|Horst Wagner:||Born in Berlin, Germany May 7, 1916
Deceased in Sosúa February 7, 1997
|Luz Emilia Wagner nee Mena:||Born in Sosúa May 26, 1917
Deceased in Sosúa July 22, 2005
Children: Sonja Monica (1942 – 2007), Barbara
Grandchildren: Christopher Horst, Melissa Monica, Alexander Justin
Horst Wagner was born to a middle-class family in Berlin, Germany. His parents Kurt Wagner and Frida Savour had four children: Horst, Guenther, Vera and Richard. The family owned a hat store that they operated until they had to leave Germany. When Horst’s parents got divorced, Horst and his two brothers stayed with his father while his sister, Vera, lived with her mother until she got married. Horst’s life as a child and young man was reasonably good as his father had no financial problems. He enjoyed walking in the forest and collecting walnuts. Music was also an important part of his life and he seldom missed a concert. Horst was able to go to the university in Berlin to study pharmacology. Being a Jew, it was very difficult for him to study as Hitler was already in power. He managed to finish his career and started to work at a pharmacy owned by Jews in Berlin. Horst wanted to have a life like every other young person but was unable to go out to parties or a club because Jews were not allowed in such places. His boss used to tell him that it was not a good time to live in a place where Jews were segregated and discriminated against. Feeling bad about his life in Germany, he decided to leave the country in 1938. He took a couple of shirts, a pajama and his toiletries, hopped on a train and went to Switzerland. It was fairly easy for him to cross the German border into Switzerland because he did not look like a Jew. He looked almost like a pure Arian with his blond hair and blue eyes. Once in Switzerland, he started to work with a doctor in a camp that housed Jewish refugees. His father and stepmother also managed to leave Germany and immigrated to New York. His brother Richard went to Chile with his mother. Sadly, his brother Guenther and his sister Vera along with her children ended up in concentration camps in Poland and Germany.
During the summer of 1940 Horst joined a group of Jewish refugees who boarded a ship en route to New York. Upon their arrival in New York the authorities denied entrance to the group into the United States. They were forced to stay on Ellis Island for several days. Then the ship with the refugees went to Cuba, were they were also denied entrance. Fortunately, the Dominican Republic told them to come to the Sosúa settlement. They arrived in Sosúa and were extremely happy to be accepted because otherwise they would have been forced to return to Germany where their fate would probably have been death.
As soon as Horst arrived in Sosúa he was given a farm, just like the other settlers who were already there. As well as working on the farm, Horst also traveled the island selling the meat and dairy products manufactured by the Sosúa factories. He loved to ride on his horse throughout the entire Sosúa region. One day while in the “Loma Bajita” area he met a farm owner named Salustriano Mena, or as everybody used to call him, “Papa Mena.” Papa Mena invited him in for a cup of coffee and his daughter, Luz, served to both of them. Luz was a very beautiful woman and like most women at the time she spent her time cooking, sewing, doing crochet and embroidery. It was love at the first sight, and six months later they were married. Horst and Luz lived in a house situated at El Camino Llibre in Sosúa. In 1942 Sonja Monica was born and a few years later Barbara. Their life was pleasant and both daughters made them very happy, but Horst very much missed going to concerts and the type of life he had in Berlin. He bought a scooter for the delight not only of his family, but for most of the town’s children, who used to ride on the scooter with him.
In 1961 Horst decided to move to New York to be closer to his father. In New York he worked as a manager in a manufacturing company. As soon as he turned 62 he retired and moved to Miami. He also lived part of the time in Sosúa. After a while Horst and Luz decided to keep only the house in Miami. While in Miami he volunteered at the American Heart Association for 10 years. He also worked as a volunteer in the Aventura Hospital until his death in 1997. Horst and Luz’s marriage lasted 57 years. Sadly, Luz passed in 2005, and Sonja Monica in 2010 after a short illness.
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