In 1945, before going into the Pacific Theater of Operations as a young 19-year-old Navy Aviation Supply Petty Officer, I had liberty on the weekends in Los Angeles, where I stayed with relatives. One Saturday my cousin suggested I be available to meet a “very important lady” who was going to visit that afternoon. My cousin added that “I should remember her because of her place in European intellectual circles,” and, she “talks a lot, and likes to "drink Benedictine.” Thus, I was introduced that day to Alma Mahler Werfel, who brought with her the manuscript of “Star of the Unborn” by her late husband, Franz Werfel.
When the book was published the following year, I received a copy. However, it was years later that I learned of the role Alma Mahler Werfel played in the lives of Gustav Mahler, Oskar Kokoschka, Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel, and other prominent intellectuals of the twentieth century.
Now, with the perspective of age, experience, and time, I realize that, although Alma was a very opinionated and controversial person, she was a true representative of her period in Central Europe.