Camp King Oberursel in June 2018

On one of my daily strolls going past Camp King, I took a few photos the other day. Summer has come early this year (we had temps near 30°C in April), and with the higher than normal humidity, nature is green and luscious.

The building wall on the left is one of the two remaining buildings. Its original color went from sandy orange to grey about 10 years ago.

The yard used to stretch past the point of my photo taking. I remember joining a BBQ under the trees where you can see the asphalt and the car (part of a small parking lot) now. This part of the yard was taken away when the new housing was built in 2001/2002.

The picnic/playground area seen from a different angle.

This special tree seems to have kissed the earth, and its lowest branches have taken roots and formed a hedge. In the back, you see parts of ‘Im Rosengärtchen’ housing area, which was built in 1972. From these high-rises, you have a grand view over the Feldberg mountain range.

For those of you who knew Camp King Oberursel until 1992, I hope you enjoyed this little reminiscent walk with me.

Remembering Willy Brandt and the East-West Conflict

Yesterday afternoon, our work group Arbeitskreis Camp King was visited by a special guest speaker, Günther Vieser, to talk of the time, when he was working side by side with the former chancellor, Willy Brandt, from 1979 – 1982. At that time, Mr. Vieser was Brandt’s advisor, when he was Chairman of the Social Democrats.

One of the topics in question was of how much former chancellor Brandt’s doings contributed to solving the East-West conflict versus Chancellor Kohl, who reigned at the time, when the wall came down. Another question was what it was like to work with him on a professional and personal level. Of course, the spy Guillaume from the East German State was also mentioned and it was questioned why he chose Oberursel as his first place of residence in the West. For several months, Guillaume had rented an apartment downtown Oberursel, at the Homm Kreisel. In 1974, Chancellor Brandt resigned over the espionage scandal.

Mr. Vieser’s informative talk lasted close to two hours and we not only got a refresher course in modern history, but also heard some personal stories and tidbits.

After the talk, one of the visitors approached me. She said she remembers one time Willy Brandt came on an official visit to Oberursel. At that time, she was working for the Deutsche Rote Kreuz (DRK) (German Red Cross), and she confirmed how grown up women acted like teenagers as soon as Brandt showed up, with women screaming and occasionally fainting during his visit.

On his other visits to Oberursel, he would also meet with other young politicians of that time: Jürgen Habermas, Oskar Negt, and Joschka Fischer. They would stay at the former Villa Gans, which the state of Hessen had turned over to the Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) in commemoration after WWII – as a place for Völkerverständigung und des Aufbaus der Demokratie (international relations and founding democracy).

I like the idea, that the beginning of democracy in modern Germany started with parties on a garden patio.

That same place is now the Dorint Hotel Frankfurt/Oberursel (140 rooms, including 15 suites).

Announcement

Announcement

Günther Viesner presentation about his work with Willy Brandt

Günther Vieser talked about his work life with Willy Brandt

Mayor Brum also had a few welcoming words for the guest speaker.

Mayor Brum of Oberursel

Mayor Brum of Oberursel

Special thanks to Sylvia Struck, who is in charge of our ‘Work Group Camp King’, for putting together this event.

German Lesson: der Schießstand

What connection do the Oberstedten/Oberursel Shooting Range Club (Schützenverein) and our current Tax and Revenue Office in Bad Homburg have in common? There is one, and it will take us back to WWII.

First, there is this sign at the corner of the road ‘Im Rosengärtchen’ and ‘Forsthausweg’ with that particular Schießstand located at Forsthausweg 9 (towards the animal shelter). This Schießstand is only about a three-minute walk away from the main road. I must have passed this many times without knowing it.

Schießstand

The sign reminded me of the Schützenvereinfest (shooting club fest), located further into the forest towards Oberstedten, which we went to on Christ Ascension Day, a public holiday, which also happens to be Father’s Day in Germany. We go there every year.

On that day, the Schützenverein serve homemade salads, the young ones are behind the grill, occasionally they have a band playing, and the elderly ladies run the cake stand in the back of the club.

Two weeks ago, we were there again with our French family in town. It was interesting to see no indication whatsoever of its club purpose at their fest. Just beer on the table, happy people on benches, the smell of barbecued Bratwurst, and kids running around.

Schützenverein

When the club manager heard, we had brought Parisians to this little fest, he came out to share a bit more about this place.

This shooting range was used for training by soldiers stationed in Bad Homburg during WWII. They’d walk from Bad Homburg through the village of Oberstedten to get to the shooting range. Their military barracks were located what is now the Tax and Revenue Office (Finanzamt) on the Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade.

Well, major renovations at the Tax and Revenue Office have been underway since January 2016, and so it has temporarily moved to Norsk-Data-Straße 1, in Ober-Eschbach. The restoration should be completed by late 2017. Add at least another six months, since after all, this is Germany, where any form of construction generally takes longer.

Vocabulary: der Schießstand: schießen (to shoot) + der Stand (stand/range)

Be mindful of the pronunciation. In German, when you have a double vowel such as ‘ie’, you’d pronounce the second vowel ‘e’ (a long e in English) only.

If you mispronounce it, and say it with a long ‘i’ instead, you get ‘scheißen’, which is something completely different.

History Depot for Camp King Oberursel

Today’s opening ceremonies are still in full swing and are due to last for another three hours (at the time of writing).

This morning, I attended the first part of the Grand Opening with Mayor Blum giving a welcome speech. Mr. Kopp, the Camp King historian, gave an informative and witty presentation of the depot’s purpose. A U.S. American diplomat was also in attendance.

16 March Opening Ceremony

16 March Opening Ceremony

A close-up of Mr. Kopp during his presentation.

 Manfred Kopp during his talk

Manfred Kopp during his talk

The depot is now open and can be viewed. Here are some photos of the archived material.

Camp King 1956/57

Camp King 1956/57

Camp King Depot

Camp King entrance

Camp King entrance

 

Camp King cooler

Camp King cooler

I walked up to the Mountain Lodge which was advertised as Open Doors (with permission from the new owner) for the public in the afternoon.  While I was there around noon, the doors were still closed and did not even look like they would open up any time soon…

Mountain Lodge, Camp King

The Chapel

The Chapel

 

Door to the Mountain Lodge

Door to the Mountain Lodge

 

Door to the Mountain Lodge

Door to the Mountain Lodge

With one entrance overgrown by bushes and layered in snow, and the other one boarded up, I wonder what’s in store for the public to see.

 

 

Camp King and Memories Need a Home

Camp King in Oberursel

 1933 – 1993

 – Announcement –

Our Camp King historian, Manfred Kopp wrote:

I have been collecting material related to Camp King and its history, started an archive, given tours throughout the areal, answered many questions and kept in touch with anyone interested in the history since 2005.

Our first location for meetings and storing material was the “Treffpunkt Aktiv im Norden” (a church café), Im Rosengärtchen (an area adjacent to Camp King).

The current Kinderhaus in Camp King (address: Jean Sauer Weg 2) now offers a basement room to house the depot and the shared use of a community room on the first floor. This ensures the upkeep of the Camp King’s archives with the help of the Historical Society Oberursel.

Camp King archives at the Kinderhaus

Moving to this new facility also includes some special events listed for this month:

11 March 2013 (Monday) at  20:00 at Cityhall Oberursel, room E01.

 “Outside 7 – A house and its History”

Lecture and photo presentation by Manfred Kopp

Content:

Around 1921, the house “Außerhalb 7 “(a.k.a. the house by the forest) was built to serve as a residential building.

Then, in 1933, it became a university dorm for students of the University of Frankfurt.

In 1937, the house was reconstructed to serve as a community building for the school of agricultural settlers (Gausiederschule).

In 1939, the building became the commander’s post (Luftwaffe) for recording the prisoners coming through Oberursel.

In 1945, it became “House Florida” (history archives) for the US-Army.

In 1953, it was turned into “Haus 997” by the U.S. Intelligence.

Having had so many different uses and occupants, this house is a perfect time-line to illustrate the history 1933 – 1993

 

 

16. März 2013, Saturday, am “Kinderhaus”, Jean-Sauer Weg 2

 “Memories Need a Home”

 

11 Uhr: Major Brum’s welcome speech to the official opening of The Place to Remember (Erinnerungsort) in the basement of the Kinderhaus.

 12 Uhr: Lecture by Gerd Krämer on Memories Need a Home in the community room on the first floor.

 

13 – 16 Uhr Open House and Self-guided Tours through Camp King with:

*more information about the archives

*exhibition and historical background to Camp King

*flyers for self-guided tours around the area to points of interest such as the artist Thomas Kilpper’s work, memorial for Colonel Charles King, the Mountain Lodge (open doors), and Siedlerstraße.

 

 11. April 2013, Thursday, 19 Uhr, Community Room

 Browsing, Learning, and Networking

This invitation is for anyone who has contributed so far as well as newcomers. Please join us!

Organized by Manfred Kopp and Sylvia Struck

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