The old adage states that if we cannot learn from history, history will repeat itself...
For this reason, the past is important... yet we should never live IN THE PAST. It is a fine balance to achieve this. My interest in history, specifically my family's history, has extended to those that have participated in in my various sew along events.
Recently, I had a notification that one of the letters written to my Grandparents, Phillip & Katie Schleich had been written by the reader's grandfather. The comment that was left on the original story did not have an email address, so I replied on-line and waited with fingers crossed for a response via email.
I didn't have to wait long... within a few hours, I did have a message!
With the help of google translator, we have had a conversation...
that's so easy to hear from you. I forwarded the link to my wife about 5 hours ago. For her part, she immediately wrote a comment.
So to me, my name is Uwe Dybus, I am 52 years old and I live in Germany, in Magdeburg. Unfortunately my English is very bad. That's why I'm writing to you on German. Sorry! My grandfather spoke English so well, to my surprise! He must have liked it very much in America.
My grandfather is Gotthart Hauswald (the farmer Max Julius Gotthart Hauswald), which is my mother's father. Unfortunately, I don't know much about my grandfather. I only saw him 1 x, that was in autumn 1999.
We had no contact with him. When we met together, he told me that he was a prisoner of war by the Americans. When he returned home, he was arrested and interned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. There he had to do forced labour. He really wanted to go home to help with the reconstruction. In 1948 / 49 he met my grandmother Erna Käthe Hauswald née Nitzschke. They got married and my mother was born in 1950.
(I enclose the birth certificate with you) Unfortunately, my grandmother Käthe did not get along with my grandfather's mother, according to tradition. For this reason, the marriage was divorced in the 1950s.
My grandfather told me that he would have liked to study chemistry. However, he was not allowed to do so in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for political reasons.
With his 2nd wife he has 2 daughters. As far as I know, these daughters still live in Oberseifersdorf, in his house, in the house of his ancestors. You have the address on the letter on the Internet. (Hauptstraße 90, 02763 Oberseifersdorf)
We would love to hear from you again. We will try to get more information about Gotthart Hauswald.
You are also welcome to contact me via WhatsApp: (number removed for privacy)
Many greetings from Germany to America,
Wajd Dybus and Uwe Dybus
Thanks for contacting me. I have been able to translate your
messages by using an on-line translator.
So many of the men that were held at the Prisoner of war
camp and worked at my grandparents farm had a very difficult time when they
returned home. Your grandfather included.
I’m sorry to hear that you did not have a chance to get to
know him. It is interesting that he may still have family living at the same
address as he used on the letter he sent to Phillip & Katie Schleich.
If you read through any of the other stories and letters I
have, you would know that Gotthart’s father, and mother-in-law wrote to my
You can read those letters by following the links:
from the Past- Owl Block
from the Past- Pride of Ohio
If you are interested in reading all of the letters Phillip
& Katie received, you can follow this link: Pieces
From the Past. I found them all very interesting and eye opening to
the real and hard living conditions they faced upon their return home. I
also enjoyed reading of their recollections of memories from the camp and the
I have never used WhatsApp, and given the fact that we would
probably need a translator to communicate in that manner, I think email is the
Thank you for reaching out to me.
Thank you very much for everything. I was speechless when I
learned that there were also letters from my great-grandmother and my
It's great that you kept these letters and put them online.
My utmost respect. I am deeply grateful to your family that my grandfather had
a good time with your grandparents on the farm and that you treated him very
I will continue to deal with the subject. Thank you for
everything, see you soon
So... as I wait for another reply, I feel like the girl of my childhood as I waited for a letter from my pen pal...
I've passed the time by working on getting my book ready to upload for printing and quilted and finished the binding on quilt #6/8 of my customer's. She recently received three more of the quilts and loves them just as much as she loved the first two.
I also finished another mini using some practice smocking pieces and the little bits that had been carefully cut out...
My pen pal was found through a gymnastics magazine when I was in junior high. That was what we had in common. Her name was Ann and she lived in Illinois. I don't remember much more than that...
Have you ever had a pen pal? What did you have in common? What did you write about?
Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you.