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Midland Red
Cherwell
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1 of 23  Tue 9th Jul 2013 8:50am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5664

In Berlin stands the ruins of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and inside is a Cross of Nails from Coventry Cathedral
German connections
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
2 of 23  Tue 9th Jul 2013 9:33am  
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Close to the centre of Berlin is a little-publicised Berlin Wall Memorial, near to Nordbahnhof s-Bahn station. In addition to remains of the wall and a visitor and document centre is a cast of the "Reconciliation" sculpture - another copy of which can be found in Coventry Cathedral
German connections
JohnnieWalker
Bonny Hills, Australia
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3 of 23  Wed 10th Jul 2013 1:12am  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:336

This brings back memories of a very unusual day in Cologne in 1979. I had been living in Australia for six years, working in urban and regional analysis, and I'd been awarded a French Government scholarship to spend six months studying urban and regional planning in France. This involved travelling around France with a group of mature students, mostly practicing architects or planners from Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Of course, French was the language of the course, and we all spoke French both during the course and socially. The course schedule took us to Cologne, where we were to be hosted by the city council and shown how cross-border planning issues were dealt with. The day didn't start well, as the Germans refused to give their presentations in French, but were happy to speak English. I therefore had to translate all their presentations into French, for the benefit of the others in the course, as well as the course organisers, who had travelled with us. Our German hosts then provided us with a lunchtime cruise on the Rhine, during which I was seated with them - they understood that I was an Aussie, and the conversation began with chat about my home in Canberra. The Lady Mayoress then described all the changes that had taken place along the Rhine since WWII, saying "You wouldn't believe what this area looked like at the end of the war". I replied that I probably could understand, but at first she insisted - "No-one could POSSIBLY understand, unless you had lived through it" - until I explained that I was born in Coventry in 1947 and spent my childhood with burned out homes and businesses still littering the city. She then leaned across the table, tears welling up in her eyes, and hugged me. A very special moment for us both -- and beautifully depicted by the Reconciliation Sculpture shown here.
True Blue Coventry Kid

German connections
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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4 of 23  Wed 10th Jul 2013 3:35am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3576

Well that's what it is all about JW, thank you for your post. Wave
German connections
TonyS
Coventry
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5 of 23  Wed 10th Jul 2013 8:04am  
Member: Joined Jan 2011  Total posts:1568

A very moving story JW, thank you for sharing.
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Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
6 of 23  Wed 10th Jul 2013 10:18am  
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Completely agree Thumbs up
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Freeman
Hereford
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7 of 23  Tue 23rd Jul 2013 4:54pm  
Member: Joined May 2013  Total posts:37

Johnnie Walker, I have been reading your little piece on your visit to Cologne, and I too had a very moving episode in that city. We were there for a cruise in 2007, going up the Moselle and as far as Rudeshiem. Whilst waiting for the return coach we had time to do a little sightseeing, and just a short distance away was being held an open market, were all kinds of thing were on display. I wanted some early postcard photos from a stall that a lady was holding and found what I wanted. Then followed a short conversation in the small amount of German I knew, but when we got round to the devestation in the photo's of Cologne, we went further to mention Coventry. The lady then got quite upset and could not speak for a few minutes. After which she came round the stall, hugged me and wife, and presented me with the photo's free of charge. I was able to get her to take payment in the end, but not until after some persuading. In continuing our sightseeing, we went and found a very large square in Cologne which must have been like their central walking/meeting place. Set on a large plinth was a series of very large bronze statues. These were probably past generals, and leading German famous figures such as Bismark, Sharnhorst, etc. What caught my eye was the statues were peppered with holes and ragged tears, still visible, with what I assumed was the results of the RAF bombing during the war. So pleasing however to visit the church which escaped nearly unharmed. I was born in 1938, evacuated out to Kenilworth,and witnessed Coventry, running up to war ending, and the terrible state that Coventry was in, and the recovery that followed. I hope this may be of interest to you.
Jim. Walton

German connections
JohnnieWalker
Bonny Hills, Australia
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8 of 23  Wed 24th Jul 2013 12:09am  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:336

Hi Freeman I guess that it is a relief that empathy like we have both experienced can emerge after a war. The inhumanities that were committed by the leaders of both sides in the war can be rationalised as wartime necessities, but it is always ordinary people that suffer worst of the consequences. Reparation can eliminate most of the visual damage, but only a hug can heal the psychological damage.
True Blue Coventry Kid

German connections
NeilsYard
Coventry
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9 of 23  Tue 30th Jul 2013 6:55am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2692

I have a German family connection in Coventry.......... my great/great/great (x3!) grandmother was German though we have no idea how come she came to be in Coventry in the early 19th century. Freeman - there's also a similar connection to the war as my dad was evacuated to Kenilworth from Coventry. He was born in '37 and my grandfather was here as a reserved occupation engineer. My grandfather had happened to mention to a work colleague that he had a family - the colleague immediately told them to get out to Kenilworth with the then three children and they lived in Lower Ladyes Hill. Sadly dad's little brother died there from pneumonia but I always think of him when I'm regularly in Kenilworth and the house is still there. My mum is still in touch with the son of the family who was the same age as my dad and who became good friends though dad passed away 10 years ago and I visited the house many years ago before they sold it.....
German connections
NeilsYard
Coventry
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10 of 23  Sun 1st Sep 2013 11:58am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2692

Following on from comments on other threads I've long been keen to know anything about any possible German Communities living in Coventry. This follows research in to my Great Great Great (x3!) Grandmother who was called Gertrude Rutter. All I know so far is that her daughter Emma (my Great-Great Grandmother) was born in Coventry circa 1852. She married my Great Great Grandfather George who was 34 years older than her (!!) and for a while they were Landlord and Lady of the Turks Head in Silver Street. Gertrude is recorded as living with Emma and we know we know she was German. But how did a German lady come to be in Coventry around the early to mid 19th century? I'm sure it was something the family kept quiet about into the early 20th century but its always intrigued me? For interest this is my Emma my G-G Grandmother in what we presume is a Coventry photographers with who we think is George my Great grandfather (though he did had two brothers). George was born in 1877 so we think this photo would have been around 1880'ish.........
German connections
NeilsYard
Coventry
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11 of 23  Wed 26th Feb 2014 2:51pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2692

This could have gone in the Triumph thread but I thought this more appropriate......... Interesting stuff as we're in to the WW1 outbreak centenary.... BBC WW1 at Home I cannot imagine how he felt with the rise in Anti-German hatred. It makes me also wonder about my relation as per my earlier post.
German connections
Prof
Gloucester
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12 of 23  Sun 31st Aug 2014 3:04pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1495

The German connection is interesting Neils Yard. When you mentioned could have gone on Triumph thread, I am assuming you know about Siegfried Bettmann, entrepreneur who came from Bavaria (Nuremburg) and founded the Triumph works. He lived in Stoke Park a house known as Elm Bank and was mayor of Coventry. In W W 1 he was blackballed by members of the Council as a German. My great-aunt was his cook prior to her marriage. Perhaps he was the best known German in Coventry but there could well have been others. Between the wars there was a better relationship between the two countries and after WW2, as we all know, Coventry was in the lead to restore friendship and help to heal the wounds.
German connections
NeilsYard
Coventry
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13 of 23  Sun 31st Aug 2014 6:09pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2692

Yes Prof - click on the link in my earlier post and the BBC footage is all about Mr Bettmann. I've noticed from the sign in the Memorial Park in the German Peace Garden - theres a credit to the Coventry German circle? I might contact them - anyone heard of them at all? Edited by member, 31st Aug 2014 6:11 pm
German connections
Prof
14 of 23  Mon 1st Sep 2014 8:04pm  
Off-topic / chat  

NeilsYard
Coventry
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15 of 23  Tue 2nd Sep 2014 12:51pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2692

Cheers Prof - got the address - I'll give them a go! Cheers
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