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.

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.

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