The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Monthly Archives: March 2019

I am back

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After spending a wonderful week at the coast visiting our sons and family and a two days’ excursion to the Pacific Ocean in Tofino, I am back to blogging again. I would like thank all my followers for their understanding for my inability to write comments during this break. 

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Chesterman Beach at Tofino, BC, Canada

Taking a Break

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Bleeding Hearts from a previous spring. Hoping to see them soon again.

Dear blogging friends, I am taking a break from blogging for the next two weeks to devote some quality time to family and friends. I will respond to your posts as much as possible. It is my hope that spring will have finally arrived in our northern neck of the woods, when I resume my regular blogging activity. Until then best wishes! Peter

THE MINING ERA OF THE CANADIAN COLUMBIA by Bill Laux – Chapter 18

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RED MOUNTAIN

At the same time the Hall brothers had been opening their Silver King mine in 1887, a  pair of prospectors, George Leyson and George Brohman were toiling over the Dewdney trail.   They had left their their exhausted diggings on Rock Creek to have a look at the new silver-copper discoveries at Toad Mountain mines.    After climbing the long set of switchbacks out of Little Sheep Creek, they were on top of the divide looking down the headwaters of Trail Creek about a mile and a half north of the boundary.    As they halted for a short rest, they noticed some dull grey quartz outcrops beside the trail.   They examined these and suspected silver.

Leyson and Brohman were hard rock miners, and they knew that quartz sometimes carried gold.   Although they were simple miners without resources, they knew how to make a crude field test for minerals.   Gold bearing quartz, they knew, was most often a clear white or a rusty brown.   Quartz with silver, they had heard, was dingy grey, an oyster colour, or sometimes almost black.   The field prospector’s first test was to knock off a small piece of promising rock and lick it with his tongue.  This was long established procedure.   Every prospector had a tongue, and it was his first tool of assay.   The mining camp saloons of Rock Creek, of Colville and Ainsworth, were full of men displaying specimens of ore to their cronies, who would at once apply their tongues, and then examine spit-shiny surface with the hand lens each carried.   The saliva — water would do as well — made any flecks of mineral shiny and more visible.   A quick gulp of whiskey took away the foul metallic taste if the mineral were copper or lead.

Leyson and Brohman, up on the Trail Creek Divide, licked their samples and held them to the sunlight, peering at them through their hand lenses.   What they saw were thin, spidery dark blue lines running through the quartz, possibly carrying gold or silver.   They had no commercial assay outfit such as that George Hearst had carried.   However, they knew a few tricks.   They knew that a piece of rock barren of mineral and the size of a small egg, should weigh two ounces, more or less.   They hammered out an egg sized chunk of the quartz they had found.   They carried no scale, or set of weights.   But they had knives and a shot glass from a saloon.   They whittled out a stick, notched its ends and balanced it on the edge of a shovel.   Two identical tin cups were hung from its ends.   The egg sized chunk of quartz was placed in one cup; in the other they poured two shot glasses of water.   If two ounces of water failed to balance the rock, some heavy mineral must be contained in it.   The rock in the cup refused to rise: they had mineral.

Next, they crushed the rock to powder by pounding it with an axe head in their frying pan.   They then carefully poured  the  powdered rock into their “matrass.”   Every knowledgeable prospector carried his “matrass.”   A “matrass” is a test tube.   The word is Arabic, coming from the very first Mediterranean miners.   It went into Spanish, and the Mexican miners in the Southwest taught it to the American miners along with these ancient techniques.

To the powdered sample in their matrass they added mercury, which every miner carried in a small bottle to amalgamate small fleck of gold too tiny to separate by washing.   Salt and soda from their food supply were added , and the tube was filled with water, shaken well, and boiled.   A tiny, pinhead button formed in the bottom of the tube.   This was an amalgam of mercury with some metallic mineral.   The button was carefully removed, washed, and placed on a shovel which was held over the fire to vaporize the mercury.   A very tiny pellet of sponge gold was left.   Their sample contained gold.   The discovery was worth staking.

The field test for silver was more complex.   We do not know if Leyson and Brohman carried nitric acid with them.   If they did, they would have added nitric acid and salt to some of the pulverized rock and gently heated the mixture in their matrass.   If any silver was present it would form a thick, white cloud of silver chloride in the bottom of the tube.   If this were held up to bright sunlight, the white cloud would quickly turn a purply black, an infallible sign of silver.   If the sunlight refused to darken the cloud, they had lead.   If they suspected copper, they could add ammonia.   If then, the white cloud turned blue, copper was confirmed.   Or, lacking ammonia, a knife blade could be dipped into the mixture, and if copper were present it would be deposited on the knife as a reddish stain.

Whatever tests Leyson and Brohman made, they convinced themselves sufficiently to set up camp there on the divide and begin digging on the showing with hand tools.   They staked the location as the Lily May, and worked on it all summer, with picks, sledges, rock drills and shovels, putting down a pit some eighteen feet deep.   They hauled  several tons of ore out of the pit and piled them beside it.   They took samples of this ore to the nearest assayer, probably in Colville.    He reported that the ore ran $4.00 in gold and 29 ounces of silver ( at 90¢ per ounce)  to the ton.   This was not enough to pay for packing the ore to the Columbia for boat transport to a smelter.   Leyson and Brohman therefore abandoned the Lily May, leaving the ore on the dump until such time as the politicians made good on their promise to improve the Dewdney Trail to a wagon road.

In 1889 Newlin Hoover and Oliver Bordeaux  restaked the Lily May.   With E. J. Roberts  laying Daniel Corbin’s track toward Colville at a blistering pace, and intending to push it to the Columbia in the next season, abandoned claims were being restaked all over Stevens Country and across the line in B. C.   Ore that had been too low in grade to pay for packing and wagon haul to Spokane, now might turn out to be commercial with cheap rail transport..

Wintering in Colville, as many prospectors did, was Joe Moris, a French Canadian miner.   In the Spring of 1890, he was hired by Hoover and Bordeaux to go north with Oliver Bordeaux, cross into Canada and do the assessment work on the Lily May.    

Even though snow still covered the ground around Colville on March 17, 1890, Bordeaux and Moris left by sleigh for the Columbia.   Hoover remained behind.   He had claims on Toad Mountain to visit and planned to meet them in Nelson later that Spring.   March was much too early in the season for prospecting, but Bordeaux and Moris wanted to be the first on Trail Creek Divide that spring to scout the ground and to locate claims before the less zealous arrived.  They would then be in a position to sell locations to newcomers.   But packing into the Kootenay mountains over the snow was a brutal proposition; only the strongest and most determined of men could hope to succeed. 

In later years Joe Moris was taught to read and write by his wife, and left this account of that 1890 expedition.

“We left Colville on the seventeenth day of March, 1890, and went as far as Little Dalles by sleigh, and there Mr. Bordeaux hired a boat and two men to help us up the river to the mouth of Trail Creek.  Here Mr. Bordeaux expected to have horses to do the packing from the river to the claim, but we found too much snow on the Trail so we could not use horse for packing.   So Mr. Bordeaux and I had to pack everything on our backs and as I remember it now, it was hard work as we had to travel over five feet of snow, and in the afternoon (when the sun would have softened the crust on the snow) it was impossible to get over it at all. It was not until we were very nearly through with the assessment work that the snow had gone off enough so I could see some bare patches of ground on the south slope of Red Mountain, which showed the surface to be very red and which attracted my attention at once.

“As we were about through with the work, Mr. Bordeaux informed me that he did not have any money to pay me there but he said he had some in Nelson, and I would have to go there for it.   I did not mind that as I had to go somewhere for supplies so I could come back and prospect.   

“We got through with the work at noon on the 18th day of  April, and in the afternoon I started across the country with the intention of going to Red Mountain, but on my way I found a good looking cropping and I stopped right there and located the Home Stake mineral claim and went back to camp.

  “The next morning we left for Nelson.   When we got there Mr. Bordeaux said he would leave the money for me in a day or two.   However, after some four or five days’ waiting, he told me that he had no money and could not pay me.   So I had to look for work.   I went up to the Silver King mine on Toad Mountain and got employment.   I worked there seventeen and one half shifts.

“Then I went down to Nelson and bought what little supplies I could pack on my back and started down the river (on the Government Trail to Sloat’s Landing) for Trail Creek.   But when I got there I found the weather was too bad to prospect so I went to work on the Home Stake and continued that work until Mr. Bourgeois and partner made their appearance.   They started to prospect together and I began prospecting also.   But it was only three days after they got there that Pat, who was Mr. Bourgeois’ partner (but his surname I cannot remember) had enough of the country and quit prospecting in disgust.

“It was then the Mr. Bourgoeis and I began prospecting together and on the second of July, 1890 we located the following claims: Centre Star, War Eagle, Idaho and Virginia, and I put two stakes on the extension of the Centre Star and called it Le Wise.

“We did not stake this claim with the intention of holding it, but just to secure the ground until we could get back from Nelson in case someone came in while we were gone — and also in case we might be able to do something with it.   We could not hold the ground ourselves as we had two claims apiece and that was all we were allowed according to the mining laws of British Columbia.   So we could not hold it even if we wanted to.”   (Evidently, Joe Moris had dropped the Home Stake claim.)

“The next morning, the third of July, we left for Nelson.   We arrived there on the fourth of July, 

the next day.”   (Moris and Bourgeois must have caught the steamer to Sloat’s Landing and made a very quick hike over the 24 mile trail to do this.)   “We had our samples assayed and out of ten samples the best was $3.25 and six of them showed no trace.   So as a natural consequence we were not very much excited over our find, in fact Mr. Bourgeois said he would not go back as the claims were not worth recording.  I thought better of it and told Mr. Bougeois that we had better have the claims put on record and go back and do some work on them, and see if we could not find some ore that had more value.   He consented to do that but he said he did not feel like paying out money to to have traces put on record.   Mr. Bourgeois said he knew Mr. E.S. Topping, who was Deputy Recorder at Nelson at that time, and if I did not mind it, he would go and see Mr. Topping and show him the ore and tell him how much we had of it.   And if he would pay for recording our four claims we would put him on a good extension on the west end of the Centre Star claim, which was as good as any one of our four locations.   This proposition was at once taken up and on the seventeenth of July we started for Trail Creek — and went to work on the Centre Star claim.”

Little Joe Moris was born Joseph Maurice, the fifth of ten childen in a Quebec family in 1864.   He left home at age 11 to work as a galley boy on board a boat on the Great Lakes.   He left the boat for kitchen work in a hotel.   When the Canadian Pacific Railwwy was building west, Moris with a partner joined a CPR construction crew, whipsawing lumber.   When three of the crew were killed by Indians, Moris decided he had enough of railroad construction and struck off alone.   With a small donkey carrying his possessions, he showed up in Colville, Washington around 1885 and sought work at the Old Dominion mine.    Moris recalled in a Spokesman-Review story in 1928, that Big Jack Hanley was looking for someone to wriggle into a narrow vein and mine out the high grade silver ore without wasting effort dealing with the waste rock.  Small Joe Moris was just the man he wanted, and hired him on the spot.  For the next five years Moris would work off and on at the Old Dominion, earning enough for a grubstake, then taking off into the mountains with his burro for some amateur prospecting on his own.   He was known as an honest and hard worker, uneducated, but could find work mining whenever he needed funds. Prospecting in the open air, rather than underground mining, was his life and his chosen vocation.  He continued this life of winter mining and summer prospecting until the trip to the Trail Creek Divide with Oliver Bordeaux in 1890.

After the Red Mountain discovery, Moris worked at opening up his and Bourgeois’ claims on Red Mountain until they were able to sell them.   With money in his pocket, Moris then went to Spokane to renew his acquaintance with Miss Rebecca Trego, a schoolteacher from Kansas City.   The pair were married in California  in 1894, and Mrs. Moris taught her husband to read and write. 

For a time the couple lived in Rossland where Moris worked at the Le Roi Mine whose manager, Colonel Peyton, took a liking to him and hired a tutor to help him complete his education.   Moris farmed for a while near Spokane, but prospecting drew him back to Canada.   He joined the Klondike Rush in 1898 and worked and prospected there.   He continued prospecting trips with his wife by air into the Big Bear Lake country of the Northwest Territories, and to camps in Utah, Montana, Idaho and Nevada.   His last prospecting trip was in 1938.   This tough and honest little man died in Spokane Feb. 7, 1964, just short of his 100th birthday.

   

  

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Above, Below, and Through Branches

The first three pictures demonstrate how much a landscape gains in beauty, when branches are being used for framing and are lending support to a given scenery. The last picture is showing the sun piercing through a dense forest with its light being scattered and refracted by snow and ice in the branches. Enjoy.

The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Chapter XXXVII

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Beautiful Rocky Mountains in the Mid 60’s

Staying the Course

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” Blaise Pascal

Peter’s Tug-A-War with Biene

January 6th, 1966 Calgary

My dear Biene,

Tomorrow we write our English exam. Before in a state of utter confusion I write your name on the test paper a thousand times  and fail to write a satisfactory essay, I want to quickly take a big burden off my chest.

I would like to clarify just one more time our present situation for you so you have something to cling to when new challenges arise. I can understand your father’s attitude perfectly well, because he is indeed losing his only daughter. But understanding must not lead to self-sacrifice. I am standing on the left, your parents on the right; you are in the middle and can only go to one.

My dear Biene, let me recount one more time how everything has evolved. Perhaps it will help you. Last summer waiting anxiously for a sign of life from me, you became desperate and asked me to let you come. Did you then openly talk to your parents about our plans to get married? When after work I came home dead tired and often with bleeding hands, when there was no word from the university, then your parents would have perhaps persuaded me to return to Germany. Later on when during my studies one success after another made me feel strong and confident, I believed that it was time to think of your coming to Canada. You didn’t only joyfully agree, but encouraged me in every letter to ask your parents for your hand in marriage. How well they were prepared I found out in your brother’s reply. You too were surprised at the unfriendly reaction and yet should have expected it. Then you became admirably brave and said, ‘I come in spite of it all!’ I remarked to my brother Gerry that they can all respectfully bow their heads before you. That’s how proud I was of you.

Then I waited for a reply, even though it was very difficult for me. Nothing was forthcoming for a very long time. But what did I hear sounding across from England? ‘Don’t wait too long, Peter’. So then I went from the university to downtown Calgary and started the lengthy application process for your immigration. A lot of things had to be done, because they never had a case before, in which a student was going to be the sponsor. While I was doing all this, you were dreaming about our wedding. Is it possible that you wrote nothing about this to your parents? This would have been the simplest thing in the world. For what one writes with calm reasoning, becomes clearer and more distinct in one’s mind than if one had to present the matter face to face. I can only explain your parents’ consternation in the light of their lack of awareness of our wedding plans.

You write that I should apologize to your parents. I read my letter over and over again. I cannot take away one iota. It is correct. If I apologize, your parents will despise me for my weakness. But this does not matter. What is more important that you desire that I apologize and with that you indicate to me – tears are almost welling up at this thought – that you no longer stand completely on my side. For above all, these plans were yours and mine. I gather this from your request not to write about them to your parents. O Biene don’t you see that your battle is already halfway lost!

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Dear Biene, you are so sure about the future, yet you do not dare to tell your parents that you want to marry me this spring. I love you for your big heart in dealing so compassionately with all people. But you must understand that you will hurt your parents a thousand times more if you tell them the full truth only at the end. What will you say to them when the registered letter arrives from the Canadian embassy?

You wrote about the shocking experience of your mother in her youth. Did you notice in regard to us the unintended irony of this tragic event? She was so much in love with her fiancé that she wanted to force her parents by means of a baby to agree to the marriage. Did the thought not cross your mind that you could be at this time in the same situation? And Biene, I have to tell you this; I would have never done ‘it’ under any circumstances no matter how passionately my blood was pulsing through my veins. For then I would have taken your freedom away to follow me to Canada. I do not blackmail, I do not sweet-talk, and neither do I make any promises that I cannot keep.

Decide if you want to come in the spring or if you prefer to stay. in Germany. You know I cannot ask the immigration officials twice. They cannot change the immigration requirements and conditions.  You agreed to them and your parents should know them too.

One more time Fate is anchored within you, not in the time or the circumstances. So write to me soon and openly how things are at your end and how accurately your parents are informed. Forgive me, if I only saw the dark and unexplained content of your letter. Forgive me too, if I used too harsh a word or two and hurt your feelings or if the cold facts gave you pain. But until you can courageously face the present reality, especially when talking to your parents, I will not have a single peaceful moment. Quite frankly our situation appears already doomed to me. Biene, don’t you think a man just like a woman may also prepare himself inwardly for the wedding and may look forward to it? Yet I suffer with a burning fire in my chest tormented by the worries about our future. It cannot go on any longer like this! Make an end to my pain. My heart is longing for an end, happy or unhappy, it does not matter. Do not write any more what sounds nice, but give a true account of how things really are in Velbert, what you have accomplished and how I could help.

You have too much feeling. Oh, if you were already mine!

Your Peter

116Mountain

Biene’s Urgent Plea for Understanding

January 11th 1966, Velbert

My dear Love, I am a bit exhausted and my nerves are on edge. But don’t be afraid. I never lose my confidence and courage, whatever happens. Nothing can prevent me from coming to you.

First I must tell you this. The letter from the Canadian Embassy arrived today! I filled out the form at once and it is now on its way back to Cologne. But Peter, I had to do something you may not understand. But I had to do it to take a burden off my mother’s heart. I have asked the ambassador whether it will be possible to grant me a visa and a work permit for one year, before I will come to you forever. I have arranged with my mother to go to you till Christmas and then come back home to make the final decision. It breaks my mother’s heart. She cannot bear the thought that already this step I am going to do might be the final one. She must get acquainted to this thought by and by. Peter, please understand I have to grant her this favour. I must try everything to leave her at least in the hope that I am not bound to stay with you if I should not be able to stand the new life.

Peter, once together with you, I can reassure her in everything and she will get acquainted to the thought that I will stay with you. Peter, believe me, I only want to do the best and therefore never let doubts enter your heart! I need courage and I only can get it through you, when I know you are not troubled. Look, Peter, I come to you, I think, in April by airplane taking only small luggage with me. Coming back after Christmas I will take everything with me, for then I will stay forever. Peter, understand this change of plans, if the embassy should grant me my wish.

In one point I won’t be able to grant my mother’s wish and that is that I want to get married to you at once. Don’t think that I was not sincere with my parents. O Peter, I was! They knew everything of us for a long time and all the same they reacted like this. I cannot be frank anymore, because the more I tell them, the worse it gets. O Peter, understand my situation. I cannot bear their tears, I cannot see them suffer and they are so downhearted, because they love me so much. Although I love you more than anything in the world, I suffer too with them and I cannot help it and yet I am happy, because I love you. Peter, it is so difficult to understand.

Sometimes I really wish I could hate my parents, because everything would be easier. I have to work because my father won’t give me a penny. Nothing can move him, although I have told him everything. I cannot bear the thought to take our last money you have here. I want to be able to pay at least the fare. Besides I learn a lot. I have nearly the function of a secretary. I have to type, to write letters and to translate many English letters with many difficult technical terms. It is a real good experience for getting a job in Canada. Don’t you think so? Have confidence, Peter, because nothing is hopeless as long as we love each other.

I love you so much! Your Biene

A few days later she added …

My dear Peter, I only now realize with a great shock how my last letter must have created a storm of anxiety in your heart. O Peter, I hope you remained calm at the exam. Peter, I was not aware at all what I had done to you. See, there are so many things that I have to deal with, but yet you must never doubt that I am coming to you. Even my parents know that. They only want to make sure that I keep my freedom as long as possible, because they cannot believe that I will be able to endure life with you in Canada. Nevertheless I am going to be your wife as soon as possible. And when I am with you and my parents sense that I am happy, then they will find it easier to bear the separation. When I come to you without bringing anything, later on we still get eventually something. At least I want to be able to pay for the fare.

Dear Peter, I am asking you now just for one thing, although my letters do not always radiate confidence, you must not lose your trust in me. Unfortunately, I cannot describe everything. It is always way too much. But I love you so much that it would cost me my life, if I didn’t come to you soon.

Your Biene

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Banff – Historical Photo 1966

Peter Strikes a more Conciliatory Tone

January 13th 1966, Calgary

My dear Biene,

Much has been happening on my side, and if you hadn’t written so quickly, I would have sent you a letter anyway in the next couple of days.

Warm thoughts about you flow again through my heart. Although truth sometimes hurts, it is never as cruel as nebulous uncertainty. Many people don’t manage to bear the tragedy of life with assured hearts. They actually prefer to indulge in fuzzy daydreams and attempt to escape the challenges of life. You know now that I don’t belong to this kind of people and would not want to be categorized as such. Dear Biene, please take these philosophical considerations seriously; especially as they relate to our own experiences.

But first of all let me tell you what I think about what you have written and then let me know whether you agree. I would congratulate you very much, if the ambassador would grant your request for a work visa. Please don’t count on a positive response. For he knows the regulations and he cannot change them.  If you cannot support our original plan and wish to spare your mother any more grief, then the only way out is to make a new application from your end.

But now to your plans! Believe me, it would turn out to be a heavy burden for our entire future, if you were going to fly home and then come back after your final farewell. Not even a rich man would throw so much money out of the window and yet at the beginning we will belong to the poorest of the poor. You work and sacrifice your health to pay for the flight, then again you work throughout the summer just to fly back home and would not have any money to fly again. Did your mother not consider that they rob you of your youthful energy, which should be devoted to us both? Is this true motherly love? I really don’t want to get angry again, but I am facing a human puzzle. What grief will you cause all over again, when you have to say your final farewell! And as my wife you will fly back to Germany. Your mother will feel like having been deceived, and I will be disappointed that you rank your love to your parents higher than your care for our challenging start in life here. Your parents want that you can make a free decision. Why not? Here is a new suggestion. I go one more time to the immigration office and ask for an extension of our wedding date so that you can freely decide whether you like it or not. In case you cannot stand it or the strange environment drives you back home, then take my money as much as you need and fly home again. I am prepared to give my word to you and to your parents even in writing if necessary.

The chest with your belongings may be shipped after you have made your decision to stay. Biene. Is this not a good suggestion, if the deadline for our wedding is extended to three months? Would you be so kind and make your parents aware of this proposal? By their reaction you will know if they really want your best or whether they are simply trying to keep you near them for the foreseeable future. They pay nothing for your wedding. Do they also want that you pay for the return ticket? The $500.00 could furnish our apartment or house, if I was going to remain and teach in Calgary. Enough of it!

At Gerry’s family (Fyffe Road) a little baby girl by the name of Jaqueline has been born. My brother voiced his opinion in his humorous manner and said, ‘Now Martha has got what she wanted and hopefully from now on she will let me sleep in peace.’ I had to laugh at the way he said it.

Always in love

Your Peter

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Rocky Mountains 1966

What Biene had Arranged with her Mother

January 14th ,1966,Velbert

My dear Peter,

Finally I can take all your fears away. My mother is looking at my departure in a calm and collected manner, because she now knows – which wasn’t clear to her before – that I can return any time in case of an emergency. She had been in the mistaken belief that I would commit myself to some sort of obligation, which would not allow me to come home so soon. My dear Peter, do not take it as my giving in or as a sign of weakness that I promised my mother to come home for Christmas. That way saying goodbye will not be so difficult. She can now hope to see me again in the not so distant future.

Also she has now gotten used to the idea of us two getting married. Only my father remains unbending. He says that he does not want to cast me out, but he would not financially support me in the least. My dear Peter, this is in complete contradiction of what my parents have promised me in the summer. I can only explain it by their desire to console me in my desperation, but they never counted on all this becoming a reality. I know now that they believed that while I was in England I would take my mind off our plans.

See dear Peter, I gathered from remarks that my father will write you a letter. I hope he will not hurt your feelings. That’s why I prepared you for it. Whatever he may write, don’t let him offend you.

I enjoy my work at Yale & Towne, an American company, located here in Velbert. Because of my knowledge of English, I do a lot of translations of mostly technical nature,  but also take care of my boss’s correspondence. So in a way I perform my duties almost as a personal secretary. Once I am in Canada, I would like to work in an office and later, when we are doing financially well, I would also like to enrol in a university program to obtain at least the lowest possible teaching diploma.

My dear Peter, I only hope that you are calm again and you have forgiven me. Certainly everything will turn out good in the end.

In love,

Your Biene

Albert Scheitzer – Seminar #18

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AS01

Die Geschichte vom Krieg, der Leid bringt und Gutes zerstört

Als Albert und Helene ihr kleines Hospital mit seinen Baracken. Wohnhäuschen und den Operationssaal endlich aufgebaut hatten und jeden Tag kranke Menschen behandeln konnten, brach in Europa ein großer Krieg aus. Später nannte man ihn den Ersten Weltkrieg. In diesem Krieg waren Deutsche und Franzosen nicht Freunde, wie das heute der Fall ist. Die Menschen wurden aufgehetzt, fühlten sich als Feinde und schossen einander tot. Krieg ist das Schlimmste, was den Menschen passieren kann. Deshalb muss man alles tun, um ihn zu verhindern.

Auch für Albert und Helene Schweitzer bedeutete dieser Krieg großes Leid, denn er zerstörte ihr ganzes Lebenswerk. Sie beide waren ja Deutsche. Aber das Land, in dem ihr Hospital stand, gehörte zu Frankreich. Für die Franzosen waren Albert und Helene Schweitzer nun auf einmal Feinde, obwohl sie nichts Böses getan hatten. Im Gegenteil: Sie hatten nun wirklich das Beste getan, was ein Mensch überhaupt tun kann, nämlich anderen Menschen helfen, gesund zu werden. So widersinnig ist eben der Krieg. Jedenfalls befahl ein französischer General, dass die Schweitzers in ihrem selbst erbauten Hospital nicht mehr arbeiten durften. Sie wurden in ihr Doktorhaus eingesperrt und durften es nicht mehr verlassen. Vor dem Haus stand ein Soldat mit einem Gewehr Wache. Der arme Kerl stand während des ganzen Tages in der prallen Sonne und passte auf, dass niemand das Haus verließ. Das tat Albert Schweitzer leid. Er nahm sich ein paar Bretter, eine Säge, Hammer und Nägel und baute ein kleines Wachhäuschen. Das stellte er vor die Tür des Hauses, in dem er eingesperrt war. Dann sagte er dem Soldaten, er solle sich doch hineinstellen, was er auch tat. So war er wenigstens vor der Sonne und dem Regen geschützt. Der einfache Soldat konnte ja ebenso wenig etwas für den Krieg wie Albert Schweitzer und beide waren Menschen, die sich von Natur aus nicht böse waren.

Inzwischen hatten aber die Kranken im Hospital und ihre Familienange­hörigen darüber geklagt, dass sie nicht mehr vom Doktor und seiner Frau behandelt werden durften. Daraufhin ließ der General die beiden Schweitzers doch wieder zu den Kranken.

Doch eines Tages mussten sie doch noch ihre Sachen packen. Der Krieg in Europa war immer schrecklicher geworden. Millionen Menschen waren schon getötet worden und der Hass zwischen den Ländern wurde immer stärker. Albert und Helene Schweitzer wurden als Gefangene auf ein Schiff gebracht und nach Frankreich transportiert. Dort kamen sie in ein großes Gefangenenlager, wo sie hungerten und froren. Beide wurden sehr krank.

Erst als der Krieg zu Ende war, wurden Albert und Helene Schweitzer freigelassen und konnten wieder in ihr Heimatdorf zurückkehren. Dort erfuhren sie, dass Alberts Mutter gestorben war. Sie wurde von deutschen Soldatenpferden umgerannt und hatte sich dabei so schwer verletzt, dass sie starb. Auch Alberts Vater hatte durch den Krieg sehr gelitten und war krank. Das alles war sehr traurig für Albert und Helene. Denn außer ihrem Kummer im Gefangenenlager und im Heimatdorf war nun ihr mühsam erbautes Urwaldhospital ohne Arzt und Schwester. Kein Mensch konnte sich mehr um die Kranken kümmern. Lange würde das Hospital sicher nicht bestehen können.

Wir merken uns:

Krieg ist etwas ganz Böses. In ihm werden unschuldige Menschen getötet oder verletzt und es wird zerstört, was fleißige Menschen vorher geschaffen haben. Jeder Mensch muss deshalb etwas für den Frieden tun und gegen den Krieg sein. Denn es heißt zu Recht: Du sollst nicht töten!

Albert Schweitzer hat gezeigt, dass man auch seine Feinde lieben soll. Sie wissen nämlich oft nicht, was sie tun.

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