Paulus Family – A Cry For Help From the Old Country

As I mentioned in previous blogs, my great-uncle Robert Krueger passed away recently.  His daughter Esther has graciously allowed me access to the family archives of photos and other historical materials.  I have been making my way through the boxes and envelopes finding little treasures as I go.  I’d say at least 60% or more of the material is from the family of Robert Krueger’s wife Shirley Paulus.  So if someone from the Paulus, Langsdorf, or Lenz families comes across this blog… let me tell you, there’s a gold mine in some boxes in my kitchen at the moment!  I’ll probably write something about the Paulus family here at some point soon, just to leave a trail for any genealogists who are (or will be) working on that family.

To the point of this blog: I came across something tonight that really moved me, even though it’s not directly from my family.  Shirley’s great-grandfather Heinrich “Henry” Paulus (1829-1905) immigrated to the US from Koblenz, Germany in May of 1868 aboard the “Hansa and Deutschland”.  He left behind his Uncle Philip, and the rest of the Paulus family.  Then WWI and WWII intervened.  In 1946, about a year and a half after WWII ended, the Paulus family who had been left behind in Germany reached out twice to the Paulus family who had immigrated to Wisconsin.  One letter [written by Philip’s son, who was also named Philip] was sent, but the family could not read the German writing and the letter was lost for some time when they took it to be translated.  The second letter, written by Philip Jr.’s daughter Milly Paulus Zeckler (born about 1900), reached the family from Wetzlar, Gross-Hessen, Germany.  I’m attaching it here because it is a moving, evocative bit of history.  It tells of the situation of the German people between WWI and WWII in a way I’ve not seen written about before.

[NOTE: You can click on each picture to enlarge it or download it.]

Envelope Front

Envelope Front

Envelope Back

Envelope Back

Zeckler Letter, page 3

Zeckler Letter, page 1

Zeckler Letter, page 2

Zeckler Letter, page 2

Zeckler Letter, page 3

Zeckler Letter, page 3

The family tried writing back, but their letters were returned.  Finally, 11 years later in 1957, Henry Paulus (grandson of Heinrich) wrote another letter reaching out to the family still living in Germany.  I don’t know if that letter was received, or if the two branches of the family ever did get in contact.  I’ll ask Esther about it and report back here when I post the second letter.

About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

One response to “Paulus Family – A Cry For Help From the Old Country

  • Dave

    Wow, how frustrating it must have been to not know for years if a letter even reached someone in another modern country. We are blessed (yet impatient) with today’s instant communication, and, of course, the “paradise” that is Wausau, Wisconsin. It’s quite a reminder that most things are perceived in the context of recent experiences.

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