Thursday, December 16, 2021

checkpoint Glaner Brücke 1929(ish)

Every picture tells a story, No. 16

Frieda the pianist from episode 7 met a violinist called Paul during her studies at Bückeburg, but somehow that didn't work out. Instead she found love closer to home. Her parents (Heinrich the station master and Luise the railway worker's daughter) had taken up a lodger in their flat overhanging the narrow gauge railway line at the station Minden Stadt. That lodger was a budding customs officer, and he introduced Frieda to his colleague, Peter Eberle (son of the baker Adam Eberle).

Peter and Frieda married in 1924, but still stayed with her parents in the flat overhanging the tracks (I do love that house!), had their first daughter the next year, then their own flat in 1926, but soon moved on to Peter's first proper customs role on an actual border, namely on the Dutch border at Gronau, where they stayed until the end of 1932 and had their second daughter.

I'm going on about this, because it dates the photo shown below, about which I wouldn't have known anything otherwise. You can see a car with the "NL" plate, so it must have been on the Dutch border, ie between 1927(ish) and 1932. The checkpoint was called Glaner Brücke, referring to a very small bridge across a brook which marks the border. Altes Zollhaus (old customs office) was where they lived, except for a period when they were moved to the Dutch side of the border, a move immortalised in the fact that, in December 1929, their second daughter was born at Lonneker (just north of Enschede, with which it was merged in 1934).

Peter is the second guy from the left, the only one not wearing a hat, for whatever reason. I have no idea who the other guys are and I'm no good at reading their clothes, so all hints appreciated.

This was as much as I knew until I started preparing this entry. Then I felt obliged to google the name of the border post and it turns out there is a flickr account that has an album with 114 photos of this border crossing from 1900 to this century (mostly from the Dutch side, where it's called glanerbrug). I'm still recovering from the shock.

The building we see in the background of our group photo, with the characteristic white stripes running both horizontally and also vertically on either sides of the windows, is recognisable in this lovely postcard from 1950:

Grensovergang 1950~, Gronau. Glaner-Brücke

as well as in several modern photos from the account holder, including this one from 2005 and this one from 2003.

The photos from the 1920s show trams as well as dense rows of mature trees lining both sides of the narrower road. In most views the buildings are obscured by the trees. Then the cars came and ate both the trams and the trees. In the most recent photos you mainly see cars.

After Gronau came a move to Hamm as well as, obviously, the Nazi takeover, but we'll get to that some other time.

This photo is also on flickr.

Every picture tells a story series so far:

  1. string quartet Wuppertal Elberfeld 1927
  2. greetings from Adamsweiler
  3. Gastwirthschaft Ferd. Weirich
  4. quartet times three
  5. Neumühl 1923
  6. Tangermünde railway station 1889
  7. a singing lesson
  8. bei Wilhelm Geppert
  9. a bakery at Lorsch 1900
  10. Consumgeschäft von Julius Düsselmann
  11. Hanna and Ruth
  12. a young chemist
  13. school's out at Reichenstein, 1886
  14. a patchwork family in East Prussia
  15. the case of the missing grandmother
  16. checkpoint Glaner Brücke 1929(ish)

Twitter thread

In a somewhat roundabout way, this series relates to my research for the family history music memoir I'm writing.

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