If I had not been born a Jew, I might have become a Nazi. I was born in Germany.
My parents, Oscar and Selma Gompertz, and I lived through Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, November 9, 1938. It was the dress rehearsal for the Holocaust that followed. We fled to America the following year, when I was 11 years old, and settled in Los Angeles, California.
In 1987, I returned to my hometown, Krefeld, in the Rhineland, at the invitation of the city. I was asked back the following year to deliver a 45-minute keynote speech in German on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
I trace my beginnings as a writer to our arrival in America. It began with a funny, silly poem. A few years later I began keeping a journal. I also became concerned with the big questions of life, and I’m still writing about them. I write because I have to write. It is a compulsion and inner calling. While I write about serious matters, I also like to make you chuckle, smile and laugh as I tell my stories.
I have written eight books in all, including two biblical novels. My current one is titled, “Abraham, the Dreamer: An Erotic and Sacred Love Story.” It offers a radically different view of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. I show them caught in a deadly love triangle, which nearly culminates in the sacrifice of Isaac, the son of Sarah, who is portrayed in the earlier part of her life as a high priestess, serving Inanna, the goddess of Love and War. The book explores human and divine love and the will of God.
My first book, “My Jewish Brother Jesus,” is a highly acclaimed biblical novel, which was published in 1977. It deals with the life of Jesus from a Jewish point of view. I wrote it to set the record straight about the Trial and Crucifixion and to create a better understanding between Jews and Christians, so we may live together, side by side, respectful of one another, in dignity and peace. This novel became my answer to Hitler.
Both books are in print.
Other books followed, including “SPARKS OF SPIRIT/A Handbook for Personal Happiness/ How to Find Love & Meaning in Your Life 24 Hours a Day,” a self-help book (in print); “The Messiah of Midtown Park” (a contemporary comedy-drama about what might happen if the Messiah appeared today); and “A Celebration of Life” (my poetry and prose, including the text of my one-man show). My articles and short stories on Jewish themes, including Kristallnacht and my return to Germany, have been published in major newspapers and magazines.
Following high school, I joined the U.S. Army and served as a German translator in Washington, D.C. I then attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where I earned a B.A. and M.A. degree in English literature. I was honored with the Best Student of the Year Award and named a Phi Beta Kappa.
After college, I worked as an editor of a weekly newspaper in Torrance, California, and then joined the Press and Publicity Department of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), serving as a publicist and then as a publicity director. I left after 30 years to form my own company, Rolf Gompertz Communications. I have been a UCLA Extension instructor for more than 25 years, teaching publicity and public relations. I have written three highly regarded books in this field. Two are still in print: “Publicity Advice & How-To Handbook” and “Publicity Writing for Television and Film
My family and I are long-time members of Adat Ari El, a Conservative synagogue in North Hollywood. I created, produced, wrote and hosted a local cable TV series, ADAT ARI EL PRESENTS: Journeys into Judaism, involving one-on-one interviews, which ran for four-and-a-half years. I have also taught adult education workshops and spoken on Jewish spirituality, meditation and mysticism.
My wife, Carol, and I were married in 1957 and live in North Hollywood, California. We have two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren: