The American Gehebs thrive while the German Gehebs head toward chaos.

          Dear Willy Book                  Dear Willy Book

Life in Chicago

In 1936, the Chicago Gehebs were thriving and little Willy even had his own car to drive. This picture is taken in front of the three-story apartment building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood where Willy and Irma owned and lived. During the depression Willy continued to work as a machinist and also invested in rental properties. He and Irma took care of all the maintenance of the buildings. Once his three sons were old enough, they helped too.

The Gehebs in Schmirma

Meanwhile in Schmirma, the Geheb family did not have running water or a car. They were still farming with a horse and wagon and got around by walking or by bicycle. The German Geheb family continued their lives working their small farm, running the forge and marrying and having children. They had a status in the community for generations since Father Karl Geheb was a master blacksmith who was active in the blacksmith guild and in his Lutheran church.

Adolf Hitler’s Stronghold

Hitler had complete power since 1933 and had a stranglehold on the country. The many guilds that had once been the fabric of the skilled workers in the country for centuries were abolished, as were any other organizations where people could gather and perhaps plan to threaten Hitler’s power. Any person or group that exhibited any complaint against the government was promptly subdued by Hitler’s paramilitary SS by whatever means necessary.

The German people lived under chaotic economic and political conditions since WWI. Karl Geheb wrote, “Economic worries continue, and the situation in the Fatherland is difficult. Our good Fuehrer only wants the best for Germany. We will trust him and willingly bear everything, even though it is hard sometimes.” Hitler controlled all the information that the Germans received, therefore the Geheb family believed that he could help the country.

About The Book

This is a story told through the descriptive journals and letters written by ordinary people living through extraordinary times. In their own words, the Geheb family share their adventures. heartaches, love, and passions from 1914 to 1947 in Germany and America. You will be inspired by the strength and perseverance of the German Gehebs and the never-ending love and devotion that Willy Oswald Geheb had for his family.

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