GERMANY-UNITED STATES-CANADA RECONCILIATION
On the occasion of the presentation of a formal
letter of apology from a former US Army officer to
the German people for the mistreatment of German
prisoners after World War II AND on the occasion
of the publication of a new edition of Other
Losses by James Bacque about those prisoners of
war, a public meeting was held at 2:00 pm Monday
October 31, 2011 in the Congressional and Monument
Rooms of The Courtyard US Capitol Marriott Hotel,
St. NE, Washington DC 20002. Tel 202
Merrit P Drucker (US army major, retired) has
apologized to the German army for the deaths of
German prisoners in US army camps after World War
II. Following extensive private investigations in
the US and Germany,
Drucker has sent an e-mail to Lt. Col.
Max Klaar (Bundeswehr retired) head of the Verband
deutscher Soldaten (German Veterans' Association)
regretting the lethal conditions in the US camps
where according to Col. Ernest F. Fisher of the US
army (retired) some 750,000 Germans died because
they were denied available food and shelter. By
order of the American commander, General Dwight
Eisenhower, German civilians were forbidden on
pain of being shot to take food to the prisoners.
Drucker has also formed a committee of six people,
in Germany, the UK,
and the US to pursue further investigations and
make amends. Drucker has posted on the German
veterans' website a questionnaire asking for
details of prisoners' internment which has already
elicited many grateful responses. Many Germans
have written to Merrit Drucker to thank him for
taking a heavy weight of grief and guilt off their
minds. Max Klaar was flying over for the occasion
to accept the formal letter of apology from
Drucker on October 31st. In addition, Max Klaar
presented a proposal for a peace treaty between
and Germany. It has 14 points.
Other Losses, an Investigation into the mass
deaths of German Prisoners of War in the hands of
the French and the Americans after World War II by
James Bacque, first published in 1989, became a
world-wide best-seller, published in 13 countries,
but has been suppressed in the US for 20 years.
This edition, which contains much new information
from the KGB archives in Moscow,
was commissioned by Karl Siegler, the son of a
former prisoner in a US army camp. Col. Dr. Ernest
F. Fisher, formerly a senior historian of the U S
Army Center for Military History, who supplied the
eloquent foreword to Other Losses, was also
present. In that foreword he wrote, "Starting
in April, 1945 the United States army and the
French army casually annihilated about 1 million
men, most of them in American camps." The
author spoke and two short films about postwar
Germany were shown.
For further information contact Kevin@Talonbooks.com
or James Bacque at 705
549 8148 or Merrit P. Drucker at 202
722 6716. Please contact Talonbooks for
could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he
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26th amendment (granting the right to vote for
took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!
Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971
computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7)
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Reform Act of 2011*
No Tenure / No Pension.
Congressman/woman collects a salary while in
office and receives
no pay when they're out of office.
Congress (past, present & future)
participates in Social
funds in the Congressional retirement fund move
to the Social
Security system immediately. All future funds
the Social Security system, and Congress
the American people. It may not be used for any
Congress can purchase their own retirement plan,
all Americans do.
Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay
pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
Congress loses their current health care system
in the same health care system as the American
Congress must equally abide by all laws they
impose on the
All contracts with past and present
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The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
so ours should serve their term(s), then go
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IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!
Heights World War II Veteran
Guarding German POWs
Saturday, October 15, 2011, 3:16 PM Updated: Sunday, October
16, 2011, 12:36 AM
are no ordinary lives," said Ken Burns of those who
served in a global cataclysm so momentous that the filmmaker
simply entitled his 2007 documentary "The War."
who served in so many different ways during World War II are
took their stories with them.
not this one.
how people can get along when they're not shooting at each
realization struck Ted Lesniak not long after he started
guarding German soldiers at a POW camp in Georgia during
World War II.
than 400,000 Axis prisoners were shipped to some 500 POW
facilities in the U.S. from 1942-1945. Many were put to work
in factories and farm fields, receiving minimal pay (as per
protocols of the Geneva Convention).
now 85, of Parma Heights, was drafted right after graduating
from East Tech High School in 1944.
was the angry guy in basic training," he recalled.
"We all reached the conclusion it was either kill or be
killed. That was the bottom line."
when he arrived at Camp Wheeler, Ga., he initially had more
than a few misgivings about guarding some 2,000 German Afrika
Korps soldiers who had been captured in 1943.
a more accurate description of his role was protecting,
rather than guarding, Lesniak said. "You were there to
protect them from crazy civilians if somebody wanted to come
and kill a Nazi," he explained.
of his job involved watching over POWs who'd volunteered to
work in local farm fields. The nation faced a labor shortage
due to the war, and "the farmers just loved them to
death, they were such good workers," Lesniak said.
remarkable thing was that they all knew what to do. I didn't
have to do anything. Just stay out of the way," he
recalled spending much of his supervision time in a truck
cab -- reading, writing letters or sleeping -- as the POWs
worked. He stuck his carbine ammo in his pocket and left
instructions to be awakened if anyone saw another Army
was never an escape attempt. As an English-speaking POW told
Lesniak, "We're not going anywhere. We're not going to
swim across the ocean to go home."
said the POWs got $1 a day for their work, and spent the
money on cigarettes, recreational equipment, musical
instruments and anything else that helped pass the time in
imprisoned, the Germans maintained strict military
discipline; marching wherever they went, and snapping off
stiff-armed Sieg Heil salutes during soccer games. Lesniak
said they saw the GIs as too casual, which they regarded as
a character flaw of all Americans.
conversations with the POWs, Lesniak said they'd hash over
strategies of the war.
Germans steadfastly believed they were going to win, to the
point where they'd quiz him about his hometown; asking for
geographic, manufacturing and other details.
was like, 'If we ever take over, we'll want to know these
things,' " Lesniak recalled with a grin.
actual situation at the front hit home when a group of
several hundred German POWS who had been captured in the
waning months of the war, arrived at the camp.
remembered them as being the last-ditch remnants of the
German army -- either very young or very old, beaten,
battered, half-starved, "looking like hell" and
smelling even worse.
confronted with the typical culinary largesse of a GI mess
hall, these newcomers who'd just been given hot showers and
fresh clothing, broke down in tears, according to Lesniak.
One prisoner shouted, "Are we in heaven, or what?"
recalled that when Germany surrendered, the Afrika Korps
soldiers volunteered "to a man" to fight with
Americans against Japan.
said the camp commander called the POWs together and told
them: "To fight for America is a privilege. The
privilege is granted to citizens only. You guys are not
citizens, therefore you can not fight for America."
Germans were indignant, Lesniak recalled. "They said,
'We're the best soldiers in the world, and you're going to
turn us down?'"
soon afterwards, Lesniak said many of the POWs were asking
him about how they could become American citizens.
time for the POWs to go back to Germany -- and many didn't
want to return to their war-ravaged nation -- "it was
sad, in a way," Lesniak said.
the former guard returned to Cleveland, he brought home a
wooden suitcase made for him by one of the POWs using
materials purloined from various work sites -- a common
practice, as guards looked the other way.
had the suitcase when he went to Bowling Green State
University and earned a math degree and a master's degree in
kept it while he worked as a math teacher in Beavercreek,
Ohio, then as a school counselor at Cuyahoga Community
College and Parma High School before retiring.
children -- three sons and two daughters that he and his
wife, Helen, raised -- played with that now-battered wooden
these days, when he pulls it out and remembers, Lesniak
realizes that those who had to battle the Germans or lost
loved ones in the war might not appreciate the sentimental
attachment packed in that suitcase.
knows how the dark memories can linger. One of his brothers
served in the Marines during the war and always refused to
talk about the experience -- except once, after a few
drinks, when he remembered the days he spent on Iwo Jima,
trapped under enemy fire in a foxhole with a dead buddy.
to Lesniak, the war also represented a time when enemies
could peacefully co-exist; perhaps not as friends, but as
he said, "Once you got to know them, they became
people, just like you and me."
Lesniak, 85, of Parma Heights, says this wooden
suitcase was made for him by a German POW who
wanted the former prison camp guard to "go
home in style," rather than return with his
belongings packed in a duffel bag.
Lonnie Timmons III, The Plain Dealer
Lesniak originally started in the Army as a
military policeman but found that his 140-pound
physique put him at a decided disadvantage in
trying to subdue larger, sometimes inebriated GIs,
so he asked for a transfer to POW guard duty.
courtesy of Ted Lesniak
Lesniak, 85, of Parma Heights, guarded German
prisoners at a POW camp in Georgia during World
War II, and discovered they shared more than a
barbed wire enclosure.
By Eddy Palffy
did I survive when thousands of others
Nancy Schertzing | Photography by Jim
I was old enough, my father taught me to
play the accordion too, and when my
mother sang along, people loved
listening to us!” Hely smiles. “My
grandparents, aunts and uncles all lived
in Nakovo. The Catholic Church was at
the center of our town and of our
“As a child, my father and his parents
briefly lived in the U.S. Dad and his
cousin, Frank Freimann, had been like
brothers in Chicago. But my grandparents
had farmland in Banat, the breadbasket
of the Balkans. The farmland and the
simpler way of life drew my father and
Grandmother Susie home.”
“My father married my mother, and they
planned to raise their children in the
love of their families and faith. They
were going to name me Helene after my
godmother,” Hely recalls, “but my
father thought it was too long a name
for a little girl.”
Generations before, the Austro-Hungarian
Empire had controlled Hely’s village
in modern-day Serbia on the Romanian
border. The emperor had awarded land to
German pioneers who settled in the Donau
Valley. Though life was difficult for
the earliest pioneers, later generations
of these Donauschwaben became prosperous
farmers who maintained their German
language and traditions, distinct from
their Serbian and Romanian neighbors. To
6-year-old Hely, however, these
distinctions weren’t important. “The
Serbians in our neighboring villages
were our friends, never our enemies,”
she says simply.
In 1942, everything changed when Hitler
declared that all Donauschwaben must
serve the Fatherland. He sent forces to
draft young Donauschwaben men. Nik was
forced to leave his beloved family and
Hely remembers, “Mother and I stayed
with our family around us. My mother’s
father was convinced no one would harm
us, since we had never harmed anyone
else. But many Donauschwaben began
leaving Nakovo because of growing
persecution and the threat of invasion.
On Oct.5, 1944, a caravan of 150
horse-drawn wagons departed, leaving
their beloved farms and pastoral
lifestyle behind. My father had just
come home that September and told us to
hold on because he would be home again
soon. That was the last time I saw my
father. I was 8 years old.”
Anna and Hely waited for Nik and the
unborn baby Anna now carried. On
November 6, Communist forces led by
Marshal Tito invaded Nakovo. They
imprisoned Hely’s grandfather when he
dumped his wine stocks rather than let
them get drunk and run wild through the
town. That day, he and others were taken
away never to return. Any able-bodied
Donauschwabe who hadn’t fled were
deported to Soviet-backed labor camps in
Siberia, sold as slaves to Serbian
families or exterminated.
“By the time the soldiers came for us,
the only ones left were the weak and
sick. Since my mother was pregnant with
my baby brother, they didn’t ship us
out right away, but moved us with others
into a section of town they called a
“The soldiers stole and destroyed
everyone’s belongings. We had almost
nothing left. They even took our
religion away by closing our beloved
church and beating anyone who made the
sign of the cross or genuflected as they
passed by. My brother was born in the
retention camp on May 5 – my
“In the winter of 1945, the soldiers
forced us from Nakovo into cattle car
trains bound for concentration camps. We
were so crammed in that we couldn’t
sit down. I remember my Grandmother
Susie fought back when they took my
mother, brother and me. Two soldiers
beat her and locked her in a cellar as
others herded us into the cars.
“We emerged from the train at a
concentration camp in Rudolfsgnad,
another Donauschwaben village that had
now become the most brutal of the
Donauschwaben concentration camps. Like
Nakovo, all the houses had been emptied,
except for some straw and horse blankets
thrown on the floor. We never knew what
happened to the families that had lived
“My mother, brother and I were put in
a room with a great-uncle and what
family he had left. They were essential
to us, helping get extra food and fuel
for an occasional fire. My mother was
nursing my brother, Franzi, and needed
more food than our daily rations. But
even with their help, she was wasting
“The next spring, we were joined by my
Oma (my mother’s mother) who was
caring for my cousin Nik. His mother,
Lisa, had been sold as a slave to a
Serbian family. I was 9 by now, and Nik
and I tried to help too. In the attic,
we found grains of wheat and other
scraps between the floor boards. Just as
in our village, the Rudolfsgnad farm
families had stored their harvest above
their living space. It wasn’t much,
but the few kernels of wheat or corn
helped supplement a bit.
“One day, a Serbian soldier came into
our camp – and my mother and I
recognized him as one of the villagers
who had helped my father with our
harvest. He looked shocked when he saw
us. That night, he came to our house,
bringing food and words of thanks for
how well my father had treated him in
Nakovo. After that night, I never saw
“But no matter how hard we worked to
get food, my mother kept wasting away.
Typhoid fever and tuberculosis were
ravaging her body as she kept trying to
nurse Franzi. Eventually, she had to go
to the house for the dying. On May 23,
my oma called me to my mother’s
“I went to her and she looked up and
said simply, ‘Hely, that is all I
have.’ She reached up weakly and
hugged me saying, ‘Please take care of
your brother so that when your father
comes home he can see his son.’ In a
few hours, she was dead.
“I went back to my baby brother, who
was 1 by then. Franzi was smiling up at
me. As I bent down to hug him, he
reached up and grasped my braids in his
frail little hands, trying to climb up.
I whispered to him that I would take
care of him as our dear mother had
asked. I didn’t know it was a promise
I could never keep.
“In less than a month, the soldiers
took me away to an orphanage. I last saw
Franzi in my oma’s arms. By October,
he had joined my mother, starved to
death in the Rudolfsgnad concentration
later, I learned that my father had been
captured with his regiment of German
soldiers in Slovenia. As they were
marching across the landscape, his
captors announced that the war was over.
They instructed my father and others to
take their POW clothes off and put on
new civilian clothes they would provide.
My father and others were delighted and
stripped right away. As soon as they had
removed their clothing, the Serbian
soldiers mowed them down with machine
gun fire. My uncle escaped. My father
died in the massacre that day.
“As I boarded the train for an
orphanage in Zagreb, I was utterly
alone. I think when you live constantly
with death, fright becomes part of your
daily life. You don’t have a choice,
so you just function with it. You sort
of get this courage within you that says
‘I am going to survive.’ And somehow
“I was 10 and spoke only German,
surrounded by Serbians and Croatians. As
the only Donauschwaben child in the
state-run orphanage in Zagreb, I quickly
learned to speak Serbo-Croatian. I went
through the first through fourth grades
in one year, and became very good at
chess. I even began playing the
“We were housed in the mansion next to
Tito’s Zagreb residence. As time went
on, I became more identified with my
fellow Young Communists. My German
language, Catholic faith and
Donauschwaben heritage were fading from
my memory. Tito visited us sometimes,
and occasionally I was invited to
perform for him as an example of the
gifted Young Communists of his new
“In a couple of years, I moved to an
orphanage for older children in a
section of Zagreb called the Upper City.
I attended high school classes and
learned Russian as my second language.
Serbo-Croatian was my primary language.
was 12 the Christmas of 1948 when Paula,
a friend of my Grandmother Susie,
appeared at my orphanage. She told me
Grandmother Susie had escaped from our
village and made her way to Austria,
reuniting with her daughter, Jolan.
“Paula had found me with my
grandmother’s help, and had come to
take me to Christmas Mass. Though I
hadn’t attended Mass in years, I went
with her gladly, delighted to see
someone who had known my family.
“Sitting there in church beside Paula
– even now I get chills remembering!
It was like I was reborn there. The
words and music of the Mass swept me
back home to my early life in our lovely
Nakovo. I returned to my orphanage that
night, knowing my life could never be
the same again.
“In the new year, my Aunt Lisa came to
take me from the orphanage and reunite
me with my surviving family. Oma and Nik
survived Rudolfsgnad and had moved to a
farm labor camp to join Aunt Lisa after
she had been freed from enslavement to a
Serbian family. My mother’s other
sister, Susie, had been exiled to a
Siberian labor camp, but her daughter,
Annie, joined us in the farm labor camp.
Together, we worked the fields and lived
in one room of the old farm house.
“Within six months, we moved into the
nearby town of Gakovo, where Aunt Lisa
found a job. Each day, Nik, Annie and I
rode the train to attend high school in
the nearby town of Sombor – another
former Donauschwaben town. Each night we
returned home to our family and a meal
Aunt Lisa provided through her work at
the government-run food kitchen.
“As time went on, our lives changed
thanks to the wonderful work of the Red
Cross. I cannot say enough about how the
Red Cross helped us and other families
across Europe, reuniting loved ones and
letting families know what had happened
to those who were missing!
“Aunt Susie was released from the
Siberian labor camp and moved to
Germany, reuniting with her husband, who
had been a Scottish POW. Annie soon
joined them. In 1949, my Grandmother
Susie, Aunt Jolan and her family
emigrated to Chicago – the place
Grandmother Susie had left so many years
earlier when my father was young.
“Grandmother Susie’s nephew, Frank
Friemann, had been like a brother to my
father in Chicago. Now Chairman of
Magnavox Corporation, Uncle Frank had
been using his resources to find and
rescue family members who had survived.
Eventually, he brought 14 of us to the
U.S. Though I didn’t know it, Uncle
Frank had been working with the Red
Cross and the Croatian Embassy
throughout my entire ordeal, trying to
get me out of Europe.
“In 1953, I got passage on a Red Cross
Children’s Transport train from Gakovo
to Germany, where Aunt Susie picked me
up. Uncle Frank had determined that I
should establish German citizenship so I
could emigrate to the U.S. in two years.
Soon, Oma, Aunt Lisa and Nik joined me
in a two-room apartment where Nik slept
in the kitchen and Oma, Aunt Lisa and I
slept in the bedroom. We shared an
outhouse with the entire building. Aunt
Lisa and Oma were very frugal so we had
enough to eat although we were very
“In 1955, my immigration papers came
through. I boarded a PanAm flight to
take me to a new life Uncle Frank had
arranged. I would stay with my
Grandmother Susie, Aunt Jolan and family
in Chicago and then attend school
through St. Mary’s of Notre Dame.
will never forget my first days in
Chicago! The first time I visited a
grocery store, I almost couldn’t take
it. So much to absorb! I had never seen
such abundance of fruits and breads! It
was frightening really, almost utopian
“In January 1956, Uncle Frank arranged
for me to meet his friend, Father Ted
Hesburgh, the new president of the
University of Notre Dame. Uncle Frank
had asked Father Ted to be my guardian.
He accepted, and enrolled me in St.
Mary’s Academy in South Bend, Indiana.
“Aunt Jolan took me to the Palmer
House in Chicago to meet Father Ted. I
wore my best pink suit and carried a
dictionary since I spoke German,
Serbo-Croatian and Russian at that time
– but no English. Father Ted spoke
some German, but with the help of the
dictionary we did fine. At the end of
our meeting, I boarded a train to South
Bend with Father Ted.
“At St. Mary’s Academy, Father Ted
introduced me to Mrs. Olga Mestrovic,
who would take me shopping for new
clothes. He asked Mrs. Mestrovic to help
me because of our shared language and
experiences. Her husband, Ivan Mestrovic,
was a world-famous sculptor who had last
lived in The Upper City of Zagreb before
the war. He had been imprisoned by the
Communists, but was released from a
Croatian prison through the intervention
of the Vatican. After his release, he
brought his family to the U.S. Mr. and
Mrs. Mestrovic practically adopted me
when I was at St. Mary’s Academy, then
St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame.
“But my guardian was always Father
Ted. What can I say about the role he
has played in my life? I cannot
overstate it. He has been my guardian
for more than 50 years. When I am facing
a challenge, I call him. He always makes
time for me and my family to visit. And
even though he hasn’t ever been a
spouse or “official” parent, he
always has the right answers.
“My life has been shaped by these
wonderful people, along with all the
ones who went before and everyone since.
I have so many components; everyone has
had a hand in me!” Hely laughs.
“My children – Michael, Nik, Peter,
Ted, Thad, Matthew and Anna Schork –
they are my best friends and, really,
they are why I am here today. When their
father, Tony, and I divorced after 24
years of marriage, they were there for
me and came through it all so
powerfully! I consider myself the
proudest mom I could be of them and of
my 14 grandchildren and two great
“I constantly asked God, ‘Why me?’
During my divorce, single-parenting or
my husband Bruce’s stroke, I would
even get angry and ask, ‘Don’t you
think I’ve been through enough
“But I know I have a guardian angel
watching over me, and a sense of purpose
guiding me. There’s not a day I
don’t think about my mother and her
example of taking care of others. She
instilled in me a sense of
responsibility I have always tried to
honor. When I look at my children and
grandchildren, I see my baby brother. I
hope I have done my very best and in
some way kept my promise to my mother.
“For years after I came to the U.S., I
wondered ‘Why are people around me so
normal?’ In Europe, I was not much
different from the other survivors. But
from my first days in America, I’ve
known I was different from the people
around me. I never wanted my children to
feel their mother wasn’t just like
everyone else, so I didn’t tell them
about my childhood. I told myself I
would not dwell on the past.”
“But now, at 73, when I sometimes ask
God, ‘Why me?’ I believe the answer
lies in telling others the story of my
life. I cannot change the atrocities I
witnessed that were inflicted on my
people. I can’t regret, nor will I
forget, any part of it. Regretting makes
you dwell on the negative and makes you
unhappy. Instead, I hope my story can
honor the thousands of Donauschwaben who
died with my family and those who
survived with me.”
“I have a great heritage! Now it is
time our story to be known. I feel the
Lord has guided me to this goal.”
Merle-Benner lives in Ann
Arbor with her husband Bruce.
She is an International Travel
Agent with the Conlin Travel
In 1999, Father Ted Hesburgh
and Hely traveled to Kosovo as
part of the United Nations
High Commission on Refugees
team to witness the relocation
of refugees during the Kosovo
War. In 2005, Hely, her son
Peter and daughter Anna,
traveled to her beloved Nakovo
for her first visit since
1945. In 2008, she and her son
Ted traveled to Germany to
attend her first reunion of
Nakovo survivors of the
- Faith Magazine
- Faith Magazine
on Unsung Heroes
From German Cultural Society, St. Louis
dedicated member was born in Liebling, Romania in
June, 1931. His father passed away when he was an
infant, so he was raised by his mother and
step-father. He has vivid memories of his
childhood in Liebling. However, in November, 1944,
when he was just 13 years old, military occupation
forced many to flee Liebling. The family fled
Liebling, and lived as refugees in Feldkirchen,
Austria. They traveled by wagons, and the living
conditions were difficult with very little food.
In Austria, he went to school and worked with the
farmers in the fields.
March of 1950, he, his parents, and half-brother
Peter boarded the S.S. Washington for the trip to
America. The family arrived in New York; His
second cousin, John Hea, met the family and drove
them to St. Louis. In St. Louis, he found a job at
a rope factory. He went to school at night to
become a machinist. He learned English and became
a U.S. citizen. He enjoyed going to the
Liederkranz with his friends and other family
members. It was at the Leidertranz that he met his
beautiful wife of 54 years, Lisa. They were
married in September 1955, and raised three
Erktruly is a great man with a big
heart. He used his talents to help family,
friends and neighbors make repairs on their
homes. He enjoyed coaching and playing soccer.
He built a Lionel train village, complete with
city and airport, with he enjoyed with his
children, Henry, John and Kathy, and
grandchildren Daniel and Lisa. Family is very
important aspect of everyday life to Henry. He
always made time for family everyday and during
always puts all of his energy into everything he
does. He volunteered to work at fests, helping
with setup, tear down, and working at the
Strassenfest and the V.P. Fair, usually all
three days. He makes videos of the dance
performances for the verein library. He works
with the Thursday group, making repairs at the
hall. We are grateful to have this member and
his years of dedicated service. He also was a
bartender for many years.
loves to go trout fishing with some of his
friends from the German Hall. He is a great
gardener, growing vegetables, peaches (which he
cans) and rosemary, specifically for
Kirchweihfest. He is also a great cook, spending
hours in the kitchen. He loves spending time
with his family, especially his grandchildren.
greatly enjoyed his fifty-four year marriage to
his beautiful wife, Lisa. As all good
Donauschwaben do, Henry and Lisa worked very
hard to build a new life in St. Louis and raise
their family. Tradition was important to Henry
and Lisa. They taught their children and
grandchildren good values. Henry was devoted to
his wife, Lisa, their whole life together. For
the last ten years of Lisa’s life, Henry woke
early each morning to help her get ready, and
drive to and from her dialysis appointment three
times a week. He took very good care of her.
resides in the Hampton Village area of South St.
Louis. He enjoys working in his garden daily and
still helps out at the hall on Thursdays. He
also enjoys visiting with friends at festivals
and spending time with his granddaughter, Lisa.
He and Lisa still run the Lionel train set
because it’s so much fun.
von Habsburg, the oldest son of the Austria-Hungarian
Emperor, died at his home in Pöcking, Germany on 4 July
2011. He was 98.
settled here in the 1950s and became a member of the
European Parliament and a member of the Bavarian Christian
Social Union. He was also a member of the Pan-European
League from 1979 to 1999. He helped organize a peace
demonstration picnic on the Austrian-Hungarian border in
1989 which allowed 600 East Germans to flee communism before
the fall of the Berlin wall.
son, Karl, will now run the family‘s affairs and is head
of the House of Habsburg. Otto was buried July 16th in the
Emperor Tomb in Vienna at the Capuchin Church. Source: AP.
Editor‘s note: The Habsburg‘s ruled over the
Donauschwaben region during the 18th century until the end
of World War I.
von Habsburg, who has died aged 98, bore the
oldest and most eminent dynastic name in European
history and could, according to genealogists,
trace his ancestry back to the sixth century. The
pretender to the defunct thrones of Austria,
Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia (now part of the
Czech Republic), he pursued a democratic postwar
career as a member of the European parliament and
a fervent advocate of European
time in German diplomatic and political circles,
as I once did as a correspondent, you meet men who
introduce themselves in the formal German manner
– a brief bow from the shoulders followed by an
unadorned name straight out of Germanic history.
But I never quite got used to shaking hands with a
stranger who flatly introduced himself as
"Bismarck" (diplomat), "Hannover"
(banker) or "Rommel" (mayor of
Stuttgart). Or indeed "Habsburg", whom I
met briefly at a party conference in Munich.
Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich
Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius
Ignatius von Habsburg was born at Reichenau an der
Rax, Lower Austria. His father, Charles, would
become Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.
Otto's mother was Zita of Bourbon-Parma. His
great-uncle, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose
assassination in 1914 would trigger the first
world war, stood in for Otto's ancient godfather,
the Emperor Franz Joseph, at his christening.
Otto's father succeeded Franz Joseph in 1916,
whereupon Otto became crown prince.
von Bismarck had excluded Austria-Hungary from his
of 1871 because of its large and diffuse
non-German population. After 1918, it duly broke
up into independent states including
Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The rump of ethnically
German Austria became a republic too. Charles went
into exile with his family that year, and they
later moved to the Basque country, Belgium and
France. In 1919 Austria finally dispossessed the
Habsburgs, although they kept their private
fortune. Charles died in Madeira in 1922,
whereupon Otto became head of the house of
Habsburg, the titular Duke of Lorraine and
pretender to four thrones, at the age of nine.
titles confer no status or privilege in the four
republics of which Habsburg held citizenship, but
while Germany – where he spent most of his later
life – tolerates their use, in Austria they are
banned by law. So in the country of his birth, the
eldest son of the last emperor of Austria was
officially styled Otto Habsburg-Lothringen
(Lorraine) – even the simple aristocratic prefix
"von" was outlawed. Habsburg, always a
loyal Catholic working for better understanding
among Christians, Jews and Muslims, went to the
Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, to read
politics and social studies. He graduated in 1935.
believing in his right to the throne, Habsburg as
an Austrian patriot opposed the country's
absorption by Hitler into the Third Reich in 1938,
and was sentenced to death by the Nazis. He fled
France with his mother to neutral Portugal and
then Washington DC in 1940, just before the
Germans took Paris. After the war, Habsburg spent
several years in France and Spain.
May 1961, he formally renounced his claim to the
Austrian throne and announced that he was a loyal
citizen of the republic. As a result, two years
later, an Austrian court lifted the ban on his
visiting the land of his birth – a decision that
proved unpopular in some quarters, precipitating
the "Habsburg crisis" in Austrian
politics. He was allowed to cross the border in
1966. Towards the end of his life, he admitted
that his heart had not been in the renunciation,
which he made out of sheer pragmatism.
up residence in Germany, whose citizenship
Habsburg also held, he joined the Christian Social
Union (CSU), the rightwing Bavarian sister party
of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU),
active in the rest of Germany. He was elected to
the European parliament for the CSU and sat for 20
years from 1979 as MEP for Bavaria, becoming the
equivalent of "father of the house" as
the oldest member. He was already president of the
international Pan-Europa Union from 1973, retiring
only in 2004, strongly favouring political union
and the eastward expansion of the EU to countries
once ruled by his ancestors. In 1988, Habsburg
clashed with the Rev Ian
Paisley, then an MEP, after Paisley called the
visiting Pope John Paul II the antichrist. A year
later Habsburg helped to organise the
"pan-European picnic" on the
Austrian-Hungarian border in the summer of 1989,
one of the events that led to the fall of the
Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet communism.
married the German Princess Regina of
Saxe-Meiningen in 1951; she died in 2010. They
lived near Lake Starnberg in Bavaria and had five
daughters and two sons, who survive him. The
eldest son, Karl, becomes head of the house of
von Habsburg, politician, born 20 November 1912;
died 4 July 2011
members were invited to sing in Atlantic City
Moments- the best of 50's Pop" (PBS)
Light Bulb at a Time
by Magdalena Metzger
is the direction we all need to go!
Light Bulb at a Time?
physics teacher in high school, once told the
students that while one grasshopper on the
railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much,
a billion of them would. With that thought in
mind, read the following.
past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W
light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in
the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE
brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled,
"Everyday Value.. " I picked up both
types of bulbs and compared the stats - they
were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs
were more money than the Everyday Value brand
but the thing that surprised me the most was the
fact that GE was made in
MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was
made - get ready for this - in the
USA at a company in
on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets. Yep,
you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is
. The Everyday Value brand was less money and
MADE IN THE USA ! I did laundry yesterday and
the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce
Free I have been using for years and at almost
half the price!
was in Lowes the other day for some reason and
just for the heck of it I was looking at the
hose attachments. They were all made in China.
The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for
the heck of it, I checked the hose attachments
there. They were made in the USA. Start looking!
our current economic situation, every little
thing we buy or do affects someone else -- even
grandson likes Hershey's candy. I noticed,
though, that it is marked made in Mexico now.
do not buy it any more.
favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico .
Now I have switched to Crest.
have to read the labels on everything.
challenge to you is to start reading the labels
when you shop for everyday things and see what
you can find that is made in the USA - the job
you save may be your own or your neighbors.
you accept the challenge, pass this idea on to
others so we can all start buying American, one
light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas
get with the program. Help our fellow Americans
keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the
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