Grandma's picture

Grandma's picture
Grandma's Passport photo

Sunday, August 30, 2015

34 - Grandma's Letter Home - 15 June 1936


Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile was on her way to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, had carried her across the
Atlantic.


Now at long last, Grandma Cecile had arrived in her Old Home Country. The ship had arrived late on Friday, June 12, slowed down by the fog. By the time she got around to writing this letter, it was Monday, June 15. 

She must have collected some stationery along the way. This letter was written on Northern Pacific paper, from her train trip across America. It is gray paper, folded to make 4 almost-square pages. She made use of every inch of the paper, writing in one long block of text. 

Her grammar and spelling are not always the best. I added the paragraph spacing and an occasional extra period (she used some periods) just to make it a little easier to read. I tried to be true to her words, making a few additions in brackets to help make her message clear. 




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First page - dark spots are smoke stains






Nieder-Mohrau
June 15, 1936

My Dear All at home: -----

We got to Bremen friday evening at 8:30 all the unloading & revisions took till about 10:30 then we went on the train which stood waiting, since some hours, because we were 10 hr. late, they couldn't go fast on account of fog. 

But believe me I am not going t[h]rough bohemia on my way home. I thought I was lucky, but when I examined my papers, I found somebody must have been in my handbag. 

I know I was terrible sleepy and I had everything when I came to Prag [Prague] and didn't have anything to hunt in the bag I always held my hand over it. But just for a few minutes I drowst of [drowsed off] I cannot find my envelope where I had all those little picktures [pictures] in from Agnes and of course I made friends on the boat, they gave me their address

I had quite a fat envelope full of all kinds of stuff. I know I did not lose it. But I believe somebody thought it must have been my money.
Thanks a tousendtimes [thousand times] I had my money in some other little thing, which was from my mother that fooled them. Those people there are not a bit nice. Even the car on the train had some kind of an offensive smell. 

It's some country though otherwise. Everything to the inch is green and clover & alfalfa fields is so nice looking. They where[were] making hay everywhere. 

And tnow I must tell you how I got here. I got to Grosstohl at 9:30 Saturday. Everything was dark - people where[were] going to bed even the depot was closed. I couldn't phone anywhere, because they lock up at night. I seen a light in the little house next to the depot and asked if there wasn't a chance to get some kind of a rig to bring me up but they thought there was no car in the whole village except one little truck car. 

I thtought they looked honest so I asked them if I could let my suitcase there over night and made up my mind to walk up to my sister Gustie. I had my sommer[summer] coat on and hong[hung] my winter coat on my shoulder - carried that paper bag & handbag & started out.

it must have been an hour I knocked on Gustie's window they answered right away & here I am. My brother Johann is at Mina'ts house so I stay here until he goes back to Oderburg again.  

The joy of seeing them is naturally a big one, but I couldn't stay here for nobody, I long to come home again. 

They had a big celebration yesterday & I met many old acquaintances, but many I have to hunt on the grave yard.

I am writing again, when I am more rested. I dreamed this morning Tony went in the ditch and a policeman told me. Mom
Bottom of page 4

 
Her last sentence continued from page 4 back over to page 1







Arrow points to baggage claim area




It has been an eventful few days since Grandma Cecile last wrote home while the Europa crept through the fog toward Bremen. The ship was 10 hours late, then she had another train ride through Germany and Czechoslavkia for almost 24 hours. Arriving in the dark again, she faced a locked train station. With no car available, she made the decision to walk what was probably a couple of miles at least, since it took her about an hour. On top of all this, she was sure that someone had picked her pocket, or handbag, on the train as she was missing a fat envelope. 

Her comment about not staying there and longing for home struck a note with me. I remember that feeling when I arrived at Longwood Gardens in early June 1972 after college graduation. It was as far away from home as I had ever been - on the other side of the country from Oregon - in Pennsylvania. I was tired, disoriented and ready to get back on the next plane and go home. Like Grandma, once I rested up, the whole world looked much better! Obviously Grandma was feeling stressed, dreaming that her second oldest son, Tony, had been in an accident serious enough to have have a policeman notify her!

The map in the last photo shows the directions from the train station to the offices of the North German Lloyd in Bremen, Germany. The statement at the bottom of the map was translated as:
"For all trains arriving in Bremen there are on the platforms officials of the North German Lloyd in uniform who are able, if desired, to give passengers advice and directions." 
The arrow at the bottom points to the baggage claim. Thanks to my friend Al Haunold for that translation.

Grandma Cecile also mentions a party to welcome her. There are a couple of photos from that party. They will be in the next entry. 
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Story to be continued......

To read Post "35 - Celebration in Nieder-Mohrau - 14 June 1936 Click here

Monday, August 24, 2015

33 - Memoranda Pages From "S.S. Europa Passenger List"

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile was on her way to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, was carrying her across the
Atlantic. The last two posts have been showing the pages of the Passenger List booklet that Grandma Cecile had among her souvenirs.

In the middle of the booklet were nine blank pages for the convenience of the passengers to make notes about their trip. Grandma Cecile did use a few of those pages, but only one entry is in her own hand.

The first four pages are devoted to a talk given by Elfrieda Bernt's school principal on the day of her burial. We first learned of Elfrieda's death in the letter from Grandma's sister Minna/Mina in May 1936.  

The very first entry on the Memoranda page must have been added later to define what followed. The handwriting appears to be that of Sr. Agnes Beitel, Grandma's oldest daughter, who possessed this document until her death in 2009. Sr. Agnes's entry is followed by about 3 pages of neatly written German script. This handwriting does not look like Grandma's, but was probably written by one of her siblings once she arrived.

This is what was written in English:


Talk given by the school principal on the funeral day of little Elfrieda Bernt - (Mom's niece, Mina's daughter, Hedi's sister.)[1]

The translation of the German script, done by my friend, Al Haunold, follows:

Al was not quite certain of the spelling of the name "Johann Leonard", the writing was not quite clear, so that name might not be correct.
Remembrances of a very difficult day of great sorrows:

Dear children!         3rd Feb. 1936 

Overcome with grief and with a suffering heart today we accompany on our last walk our dear friend and classmate. Filled with sorrows we find ourselves at her open grave in order to say good-bye, good-bye forever to our blond, blue-eyed

[Page 2:] Elfriede, who had to leave us unexpectedly and at such a young age, who was so full of life like you here, my dear children!
Never again will she be able to study and play with you, have fun and laugh. Her little innocent heart has quit beating, her bright eyes which always looked with amazement into the world are now broken and lifeless, her rose-colored mouth which happily would talk excitedly is now life-less and quiet as she herself wrote in her last home-work assignment put down on paper in her last sentence.

Dear children, when you come back to school again next Thursday, little Elfriede will be missing and her spot at the desk will be empty, but not so in your hearts. Think often about your dear school-friend and don’t forget her. And when – at some future date - you are older and grown up
The first two pages


[Page 3:] ... and reminisce about your time at school then please remember also your fellow student who had to leave you at such a young age.

Dear Elfriede, you dear trusting little girl: On behalf of our school which you loved so much, your teachers and fellow students who also loved you so much, I offer our last greetings and I give you our last good-bye. We will never forget you until the day when our eyes are
closed forever.

Always, when we go to church on Sundays or visit the cemetery we will try to visit your nice quiet little spot where we have placed you today
for your eternal rest. For all of us you were such a dear fellow student and therefore we will keep cherished thoughts of you in our hearts and in parting we sing for you our song of true friendship:

[Last page:] Slumber softly, dear Elfriede - - in the soil of
our beloved homeland, which is filled with sorrow and weeps for you!
Following these emotional remarks, another sentence follows in German. It was written in pencil and appears to have been written by a different person. This was translated as:

“Words spoken at the open grave by her teacher Johann Leonhard” 

Al was not quite certain of the spelling of the name "Johann Leonard", the writing was not quite clear to Al, so that name might not be correct.

The next two pages  - note the different handwriting of the last three lines

Grandma Cecile did make an entry herself on the next page:

Lady, I was told, lost her purse, she complaint to me, she had $15 in it. If it only doesn't go like it went with my glasses and that envelope, that shows you can't trust anybody. No matter how honest people look. I left my coat on deck and better see, that it isn't taken. 
Grandma's note
Apparently Grandma was still concerned about the "long fingers" aboard the ship!


As mentioned, Sr. Agnes had this Passenger List booklet. It was not in Grandma's collection. Grandma must have given it to Sr Agnes after she returned home. 


Sr. Agnes showed it to me on a visit I made to the convent to see her. I had copied pages from it then so that I could add them to my collection of Grandma's souvenirs. After Sr. Agnes died, my Aunt Virginia Beitel received the booklet with other mementos of Sr Agnes. Aunt Virginia knew that I was working on the story of Grandma's trip, so she then gave the Passenger List to me and it is now back with all the rest.  
[1] - Sr Agnes is identifying Elfrieda as Grandma's niece and Mina's daughter. She refers to her as Hedi's sister, because Hedi was the one of Elfrieda's siblings that she knew the best. Hedi (Bernt) Ramolla lives in Canada and made several trips out to Oregon for visits as well as taking Sr Agnes with her to Europe on other occasions.
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Story to be continued......

To read Post "34 - Grandma's Letter Home 15 June 1936", Click Here

 
 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

32 - More of the "S.S. Europa Passenger List"

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile was on her way to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, was carrying her across the
Atlantic. 

The previous post covered the part of the passenger list booklet that had the Tourist Class passenger's names.

Here are pages from the back half of the booklet. These pages give other information, some about life on the ship, others concern the ship line itself. 

It starts with an advertisement for shipping freight around the world, the left page here was blank for memoranda

Information on Meals and Baggage, left in German, right in English

More Information on topics from Animals to Sea Sickness to Smoking, again in both German and English
Information Covering letters, telegrams, telephone, deck chairs, games and complaints, etc.



The 1936 sailing list and the North German Lloyd's fleet

 
The rest of the fleet, and a list of their offices and agencies


The rest of the agencies and some distances in nautical miles along with someone's calculations, the last two pages of the booklet

 Besides these pages of printed information, there are nine blank "Memoranda" pages for passengers to make notes in the middle of the booklet. Those pages will be in the next blog post.


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Story to be continued......
To read Post "33 - Memoranda Pages From  'S.S. Europa Passenger List' ", Click Here

31 - S.S. Europa Passeger List - 6 June 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile was on her way to visit her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. She had crossed the country by train, from Oregon on the Pacific coast to New York on the Atlantic coast. The Europa, a ship with the North German Lloyd ship line, was carrying her across the
Atlantic. 

Another one of Grandma Cecile's souvenir's from the trip was a booklet, the "S.S. Europa Passenger List". 

It lists all of the officers on board, all of the passengers who sailed on that particular trip, some information about Bremen - the destination in Germany, room for notes, information about life on board - in German and English - and other information about the fleet and related information. The passengers listed in this booklet are Tourist Class, so there must have been a different book made up for the First Class group.

Here are pages from the booklet itself:
Cover of the booklet
 


Inside cover page showing date













 
Officers and first page of Tourist Class, Mrs Cecile Beitel is midway down in lower block on left side of the page
Second & third pages of Tourist Class names
Fourth & fifth pages of Tourist Class - know anyone else?
Sixth page of Tourist Class names & information about Bremen, the ship's destination
Remember, to see the pages up close, just click on one and you will be able to scroll through all of them. More of the pages will be in the next blog post.
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Story to be continued......
To read Post "32 - More of the 'S.S. Europa Passenger List' ", Click Here