Reminiscences

"Reminiscences" is an attempt to recapture some impressions and experiences of my early years during and after growing up in Germany during and after the war, as well as the school years after immigration to the U.S.  Born in Berlin and living in the suburb of Neuenhagen during much of the war and after, I have a special affection for Berlin and consider it my "Heimatsstadt" (home city).

See the city emblems with the Berlin bear on the right. The golden crown is for the present Bundesrepublik Deutschland; the red one is for the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (East Germany). 

              BRD

             DDR

Genealogy 

Before one's own family, there are of course ancestors and their history. A good deal of such genealogy is lost, or difficult to trace. The circumstances in Nazi Germany were, in a perverse way, actually helpful for constructing my family tree: there was a requirement that people intending to marry had to prove their "Aryan" background. As a consequence, my parents acquired copies of the various baptismal and marriage certificates and other such documents. From these, and some family history, I was able put together both my mother's and father's genealogy.
My mother's genealogy has an Auguste Thieme as its central figure, essentially the matriarch of that branch of the family tree. She had two children, one illegitimate, then married a coachman who died in a tragic accident shortly after. She raised both as a single mother in Berlin, then a much more difficult task than now. One of her progeny, Marie, married a Franz Stampa; they became my mother's parents. The other, Hedwig, married Ferdinand Liebich; they had four children including Heinz and Charlotte (Lotte). The two families would stay close to each other over the decades, even after we emigrated to America. On his 90th birthday, I was finally able to meet uncle Heinz for the first time as an adult, as well as the families of his children and Charlotte's children. 
Onkel Heinz  (contribution to a Creative Writing course) 


Early Childhood, Wartime and after

From 1938 to 1949  (From birth and wartime to emigration)

Memories - WWII  (Submitted to the Cooper Union Alumni Office in 1994, requesting memories of WW II)


School Years in the U. S.

Reminiscences - School Years  (From elementary school to college) 



Updated Sept. 8, 2015