A Treasure Chest filled with German History
In the 1980s, John Geheb found an old suitcase in his father’s apartment that turned out to be a true treasure chest. The suitcase filled with old German letters, photos and journals were written in old German script. As a result he was unable to read any of it. Years later a translator revealed a fascinating German history about Willy Geheb’s family.
Unable to read old German Script.
John was unable to read the letters written in old German script from 1914 to 1947. Therefore the letters were tucked away. In 2013 John and Claire Geheb did some online research and found Irene McDonald. She is a German-American translator living in Texas who specializes in the old German script. The translations proved to be the key to the treasure chest and Willy Geheb’s world opened to them. His world included German American immigrant history and German history all told by the people who lived through those difficult times..
Bringing German History to Life
Willy Geheb was the only member of his family who ever left Schmirma, Germany. Through letters written from afar, this German-American immigrant kept in contact with his family in Europe. The letters, enriched by Willy’s creative writing, take the reader back in time. The Geheb family’s personalities, beliefs, relationships, daily activities, employment, and lifestyles, all within context of historic events, bring this ordinary German family to life.
German Family Life from WWI to after WWII
Many readers said they felt that they went back in time to experience German family life with the writers of the letters. The letters become very real because they were written to share love and life’s difficulties. They were not written for publication. Therefore the story tells German history of World War I, the Wiemar Republic, Hitler, German economy, and World War II all from an ordinary person’s experience. Willy’s travels also took him to Brazil and Mexico before he settled in Chicago, Illinois.