santa cruz wharf

11 September 2009

Project 2,996 ~ 2009 Ingeborg Joseph


I am honored to participate in Project 2,996.

An effort by
Dale C. Roe of ‘Rough Draft” whose own words best explain its existence:

In the days following September 11, 2001, I was one of the millions of Americans who pledged to Never Forget.

In a sense I did keep my promise. I didn’t forget the attacks, or how they affected me. And I have tried not to let their effects lead me into lingering anger or hatred.

But in a larger sense I didn’t keep my promise. Though I didn’t forget the victims, I also never took the time to know them.

Project 2,996 is, in a sense, my self imposed penance, my Mea Culpa.

And as long as I have any online presence, Project 2,996 will continue.

A special thanks to  Sandee of Comedy Plus who did a post on Project 2,996 about a month ago and clued me in.

This is Ingeborg Joseph, celebrating Christmas at her friend Jackie’s home. 
Inge was one of the 2,996 people who died from the Attacks on 11 September 2001. Unlike most of the victims from that day, Inge did not actually die on September 11th.

She was an import manager specializing in freight forwarding for the Rohde & Liesenfeld shipping agency, located on the 32nd floor of the North Tower in the World Trade Center. Inge, at 60 years old, was a German national who had lived in the United States for many years.

Inge was caught in the fireball of the second strike. In the weeks following she fought for her life, ultimately dying from an infection from the  burns she suffered over 80% of her body.

I cannot image the pain and anguish of death in this manner…by Inge…or by her loved ones.  The following passages are a few of the actual words written by those who knew her.

While on this Earth Ingeborg Joseph was a force to be reckoned with…and a dear friend to many. 

from Jennifer:
Despite many a late evening in the office, Inga never seemed to run out of time or energy, be it to rush off to any of a number of various concerts with her friends, or to share a good joke, or read a great book and pass it on, or just hang out after work to blow off some steam.

What I most admired about Inga was that she was what my grandmother would call a "straight shooter". You always knew where you stood with Inga. Even if you differed, that merely ensured an evening of animated conversation and debate, and if you were like-minded, it just made the conversation that much more animated.

Inga seemed to do that which many of us strive for - to live life fully and without compromise.
I can only hope to do so as well.

from Karen:
I met Inge in l972 on Thanksgiving. As a true German, Inge had a passion for classical music, especially that of her favorite composer, Beethoven. She was like the summer day of Beethoven's 6th Symphony, her favorite piece of music.

Inge loved piano music and was an opera fan, as well. Whenever one called her apartment, either Beethoven played by her beloved Berlin Philharmonic, Maria Callas or a Pollini recording of Chopin could be heard in the background.

She loved books and read equally well in French, German and English, all of which she spoke fluently. Inge was a strong and independent person, yet she had a soft heart for others, especially for those with physical ailment, such as my handicapped sister. She was grounded in her Lutheran traditions and had a very spiritual side to her personality. In every church that she passed, she would light a candle for my sister.

She loved adventure and travel and would happily cross Central Park during the blizzard of 1978 to see the King Tut exhibit, go plunging down an intermediate slope on her first try at skiing or travel to Morocco or Turkey on her own.

I give thanks every day for my Thanksgiving friend. She will be missed, especially every time I hear a piece of good music.

from Jet:
Inga was my sister-in-law and I owe her a great deal. I am hoping this will serve as a small tribute to her, because she could not hear my words during her last days. She was the "big sister" I never had, especially when I first came to New York from Sri Lanka as a young student in the 70's.

I remember meeting her for the first time at the airport when she came to welcome me to New York. She bought me my first ever winter coat and leg warmers and made sure I did not get too sad during my first Charismas away from my parents.

Among the memories I will treasure are very ordinary things that we did together that now seem to have so much significance: eating marzipan Christmas pigs from Kleine Konditorei in Germantown; having cheesecake at Zum-Zum in the early years of the WTC; and going to work together in the WTC one summer when she found me a temp job in her former firm. We shared a deep love of music and I was happy that the last thing she may have heard as she lay in the burn unit was some of her favourite music that I taped for her.

Inga, there are so many good things I wish I could say to you about your significant role in my life. Suffice it to say that I owe you a great debt of gratitude and will never forget.

from Maria:
I met Inga in Turkey on vacation many years ago and we became fast friends. Inga introduced me to the West Side of Manhattan and I grew to love it as much as she did. We became Opera buddies and enjoyed going -- even if Inga did not like the performance on a particular night. I spent many a week-end at Inga's apartment where we talked about everything under the sun and how we enjoyed going to a movie and then discussing it from beginning to end. I miss her so very much. She touched everyone she met. She was truly exceptional. I hope that she's introduced herself to my Mom and Dad, as I know they will love her just as much as I did and always will. Good night sweet lady!

from Peggy:
Inga's joie de vivre will be sorely missed. We spent many happy summers at the beach; being near the ocean was a key source of revitalization. Her love and critical passion for music was like that of a mother and child: beloved but could always do better. Inga's optimism brightened everyone's day. She is sorely missed and will always be in our hearts.

from Volker:
Dear Inga,  It has been about 15 years, since Michael introduced us at one of those famous Oktoberfests. It was amazing how well as a team we worked, maybe because we share the same birthday, we mostly knew what the other thought.

It is amazing to know how many people you touched in your lifetime, how many people will remember you, and how many think of you every day. I don’t know how many of us understand that you are really gone, I sure don’t.

There is so much to talk about your life, the relative short time I was part of. The things you couldn't stand (lying) and the things u absolutely couldn't be without (music, culture)

If I ever make it up there, you will be the first I look up.

from Viktoria:
Have been working with Inga at same company, but at Hamburg office. Spoke with her last years nearly every working day. Found in a her very good friend and in addition a special colleque with big know how. Met her 2 times, when she visited our office in Germany. It´s terrible that she have to leave us so early, I will never forget her! GOTT SCHÜTZE DICH, INGA!

from Annette:
I got to know Inga about 4 1/2 years ago when I came to this country being barely 21 years old. For me "The rookie" she had a lot of advise, warm words and a always big wide open heart. I have admired her professional work attitude and her continuous devotion to the job. Inga: you will be missed. Rest in peace.

from Gabi and Michael":
My husband and I got to know Inga through my sister Annette. Inga was an extraordinary person with a big, warm heart. We enjoyed spending time with her ! We both miss her and will never forget her !

from Jackie:
I have fond memories of the many weekends, of the travels, and holidays we had together some thirty years ago, long before we both got married..., and divorced. Our paths diverged a bit, but I am so glad we had a chance to chat over the phone last this past July. But you had many friends as you deserved. I am so sorry we lost you.

from MaryAnn:
Inga, It's hard to believe a year has already passed since that horrible day. I stood on my train platform this Sept 11, 2002,thinking of how one year ago I stood in the exact spot thinking of what a beautiful day it was, how wonderful the skyline looked and how all that changed a short time later.

I can't help but stand in that same spot day after day still trying to accept & understand all that has happened and wishing it never did. Wishing everything was still the same and we were working together once again.Unfortunately that will never be.

One thing, of many, that I learned from you, is that you have to enjoy life. You definitely did. You were one smart, energetic lady that had a zest for life, music & culture. I remember fondly listening to you come into work and speak of a play or concert that you went to the night before. I miss that a lot. You have touched many lives in many different ways.

You will always be in my prayers.

from Arlene:
I can't believe it's been a year already since you left us. I remember calling your house on the 11th every half hour hoping you pick up your phone. I must of left a dozen of messages on your machine. But you never called me back!! Oh how I prayed you called me back! I'm sorry it took me a year to write something but every time I try I start to cry and I can't write anything. But today I still cry but I'm going to write anyway! You were one strong lady Inga and I miss you!!

inge grave
                         photo credit:

                  Rest in Peace Ingeborg


Travis Cody said...

Well done.

I will always remember.

Linda said...

It's sad that I bet she never knew half of those things that people felt before she died. We need to remember to tell those we love that we do and why while they are still here to hear it as you just never know when a tragedy will strike.

Thank you for introducing us to Inge - may she continue to rest in peace.

Mel said...

Coming here after viewing the film you offered up this morning--I came with a heavy heart, but one filled with a rightness even in the heaviness. To feel less, to think less, to want to remember less--is a dishonor to all those who so loved those who are no longer here.

Thank you--for introducing me to Inge through her friends and family....and for helping me be 'okay' exactly where I am.....where I'm suppose to be.

(((( katherine ))))

Mimi Lenox said...

What a brave soul she was to endure and fight to live under those circumstances of pain and horrible suffering.

I've been watching clips today and learning new things about that day. We owe it to those who died.

Jeff B said...

Reading the personal notes about Inga takes her story from simply being one of nearly three thousand, to an individual. The point entirely I'm sure.

Alicia said...

More than any of the other tributes I've read (I'm still working my way through them), this one twists my guts around. Thank you.

I honor Christopher Paul Slattery.

I, Like The View said...

this is wonderful katherine.

thank you so much for the time taken to think about and compile it

Cinnamon Girl said...

I much prefer to have these types of individual rememberences. It makes it less about a number and more about the people.

Spadoman said...

This is interesting and inspiring. I will seek more. The person we don't know is a person. I've been to The Wall and seen the names. I knew some of them personally, know their families now, 40 years later.
I also think about what we, as a Nation, has done to people, people with stories exactly like this one, in other countries. Hard to separate the innocent from the perpetrators.
The Mothers and Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, family and friends et al of someone killed, be it one of "ours" or one of "theirs", still mourns the death of a loved one. That thought haunts me.
Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

I knew Inge for the five years I lived in her building on 86th St., the Brewster. Inge on the 14th floor and my apartment on the 6th. We played bridged religiously every Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon. She was so sweet, kind, and dear, and most of all a friend. I think of her still today and remember moments of laughter we shared together, tasting vodka together (she liked the pepper vodka), and talking about dreams yet unrealized. I miss her, and like many others, still shed tears that she is gone. On this 9th anniversary of 9-11-01 I am preparing a brief video for a stadium crowd, and I do so with Inge forefront in my mind and heart. I hope I can honor her and her life in my remembrance of that tragic day.

Inge, you are loved today as you were then. Be at peace until we meet again.

Your friend,