60 Years Ago Today


Thursday, 24 July 1952:

At 8 a.m. I had breakfast which included two rolls, jam, two boiled eggs, and hot milk for 1.23 marks. Helen and Margaret had made hats for all of us. There was quite a hub-bub over this! We sang Come, Come Ye Saints to celebrate Pioneer Day and played a volleyball game after breakfast.
Then we went back down to Stuttgart where we saw the remains of the royal palace. In front of a street side café we picked up the kids who had gone to town earlier. Andre parked the bus in Hauptbahnhoff, the train station, and then everybody went shopping for 45 minutes.

Mrs. Hansen and I inquired about Gartenschau at the information center, but it was 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back. I guess we will have to forego that pleasure. So we got a map of Munchen while there and tried to find out about what was going on.

I went across the street to the big station to look around. I found book shops, snack bars, and keno, a bingo type gambling game. We ate hamburgers and donuts from a military restaurant with Jerry, Carol’s cousin. We had a picnic on the bus to celebrate July 24th.

As we left Stuttgart on the super autobahn, we were allowed to go any speed our bus could take us. Once again there were more red roofed villages on either side of the autobahn. As we left the Black Forest, there were big fields of cabbage on fairly level farm land. It was grain harvesting time. I observed men loading grain bundles on a big new truck in one field, tractors pulling a wagon in another field, and horses and wagons in many other fields. Everyone was working with the men including women in dresses, boys, and girls wearing skirts.

Our drive took us into Wurtlemberg, Germany, as we were heading towards Bavaria. In the bus we discussed how Bavarians were said to be poetic and musical, but not philosophical. Also how the Danube River geographically borders between Bavaria and Wurtlemberg. In Ulm we were in two hotels with 19 people in one hotel and the rest in another hotel.

Then we stopped at Ulm Münster which was a Lutheran German church built between 1377-1494. It had been the tallest structure in the world until the 20th century New York skyscrapers were built. I had to walk back a block just to get a picture of it.

Afterwards, we hurried over to Woolworths which was just like the Woolworths in America. I bought a package of combs for 65 marks. I almost got run over getting back across the street to the church for a tour.

While waiting we learned that the stain glass windows on the sides of the church were shattered during the bombing raids in World War II. As a result the windows were replaced with ordinary windows. However, the windows on the church ends were still intact. Though only part of the stain glass windows on one side was visible since the big pipe organ was high above the entrance.
Next was the baptismal font and statue of Bach and Martin Luther. This church was now called Münster and had been taken over by the Protestants. I spotted plaques in memory of the officers and men soldiers that had fallen in all the various wars.

After the church some G.I.s guided us over to Rommel’s house where there was road construction. His house looked just like it did in the movie Desert Fox where the director of the movie was a prisoner of war for three to four years in Russia. The house was now used as a rest home for convalescent children called Kinderkurkeim. The children there sang for us. And they wanted us to sing for them so we sang Home on the Range. Then we all sang Guten Nacht or good night together. One doctor commented that “This is much better than fighting.”

Utahns Visit Grave of General Rommel

Editor’s note; This is another letter from Mrs. Afton A. Hansen of Provo touring Europe with a group of Utah College students.

Dear friends,

The eve of July 24 was spent at a rest home for old ladies which was beautifully situated in a wooded area. Here, a most delightfully lovely girl from Stuttgart, name of Sigrid Schael visited with us. Some of you may remember her being in Pleasant Grove, Cedar City, Provo and Logan at a 4-H Club convention.

With newspaper caps on our heads, and singing appropriate songs, we traveled to Ulm where the tallest Gothic cathedral majestically stands.

This July 24 culminated in a touch of reverence. Three fine GI’s located here with the Army directed us to the home were Field Marshal Erwin Rommel of the German Army, lived prior to his death in 1944. You may remember the story of his bravery as told in the picture show, The Desert Fox. His grave is well-cared for. Standing around it we heard in quiet tones the story of his bravery and foresight and in solemnity paid tribute to him.

His home is now a city-owned convalescent home for 80- to 90 children who were returning from a hike as we came out of their temporary home. After a few greetings from the doctor, the children arranged themselves on the doorsteps and sang several German songs to us. Asking for a song in return we sang Home on the Range.

They loved it so we sang Gute Nacht and they joined in. Sweet harmonious emotion was felt as we ended by saying “Gute” and they said “Nacht.” The doctor nodded his head and said, “Yes, and this is as it should be, good harmony together.”

This doctor, a short time previously had returned from three years in a Russian concentration camp and had nothing good to say about it.

Afton Hansen.

A little way off in the town of Herrlingen, about 5 km from Ulm, was Rommel’s grave. It was a simple headstone in the shape of a swastika. As we trekked back to town, we went past a field full of tractors.

Half of the group stayed at the Gasthaus zum Fuchs Hotel. I entered through the dining room and then on to room five. It had polished floors and was nice and clean. There was a big feather tick on only one of our beds and the window opened on the front street which had road repairs going on.

Alicia ordered a meal for me as I hurried fast and washed my hair in cold water. I ate dinner in my room of breaded veal and trimmings for 2.50 marks plus 10%. Afterwards, Alice and Eloise each had a bath for a little under 2 marks. They had to let the hotel know in advance so they could heat the water.

After getting ready we were off to the movies. MPs or military police stopped us and we found out that keno started at 8 p.m. So the police told us where the Service Club was. We wandered around the deserted streets for awhile, looking at bombed out buildings. It was chilly outside so I was so glad I brought my coat. Then we went into a large Catholic Church just before it closed.

Then we strolled around again in a circle to the Service Club. There I bought military script from a service man and then I indulged in pie à la mode and banana split with pie instead of the banana. It was so good.

After we discovered the game room and dance hall above. The place was almost empty since it was near closing time. The hostess was hospitable to all of us, but after awhile we headed back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.



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