Johann Hermann Recht History -this is an account that has evolved significantly from what began as an oral history related to Mark Rabideau by Luise (Senger) Rabideau (Hermann Recht’s grand daughter) on 9 Jan 2006; today this history is augmented with numerous additions and amendments from Mark Rabideau’s subsequent research as well as family information and stories from Otto Wedhorn family descendants most notably Frieda (Wedhorn) Mimietz.
- Hermann Recht was born as Johann Hermann Recht on 16 June 1869 in Zeyersniederkampen, Westpreussen. To date, we have not found his birth record.
- Johann Hermann Recht’s parents were:
Father: Samuel Ferdinand Recht (Hofbesitzer of Zeyersniederkampen) and
Mother: Henriette Schepansky (Caroline Henriette Sczepanski of Ellerwalde)
- Hermann Recht’s Hussar (Gala uniform) photo is from his military time in Stolp, Pommern (Pomerania). We believe him to be about 20 years old in the photo (below).
- Based upon his military photo, we are reasonably certain he was stationed in the military garrison in Stolp, Pommern between the years of 1888-1891. Although research into the military garrison church records of Stolp have produced no clues or information regarding Hermann Recht.
- Hermann is said to have come from a very poor family in Zeyersniederkampen. Although, we have no record aside from Hermann’s marriage document indicating that his parents actually lived in the area covered by the Zeyer ev. Church- which would have included both Zeyersniederkampen and Ellerwald at that time.
- According to family traditional, after Hermann returned home from his military service, he was once again sent away from home, this time to make his fortune; his plan, it is said, was to go to Russia along with his brother (name unknown) and settle with the Germans there. On his journey, Hermann stopped at the Kunz farm just after the owner/ father, August Kunz, was buried. Hermann took this opportunity to marry Auguste Kunz (the farmer’s daughter). They were married in Neuteicherwalde, Westpreussen 10 March 1891. Note: It is unlikely that this story is accurate: August Ferdinand Kunz died 4 years in advance of the Recht-Kunz marriage; he died on 25 April 1887. Also to date, we have no evidence of Hermann having had any siblings. (Research continues!)
- Upon his marriage to Auguste Kunz, Hermann assumed all Kunz family property rights and embarked on a disastrous program which ultimately ended in the loss of all Kunz wealth and lands. Hermann and his family ultimately ended up holding a small piece of land in Pietzkendorf Westpreussen (near Ladekopp). Based upon children’s birth records, it is believe that the family moved to Pietzkendorf no later than December 23 1893 (the date of their son’s (Ernst) birth in Pietzkendorf).
- Frieda (Recht) Senger- his daughter- had little respect for her father; she viewed him as being an angry, mean person without business-savvy.
- Ella and Frieda (geb. Recht) complained that Hermann Recht liked to order his daughters around. He was seen as very controlling.
- Frieda and Ella Recht married in the same year (1920) because Hermann Recht wanted them to get out of the house.
- Hermann’s oldest daughter Erna, however, never got married and left his house to work on the farm of a “rich” Mennonite. Frieda Wedhorn said that her Tante Erna was very religious who maybe tried to take her directions not from Hermann Recht but directly from Jesus Christ. During WW2, Erna lived and worked on the Senger farm.
- Regarding Otto Recht’s short life (7 months), it is thought that Hermann Recht apparently wanted more sons and so he did not give his wife Auguste (geb. Kunz) any time to recover after the birth of their third daughter Frieda Auguste. As a result, Otto was sickly and did not survive.
- Auguste Kunz (Hermann’s first wife) died an invalid in 1916 after a prolonged illness (gout-Gicht). She had been bed ridden for years prior to her death. Based upon Auguste’s death record information, it seems likely that her mother Elisabeth Kunz geb. Albrecht assisted in Auguste’s care prior to Auguste’s death.
- Hermann remarried some years after his first wife’s death.
- The Wedhorn kids actually liked to be at Hermann Recht’s farm because he never put as much pressure on them as he obviously did on his daughters.
- His second wife’s name was Else Auguste Recht (geboren Nahme / maiden name Ekrut).
- She is said to have once been a consort of the Kaiser.
- Frieda geb. Wedhorn recounts that Frieda geb. Recht once held a temporary job near Danzig. While in Danzig, Frieda Recht visited Fräulein Else Auguste Ekrut, before Else’s marriage to Herman Recht (as his 2nd wife). Frieda attempted to talk Else out of this marriage, without success. Much to the surprise of Hermann’s daughters, Else Auguste did not let herself be ordered around by Hermann Recht. Once, she even walked out on him. Hermann had to travel to Danzig to get Else to come back.
- Else Auguste Recht, reportedly, never went out to work on the fields. Instead, she took care of the house, milked the cows and was an excellent cook.
- Else’s brother Wilhelm Ekrut was a “Baumeister” in Danzig (it is thought that he either was an architect or owned a building company), constructing one- or two-family houses in a district or suburb of Danzig. Wilhelm himself supposedly lived in one of those houses and Else Auguste lived there, as well, before she married Hermann Recht and came to live in Pietzkendorf. Frieda Wedhorn also remembers that Wilhelm Ekrut and his wife Emma (maiden name unknown; she is the woman in black who is on Hermann Recht’s 1939 birthday photo) had a car, which at that time was fairly significant.
- Else’s death/ disappearance:
- Otto Wedhorn reportedly said that after the end of WW2, when the Soviets turned governmental administration in Westpreußen over to the Poles and ethnic Germans were being expelled from Poland, Else Auguste Recht (geb. Ekrut?) did not flee with the remaining members of the Wedhorn family to Fichtenwalde, near Berlin. Rather than joining Otto Wedhorn’s sisters in Fichtenwalde, she is believed instead to have fled to Danzig where she likely still had family or friends. It was at this time the Wedhorns lost contact with her.
- Another family story reports that Soviet occupation troops “beat, assaulted and threw Else into the Nogat river” near the Senger farm in Zeyersvorderkampen, Westpreussen.
- As for Hermann’s fate… One account has it that he was found dead in April 1945 by some fisherman on a side branch of the Nogat River with a stone tied around his mid-section. Another account reports that he died after trying to rescue his Else Auguste from the Nogat River (after Soviet soldiers had attempted to drown her). This story might align with another in which Else reportedly appeared at the Wedhorn home in Orlofferfelde after his death, in April 1945; Else was completely distraught and in shock following Hermann’s death. Shortly after appearing on the farm Else is reported to have fled the area.) Was Hermann murdered? Did he commit suicide? Neither option would have been uncommon at that time and place for an old man whose world had been destroyed. Perhaps some combination of all or none of the stories are true.
- What we do know is that no official or unofficial investigation or inquiry was ever undertaken. Hermann Recht was, after all, just an old, lonely, unwanted, ethnic German; and an investigation into the death of someone like that was not something to be wasted by the allied (Soviet & Polish) authorities newly in control of Zeyervorderkampen.
- Hermann’s body was taken and buried on the former Senger lands by Richard Senger.
- The true fate of Hermann Recht will, almost certainly, never be known.
- His official date of death is 24 April 1945
- Hermann is believed buried in an unmarked grave on the old Senger farm in Zeyer (today owned by the Bednarcyzk family).
- Currently we are seeking additional, official, information regarding Hermann Recht’s death in Zeyer (circa 1945).
- We are also seeking information on the death of Else Auguste Recht (Hermann’s second wife).
Hermann Recht Family Images
Hermann Recht Family Documents