Monday, November 2, 2015

A very sobering document

I received my grandmother’s death certificate from the Archives in Leverkusen, Germany this morning. Theresia (Glaentzer) Weichert was shot and killed on 21 June 1945, 45 days after the war ended in Germany.  She was only 35 years old. She was walking home with a neighbor after dark and was accidentally shot by American soldiers who were looking for German soldiers that were still hiding.  At the time of her death her husband was still in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp so their three children were sent to an orphanage.  He died before he could get back home.  I received his death certificate from the Archives in Göttingen 3 days ago.  I have known this story my entire life but seeing it on an official document is very sobering and a bit surreal. Out of respect for my mother and her brothers I am not posting Theresia and Augusts’ death certificates.

Copyright © 2015 Michèle Simmons Lewis

6 comments:

  1. These family stories do stay in our heads for years but we are always hoping they were somehow mistaken. It's when we see the actual documents, a process of grieving starts again. I am sorry you never got to meet your Grandparents.

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  2. I'm so sorry. What a tragic thing to happen to both grandparents and to their children. Even though we may have heard the story, somehow, seeing the document, the writing in black and white, makes it more real.

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  3. What a sad story of family tragedy. So sorry, Michele, for you, and your mom. Did you ever think of writing a book to share their story, it is not only tragic but historical, too. It's compelling and I mean absolutely no respect to their memory.

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  4. Unfortunately this isn't an unusual story for this time and place :(

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  5. I'm sorry Michele. I know there's a difference between knowing something intellectually and then encountering something or someone that brings that knowing home to your heart. And it's like a punch to the soul when that happens. Your grief honors them. Be gentle with yourself for awhile.

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