No Christmas in Germany (10 Dezember)

Join me this month for stories of our time here in a small German village where we’re visiting with my mom. I’m experimenting with straight journal-style blogging as a ‘post-a-day’ challenge. Thanks for reading, Bill 

Fake snow, film set snow, is what it looked like as it gathered on our hats and hoods as we stood by the brass band outside the Rathaus. I returned my mug to the Glühwein stand and asked for the pfand (the refund for my glass), but they misunderstood and gave me more. Benny and I went to the bakery in the morning, the only one that’s open on Sundays, that still makes bread the traditional German way, but they were out of most things, said in five minutes the pretzels would be ready, and brought us coffee while we waited. Benny’s dad Christoph retold the story of his grandfather, who left Germany for England to open a bakery but in 1914 was given two options, to either return home to Germany or remain in England a prisoner on the Isle of Man. He chose the latter (to avoid the war) and sold the bakery, but when he returned to Germany after the war and tried to get his English pounds back from the bank they said there was nothing left after the currency conversion and he only had enough money to buy a clock. Then Christoph’s dad found himself in a similar situation, having left Germany for England and told in 1939 he could either remain there a prisoner or return home to Germany. He made the mistake of returning, and for eight years served as a soldier for the Nazis, then a prisoner in Russia. We asked Christoph about the refugee housing and he said it’s the same location as last time, when they tried to reintegrate Germans who returned from Soviet territory after the Iron Curtain fell. Russia had encouraged Germans to move there to farm, but in World War II Stalin feared they’d act as informants behind the Russian front and sent them all to Siberia. After the war, the former Germans claimed their right to return to Germany as citizens but did so with Russian accents and now some are serving as informants for the Russian mob, here in Germany. Mom got teased by a German making small talk with us in the Croatian restaurant up the street. He said after living here all this time your German should be better—then he joked, after you master German you can work on your Schwäbisch.

Categories: travel

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Crazy times back then! Cool post and I like that picture 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sure the internment camp wasn’t luxurious, but somehow the Isle of Man seems preferable to being machine-gunned or shelled in the trenches.
    Soft pretzels right from the oven are sounding very good right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there was a picture of them sitting around playing cards (on the Isle of Man), so it sounds like a much better alternative for sure. The soft pretzels are good but man, they add up around the waist.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I Googled Schwäbisch. Pretty obvious in retrospect. I like this style you’re mucking about with. Good stories told in a straightforward manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, sorry about the Google thing. It’s one of those jokes you can’t explain without kind of spoiling it, but I suppose if you have to slip out to search it spoils it anyway…thanks for doing go at least! I’m glad you’re enjoying the style too. It’s reading that Sedaris thing that’s making me want to toy around with it. I often think about you and Walt Walker when I’m dinking around with these posts because it’s often just an exercise in learning how to edit. I know you both take lots of time cutting things out and I’m still working on that. Seasons greetings to you Mark! Cold, looks like snow here in Swabia.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I brought back a small collection of Gluhwein mugs from my time in Germany. Used them, too, until the festive decoration was scrubbed away by the dishwasher. Put the one in best condition up on a shelf, where it sits. That’s my problem, really.


Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: