Star of David birth certificate from the Jewish hospital that took my mother in when she missed her birth reservation at the only non-Jewish hospital available did not destroy my gratitude and adherence to the Jewish faith as expressed in Messiah Yeshua.

So far I’ve said nothing of his walk with the Lord. Achim loved the Lord and strove to serve Him. When he discovered his Jewish roots and that it was more then just a mark on a birth certificate he pursued it with all his being. He learned that he could be a Jew and a follower of Messiah and his life was richly blessed because of it. We met at a Messianic congregation in 1995 and were married in 1996. We moved here in 2003 and continued our path with Yeshua our Messiah.

Achim and Susie Kurzawa engagement photo, 1996, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

So as you can see God’s Amazing Grace has kept him throughout his entire life.

Last Updated: 01/23/2015