Tag: Nickenich

INVITATION TO NICKENICH

Wonderful news! We have been invited by Herr Gottfried Busch, Mayor of Nickenich, to visit during May 2016.  Joe Stirling was born in Nickenich and named Günter Stern in 1924.  His parents are still remembered by some older residents and their only son is held in high esteem.  The plan is to load the car up with copies of Escaping Hitler and give an evening presentation to village residents complete with a book signing. I will work with a translator. During the trip we hope to arrange a similar event in near-by Koblenz, now twinned with Norwich, and to where Gunter and his mother fled on the morning following Kristallnacht in 1938. I will shortly be contacting the Norwich-Koblenz Friendship Association to discuss the possibilities. 

I could not be more excited by the invitation and would like to thank Herr Busch and Jutta Hansen for setting up this opportunity to ‘take Gunter’s story home to Nickenich’.  Keep following this blog and ‘liking’ the Facebook page for updates on the publication journey and book signings during the New Year.

Mayor of Nickenich
Mayor of Nickenich
Joe's home village from the air
Joe’s home village from the air

Stories from Nickenich

This is a huge thank you to my friend Jutta Hansen from Nickenich, Joe’s birthplace in the Rhineland, who has been to speak with ninety-year old Maria Becker.  Maria was a child in the village when Joe was living there and went to the same school. She has told Jutta some lovely anecdotal stories about life in the village.  Apparently Günter (Joe’s birth name) was considered a very clever lad at school, so much so that the other pupils all tried to copy his notes in class tests!  More stories will feature in the early chapters of his biography….. meantime some lovely old postcards of Nickenich for you to enjoy.

Old postcards from Nickenich
Old postcards from Nickenich

Postkarte_Nickenich_Jaeger

News from Nickenich

I am so excited about a new research lead that I have to share it with you straight away!  A week ago Joe received a call out of the blue which led to a flurry of emails between a lovely doctor called Hubert  in north Germany who it turns out was born in Nickenich.  His father, Heinz was in the same school class as Joe and that the two boys were friends.  Hubert’s mother, Maria Becker is now in her eighties but remembers little Günter and his parents well. This morning I received some wonderful old photos from Hubert.  Here is one of his grandfather Peter Saftig (the taller and younger of the two on the mowing machine).  This is from the 1930s.  Apparently Peter would regularly go to the local pub to play Skat, the German national card game, with Günter’s father Alfred, presumably after a long day in the fields or at the Cattle market!  I will not reveal any further touching memories from Nickenich at this stage – I don’t want to spoil the book for you!  But I am exceedingly grateful to Herr Doktor Becker for his generosity in sharing his parents’ memories with me and Joe.Mowing the fields in Nickenich