Dues Cover 01Most of the novel (Copyright 2018 by Arnold Heller) is set against the end of the Carter administration (1978- 1980) and sprawls across the Reagan era (1980 – 1988). The Library of Congress Control Number is 2017919395, ISBN 978-1-5434-7390-2, 978-1-5434-7389-6, 978-1-5434-7388-9. No one may use or reproduce any of the following excerpts without permission from the author. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The excerpts provided are for the purpose of attracting interest in my novel, or insights into Dues’ description and theme, or for readers who have purchased it and wish to revisit the poems and major speeches attributed to Allie Cohen. A copy can be ordered on the home page www.arnoldheller.org by clicking on the www.xlibris.com link or from all other major online book distributors / retailers.    

Allie Cohen holds his new born son Ari up to a full moon to seek a blessing from God, then writes a poem describing what the infant will need to succeed in life.

The Fanatical Edge

Jewish parents don’t just raise children

Instead, they make their kids feel special

Which makes them act smarter and cuter and

Think they’re the center of the damn universe

They then selfishly dream and achieve and

Forsake responsibility to all but themselves

Thus, is created the fanatical edge, a

Powerful drive to surpass all the others

For the distant reward of self-actualization on

The narcissistic road to fame and success and

All that jazz and hurt that comes with the territory.

Allie writes a poem on the flight to Egypt with Carole. He becomes a True Son of Israel during their visit to the Holy Land.

If Hitler had been a Friend of the Jews

The Nazis made the world a zoo

But imagine if Adolph Hitler

Had been a friend of the Jew

And not an enemy oh so bitter

Envision Hitler valuing Jewish citizenry

And creating a humane national socialism

Rebuilding Germany’s shattered economy

Out of the ashes of World War 1 militarism

Fantasize Hitler supporting a homeland

For all European Jews seeking Zion

Fair rewards for loving the Fatherland

Instead, Auschwitz, Dachau, terror and dying

If Hitler had acted like America’s FDR

Soothing the fears of his troubled nation

Alsace-Loraine, the Ruhr and the Saar

Left in peace with no emasculation

A responsible Germany, Beethoven’s land

Civilized, progressive, technologically advanced

Committed to goodness this Reich and Deutschland

And not mass extermination in Ukraine and Poland

It should have been in the Allie’s interest

To return from Versailles all that was taken

Welcome back, rearm, do what was best

And forget the blame when all were mistaken

Stalin’s hordes might have been halted

By a Berlin strong, vital and prosperous

Europe’s balance of power kept, not altered

By a Reich believing in freedom and justice

Another strong hand to ease British decline

A world of peace, cooperation, and order

Alliances stretching from the Potomac to the Rhine

Collectively securing all democracies borders

The Messiah tarries, an anti-Christ we await

Claim the Revelations and fundamentalist sages

For was not Hitler the devil incarnate?

Did he not rise from politics, the sea that rages?

Why was mankind deaf to their screams?

Why was He blind to the gas and crematoria?

Fruitless are lists of what might have been

The six million dead are to them a memorial

The monster Hitler, 86% extermination

Thank God he failed with his Final Solution

A war against the Jews and Europe’s nations

Vigilance now to Hamas, Sunni and Shiite revolution

Today terrorists and assassins freely roam about

Single out Jews among a planeload in Lebanon

Receive training in Syria and comfort in Moscow

Drive truck bombs, take hostages nudged by Iran

And so, the world becomes a more volatile place

A nuclear holocaust threatens the human race

The killing goes on, dear Lord make it cease

The world awaits a savior, His prince of peace

We beseech thee Messiah, oh make thyself known

The seeds of destruction have already been sown

And hurry sweet prince before it’s too late

Armageddon is before us, please spare us the fate.


Message from the Lord 1: Prayer for receiving the Peace Prize

Adonai selected Allie’s words to simplify his message of peace to the people

I ask why do we sometimes resort to evil?

And justify it as doing good.

Humans often short cut good

With evil acts by claiming

They are restoring or maintaining order

Fostering economic stability and prosperity,

Or protecting the nation.

The ends supposedly justify the means.

Or do they? No,

Our means must justify our ends too.

We must only do good and right

And then and only then will we

Have true peace on earth for all mankind.


Message from the Lord 2: Prayer for Peace in Atlanta

If we want to avoid violence

We have the answers within us

If we are to escape hatred and ugliness

The ways and means are all around us

Whether we are successful or not

Depends on how hard we try.


Major Speech #1: Nobel Peace Prize

Allie Cohen wins the Noble Peace Prize for initiatives conducted in Russia, Chile, Egypt, and Israel. The Prophet stands behind a teak podium and faces the audience. The Creator has empowered Allie with an ultimate teachable moment and feeds his train of thought.

“I intend to speak directly to this remarkable assembly and the world beyond it. My aim is to identify all the misinformed, misguided, evil or negative forces in the world that are all on the wrong side of peace, goodness, and morality.”

Cohen was interrupted by a strong standing ovation from both sides of the moral spectrum. This applause, Allie interpreted; means half the audience has no clue of who I am, where I come from, or what I’m going to say. Man, are they ever in for a learning experience.


“I’ll begin,” he quieted them down; “by mildly punching a few holes in French existentialism and Scandinavian and Swiss neutrality. Fifteen years ago, I fancied being an existentialist in the mold of Jean Paul Sartre who rejected his Nobel Prize claiming the award compromised his east – west clarity.

“I respect Sartre’s decision but disagree with his view, in fact, I am no longer an existentialist because Western power, principles, and freedom now shape my moral clarity these days.”


Over half the audience stood and applauded. Those who have chosen to sit, Allie beheld, now sense where I’m going with this.


“Furthermore,” stated Cohen; “I have no intention of rejecting my prize, indeed deeply value the award and respect the important role it plays in promoting peace in the world. Let me say that I am very grateful to the Nobel Foundation but am still unsure how I will serve the cause of peace this next year.”

There was a thirty-second long applause, French officials politely patted. “In reality, there is no existentialism or neutrality; both are a state of mind. French existentialism was a luxury of NATO for when Charles de Gaulle pulled them out because he didn’t believe America would use nuclear missiles to save France from communism, they were still protected by the collective security arrangement and American might.”

The faces of the French stiffened up. “Neutrality is studied detachment from the forces that really protect you and selfishly reaps the benefits of collective security without contributing to the burden. The US reactive stance supports the free ride of neutral nations and allows French existentialists the freedom to write popular left-wing tracts that would be banned in Moscow. One cannot intellectually and morally stand on two sides of the fence.”

Swedish and Swiss faces stiffened and joined the annoyed French. “Today I stand before you – ironically in a highly cultivated neutral nation – and proclaim my opposition to despotic creatures of all types. It is a depressing fact that only the aggressive power of the United States and its allies contain the hegemonistic Soviets, and the machinations of countless petty tyrants acting in concert. This aggressive Marxist network freely maims and subverts for a phony faith that has failed to deliver on its promises wherever it’s been employed.”

The representatives of western countries stood and applauded. The seated dictatorships appeared angry, disgusted or in stunned silence. The Russians and other Soviet puppets joined the French, Swedes, and Swiss in making up a legion of stiff faces.

“Soviet clients all have one things in common; categorization of people according to handy political tools. Whether the construction is Marxist dogma, or a little Red or Green book, the result is usually an inhuman social order.”

With that last salvo, the Russians and Soviet puppet leaders, the Chinese and Libyan delegations from the references to Mao’s Little Red Book and Qaddafi’s Little Green Book, all walked out on Allie in protest.

Yahweh is disgusted with their current ideologies and utter corruption that blind them to needs of their people or to listen, behold, and exalt the Prophet. The next day major newspapers were full of Soviet quotes that Allie had abused the Nobel setting by slandering the Russians and their friends with calumny and lies. Qaddafi called him a capitalist stooge of the western imperialist forces.

Cohen continued his relentless finger pointing. “I invite the monsters of the earth to change their stripes and become good guys too. I’ll first point my roving finger at the cruelty and immorality of the so-called Third World, countries the economists describe a Less Developed Countries or LDC’s. Frankly, most LDC’s are highly developed Militaristic and Murderous Enterprises or what I prefer to call MME’s.  

Cohen let the joke sink in; a slow chuckle grew into a loud laugh and reverberated around the huge hall. The monsters’ faces showed how they hated being the butt of his joke.

“My menu of third world tyrants lists communist maximum leaders, Islamic fascists, Latin torturers, Asian strongmen, and African megalomaniacs. Their callous governments are synonymous with blatant corruption and random mass murder, and daily make the lives over three billion people miserable.”

Prophet, you called them all out in a beautifully broad and clear manner.

Cohen viewed the faces of the MME’s. Representatives from bloody dictatorships on all continents felt ambushed; some stood up in protest and booed him. All of the MME’s as a show of solidarity for their common and collective evil, walked out.

“The MME’s faceless victims,” Cohen shouted directly at the dictatorships as they left the hall; “include peasant farmers and city folk, seekers of truth and justice, and purveyors of peace and freedom.”

Sadly, the Prophet exceeded the limits of truth the dictators can handle at one time and they fled. I fear that up to half the earth is displaying that they have light years to go before being worthy of redemption.

“The bloody, refugee ridden Twentieth Century,” claimed Cohen; “has suffered a never- ending battle for the hearts and minds of the peoples of the earth. Standard operating procedures for dictatorships are to grab their societies by the groin so that the people’s hearts and minds blindly follow. Truth, perception, and reality differ from Madison Avenue to Moscow, Jerusalem to Mecca, and the Holy See to Havana.

“Contrary to Christian dogma, the meek are not inheriting the earth. The weak, sick, docile, unarmed and hungry are being plundered, trampled, or caught up in destructive power struggles and cross fires.”

The remaining audience applauded. Sarah smiled proudly at her husband and told Ari; “Your father is so brilliantly and starkly defining good and evil and human reality.”

Allie Carole worried; is saying such harsh truths that he might be stoking the hatred of creatures of the night that might come after him – and me.

My son, Janet Kamensky beamed; is shaming the world to behave itself. Give ‘em hell Allie, I’m so proud of you I am going to burst.

My little brother Carla smiled brightly is making the ultimate ‘call a spade a spade speech’. Good for him.

The White House and State Department gritted teeth from Allie’s hot button language. They basically agreed with him but for diplomatic necessities, dared not say so. So many offended representatives had walked out that the auditorium was barely half full.

Cohen continued to hammer away. “The world appears hopelessly corrupt, hateful, and dangerous. Perhaps a handful of exceptional leaders exist and historically there seems to be fewer great ones than ever.”

The audience gasped at his description. The Nobel Foundation leader’s nervous eyes begged Cohen to calm his blaming, and stop using their platform to smear half the earth. They relaxed a bit as his tune suddenly changed, but for only one sentence.

“And yet the world hungers for extraordinary souls to step forth and lead us out of the moral wilderness. Unfortunately, for the many brave men or women who do step up, the assassin’s bullet may be forthcoming.”

Much of the audience held its breath. “Four of my political heroes; John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, a quartet of 1960’s Lights in the Darkness were all murdered. Each loss was a hammer at mankind’s hope that a better world can be forged through the expression of truth, compassion, and social justice.”

Respectful applause lasted a few seconds. “Still, I have not lost all hope, in fact remain a believer that world peace may someday be attained, that good men and women may yet prevail, that all will renounce war and terror.”

The half full audience applauded. “My dream for world peace requires a great leader, or a Messiah if the Lord so wills it, to shame our species out of its current political ignorance and ideological and military madness. Goodness, mercy, kindness, decency, and charity must fill our collective souls instead.”

A loud enthusiastic applause lasted ten seconds. “If not, we may all perish from the earth and our souls rot in a damnable hell. A nagging fear is that human beings have strayed too far down the past of nuclear insanity to be rescued.”

A large collective sigh came from individuals scattered across the great hall so he wrapped it up on a positive note.

“I challenge humanity to face up to the fate of the earth and soon. May the Lord bless the Children to lead the way to peace and freedom and all good and rightful people follow His Commandments to receive His Blessings.”


Major Speech 2: Allie Cohen’s Atlanta Caveat

Hashem has again empowered the Prophet with another ultimate teachable moment for the people of Metro Atlanta. Phillip Mason, Chamber of Commerce Chief, has introduced Allie to the audience.

“Our Chamber chief,” Cohen satirized; “comes from a long line of city boosters. In fact, all of the Mason’s possess an extra gene. It’s called the jobs relocation gene.

The gag summoned a nice laugh that heightened the good feelings enveloping the crowd. Inside the Civic Center, a love fest for Cohen was forming in the hall built on the site of a former slum called Buttermilk Bottom. Symbolically, love and buttermilk constituted what Cohen was about to serve up.

“Almost a decade and half ago, I moved to Atlanta and discovered a cultural milieu that was more than I expected, but a little less than I needed. Right from the beginning though, I sensed the dynamic of change and promise and both came as Atlanta is fast becoming one of the world’s next great international cities.”

Atlanteans’ are proud of their city and they applauded loudly. Cohen shushed them by speaking. “I, like more than three million other metro Atlantans, have come to love this city and Atlanta is where I come home to.”

The audience interrupted Allie to cheer a transformed son of the New South. Cohen proceeded with more image building words for adopted city #1.

“Atlanta now lies in the mainstream of American life and culture. Atlanta and the South today are plugged into the global electronic and commercial grid and our urbane culture includes a fusion of Southern graciousness, Atlantic culture, heartland values, Pacific fads, European, African, Latin and Asian influences. Atlanta is a city without limits and has formed into a rich and vital human mosaic.”

Cohen was again interrupted by enthusiastic hoots of approval. Chamber of Commerce members sounded the most supportive. Lesotho Xeranga, in contrast, was unhappy and complained to Eddie. “I’m close to writing this honkey off as hopeless unless his tone changes rapidly.”

It did. “I am sad to report that despite the fact that Atlanta is basically thriving, there exists a host of difficult problems. Atlantans delight so in their fair city that they may overlook the underside of life, this condition being a national trait, prone to all who have great stakes in their city’s business arena, especially real estate. My aim today is to analyze Atlanta as one example of this American dilemma.”

Cohen’s direction made Phillip Mason and John Whelan uncomfortable. Mack Thomas liked where Cohen was going and Lesotho suddenly hung on every syllable.

“There is still a lingering habit left over from the days of segregation for Atlanta to divide along racial lines. This schism will remain unchallenged until direct immigration expands dramatically and other large ethnic groups organize and demand a place at the table of accommodation.”

“I hope,” Sharon Johnson told Lesotho and Eddie; “they’re listening to his predictions for they ignore him at their risk.”

“I predict that Hispanics will soon become the third big group to demand their place at the table. Asians will soon follow Latin footsteps in dissolving the century old black – white dichotomy.”

“I’m impressed,” Mack Thomas told John Whelan; “with Cohen’s understanding of demographic trends and their effect on traditional power structures.”

“White ethnics and Asians traditionally follow white Anglos to the suburbs to leave urban black poverty behind. Middle and upper-class blacks, seeking better housing and schools, often follow suit. Atlanta’s central business district is the primary area where the predominately bi-racial population interacts daily.”

A short loud applause came from a small younger Chamber of Commerce group. Cohen smiled benevolently at them as if they were odd children.

“The Midtown, Buckhead, and Perimeter Corridor markets, in comparison, are majority white interactive zones. Their commercial real estate occupancy rates and rents subsequently are higher than downtown’s rates.”

Cohen looked at the audience, held his notes in hand, and smiled all to stretch his dramatic pause and build the power of the next two sentences.

“The whiter the commercial and residential zone the higher the real estate values; in contrast, the blacker the real estate zone, commercial or residential, the lower the real estate values. Blacks are 30% of the metro population yet total black real estate valuation of the metro-wide black communities can be tucked away in a small corner of predominately white Buckhead.”

Lesotho could not contain himself and yelled out; “That is the best description of modern day racism ever told.”

Sharon joined him and followed with a perfect summary. “Dig it, the whiter the zone, the richer they are. The blacker the zone, the poorer we are. Whites, by shunning us, confer wealth on them and poverty on us.”

“Ms. Johnson,” Cohen complimented; “that was a typically excellent analysis; you get an A+.” Sharon’s face lit up the packed theater. “The purest equality blacks or people of color have in Metro Atlanta is the income to buy their way in to the majority white zones like Edge City, think Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, Roswell and Alpharetta, but please, I’m getting ahead of myself here.” He warmly smiled at Sharon Johnson then focused back on the audience.

“Downtown is for the time being the largest commercial real estate market in the Southeastern US. The value of the steel and glass fortresses and super-blocs is roughly $100 to $200 billion. Let us be frank; enhanced perceptions of crime erode property values.”

A few major downtown property owners coughed. “The fortresses of downtown are connected by pedestrian sky bridges. Visitors can walk across the central core without touching down on sidewalk and see few black people while carrying out their business. The whiteness factor, safety perceptions of white people towards people of color in this internal space is the driver of the downtown economy and high real estate values.”

The section full of young blacks applauded. The office tower and wholesale mart owners frowned and a major property owner was heard choking.

“I predict that due to heightened perceptions of downtown crime, false if police statistics are to be believed, the whiter Buckhead, Midtown, and Perimeter commercial real estate markets will grow faster. In one to three decades, they will all equal or surpass the central business district with the northern Perimeter arc exceeding all local and southeastern markets by 2010.”

Thundering standing applause was heard from suburban commercial interests. Cohen’s predictions based on 1980’s real estate trends were fully realized.

“We hope of course, for downtown, the City of Atlanta, and suburban ring to all prosper. A strong fast-growing economy is the adhesive that holds us together.”

Cohen’s prediction inspired Sharon who whispered to Lesotho; “I think we should obtain real estate licenses and focus on Midtown, Buckhead, and the Perimeter corridor area.” His eyes lit up at the idea of being the first black real estate firm to serve those markets.

“It’s up to all of us,” Cohen continued with his address; “to make downtown, Atlanta, and the suburbs better, but that takes trust, cooperation, and a shared vision called regionalism which to some is a dirty word. This hope requires diverse peoples to come and work together and interact in harmony for the sake of public progress.”

Broad loud applause shook the hall from progressives inside and outside the Perimeter.

“There will be a price to pay down the road unless white Atlantans stop moving ever farther away to hunker down in exclusive exurban enclaves. The growing number of cloisters filled with like-minded people will skew our politics.”

That line drew louder applause from the same people. “Suburban sprawl,” preached Cohen; “worsens mal-distribution of Atlanta’s economic glue and is the root cause of most social problems. Atlanta’s south side, save for a few pockets of black and white affluence, is virtually a cheap labor colony for the expanding and predominately white north side.”

Lesotho led his whole section of young blacks applauding that line.

“Unfortunately, sprawl prevents low income blacks from reaching the jobs increasingly located in the outer ring counties where the land is cheaper for corporations to build warehousing space for example. Low taxes make public transportation minimal at best with expansion thwarted by status quo advocates who distrust government with some even hating any form or mention of it.”

The same group of young blacks applauded even louder. Conservative white suburban leaders frowned or rubbed their chin with their hand.

“Blacks who aren’t comfortable living the Edge City life and need affordable housing will re-congregate in the core center out of need to survive.”

Lesotho and Sharon stood up to second Cohen’s claim. John Whelan and Phillip Mason expressed their concern by rubbing their chins and cheeks with their hands.

I sense, Mack Thomas noticed; that the political equation in Atlanta is changing and Cohen is an agent of sorts.

Cohen hammered away. “Welfare barely blunts the hard edge of unemployment or under-employment while the welfare taxes that the suburban middle class so vehemently opposes are actually transfer payments to the poor to stay out of the tidy lives of white people in Cobb, Gwinnett, North Fulton, North Dekalb, and increasingly Cherokee, Forsyth, Henry and Fayette Counties.”

Half the audience, presumably from Atlanta, applauded. The other half, presumably from the suburban safe zones, did not.

“Atlanta and America are pigmentocratic; lighter skin color is assigned more favorable status and better jobs. Darker skinned people are often less favored and funneled into work no one else wants to do except new immigrants.”

Eddie White stood up to cheer Cohen’s claim. Allie recognized him, smiled at Eddie, and gave him a thumbs-up. White smiled back, stuck his thumb up in the air, and sat down. I’m really over my Cohen thing; he was actually glad to see me.

Allie grew hotter as he verbally pointed a finger at the angry white guys in the audience. “I recall how angry white guys used to be proud rednecks until that word and image became bad for business and real estate values. Now they proudly call themselves conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians.”

The white liberals laughed loudly and all thought he’d stolen that line from them.

“Many Atlantans sow discord when they make malevolent comments like; why won’t they work? Or, they just sit around having babies and collecting checks - or the I-285 Perimeter is the Ring around the Congo - and MARTA stands for Moving Africans Rapidly through Atlanta.”

He made the blacks in the audience laugh at those old racist putdowns, and the whites very uncomfortable.

“That cynical mentality and lingering evidence of racism needs to be expunged.” He treaded on racial thin ice. “The truth is that white people won’t pay for the social remedies needed to expel the social pathologies created by their racist legacy and the right wingers fight welfare payments tooth and nail that sustain, contain, and isolate poor blacks from them.”

Lesotho, Sharon, and Eddie stood up to applause. Virtually every other young black person did too and some white liberals joined them.

“President Reagan has assured white middle-class Americans that it is a Christian act to disinvest in our minorities. Conservative Christian whites proclaim they help wean blacks off of their dependency on government. They are friends of the poor by making them poorer.”

Cohen’s harsh charges angered some whites to boo. “Reagan deserves better.” One older white man heckled; “You owe him your God forsaken Nobel prize.”

Phillip Mason was livid. Cohen’s called a lot of people names and rehashed a lot of old shit better left unsaid. Stoking Xeranga’s rallying cries and angering conservative whites is a big step backward for the city’s image.

Allie kept pounding away. “Our homicide rate shocks the nation but not the average Atlantan. We claim to want higher salaries for our police then demand that our underpaid centurions crush frustration with firepower.”

James Epworth, CEO of Atlanta’s third largest banks, was aggravated. “If I had a gun, I’d shoot that damned demagogic Jew bastard right on the spot.”

Cohen’s next words cooled Epworth’s anger momentarily. “All Atlantans should never forget that this city’s prosperity is stimulated by the collective intelligence of its audacious and concerned commercial sector.”

Epworth ached for Cohen’s positive streak to continue. Allie’s pause made the banker paranoid. I know that Cohen’s setting us up to drive home another bitter impression.

Epworth was right. “The white corporate elite sits precariously perched on the backs of a large, sullen underclass that has little regard for central city real estate values or the well- being of the community at large. Survival and pleasure are the underclass’ preoccupations and pursuit.”

Lesotho and Mack and the rest of the audience were transfixed by harsh truths rarely heard from privileged white men. Cohen expressed black feelings more sharply than they were comfortable hearing. He was determined to make whites and blacks honestly face up to their social realities and pathologies and finally deal with them.

“What can we do for, or about our sizable underclass, the product of the defects in free market capitalism, slavery, the Middle Passage, segregation, lingering racism and disastrous social experiments?”

That question sucked the air out of the audience and hall and silence ruled.

“A stigma of worthlessness has been stamped upon a segment less equipped to compete to the degree that the group has for the most part given up. Stand forewarned; we can’t go on ignoring the alienated hordes of forgotten America.”

The air did not return to the hall until after the next statement. “I urge you to consider my perspectives and not easily dismiss them as another do gooders lament. With all of us pulling together, we can achieve an improved quality of life for all Americans.” A few people applauded.

“I present a remedy by sharing details of NDMA, National Defense Metropolitanization Act, designed to merge the central city and suburbs into a unified tax district. The result of consolidation is equalization of municipal service costs across the designated metropolitan district or region.

“I conclude my speech with a quote from Leviticus, XIX, 33-34. If a stranger sojourn in your land, ye shall not vex him. That stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you. And you shalt love him as yourself for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”


Major Speech 3: Mayor Allie Cohen’s Four ‘Big Bewares’ to the visiting Democrats in 1988

“I will waste no time in delivering my important message to Americans, a speech that deprograms Americans from the confusing doublespeak of the Reagan years by paraphrasing lines from Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism.

“For eight years, President Reagan has cloaked himself in the image of FDR and undermined the New Deal and Great Society at every opportunity. His lean, mean safety net has reduced Roosevelt’s and LBJ’s communitarian society to atomistic Social Darwinism, the barest step above a dog-eat-dog society. I predict that someday the smart history teachers of the future will present the Reagan Era as a neo-Gilded Age, a time when caring and compassion became wimpy!”

Laughter punctuated Cohen’s delivery and helped him to set up his finish with a flurry, the four big bewares.

“Beware of sunny smooth communicators who dangerously simplify complex problems so the masses will buy unworkable solutions.

Beware of a movement that tells Americans that everything they say is possible when we know that none of it is true.

Beware of a chief executive that bills himself as a guarantor of liberty, yet doggedly chips away at our social and cultural freedoms.

Beware of leadership that judges ideas with political litmus tests rather than by merit, common sense, reason or the public welfare.

“That is why I urge y’all to vote Democratic this November so that America may go forward once more.

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The Am Yisrael Chai event, Conscience and Action, “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world” was a powerful program attended by more than 900 people.  Keynote speakers, Leo Melamed and Chihiro Sugihara were outstanding. Thanks to Ella Sczupak of Blue Orchid Productions, a video of the event is now online on our website. To view the video of this incredible evening, CLICK HERE.

Please join us for THE DAFFODIL DASH - a 5K/1mile run/walk in memory of the children of the Holocaust, and supporting children in Darfur, South Sudan, and Rwanda. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Am Yisrael Chai is a non-profit organization that focuses on Holocaust education and genocide awareness.

Our Family Heritage: Founders of Hellertown, Pen Argyl, Saylorsburg, Appenzell, perhaps Wind Gap too and more. 



                            Johan Christopher Heller’s farm house, circa 1760.


In 2004 I toured east central Pennsylvania, a land area stretching from northern Philadelphia suburbs to East Stroudsburg in the Poconos.  I spent a day in the Hellertown Library, Saylorsburg cemetery, and Penn Argyll downtown district researching our family line and discovered a transformative origin - Johan Christopher Heller and four of his six sons settling the land in 1740 after the Leni Lenape Indians were pushed out by the colonial Pennsylvania government located in Quaker Philadelphia.

Pen Argyl in 1894


      We had a problem - we could not prove our connection to Christopher Heller and his six sons beyond grandfather Albert E. Heller’s birth in 1891 in Appenzell, PA.  With the assistance of www.MyHeritage.com, we traced our heritage to Johan Christopher Heller leaving Pheddersheim, Germany in 1738 and finally to Conrad Heller, Brandenburg, Germany born in the late 1400’s. 



The above map showing Pen Argyl in center and Appenzell to the northeast does not include either Hellertown and Saylorsburg located southeast of the area.  Lee Widener, author of Hellertown, “Images of America”, Arcadia, 2003, describes his small city.


“Nestled in the Saucon Valley, Hellertown lies just south of Bethlehem, bordered on the Saucon Creek.  While the creek derives its name from the Native America sakunk meaning ‘place where a small stream enters a large stream,” the town inherited its name from Christopher Heller and his sons, especially Michael who started the first farm and grist mill.  The 1800’s brought a wave of Deutsch (German) immigrants to this corner of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) country.”




The Genealogy of Christopher Heller and his six sons, a paper read by William Jacob

Heller at the Fifth Reunion of the Heller Family Association at Island Park, Easton, PA, August 29, 1908, Library of Congress, describes a history of Christopher and four of the six sons; Dieter, Simon, Michael and Daniel.



Michael Heller’s Grist Mill


LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Heller and Pennsylvania Ave., main intersection, Penn Argyll, PA


Founder Joseph Saylor’s wife was a Heller (Elizabeth? Louise?) 


Saylorsburg’s main commercial corridor, circa 2005


The names of these two wives are unknown and their identities will probably never be discovered.  He lies buried at the Lime Kiln School house, the ancient burying ground near Hellertown.  I have purposely left the typos and grammatical mistakes intact out of respect for their time. 


Daniel, the Fourth Son


May be wife of Milton Heller, grandfather Albert Heller’s older brother.  Burial site is in Saylorsburg, PA. 


In a History of Bucks County, PA Volume 3, William H. Davis writes:




Heller family genealogy chart Johan Simon Heller through Hoyt Bernard Heller, pictured age 10.


William Davis text continues:



Appenzell, located near Jackson Township, Monroe County, is where our grandfather Albert grew up; also, where our father Bernie spent occasional extended periods of time when his mother Freda joined Albert on the road when he managed a traveling carnival.  In the near future we hope to visit Appenzell, a place we’ve never known and are a little lesser for it. 



Our connection to the Heller family history in Pennsylvania is through our beloved grandmother Freda Belford Heller who married Albert in 1910. 


My sister Bobbie and I have always been aware of 75% of our family origins.  Grandmother Freda Belford Heller was from Minsk, Belarus.  Our mother Jeanne Bernstein Heller Polinsky’s parents were Samuel Bernstein and Sadie Roth Bernstein, both supposedly from a small village in eastern Austria.


 It was our father Hoyt Bernard “Bernie” Heller’s family line that we could not trace past his father Albert E. Heller.  All we knew of this man was that he originated from the East Stroudsburg, PA, area.

Our genealogy led us back to Johan Christopher Heller and his five sons that left Pheddersheim, Germany, in 1738 and helped colonize east-central Pennsylvania.  Johan Simon Heller is our first-generation ancestor; his son Isaac, the twelfth child, is the first Heller born in America.  We suspect our surprising Italian, Finnish, Iberian, Swedish and West African origins are from the women who married our male Heller ancestors.


There were 2,702 matches or new cousins. We have listed the first ten new first cousins twice or more removed. 

Our core Heller - Polinsky family enjoyed a mini-reunion Dec. 22 – 29, 2017.  Pictured in the group photo are my sister (R) Bobbie Heller Polinsky and her son Brett Polinsky.  Left side: her son Craig Polinsky, Arnold Heller, and Arnold Polinsky, Bobbie’s husband. 

Photo taken Dec. 28, 2017 at Chanson restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Florida. 


After we successfully traced our roots to Johan Christopher Heller and his sons, we kept searching European antecedents and discovered that their ancestors migrated from the Zurich area during the 1600’s to the Pheddersheim, Germany area. 

In the 1400’s and 1500’s, the Hellers – Fridli, Hans, Lorenz, Conrad Oder and his father Conrad - lived in the Brandenburg, Germany, area near Berlin.  We can only guess how long our ancestors lived there or any places before there.

Bobbie and I speculate that the Hellers may have originally been Jews and were forcibly converted to Christianity during Europe’s religious wars. We theorize this based on the 75% estimated proportion of Central European DNA – that Heller males carried Ashkenazim DNA and their wives contributed the other interesting strains.   

The Hellers who arrived in Philadelphia in 1738 were already fervent Lutherans probably from generations of religious practice.  The only possible Jewish source is a Becker who married into the family in the 1830’s. 

Two Hellers fought in the French & Indian War, eleven in the Revolutionary War, a dozen in the Civil War, and along with Bernsteins, Reitmans, Roths, Goldsteins, and Auerbachs, dozens fought in World War II.   

Our main discovery from this genealogy is that the Hellers are one of America’s great families and we are proud to be related. 


50 % of our DNA is pictured in this photo of my grandparents fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1954.  Standing center is Samuel Bernstein and Sadie Roth Bernstein who lived into their mid to late eighties.  The group includes their five children and spouses and our parents. 

Aunt Rose and Uncle Morris Bernstein, far left couple, divorced because Rose, Italian and Catholic, baptized their two children against his will.  Rose is not in our gene pool so she’s not part of our striking 8.3% Italian heritage.

Moving right, Uncle Irving Goldstein with daughter cousin Betty because his wife, our Aunt Rose, was ill.  Irving was of Romanian heritage.

Center, sitting: Uncle Joe and Aunt Minnie Bernstein; next couple Aunt Fannie and Uncle Harry Becker. 

Far right: Our parents, Jeanne Bernstein Heller and Bernie Heller. 


From Hoyt Bernard “Bernie” Heller, 1914 - 1955, to Conrad Heller, Brandenburg, Germany, estimated birth 1434 – 1494.


My sister Bobbie and I grew up with very limited knowledge of our Heller family line mostly located in east – central Pennsylvania.  This was by design of our well-meaning mother Jeanne Bernstein Heller Polinsky who worried that we might feel comfortable to marry outside of our Jewish faith if we knew Albert E. Heller, our grandfather, had been born a Christian, in his case, a Lutheran. 

Picture of Barbara “Bobbie” Polinsky, age 18, and brother Arnold Heller, age 13, Newark, NJ.

Albert Heller converted to Judaism at age twenty-four to marry our grandmother, Frieda Belford, who immigrated from Minsk, Belarus at age five in 1898.  In 1891, Albert, born in Appenzell, Pennsylvania, just outside of East Stroudsburg, migrated to Newark in search of work.  He met Frieda, fell in love with her, and married in 1913.  They had two boys, Hoyt Bernard, born in 1914, and Ralph, born two years later. 


Our mother, born Jeannette December 12, 1913, married our father Bernie in June of 1935 – they honeymooned in Spring Lake.  This photo was taken at grandparents Samuel and Sadie Bernstein’s Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary in 1954 – they were thirty-nine.  Samuel, born in 1875, immigrated from Austria in 1895 and brought his wife Sadie and two children over three years later. 



Our family does not possess a photo of grandfather Albert, nor have we ever seen one of the man who died in 1929 at age thirty-eight.  Albert managed a traveling carnival, grew lonely during time away from home so Frieda often joined him on the road. 


Bernie and Ralph were frequently placed with relatives – the 1920 census lists Bernie as a boarder with his grandparents Ferdinand and Mary Heller in Appenzell – he was six years old at the time.  He is about ten years old in the following picture, the only one we have of him as a child. 


Bernie Heller, (above photo), about age ten.  List of eight generations (above columns) of Hellers in USA starting with Johan Simon Heller’s arrival in 1738 with his father Johan Christopher Simon and four brothers.  Isaac Heller, born in 1752 in colonial Pennsylvania, is our family line’s first child born in America. 


I was astonished while researching this history of our lineage from the lack of documentation of our mother and father’s life experiences in this country. I found very few birth, marriage or general census records for two urban people who lived in the Twentieth Century. 


I’ve learned that sourcing public information records provides limited information – searching existing family trees proved far more productive in discovering matches.  For example, our father’s life is recorded in a death certificate (March 29, 1955, Irvington, NJ), an erroneous reference in the 1910 census that he was born four years before actual birth day, a reference to him in the 1940 census as a brother-in-law of my mother’s grandparents living at 367 Peshine Avenue in Newark. 


In the Bernstein household of 1940, occupants listed include Samuel Bernstein, age 63, Sadie Bernstein, age 60, Morris Bernstein, age 26, son-in-law Hoyt Heller, age 26, daughter Jeanne Heller, age 26.  Morris, two years older than his sister Jeanne is probably 28 at the time; also, Bernie and Jeanne lived a block away and not with her parents. 


Our mother’s recorded life is far surprisingly scarcer than our father for she lived almost twice as long.  In contrast, the public records of Bobbie and I, though limited, are almost voluminous compared to our parents.    



Source: MyHeritage.com: Examine above document.  Notice our grandmother’s name is misspelled; Belfar instead of Belford – it is also misspelled as such for Albert Heller’s burial form in 1929. Was Belfar shortened from a longer name at Ellis Island, perhaps Belfarsky and changed to Belford?  Or coincidentally twice misspelled? 


Frieda Belford Heller, our grandmother, 1893 – 1991 or 1892 - 1987.


Note too that Arnold Heller, born in 1946, is listed but not Bobbie Heller who was born in 1940.  Furthermore, I typed in Jeanne Bernstein’s birth and death dates – they had not been previously recorded. The following 1920 census document shows Bernie Heller living with his grandparents in Appenzell.


Photo circa 1944 of Bernie Heller (R), brother Ralph Heller (L) two years younger, and Bobbie Heller, age 4. 

In the US Census of 1910, Albert Heller is listed as living in Jackson, Monroe, Pennsylvania and 19 years old.  His father Ferdinand, mother Mary and five siblings are also listed. 

Albert Heller’s death certificate. 

Right of main driveway, 5th section from South Orange Avenue. 


The above photo is of either Mary Heller, 1862 – 1957, wife of Albert, Bernie’s grandmother, or it is of Frieda Belford Heller’s mother, name unknown despite aggressive searches.  The austere clothing and facial expression suggests Mary Heller; Grammys’ mom is written on back of the photo. Grammy is the name Bobbie and I called our grandmother growing up so you be the judge. 


Source: Family Search Family Trees – My Heritage: Ferdinand Heller.



Source: Billion Graves. 








James B. Heller




Jacob Heller, Pennsylvania / US Census, 1870

Jacob Heller’s wife is Mary Heller, born Brewer, 1809 - 1885.  The match is with their son James B. Heller and his son Ferdinand Heller.  Jacob, later in life, migrated to Sulphur Springs, Crawford Co., Ohio and was buried there.


John Heller, 1778 – 1847


Spouses – Susannah Bordner, Catherina Bitterman, Anna Marie Paul; father of Isaac. 


Susannah Bordner is the spouse of John Heller. 



Isaac Heller, 1752, son and eighteenth child of Johan “John” Simon Heller, the son of Johan Christopher Heller, is the first Heller child of our family line born in America.  Isaac’s birth date’s listing ranges from 1742 to 1752.  I believe the latter date for John Simon moved into Northampton / Monroe / Jackson in 1742.  Hellertown was established in 1750; Penn Argyll in 1765. 



Isaac Heller’s birth date listed of 1751 shows Pheddersheim, Germany as the family’s origin.  From MyHeritage.com; web site of Byrum Tudor; time line of Isaac Heller’s life beginning in 1751.

Johan “John” Simon Heller is the immigrant ancestor that established the family in the “new world”. He married five women that birthed him twenty-six children. 


Source: Genie World Tree

At age twenty-five, I learned of grandfather Albert’s conversion; at age fifty-eight I made a pilgrimage to Hellertown to research our origins in the public library and learned of Christopher Heller and his five sons that established the town and surrounding locations.  For thirteen years I sensed this was our family’s roots in America but could not prove it until this genealogical search. 


Johan Christopher Heller, and his son Johan Simon, are the DNA that chartered our family heritage in America; indeed, the Heller family settled much of east-central Pennsylvania, literally from the northern stretches beyond Philadelphia to the Pocono Mountains in the far northeastern corner; also the lands west of Philadelphia that became the Amish country. Christopher and Simon are literally two of the many “fathers of our country”.


Marriage: Anna Loysa “Lowii” Heller (born Dietz), Saucon Twnshp, Northhampton, PA, 1726 -1768

Marriage: Anna Margharetha Heller (born Anthony), 1745 - 1769

Marriage: Christina Heller (born Bossard), 1769 – 1822

Marriage: Barbara Heller (born Knect), 1762, born 1723 - ?

Marriage: Mest Heller (born Dieter Heller)


Given the prodigious number of children born, the medical conditions of time, number of twin births, it is assumed that some wives and a number of children died in child birth or soon afterwards.


Wife Rebecca Heller, 1805 - ?


Anna Louisa “Lowii” Heller

It appears that Johan Simon Heller began having children with a younger woman, Rebecca Heller.  Born in 1726, Lowii died at Wind Gap, Northampton, Pennsylvania married to Johannes George Heller.  Isaac Heller is apparently Johan Simon’s eighteenth child – glad that he did not stop at seventeen.

Johan Christopher Heller, 1688 – 1778

Christening: March 24, 1706, Reformed Church (Evangelical Lutheran), Pfeddersheim, Germany, Rhineland – Palatinate.


Marriage: Veronica Heller (born Lavall), Feb. 18, 1716; Budesheim, Bitburg-Prum, Rhineland-Platz, Germany


Arrival: 1738, Philadelphia, PA


Marriage: Tohickon, Bucks Co., PA, 1844


Residence: 1750 – Hamilton, Northampton, PA, founded Hellertown in Lower Saucon Valley and lived there until his death in 1778 at age 90 and where he is buried.



Michael Heller for unknown reasons is not included.  Michael was influential in developing the first trading post and farm in Lower Saucon Valley and Hellertown. 


The next phase of this genealogy is to trace the family line back through Europe starting with Johan Christopher Heller’s parents.  Although the family appears to have immigrated from Pheddersheim in the 17th Century, family members in the 16th Century appear to be moving from the German speaking part of Switzerland, particularly Zurich and environs to the present German state of Hesse. 


The search will conclude with Conrad Heller, estimated birth 1434 – 1494, residing in Brandenburg, Germany just outside of modern day Berlin.  Brandenburg is a kind of colonial Williamsburg showcasing Frederick the Great and other leading Prussian monarchs.  One wonders what measures of civil instability, war, religious intolerance, or other disaster caused the migrations. 


It is believed that the search for religious tolerance and cheap farmland drew hundreds of thousands of Germans – including our family – across the ocean to Pennsylvania, a green land with rolling hills and climate similar to Germany.  They came, sacrificed, prospered, and we benefit to this very day. 


Hans Jacob Heller, 1662 - 1727 

Hans was born in Pheddersheim, Rhein, Hessen, Germany and married Anna Sara Heller (born Stricker) in 1687.  She died in 1689 in Pheddersheim.  Source for below diagram: Davenport web site; Howard Brimmer, manager. 

Anna Gotteiba Heller (born Sclintwein) 1644 – 1682

Anna was born, lived, and died in Pheddersheim, Pfalz, Hessen, Germany. 


Source: My Heritage Family Trees


Conrad Heller, 1615 – 1640

Residence: Weyl Bei Rafz, Zurich, Switzerland. 

Marriage: Maria Magdalena Heller (born Angst) circa 1635



It appears that the family during the life of Conrad Heller migrated from the Zurich area to the Worms – Pheddersheim area in Germany.  Neither Switzerland nor Germany existed as countries yet; monarchies, principalities, small entitled states were the rule. The nation-state concept had formed in Spain, England, France, Netherlands, but not in the German language regions. 


Source: www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/KFD2-8C5


Conrad is also listed as residing in the Wil, Zurich area.  Conrad Heller’s parents appear to be Marx Heller, 1597 – 1671, and Veronica Neukom, 1601 – 1667 with no marriage event happening. 


Bernard Heller, 1619 - ?

Residence: Wil Bei Rafz, Zurich, Switzerland



Fridli Heller, 1580 – 1665

One wonders if Fridli Heller – instead of Marx Heller – is Conrad Heller’s father. 

Hans Heller, 1563 – 1615


Conrad apparently is listed here as Lorenz Robert Heller’s son.  Source: Geni World Tree


Lorenz Robert Heller, 1549 – 1600

Residence: Grobgartach, Heilbronn, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.



Conrad Oder Lorenz Hiller

Source: David Rumsey, Manager, last updated November 5, 2017

Birth date: Between 1499 and 1500


Birthplace: Brandenburg, Germany


Death: After 1540


Immediate family: Father of Lorenz Heller

Conrad Heller

Birth date: Estimated between 1434 and 1494

Immediate family: Conrad Oder Lorenz Heller, birth – 1499 / 1500

A forthcoming DNA Ancestry Test may shed more light on our journey into our past heritage. 

Photo of sister Barbara “Bobbie” Heller Polinsky and husband Arnold Polinsky. 

Photo of Arnold Heller with late wife Sue Auerbach Heller (1950 – 2009) and son Sasha Bart Heller taken at 50th birthday party, February 26, 1996.