On Jan. 23, 1943, my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, (photo in uniform, above) reported to the draft board in Chicago to start his training for WWII. So began the correspondence between him and family & friends, comprising almost 300 letters going both ways. I’m posting many of these World War II letters, each on or near the 70th anniversary of its writing. To start with his induction, click HERE.

This blog began in Nov., 2010, when I posted a century-old love note from Josef Gärtz, my paternal grandfather, to Lisi (Elisabetha) Ebner, my paternal grandmother, and follows their bold decision to strike out for America.

My mom and dad were writers too, recording their lives in diaries and letters from the 1920s-the 1990s. Historical, sweet, joyful, and sad, all that life promises-- and takes away--are recorded here as it happened. It's an ongoing saga of the 20th century. To start at the very beginning, please click HERE.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Not a drop of water

S.S. Blucher-Hamburg America Line built 1902
The ship that brought Johann Koroschetz to America
Thanks to www.norwayheritage.com for image
Johann Koroschetz traveled to Hamburg to board the ship, the S.S. Blucher, destined for America, on August 26, 1908, at the age of thirty-seven. He's the only one of my immigrant grandparents to leave from a port other than Bremen. He arrived on September 6th in New York.

The ship's manifest (I've posted the Ellis Island Passenger record, as it's easier to read) indicates that he was married "W" for "Wed").
It wasn't unusual for a husband to travel alone, and later send for his wife and the children to join him, once he had a job and a better understanding of the new country to which he would be bringing his family. But no family from Europe ever joined Johann, who changed his name to John once settled in.

It seems that John originally settled for a time in Buffalo, New York. I can draw this conclusion based on the postcard below, addressed to Johann Koroschetz (my mom's father) in Buffalo.

This postcard isn't dated, but the contents indicate John had recently left. The photo on the front is of a large group of men, a bicycle at the left, two guys lying on the ground clinking beer glasses and a couple with horns. 

Bicycle Club Postcard addressed to Johann
Koroschetz in Buffalo, NY
The caption at the top says: Greetings from the Workers' Bicycle Club in Hof at Leittaberg [Leithaberge]," a town just a few miles southwest of Vienna, shown by the red dot on the map. 

The writer, tells John that "things are getting worse and worse" back home in Austria. He goes on, "There's almost no water, winter is coming, the weather is already very cold, and once the water freezes, we'll have even less." He then comments: "You guessed it," as if Johann had predicted that things would be getting worse, and he made up his mind to leave. 

If I interpret this postcard correctly, something bad was occurring in Austria, and John had nothing to keep him there, as we'll see next time when we look at the court documents he filed in Chicago, declaring what had happened to his marriage.


Marian Kurz said...

Fascinating, can' wait til the next installment. As a kid I loved the serials at the movies, this one is even better!

Adrienne said...

Your family story, unveiled week by week, gives others with such riches an inspiring model for how to proceed.

Anonymous said...

Wow-Another piece of your family history, meticulously researched. Makes for impressive reading! Katy

Kathy Reed said...

I can't wait to see what happens with his marriage. I'm speculating now . . .