Thursday, December 29, 2022

desperately searching Wilhelm

Every picture tells a story, season 2, picture 17.

When the three children from the bakery in Dörndorf (Silesia) grew up, Hedwig the milk maid didn't think much of her sister Emma, who allegedly had the habit of sneering at Hedwig's "smelly" employments in agriculture. She was very fond of her brother Wilhelm though. He went missing in the last months of the war and Hedwig, then transplanted to west Germany kept looking for him for many years. He never did turn up, and we still don't know what happened to him.

So what we know:

Wilhelm Karl (Willi) Geppert
born 12.11.1916
1934 finishes apprenticeship with master butcher Paul Loge at Heinersdorf: Gesellen-Brief 27.9.1934
Wanderschaft documented until 15.4.1938, mostly working in the region of Kreis Frankenstein, Silesia.
2.3.1945 last post from the front, near Königsberg, East Prussia. Address: FP Amt Heiligenbeil, Braunsberg, Ostpreussen.

As she missed him so much, Hedwig kept lots of photos of him, and he tends to look cute and friendly in these. Here's a selection with a few open questions:

first communion

Wilhelm on the right, no idea who the others are. Maybe he lodged with them during his apprenticeship?

We don't know who his girlfriend was either.

and finally, if anybody recognises this Pension Roseneck, I have no idea where this might be. None of the eponymous guest houses I can find online has anything like the characteristic architectural details around the windows seen here. Photo dates from 1942. Update: It is marked on the back with greetings from Badenweiler, which may be a clue. Badenweiler is a spa town in the Black Forest, but I still can't find Pension Roseneck there.

Should anybody have any answers to some of the many questions I am raising in this series, please leave a comment here (I'll need to vet it, so it may take a few days before it goes public) or contact me at michaelgrr [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk

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Season 2 so far:

  1. could be a cousin
  2. two weddings in Silesia
  3. off to Canada
  4. off to Australia
  5. a very romantic poet
  6. fireman August
  7. 50 hundredweight of coffee
  8. mysterious Minden people
  9. horses for Hedwig
  10. guessing the great-grandmothers
  11. cousin Charlotte
  12. three sisters
  13. travelling saleswoman
  14. family portrait
  15. dancing chemist
  16. games time
  17. desperately searching Wilhelm

I started a twitter thread for season 2 here. However, as the bird site seems to be turning into an evil empire, I have now switched to logging the entries in a similar thread on Mastodon.

The twitter thread for season 1 is still here. It only loads 30 tweets at first, so you have to click "show more" a couple of times to get all 40 entries. Alternatively, visit the last instalment and find the numbered list of entries at the bottom.

I'm also adding all photos from this series to my family history album on flickr.

See also my Lost Cities series (which may get an extension at some point).

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