Altkönig Statue at Camp King Oberursel

In August of this year, one of the members of the B-17 delegation asked me about the significance of this statue, Altkönig (Lit: old king).  All I could tell her was the inscription left by the artist, Inga Dilcher-Hassenstein, who donated her piece of art to the city of Oberursel in 1998, and then found its permanent spot in Camp King in 2004.

Now, who is the ‘Altkönig’? In its original form, the Altkönig is the third highest mountain of the Taunus range in Hesse, Germany, reaching 798 metres above sea level. Around 400 BC, the Celts settled on the Altkönig Mountain, built the Heidetrank Oppidum, as well as several ring walls around the summit, which are still present.

This is the only information I could find in regards to the statue’s namesake.

The statue is part of a little rest area adjacent to the former Officers’ Club (Mountain Lodge).

Der Altkönig

Inga Dilcher-Hassenstein – 1975  Ms. Inga Dilcher-Hassenstein ( Name of the artist and date presented)

Geschenk an die Stadt Oberursel -1998  (Presented to the city of Oberursel in 1998)

German Terms for Holiday: Urlaub, Reise, Kurzreise, Wochenendausflug, Tagesausflug

When your average German goes on summer holidays, it is usually for a minimum of one week, and can last up to four weeks.

As one of my friends once stated, ‘Anything less than three weeks is not good for relaxing!’ or ‘Weniger als drei Wochen lohnt sich nicht!’ (less than three weeks isn’t worth it).

An Asian friend told me in German, she would be going on a holiday “Wir fahren in Urlaub”. When I asked her about it in more detail, it turned out to be a one-day trip…

Well, this holiday question depends on your cultural and social background. The Americans I knew while working in the States usually took a one-week holiday. The Asians I know also take a week off in the summer. So, in regards to our different perception of what a holiday is, we need to break it down the German way.

Urlaub (holiday): anywhere from one to four weeks

Kurzurlaub (short holiday): three to five days

Städtereise (city trip): three or four days to a European capital city

Reise am langen Wochenende (long weekend trip): weekend with a public holiday either on Friday or Monday

Wochenendausflug (weekend trip): Saturday and Sunday

Tagesausflug (day trip): one day only

When Germans have so many paid vacation days (30 days per year) and 13 public holidays to add to it, of course the vocabulary gets bigger and more detailed.

When a German tells you he’s going on holiday, he really means it. 🙂

“Have a good trip!” in German: Gute Reise!

Biarritz, France

Taken on our two-week summer holiday in Biarritz in 2012.

Lily of the Valley and How to Grow Them on the Balcony

Seeing my lily of the valley finally coming to bloom on the balcony, after four years or more in waiting, makes me happy. This potted plant had been sent to me from Switzerland on Mother’s Day.

In the language of flowers, the lily of the valley symbolizes marital happiness.

The following spring, I transferred the plant from its small pot into a wooden flower box on the balcony. It spread its green leaves throughout the box, but that was it.

Yes, after five years at the least, I was tempted to throw it out and told the plant as much. That was sometime in March of this year. It worked! Out came a single flower.
It used to be my mom’s favorite flower, so I did not want to give up so quickly. But the pep talk surely helped.

Mid-April 2018

By mid-May, I had the nicest lily-of-the-valley on my balcony. One of my friends wondered why I did not cut them, and put them in a vase. I have no need for cut flowers! Potted plants are much better anyway – perennials are good for the cycle of life, and bees and other insects appreciate them too.
Cut flowers are for consumerism.
And yes, I get a whiff of them on the balcony with every breeze.

Early to mid-May

By early June, I noticed the first seed pods.

Early June 2018

This is what they look like in August. A bunch of orange berries decorate the balcony. It will be time to harvest them when they are shriveled and dark.

Mid-August 2018

Today, on 31 August 2018, the first seed pods have entered the shriveling stage, and it’s getting closer to harvesting time.

End of August 2018

Read more at Gardening Know How: Lily Of The Valley Seed Pod – Tips On Planting Lily Of The Valley Berries https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/lily-of-the-valley/lily-of-the-valley-seed-pods.htm

 

Bomber B17 Delegation visiting Camp King Oberursel, Germany

Eleven relatives of the B17 crew (shot down in August 1944) came to Camp King Oberursel to follow the whereabouts of the five crew members interrogated at Camp King.

Mr. Manfred Kopp, also known as Mister Camp King, welcomed the group and later on, historian Ms. Susanne Meinl (the one in charge of organizing this Germany-wide tour), also joined us.

Here, Mr. Kopp explains Thomas Kilpper’s art work. The artist used the old wooden floor of the former basketball gym to carve events and memories of the U.S. occupation time. This relief art was then poured into cement, and can withstands any kind of weather (our first rainy day in months…).

Visitors chuckled at first, when they realized the former Commander’s House was now an after-school day care center.

This very house, today’s Kinderhaus, was built in 1921 by a Jewish professor from the Frankfurt University. He was one of the first ones to come out to Oberursel to help start classes in farming, which was by then required from university students.

In 1939, this same house did not meet Nazi standards anymore, and had to be changed into a more German look: the half-timbered house.

The visitors enjoyed this presentation given by Mr. Kopp, and they also had many questions.

One question was – is there any knowledge of POW abuse during the interrogation process? The historian, Ms. Meinle, responded with ‘Yes, they turned up the heat in the room’.

Presentation at the Kinderhaus, Camp King Oberursel

I spent 2 1/2 hours with the delegation. By then, they were ready for lunch (catered from somewhere), two more visitors joining the tour had to be picked up from the airport, and the tour would continue.

One of the visitors was a 90-year-old lady, the widow of waist-gunner, Richard C. Huebotter. We all had a little chuckle, when she joked Mr. Kopp was still young at 85 years of age.

My role in this was to lend a helping hand, such as help greet the visitors, serve drinking water, and get everyone’s attention when moving to the next point of interest.

Bomber B17 ‘Hard to Get’ Delegation of Relatives coming to Camp King, Oberursel

A delegation of 11 relatives to the bomber crew B17, shot down near Rheinberg on 26 August 1944, is coming to Oberursel to learn more about this fateful day.

Manfred Kopp, the local historian, and I will welcome the group this coming Friday, 24 August 2018, at one of the Camp King facilities for the afternoon. After that, they will go to Aachen.

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26 August 1944

After being hit, three crew member die on board of the plane, while others try to get away by parachuting. Gunner Michael Vlahos is dead by the time he hits the ground,  gunner Richard Huebotter falls into the Rhine River, and is saved from drowning by a German, and then turned over to the German Forces.

While on the train to Oberursel Dulag (Transit Camp), two of the survivors are able to escape. Charles Evans and Harvey Purkey are caught and turned over, in the name of “self-justice”, to the population in the Hessian part of Groß-Gerau. A mob of 300 townspeople attack them with stones and iron bars. Severely injured, they try to get away, but then are beaten to death by two German soldiers (these two soldiers were hanged for their crime in 1946).

The other three – Huebotter, Dean Allen, and James Carey, are interrogated for a week at Camp King, before being sent off to a prison camp. At the end of the war, they are able to return home to their families in the U.S.A.

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The Institute for Stadtgeschichte is looking for contemporary witnesses at: 0209 169-8551 (isg@gelsenkirchen.de) or historian Ms. Susanne-Meinl@web.de

If you know a contemporary witness, please ask them to get in contact with one of us. Thanks.

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