Hi everybody: Some of you no doubt have wondered why I have not joined the "fray". Simple reason - when both kids are here at the same time, as for Christmas, my son uses my "office" as his bedroom and my computer was totally blocked and I could not get near it. I have spent the last 3 nights and most of today perusing all these fascinating posts. And I agree wholeheartedly that all of this (or most of it, anyway) definitely adds to the pleasure of genealogy. So let me put my two (or 3) cents in before Fred comes back and chastises all of us.
One thing shines thru loud and clear - our pride in our German ancestry and how we quickly jump in to defend it. Amen to that.
Re: POWs - I have two cousins (both dead now) who were Russian prisoners in WW2, both severely mistreated and one horribly tortured by the Russians. I was fortunate to meet them both long after the War and hear their stories. I'll spare you the gory details but anyone interested, please write me off-list. It is important for us to know about this both about current cousins as well as ancestors as it can give us much insight about what kind of people they were and what they lived thru.
Alien registration: This also was true during WW2. My grandfather, for some unknown reason (probably procrastination) never became a citizen and every month they had to go down to the PO and register. This terribly embarrassed my grandmother because they had lived here as good "citizens" for well over 50 years.
The dying out of the language: When I first started in genealogy, I read a book about the Mormons collecting thereof and the author (whose name I can't remember) pointed out that the first generation of immigrants were always nostalgic about the old country (whether for good or bad), the second generation desperately tried to erase all connections to it, and the third generation sincerely wanted to know as much about it as possible - which in time led us to becoming interested in genealogy. Those of us who still had a grandparent living to tell you the old stories are very fortunate indeed. I am one such - altho my mother (2nd gen)
forbade my grandmother to teach me German - I lived with my grandmother who filled my with such a love of the Heimat that I couldn't wait to go there (I finally succeeded many years after her death) and when I finally was able to go to Germany, I felt as tho I were coming Home. Unfortunately, I grew up speaking a mish-mash of Platt, Hoch and English and it was only when some kid in school would look at me strangely and ask "What did you say?" that I knew one of the German words had slipped in. Sadly, as my mother lay on her deathbed in the hospital, she reverted to all the old German prayers she had learned as a child.
Plattd��tsch: I always wanted to learn it but due to the above prohibition, never did. When I was in college my German professor wanted so much to meet my grandmother and learn it but she was getting old then and froze up. However, most of my cousins over there speak it at home and I found I was able to understand most of it. When I was last there (some 20 years ago) there was quite a movement in Vilsen to have it taught in the schools again. After all , it was the Lingua Franca of the mighty Hanse before Luther translated the Bible into Hoch. I don't know what became of that since I have not been able to return.
History: As an author and historian, I have quite a bit to say about that. But I'll sign off this one for now. Mfg, Jane
Why Wait? Move to EarthLink.