The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Scheibe Family Story

This posts marks the first in my series on research, and as promised I want to start by highlighting a bit of history uncovered while researching my novel, No Other. This is not an attempt to make any political statement. I think we all can agree that the stories of these families are tragic. The only fair statement to be made is that war is horrific on all accounts.

The characters in my book are not based upon any one family, but upon the shared experiences of many.

In the interest of length, I will post a partial excerpt and then the link to the complete story.

The Scheibe Family Story

On the 8th of November, 2002, my brother (Egon Scheibe Jr.) and I (Erika Scheibe Seus) went on a journey to Crystal City, Texas. This was a journey we needed to make. Our parents, Grete Scheibe, now 89, and our deceased father Egon Sr. were internees at a camp there during World War II. After 60 years a reunion was being held. We were among “the children of the camp.” This is a story that needs to be told. It is a part of the history of our family.

My father immigrated to the United States from Kiel, Germany, in the year 1925, at the age of 17. He arrived with his mother and father (a naval architect) and his younger brother Fred. My father attended Cooper Union Art School and became a talented artist. Fred earned his PHD and went on to become a college professor.

My mother, at the age of 10, arrived at Ellis Island with her family in 1924, leaving behind their farm in Bremerhaven. My grandfather was killed at the age 33 in World War I. They were sponsored by relatives, learned English and made a new life here. My parents were active in the German community and met at one of their dances. They were married in 1937 and lived in Brooklyn, New York. I was born a year later.

The war broke out in 1942. On June 15th, the FBI went to my father’s place of business, handcuffed him, interrogated him and took him to Ellis Island. Agents came to the house and searched all our personal belongings. For the next 6 months my mother and I visited my father by ferry. At that time the building was deteriorating and conditions were deplorable. My parents were forbidden to hold hands by the guards.

This same scenario was occurring throughout the United States. Over 11,000 German Americans were being arrested, detained and interned all because of unfounded suspicions. They were denied legal counsel in behalf of their defense. Many were on the FBI’s list because of insinuations, jealous business rivals or hearsay, some because they belonged to various German clubs and organizations.

In December of 1942 our family was sent to an internment camp in Texas for “enemy aliens.”

For the rest go to

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  1. Shawna, ashamed to say, until NO OTHER, I had never heard of these horrors. What a crazy world. Thank you for sharing. May we learn from the past, and may Jesus come quickly :)

  2. Ditto, KM. It amazes me how cruel people can be. Shawna, I commend you for bringing these people's stories to light!

  3. Shawna, I haven't visited here in a while so I'm behind. Is this a real family, or part of the novel? With your link here it looks like a real family.

    I am so pleased to find someone else who knows something of this history! Most people know NOTHING of the persecution of German-Americans in this country. It was every bit as horrible as what happened to the Japanese. But, for some reason, the German story has been suppressed, so most Americans know nothing of it. If you try to tell someone they say, "Oh no, that happened to the Japanese, not the Germans."

    This was a great post, because it tells such an important truth. Thank you!

  4. This is a real family, Warren. The family in my novel is based upon the experiences of families like the Scheibes.

    Warren, that is true about people not knowing. I'm glad to draw awareness. It's important to acknowledge these things.

  5. Hi Shawna. I came a across this post and loved hearing the responses of others reading it. The family you are speaking about is mine. Egon jr is my father and Erika is my aunt. It wasn't until I was taking Master classes at Stony Brook Univ. In LI New York that I became aware that no one knew of this part of history. The class was discussing the cruel actions toward the Japanese. One student asked why not the Italians and Germans. I tried to share my families story but the professor said " just didn't happen." Sad! Pretty big University to be so misinformed.


1970 Olds 442


If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)