Irene Wittig: Almost Home: the story of Otto Gruenbaum, Pianist and Ritchie Boy

Irene Wittig will discuss her novel, Almost Home: The Story of Otto Gruenbaum, Pianist and Ritchie Boy, the true story of her uncle, Otto Gruenbaum, a promising young pianist who fled Vienna, found refuge in the United States, joined the Army, was selected for secret military intelligence training at Camp Ritchie, and served as a wartime interrogator in Europe. He almost made it home. Why he didn’t is the mystery that has haunted her family.

Irene Wittig was born ten days after the liberation of Rome to a Viennese Jewish mother and Italian father, arrived in the U.S. via Austria and Argentina, and grew up in New York, in a neighborhood of Holocaust survivors and fellow Europeans displaced by war. After studying in New York, Germany, and Maryland she worked for the Dept. of Defense in Washington, DC before moving to Naples, Italy where she lived for five years. Later, she and her husband spent six years in Switzerland. After twenty years as a ceramic painter and teacher, Irene turned to writing. She has written two novels—one of them about Vienna– two children’s books, a book about ceramics, and Almost Home, about her uncle. She and her husband have two children and four grandchildren and live in Arlington, Virginia. View more about Irene and her publications on her website

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