A letter from Franz Koehler sent to August Maas at Easter 1949 [Translated by Hans J. Koenig]
Appen (District of) Pinneberg
(Germany) Hauptstr. 2
c/o Heinrich Pein
Dear Cousin and wife and children:
I received your address from my sister, Anne, and I am delighted that you are doing fine; we enjoyed very much your family photo with the good-looking children which Anne showed to us. You look very similar to your father, as I can remember him, when he counted his gold coins in Braunsforth and moved to America. You should be grateful to your dear parents that they moved to the USA and did not have to experience these difficult years here in Germany. Too bad that my parents were not able to make the same decision. Many committed suicide, so did two cousins hang themselves together with their husbands and children in the forest in Mecklenburg -- also descendants of Koehler from Steinhoefel. (The) Great-grandfathers were brothers. We fared very badly because we, here in Stettin, (first of all) had to suffer much from the bombing raids, and then when we fled all the way to Mecklenburg, since Stettin was supposed to become an independent state. We were robbed of everything there and, without any consideration for our age, we had to work hard, 11 hours every day, for potato soup and bread. Doing dismantling work, I had to climb a steep ladder and, since I can't see very well, I fell and got a hole in my shinbone (and) was unable to work; however, I no longer received anything to eat; so one had to look for potatoes and cabbage; my wife picked flowers and sold them to the Polish ...(illegible) families. We were chased from one apartment to the next, threatened with guns by burglars in civilian clothes and gotten out of bed -- that's the way it went day after day; in rags and kicked out, we arrived here. We are delighted and we thank you for searching for us and helping us out. As Anne writes and heard from sister Anna that your sister Berta and Anna and Franz have died too; but we hope Karl is still alive. Does Karl own a farm as well? Who is Gustav Steffen, who sent me a package (is he) also related to you and us? I can still see Karl in bed in Braunsforth, when he broke his leg, with a weight on his leg. On February 21, I turned 68 years old -- about the same age with Fritz and Karl; we were often together there. I was in the military from 1914-1920 in the war in Russia and had to live through difficult times; through God's help, I survived miraculously. After a long search through the Red Cross and the newspaper, I found Uncle Block's nephew, Willi Block from Pinneberg, in Mecklenburg and informed him. I would love to have a family photo of all of you and, if possible, (of) Karl, Anna and Berta Franz to remember (them). If possible, we must have a picture taken of us and then we will send one.
For now, we wish you happy Easter and Pentecost!
and all the best most of all health.
from Auguste Koehler
Koehler Family History
Descendants of Christian Friedrich Koehler
Koehler Family Photos
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