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Lisa in Germany: 2001

Day 2: Saturday

Our first real day in Germany was dedicated to Augsburg. This is where my mom was born and where she lived until Age 5. She lived in the American barracks after the war, as the powers tried to figure out what to do with all of these non-Germans who were now stuck in Germany and, in many cases, had no home any more to go home to.

Augsburg is a fairly large city, with electric streetcars, and busses, and newer buildings in with the older ones. The city was a walled one, and we followed the walls for a while, and even saw the old moat.

There were a lot of old cobblestone streets and painted buildings. We walked over to an old church, where in fact they were having a baptism. They had gorgeous organ music and even a vocalist singing Amazing Grace.

On to the next church. This is the door pull, one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

This church was very white with ironwork and lots of stained glass. It seemed that each church was very different from the others, with its own style.

Outside the church were a number of Roman artifacts, just standing besides a wall. There were even the remains of an old Roman chapel. Augsburg was founded in 200bc by Caesar Augustus!

We also saw quite a few Smart Cars on our trip, each with its own colors and identity. Very cute. Mom loved these.

Next we drove by the American barracks, which is where mom was born and spent the first five years of her life. They were actually much "nicer" than I was imagining - they seemed well kept and clean, and apparently had their own little store where my grandfather worked. My grandma would trade in tobacco to make some extra money. My mom remembers going to a big tent to see Laurel and Hardy films with her dad.

We stopped and had lunch, complete with the local beer that's made without hops. Then we drove around some more, looking at other sights. We went to the 'Rathaus' (town hall) square where they have mulled wine and other treats at the holidays.

Back to the house in Kaufering, where we spent a lot of time looking at old pictures. I have pictures of some of them in this set. We talked about what it was like growing up back then, and how when Baba (my grandmother) grew up on the farm in the Ukraine she was engaged to a man. He went off to war and never came back, and her dad yelled at her for being an old maid at 28. She went off to Germany to work on a farm before the war began, with her younger brother. Her younger brother was sent to the coal mines, which he hated, and he tried to go back home. The Germans caught him and sent him to the concentration camps, where he starved to death two years later. My grandmother dreamt one night that he came to her, saying he tried to stay alive but they didn't feed him enough. She woke up calling to him and her farmhouse woman tried to say it was just a dream.

We found a picture of her pre-barracks which says Pforzheim on the back, so now we want to go there to see if we can find the photographer and see if he has any records about which farm she was on.

My mom remembers the long trip to the US - they only had one trunk to bring. They took a long train ride from Augsburg to Bremen, then a long boat ride from Bremen to NYC. On the boat the men and women were separated and Baba was sick, so mom didn't get to eat much. Then from NYC they took another train to New Haven, so mom was convinced this trip would never end.

Once there both parents worked, Baba making ashtrays. The workers were paid per piece and she worked very hard, so the other workers complained that she was making them look bad. She just wanted money for a house, she wasn't trying to 'be better than they were'.

From mom: When Baba first came to the states she worked at Rubbercraft in Allingtown, CT, (down the hill from where they lived in West Haven) glueing patches and markers on rubber boats. She walked from Congress Avenue in New Haven, which must be at least 5 miles each way. She took me along sometimes and I would play around the shop and neighborhood while she worked. She supplemented her income by cleaning house for the boss and others.

Then later she worked at C. Cowles & Co. which makes auto parts. Ashtrays for cars was one of the items manufactured. For that she took the bus.

Day 2: Picture Set A
Day 2: Picture Set B
Day 2: Picture Set C
Day 2: Picture Set D
Day 2: Picture Set E
Day 2: Picture Set F

Lisa's Germany Trip: Master Page