Greetings, Good Wishes Sent From Germany

Wald, Katie. "Greetings, Good Wishes Sent From Germany." Emmons County Record, 17 March 1998.

Felix and Katie Wald are pictured in front of their home in Strasburg with part of the group before they departed from Bismark. Left to right are Eugen Schwan, Stefan and Ruth Klotzel, Katie Wald, Emilie Schwan and Felix Wald.

Friends and fellow readers: The following excerpts are from letters I have received from members of the "Choir of the Homeland," of Stuttgart, Germany, who have become so close to me as though we have known each other all our lives. There was just an immediate bond. They were one of us. As you follow through my quotes from their letters, you will realize their mutual feelings.

I could not communicate with these wonderful people from our homeland, Germany, without the help of my dear friend, Helen Krumm of Hague, who wrote the letters in German for me and helped read and explain their letters to me.

"A Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year" are wishes brought to you by Hilde Krohmer from the choir of the Homeland. Hilde expresses her heartfelt thanks for the letter, photos and Christmas wishes as she was very excited to hear from us.

The beautiful memories from North Dakota and all of you will forever stay with us in our memories. You are heartily welcomed by us.

Hilde also sent a beautiful poem "Yahresende" relating to the end of the old year and the beginning of our New Year.

Laurie Illig:

Dear Katie and Felix Wald:

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year.

Sincere thank you for the letter, photos and good wishes you sent me.

We are truly proud of the friendships we made in N.D. Their lifestyle was simple and left us with a good impression, we just cannot forget it.

On June 6, 1998, the Bundestriffen (large gathering of German Russian folk) held at Stuttgart will take place, this is held every two years. We are happy and anxious with the hope of perhaps meeting someone like a neighbor from Russia. Maybe even you dear Katie and dear Felix, it would be nice and we would welcome you with open arms and make it good for what you did for us.

With many greetings to Fr. Leonard and my gast house frau, Rita Gefre.

Holiday Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year and sincere thanks for your greetings.

We still talk a lot about our Tour to America and about our visit with you. It was a big experience.

From the Family Schwan, we got your newspaper, I translated it all into German and gave copies to all the choir members. They were all excited.

Since then my husband, Walter, has been very sick.

With much love and greetings,
your friends
Walter & Elfrieda Moderau

Many thanks for your interesting tour.


In a letter from Lilli Schwerkert: Lilli took her copy of the newspaper to choir practice, the group sent their sincere thanks and heartfelt greetings to all. This issue contained the article about the choir’s visit to Strasburg.

Lilli sends greetings to our neighbor – her gasthaus frau, Delores Kramer. All we saw in America will long stay in our memories.

Many greetings from our choir and leader, Auf Werdereseden.

An answer from you will bring me joy.

With friendly greetings,
Lilli Schwerkert

Dear Felix and Katie,

We wish you everything dear and good for the Christmas fest and a Happy New Year. Many thanks for your greetings and photos.

It would make us happy if we could see each other again, with many greetings from Germany.

Wendelin and Thomas Backer

(Liebe) Dear Family Wald:

I wish you a Merry Xmas and the Best in the New Year. Even when we are far apart, we are still close together, even though we do not see each other. In our mind, when we may have trouble – perhaps in sickness or health; we still have to try to forget and put it out of our mind. (These people endured unexplainable suffering.)

With heartfelt togetherness and friendly greetings,
Helene Esau

Good Day Dear Friends Katie & Felix, your children and friends:

Yes, that was a beautiful, unforgettable time for us by you in N.D. I often watch the video with the band, it was so interesting.

Our choir performed for two Christmas Concerts on December 13 and 14.

On December 20, 1997, we saw Michael Miller – we were really happy to see him.

The weather has been nice for now, but this week it is getting colder.

Many greetings to you and yours – also your neighbors and family – frau Delores Kramer.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year.

Stay healthy and the best of luck.

With sincere greetings,
Erna Schwindt and family

Heartfelt greetings Dear Family Wald,

Having received three wonderful letters from Eugen and Emilie Schwan with holiday greetings, and yes! Felix received birthday greetings and best wishes – what a surprise.

Eugen and Emilie were our houseguests – what wonderful people. Eugen was the photographer of the group, with his video camera, he captured all the points of interest and was making copies for all choir members upon their return to Germany.

Eugen presented us with a large map of the city of Strasburg in the Ukraine. There are still family Walds in the area. Eugen has made contact with some of these Wald families to see if a relation could be traced, but the older generation have gone and the young people don’t know the family history.

The trip (tour) to you in America brought us much joy and new friends. Your wonderful hospitality and friendliness we still always mention when we talk about our tour to America and N.D.

Dear Katie and Felix:

We thank you once again for all your kindness and hope that we can do the same for you some day. You are welcome any time when you come to Germany.

Greetings to everyone in Strasburg, N.D. from us all – also John Gross with his friends, family Vetter and Feist.

The Best dear Katie & Felix
Stay healthy – hope to see you soon (Auf Wedersehen)
Eugen and Emilie Schwan

This letter in particular, I will present to you as I received it – in German and also my translation into English, bear with me – it is much more meaningful when you can say and read it in German.

Dear Katie and Felix Wald in N.D.

First of all, we want to thank you for your warm and loving letter to us. We are still in a daze about our trip to N.D. in the U.S.A. You cannot realize with how much joy we flew to the U.S.A. For us that was a trip around the world, that we in the U.S.A. are permitted to visit Strasburg. That was for me and my wife the biggest gift.

I could feel that – that we arrived home. Sometimes your mind would play games: thinking our elders are coming out of one of these houses. That was just thoughts. That we (our home place Strasburg in March 1944) had to leave and never were allowed to return. We have taken your Strasburg in N.D. in the U.S.A. and locked it in our heart – these people from Strasburg in N.D. for our lost family and friends, that you are actually our people and were so close to us – as these with whom we spent 31 years in Siberia.

We send greetings to all and especially to you and the Family Senger – by whom we lived. They kept us so graciously and treated us as one of their own. We didn’t spend near enough time with you.

Now a little bit about us. After our flight back to our house (home), life went on its own pace. Each one follows his work again. We visited our relatives and the children, and we cannot say enough about you and America.

Now it is Christmas time by us and preparations are at its fullest. Soo – the baking of kuchen and cookies creates the aroma in the house for the fest.

We wish you and all the family a happy Christmas fest and the best of luck in the New Year 1998.

Alex and Lydia Klein with children
Sincere greetings from Marina and family (Marina – their daughter and leader of the Choir of the Homeland, Stuttgart, Germany)

P.S. Lydia Klein and Emilie Schwan sang the duet songs – Oh! So beautiful.

Foot Note:

I hope these excerpts from the letters have meant at least half as much to you as to myself; since I came to be so closely involved with the group for three days.

I shed tears every time I read the letter from Alex and Lydia Klein and take it to heart (what it truly means). It is so sad that we are thousands of miles apart, but in our hearts we are together.

Katie Wald

Reprinted with the permission of the Emmons County Record

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