Armistice Day 2018 at FIS, Oberursel

At 11 o’clock on 11 November,  the Frankfurt International School (FIS) commemorated the centenary of Armistice Day. In addition to staging dance, drama, spoken poetry, orchestral and choral performances, FIS exhibited some artifacts that were contributed by members of the school community.

The uniform and cavalry sabre of Engelbert Seufert appears below, along with a wedding portrait with his wife, Veronika, and her memorial to his falling in battle on 9 June 1918. Engelbert Seufert was my paternal grandmother’s first husband.

Students displayed the artifacts in the exhibition and answered questions about their historical context and significance.

armistice: der Waffenstillstand (German)

Memorial Service: 80 Years After the November Pogrome

Invitation to a district-wide memorial service to observe the 80th anniversary of the pogroms of November 1938

On Friday, 9 November 2018, in front of city hall in Oberursel (Taunus), a service will be held to memorialize the Jewish population of the Hochtaunus who were victims of the pogroms of November 1938.

14:00 General information about the memorial activities for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution in the Hochtaunus

14:30 Beginning of the Hour of Remembrance

15:30 Walk to the monument dedicated to the Jewish residents of Oberursel who were victims of National Socialism

16:00 End of service

If you plan to attend, then sign up with one of the contacts listed below .

  • kultur@hochtaunuskreis.de
  • Tel: 06172 – 999 4610
  • Fax: 06172 – 999 9811

This is organized by the Gesellschaft für Christlich-Jüdische Zusammenarbeit Hochtaunus e.V. (GCJZ Hochtaunus) in cooperation with the Hochtaunuskreis.

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)

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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