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 http://www.gaic.info/real_scheibe.html
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