A New Story from the Greatest Generation

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How a Jewish American war hero falls in love with a german nurse while a prisoner of the nazis - and lives a changed, but wanting life.

World War II concluded 62 years ago, leaving behind a legacy that changed the world. For one American lieutenant, the war led him at a young age to confront the two biggest influences in life: death and love. His memoir, Irmgard's Flute, tells a remarkable story of a well-decorated war hero who is shot down over Nazi Germany on his 25th combat mission, taken prisoner of war, only to fall in love with the enemy, a German nurse who forever transformed his heart and mind.

Dr. Bernard Bail, now a prominent physician, psychoanalyst and a training analyst in Beverly Hills, California, has worked with patients and analysts over the past half-century and developed a new paradigm for psychoanalysis that centers on the beginning of life. In his inspiring new autobiography he shows us not just the facts of how one transitions from the battlefield to an illustrious career, but rather how one confronts the long-lasting scars of war and of unfulfilled love.

Dr. Bail, who was awarded the highest military honor bestowed by France, the French Legion of Honor, provides insight into a generation, a defining war, and an impossible romance.

Irmgard's Flute explains:

  • What it was like to fly in over two dozen combat missions only to be shot down, getting seriously wounded, and captured as a prisoner of war.
  • How, during his remarkable recovery so far from home, he falls in love with a German nurse, Irmgard, whose mode of communication was to exchange letters in the middle of the night, risking her career and life.
  • The role of destiny in our lives, as demonstrated by his love for Irmgard.
  • How a soldier returns home to post war America, feeling forever changed and yet alone and misunderstood by his now younger classmates in school.
  • Some lessons learned as a decorated war hero reflects on the biggest war the world has ever fought.

For over six decades Dr. Bail was left to ponder a life of what-if, having wished the war's end wouldn't have concluded his chance encounter with Irmgard. He consults the letters and drawings she left him, touching his soul more than any physical embrace ever could. He still wishes he could see her, touch her, write to her. He wants to know what became of her and if she managed to live a life absent him, as he did without her.

As a result of my experience in the war, from taking and risking life, from getting injured and imprisoned, and from remarkable romantic encounters with women I could never have imagined meeting, I discovered the spiritual side to life and have forever been on a lifelong quest to heal human mental and emotional suffering," says Dr. Bail.

And with the publishing of his cathartic memoir, perhaps he has begun his own healing.

Publication Data: Irmgard's Flute - A Memoir: A True Story Of An
Impossible Love by Bernard W. Bail, M.D.; The Masters Publishing; 2007; cloth; 336 pages; $34.95; ISBN: 978-0-9795485-0-5; http://www.bernardbailmd.com

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Joanna Temple
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