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Entries in Valentine's Day (3)

Thursday
Feb142013

Couple Who Met in Nazi Camp Still Married

The Kleinberg Family(TORONTO) -- An elderly Toronto couple's unlikely love story continues to prove that the strongest of romances can be forged even in the darkest of times.

Howard and Nancy Kleinberg, now both in their 80s, have been happily married for over 60 years and have four children, 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. But the two will likely never forget when and where they first met.

Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp in what is today the German state of Lower Saxony, was liberated by the British on April 15, 1945. Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 70,000 inmates died there.

"You had to find a spot between corpses in order to lie down." Mr. Kleinberg told ABC News, referencing the nearly 13,000 corpses that lay strewn about the camp unburied. Kleinberg had been ordered by the fleeing Germans to carry the bodies into pits.

"I felt I had to lie down in order to meet my maker," said Mr. Kleinberg as he lay down exhausted among the bodies. "I don't recall how much time went by, but suddenly I heard voices from women checking and I could hear the voice of a young girl," he said.

"He's still alive," said Howard's future wife Nancy. "He's still alive and we should save him."

Nancy told ABC News she was able to recognize Howard because she had previously seen him while visiting her older brother in his barracks during their captivity. She spent most of the next two weeks helping to nurse Howard back to health.

"I really found him in a bad condition," said Nancy. "He was very sick, but I felt I wanted to do a good deed because I was looking for my family, perhaps if I saved this boy, somebody would find my family," she said. Nancy was the only one in her family to survive the Holocaust.

"The first week I was in the bunk sleeping most of the time," said Howard. "The second week, I opened my eyes and I see this young girl near me." Kleinberg said he asked Nancy to find him a doctor but she was unable to find one with the war still going on.

The following week, Howard crawled from his bunk and out the door onto a nearby road, where he was picked up by a military vehicle, taken to a military hospital and treated. He attempted to locate Nancy at Bergen-Belsen after being discharged, but was unable to find her.

At the end of 1945, Mr. Kleinberg was brought to Toronto to live with relatives. A month after arriving, he learned Nancy was also in Toronto.

"At that point I knew you had to be a gentlemen," said Howard. "I bought flowers and went to meet the girl who saved my life, I went over and this beautiful lady opens the door." When he asked Nancy if she remembered him, she replied simply, "I do." Three years later, she repeated those words and the couple was married.

Nancy and Howard Kleinberg will celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary this March, and are calling their marriage "blessed."

"We came out from this experience and we were blessed with this marriage. Many people turn their backs on relationships feeling that they don't want to bring children into the world, we appreciate everything, the world is good, life is so beautiful to live, respect and love," said Howard.

"Thank God we have a very good marriage, he has always treated me like a princess," said Nancy, adding that her marriage to her husband was due to fate.

"I really wanted to go to Israel, but I was meant to meet this boy," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb082013

Boyfriend Rentals Boom During Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day

Zoonar/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day are only days apart this year, giving a boost to a new and booming business in China -- boyfriend rentals.

Taobao, China's popular shopping website, says that online searches for the term "rental boyfriend" have soared by 884 percent over the same period last year. A search for the Chinese characters of "rent-a-boyfriend" on Taobao.com produces more than 2,000 results, at a range of prices.

Those prices depend on what the customer wants. For instance, just going to a movie can cost 50 RMB (about $8) an hour, but that price doubles if it's a horror movie. Different rates apply for simple conversation, a dinner party, going out for drinks or meeting the parents.

One of those new rental services was created last fall by an entrepreneur who asked to be identified only as Mr. Gao. He got his inspiration from a newspaper ad that read, "Seeking to rent boyfriend/girlfriend, monthly salary 10,000 RMB and up." A quick flash went through his mind, inspiring him to expand his online flower business.

Renting out boyfriends and girlfriends is a new business in China. With the Chinese New Year approaching, the whole country has begun its massive annual migration, with millions of people struggling to get home. For the many young Chinese who work away from their hometowns, this is the one time of year when they can spend a week or two at home with their families. Besides visiting relatives and friends, it's also the perfect time to show what you have achieved in the past year. For many young people, that means bringing home a potential mate or spouse to introduce to your family.

Gao told ABC News that the market for rental boyfriends is much bigger than rental girlfriends. The pressure to get married weighs heavy on the shoulders of many Chinese women. Even state media refers to single women above age 27 as "leftover women." The 26th birthday of a daughter rings like an alarm bell for many anxious Chinese parents.

Gao owns two online stores selling flowers through Taobao.com. He has recruited nine young men between the ages of 26 and 32 who he considers suitably masculine to rent out as boyfriends.

Gao chose his candidates carefully based on several criteria. They must be reasonably good looking, at least 5-feet-6, well-behaved and willing to wear glasses, which some parents consider a sign of erudition. They had to have decent social skills and be able to get along with all sorts of could-be in-laws and relatives.

Gao says the proximity of Valentine's Day to Chinese Lunar New Year this year has given his business an added boost.

"There are many reasons why women pay for this service," Gao said. "Some are trying to make their boyfriends jealous. Some want to bring a boyfriend to attend their company's annual dinner party to show their bosses that they are settled and stable. The women who rent a boyfriend to bring home for the Lunar New Year are wealthy women around the age of 25. Their parents fear losing face and worry that no one wants to marry their old single daughters."

Gao's website lists the prices for a range of various services: a wakeup call goes for 9 RMB ($1.45) a day (cell phone charges are extra). You can rent a boyfriend or girlfriend to accompany you shopping for 40 RMB ($6.42) an hour; going to parties, dinners or just chatting (pay by the day, or by the hour). The cost of renting a drinking partner depends on what you drink, with different rates for wine, beer and liquor. An all-inclusive package goes for 800 RMB ($128) a day. Handshakes, hugs and goodbye kisses on the cheeks or forehead are free of charge.

Gao's rental contracts even include a "no sex clause" for female customers. If the rental boyfriend makes unwelcome advances, the customer is eligible for a refund, and she can call the police if she likes. But if the customer makes an unwanted advance, Gao will not return the money.

And if love blossoms?

"If they both like each other and become real boyfriend and girlfriend," Gao said, "they need to give me a big red envelope full of cash for being their matchmaker."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Kate Middleton Celebrates Valentine's Day with Royal Charity Tour

Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- With her prince nearly 8,000 miles away on a six-week Royal Air Force deployment in the Falkland Islands, Kate Middleton kept busy on Valentine's Day. The Duchess of Cambridge toured charities in Liverpool, where crowds of admirers serenaded her with flowers and gifts.

An 8-year-old, Jaqson Johnston-Lynch, whose mother works at the addiction charity Middleton visited, presented the 29-year-old with a bouquet of red roses, a Valentine's Day card and a special cupcake decorated with "Jaqson loves Kate" in a heart.

The Duchess of Cambridge's first stop was the Brink, an alcohol-free bar for recovering addicts, which is affiliated with the U.K.'s Action on Addiction, a charity where she is now a patron.

In January, Middleton announced that she would be donating her time and support to an array of charitable organizations, including the addiction charity, a group of children's hospices, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Scout Association, the British equivalent of the Girl Scouts, among others.

At the Brink, Middleton mingled with the staff and sipped on a non-alcoholic smoothie.

The royal also paid a visit to the Alder Hey Children's hospital, which she visited with husband William last February, and greeted young girls outside the entrance.

Tuesday's visit to the Action on Addiction and the Alder Hey Children's hospital is the second official engagement Middleton has attended on her own. Last week she toured a new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London, where she is a patron. Middleton is reported to have personally sifted through "a few hundred" potential charities before selecting her honorary positions, and is committed to her philanthropic causes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio