A Treasure Chest filled with History
In 1980, Willy Geheb had a major stroke following a broken leg. He moved from his apartment to a nursing home. Because he needed total care with no hope of recovery. When cleaning out Willy’s apartment, his son, John Geheb, found a well-worn suitcase filled with old letters and journals. Another cache contained photos and documents. Because John and Claire Geheb loved history they saved everything. Although they didn’t know it was a treasure chest filled with their German family history from WWI to after WWII
Old German Script
John and his wife, Claire, looked through what Willy saved. Everything was written in German! When attempting to translate the letters, John, German friends, and family found them too difficult. The journals and letters, written between 1914 and 1947, were in the old German script. Unable to proceed, John and Claire set them aside and saved them.
John and Claire made a final attempt to find a translator in 2013. The internet was rich with resources so perhaps a translator could be located. Irene McDonald, a professional German-American translator, agreed to read and translate the difficult script. The translations opened Willy’s world. History as told by ordinary Germans came to life. The key opened the treasure chest.
Bringing History to Life
Through letters written from afar, Willy was able to keep in contact with his German family. The letters, enriched by Willy’s story telling creativity, take the reader back in time. The letters describe the Geheb family personalities, Christian faith, beliefs, relationships, daily activities, employment, and life styles. Therefore, bringing German family history and the living conditions of the era during WWI and after until WWII.
German Family Life in WW1 and Under The Third Reich
Many readers felt they went back in time to experience German family life. The letters, written to share love and life’s difficulties, became very real. Most noteworthy, the story tells the German history of World War I, the Wiemar Republic, The Third Reich, German economy, and World War II all from an ordinary family’s experiences.
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