Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The Early Years
Ninety-eight years ago on the 20th of this month, my dad was born near Cologne, Germany. Thinking back on what his life must have been like, I deeply regret not gleaning more information from him. As it is, over the years, I have pieced together a few stories from that past.
He was the second youngest of six children born to Paul and Emma Loehmer. Hannah was the oldest and I have found absolutely no information on her. When the rest of the family moved to America in 1923 and 1924, she stayed behind. I know, I need to set up that Ancestry.com account and find her, huh?
The next oldest was Frederick, known as Fritz, born in 1908. The remaining siblings were Emmy, born in 1912; Klara, born in 1914; my dad and finally Franz, born in 1918.
The only memory my dad shared with me about life in Germany was that he learned to swim when his father threw him into the river. It was either sink or swim, so he picked up a noble dogpaddle and was able to get himself to the shore.
I think he spoke very little about life in Germany because it had been so very hard. It’s one of those things they don’t talk about much in the history books. When Germany lost World War I, the victors imposed such stiff retributions on the country, that it seemed the country would never bounce back. Do you remember how well that worked? The poor and destitute population of Germany turned to an up and coming individual who promised to return the country to its former glory. It was so easy to be drawn into his promises, easy to be mesmerized by his oratory style. And just as this man - it doesn’t even seem right to call him a “man” he was so evil – began his rise to power, my dad and his family were packing up to come to America. How different my life would have been had they not left Germany when they did, or more likely I wouldn’t have been born.
(I just couldn't come up with a picture for tonight. There are very few pictures of my dad from back in these days, but this blog post willl shed more light on his early life.)