Because of the great shortage of information and histories associated with the expulsions of Germans from Eastern Europe after World War 2, I am placing a call to anyone willing to share their family story with others.
Please contact me (use our contact page) with any histories that you may have from family members or elsewhere that involve the expulsion, flight or ethnic cleansing of Germans following the second world war. I will place the information you send (assuming it is not politically motivated) on the internet for others to view and share.
It is my hope to contribute a bit of our past in order to help others understand the unacceptability of and horrors associated with ‘ethnic cleansing’.
By Dr. Alfred de Zayas -The main speaker at the premiere of the documentary travelling exhibition ” In the Claws of the Red Dragon” in Pittsburgh [in 1999], organized in cooperation with Dr. Marianne Bouvier and B. John Zavrel,was Dr. Alfred de Zayas, a prominent expert in international law; he is an American of Spanish-French descent. After law school at Harvard, de Zayas went to Germany on a Fulbright fellowship, took doctorate in History at the University of Goettingen. He works as a legal consultant in New York and Geneva, Switzerland, and is the author of several books dealing with the subject of the Expulsion of Germans in Europe. More
Der folgende Bericht beruht auf Datenunterlagen des letzten Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Elbing Dr. Fritz Leser (in einigen Dukomentationen auch Dr. Hans Leeser genannt); Oberst a.D. Schöpfer dem letzten Kommandanten von Elbing und von Oberleutnant Curth Günther. Die Aufnahmen stammen aus russischen Wochenschauen. More
Alfred Neubert, Hannoversch Münden, Burgstraße 15/16, den 18. August 1946
23. Januar bis 10. Februar 1945
Die Verteidigung Elbings war voraussichtlich gedacht als eine vorgeschobene breitangelegte Sicherung der linken Flanke der Weichsellinie mit linker Anlegung an das Frische Haff, rechts angelehnt an die Verteidigungswerke von Marienburg. Die Stellung Elbings im gesamten Verteidigungssystem wurde als “Brückenkopf Elbing” bezeichnet. – Der um Elbing beabsichtigte Bogen der Verteidigungslinie war weit vorgeschoben, sollte z. B. bei Dörbeck, Rakau und die entsprechenden Entfernungen nach rechts fortgesetzt führen über Grunau-Höhe, Anschluß an den Drausensee finden und über Kerbswalde, Grunau-Niederung zum Anschluß nach Marienburg führen. More
Fast ein Kuriosum ist ein Teil der Geschichte der evangelischen Kirche von Zeyer. Als am 22. Januar 1920 der Kreis Großes Werder amtlich wurde, befand sich das Dorf Zeyer im Freistaat Danzig, während die Kirche und die Kirchenhäuser mit ca. 35 Bewohnern auf Elbinger Gebiet lagen. Die Nogat bildete die Grenze und die Kirche lag ja auf dem rechten Nogatufer, damit also im Elbinger Landkreis. Allerdings, und das ist auch bemerkenswert, lag das Pfarrhaus im Dorf Zeyer! More
I have just posted new documents covering the subject of German Expulsions following World War 2. Although the subject is a touchy one, politically; it is an important subject with respect to the millions of people who lost their homes and were expelled (“Ethnically Cleansed”) following the defeat of Germany in 1945.
Auszüge aus dem Text von Charlotte Kaufmann (used within terms of Fair Use)
Die schlimmste Zeit meines Lebens begann vor etwas mehr als 60 Jahren,genau im Januar 1945. Auch nach dieser langen Zeit sind die Narben nicht verheilt. Die Auswirkungen sind bis heute spürbar. Dieses Schicksal teile ich mit hunderttausenden Frauen und Mädchen aus den deutschen Ostgebieten, die noch vor Kriegsende vom russischen NKWD (Volkskommissariat für innere Angelegenheiten; zuständig auch für Angelegenheiten der Kriegsgefangenen und Internierten) verhaftet und dann zur Zwangsarbeit nach Russland verschleppt wurden. Dort mussten wir stellvertretend für das ganze deutsche Volk Reparationsleistungen erbringen unter unmenschlichen Bedingungen. Wir zahlten mit unserem Körper und unserer Seele für ein Verbrechen, an dem wir nicht beteiligt waren. More
Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions we have had to make numerous history pages private. In deference to the author’s copyright, we are unable and unwilling to publicly share any information we obtain directly from Peter Gagne’s outstanding works. We do this out of respect for his outstanding efforts on our behalf. Quite frankly without his work, we would miss a significant body of knowledge regarding a significant portion of our early forebears in Canada.
For those who thought that WW2 was long over, a rude reminder of its horrors and brutality have once again surfaced in the former home of our Senger family. In just the past year, more than 2000 people were found buried in a mass grave. It is thought that all were killed/ died at the war’s end.
Richard Senger was a successful German farmer (Landwirt) in West Prussia. He worked and cared for his family’s farm with the help of his wife (Frieda), children (Luise & Erich), his brother Rudolf (Onkel Rudolf, known simply as Onkel) and his sister-in-law Erna Recht (Tante Erna).
The homestead and lands had been in the Senger family since before 1893; when the home was built by Richard’s father and mother, Michael & Adelgunde Senger. The Senger farm was located on the banks of the Nogat River in Zeyervorderkampen (Kreis Elbing in Grosses Werder). At the time of the establishment of Freie Staat Danzig in 1920, the farm was the first farm inside of the Polish corridor as defined by the victorious allies of WW1.
Richard inherited the farm from his parents (Michael and Adelgunde) in 1920, the year of his and Frieda’s marriage. The 50 hectare Senger farm grew apples, cherries, plums, sugar beets, rye, and raised ducks, chickens, cows, pigs. During the Second World War, additional crops were grown as a requirement of the German government, these included rapeseed, poppies and wheat.
Both Erich and Luise were born on the farm; Erich in 1921 and Luise in 1923. Their births occurred during the hyper-inflation years of the Weimar Republic. The hyper-inflation was so bad in 1923 that it cost Richard and Frieda and entire wheelbarrow full of money to purchase a pacifier for Luise.
Luise and Erich were baptized at the Zeyer Evangelishe Kirche (Lutheran); Herr Doebel was Luise Senger’s godfather. Later Herr Doebel became an early member of the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei (NSDAP, Nazi); ultimately he was to become disillusioned and was imprisoned for his opposition to the NSDAP. It is believed that he served more than 5 years for his opposition (we continue to seek hard information on this event).
From the age of 14, Luise Senger lived with her Onkel Robert and Tante Olga in Elbing on 58 Wasserstrasse (today: Wodna 58, Elbląg, Elblag, Polska) . In Elbing, she attended the Elbing Handelsschule. Robert & Olga Senger owned a small Gasthaus and store on the waterfront of the port of Elbing. Luise had a small room above the Gasthaus. The Senger Gasthaus had 4 guest rooms and was described as being ‘plain’ but friendly. During her years in Elbing at the Handelsschule, Luise used to take long walks to a nearby park (in the city); this is where she watched and ultimately met some of the musicians and other members of the ‘artists’ community who befriended her. Some of these same “artists” were to protect Luise when they met once again, this time in Munich during the final collapse of the Third Reich.
“Onkel Robert and Tante Olga” were the family’s city dwellers. Throughout Luise’s youth, Luise and Erich Senger used to “smuggle” small amounts of food (fruit, wheat etc) from the Senger farm to Onkel Robert’s family, so as to avoid paying taxes to the government. One time, Onkel Robert reversed the trend and sent a bunch of bananas to the Richard Senger family in Zeyervorderkampen as a treat; Luise refused to even try the bananas; she had never seen anything like them before!
During the first years while Luise was living with Onkel Robert’s family in Elbing, her cousin Erika and Erika’s husband (Otto Grawert) and their son Karl-Otto came to live with the Robert Senger family. The Grawert’s came from their home on the Dutch border on a doctor’s recommendation. Erika, Robert and Olga’s daughter, had a severe case of TB and the cold, moist air of Elbing was supposed to help her heal. Erika especially enjoyed the Gasthaus and the customers who frequented it. She and Luise became very close friends.
From 1937 through much of the second world war (WW2), the Richard Senger farm was quite successful. The daily routines continued; the work was hard and the crops were quite good.
During the war years, the Sengers were required to host English prisoners of war. One PoW stayed the entire war; his name was Tommy (last name unknown). He had been captured at Dunkirk and arrived in Zeyervorderkampen at the age of 17. Tommy remained with the Sengers up until the time the Russians took possession of the farm in 1945. He escaped just ahead of the advancing Soviets and Poles by foot towards the North Sea (following the route recommended to him by Richard Senger).
Once the war began, Richard’s son, Erich, fought in the Deutsche Luftwaffe as a rear-gunner in a Stuka. He fought and was shot down on both the Eastern (including Georgia and Stalingrad) and Western (France) fronts. In 1944, Erich was taken prisoner by the British when his plane was shot down over France (it is believed). By the early 1940′s Richard’s daughter, Luise, was a administrative aide and Lieutenant in the Luftwaffe, ending the war assigned to Luftkommando 7 München (air defense Munich).
With all of Zeyer’s young people at war, the farm was managed and operated by the two ‘closest’ Senger brothers (Richard and Rudolf) and Richard’s wife Frieda and Frieda’s sister Erna. Finally in March/ April 1945, the family lands and property were confiscated by the Russians.
composite of verbal stories related by Luise Senger Rabideau to her children Linda & Mark
Pierre Tremblay, ancestor to the largest french- canadian family was originally from Randonnay, in Perche Normandy. Only head of family with that name who came from France, he is the ancestor to all Tremblay families in America. More
Swiss blood runs in your veins. In fact, Pierre Miville, your ancestor, was born in 1602 at Fribourg in Switzerland. Married there in 1629, he crossed over to Canada in the spring of 1649 with his wife and six children. He received a grant of land on the coast of Lauzon across from the Plaines of Abraham, today near Patton road in the parish of Saint-David- de-l’Auberivière. More
He was in Canada in 1636 and in 1641, he already had a farm near the Rivière aux Chiens (river of dogs). His marriage contract of July 27 1636, (one year after the religious ceremony) which was concluded in the house of Robert Giffard and executed by Jean Guyon du Buisson in the absence of a notary, is the oldest marriage document preserved in the original in Canada. It seems that he is the ancestor of all Drouin in the country.
Claude Bouchard, a tailor from Saint-Cosme-de-Vair in Maine, France, first settled on the coast of Beaupré to the east of Québec. He was nicknammed “little Claude” to distinguish him from a namesake and because of his stature. More
In late winter of 1944/45, the Senger’s farm was overrun and occupied by a command of the advancing Russian armies. The family furniture and possessions were stolen by non-Germans; the lives and history of the Senger family were unalterably, irretrievably changed.
Only the Senger farm and two other farms in the village of Zeyervorderkampen remained standing following the Soviet invasion and bombardment and artillery attacks which accompanied the destructive attack. Ultimately, the Senger farm was left as the sole ‘undamaged’ farm in Zeyervorderkampen. At first, the farm was used to house Soviet commanders; ultimately, possession of the farm, lands, buildings and few remaining possessions were given over to a Polish family.
By the middle of 1945, it was no longer the Senger family farm and lands. The farm had been confiscated by the occupying communist troops and retribution was never offered by either the invading armies or subsequent settlers; nor was any accepted by Richard when it was finally offered by the post-war German Federal Republic government. To his mind, there was simply no compensation adequate to cover the loss of his family’s lands and history. Ultimately, the German government did provide Richard a pension for both his WW1 and WW2 ‘participation’.
Having lost ownership and possession of his farm to the Russians in 1945, Richard was forced, at gun point and under explicit threat of death, to work as an involuntary servant (knecht) or ‘slave’ on his long-time farm. During this time, his wife, Frieda, was captured, incarcerated, and forced by the Russians to leave their home and was interred as a slave laborer in the Gulags of the Central Asia in Chelyabinsk ITL (Work Improvement Camp). Frieda was arrested and enslaved by the Soviet Army on March 17, 1945 (Her 47th birthday was two days later on 19 March 1945.). These hardships and travails were to continue for more than two years.
During this same time period, unbeknownst to Richard, his son (Erich Senger) was interred in an English prisoner of war camp; his daughter (Luise) had survived the war’s end and was working in the American Zone of Germany, in Bavaria.
Finally one day in June of 1947, at the age of 68, Richard could tolerate his situation and servitude no longer. He resolved to leave or die trying. To his mind he had nothing to lose; so far as he knew he had already lost everything except his life. He packed his few papers and possessions into a coffee can and set off on foot, to reach the West German border. As he left what had been his farm, Russian soldiers shouted, pulled their rifles, took aim at his back, and threatening to kill him. Unwilling to suffer his situation any longer, he walked on into his uncertain, unknown future.
He trekked alone on foot across ‘the new’ communist Poland, and then through the ‘new’ communist East Germany. During the weeks and months he walked, he survived by eating uncooked potatoes and vegetables he gleaned from harvested fields. In Poland, his official identification papers and bank books were confiscated by ‘officials’ at the checkpoints he encountered. Finally after an almost 600 mile ordeal, Richard arrived at Murnau in Bavaria (the American Zone).
Shortly after his arrival in Bavaria, Richard began a search for his son Erich via open letters he placed in German newspapers. He only searched for his son Erich because he thought Erich might have survived the war; he was certain that Frieda (Richard’s wife) had died in the Gulags and that Luise (Richard’s daughter) had been ‘lost’ in the final defense of Munich (where Luise was serving as a Lieutenant in Munich’s Air Defense with Deutsche Luftwaffe- Luftkommando 7.). Fortunately, Erich, having returned from his incarceration as a British (Prisoner of War) PoW in 1947, read one of his letters and they were reunited. During late 1947, Luise found and rejoined her family through the good offices and assistance of her employer- the American Army.
Late in 1947, his wife, Frieda weighing a mere 60 pounds, returned from her two plus year ordeal in the Russian gulags. Miraculously, the family had found each other.
Along with their son Erich, the Sengers built a new life for themselves in Bavaria. While in 1950, Luise went on to live with her American husband (Fred Rabideau) and their soon-to-be new family in the United States.
a composite of verbal stories related by Luise Senger Rabideau to her children Linda & Mark, as well as Russian, German and American Documentation
As the Russians invaded West Prussia near the end of World War 2, they rounded up abled bodied Germans to ‘work’ a slave labor in their Gulags. These ‘unlucky’ Germans (some three million) were shipped by train to forced labor camps in the far East. Frieda Senger, along with her friend and neighbor, Edith Ebel, were among those shipped by rail into the Russian Gulags; in her case trip was to prisons some 1700 miles or 2700 kms east. She, like many others, was deported from her and her husband’s lands (which were now in the hands of the Russians) and forced into slavery; she was not seen or heard from again for some 2 and one half years.
She was taken a prisoner by the Soviet Army on March 17, 1945. She had been a member of the Reichsluftschutzbund (RLB) since 1935 (see note 1 below).
On July 7, 1945 she was transfered from the camp 507 (Cheljabinskaja region/ Satkinskij district/ village Bakal) to the working battalion No.1083 (Cheljabinskaja Region/City Kopejsk/ Station Potanino) of mobilized Germans. She was discharged for repatriation on July 1, 1947. Her diligence, hard work and energy made it possible for her to be one of the first Germans released from the camp. Her friend Edith Ebel was not so lucky- Edith died in the camp. Frieda’s two plus years were spent mining rock salt, cleaning the camp floors with broken glass (an activity which left her hands permanently scarred). Her diet consisted of water, cabbage and potatoes.
On 9 October 2011, I received an additional insight into this time from the niece of Frieda Senger, Frieda geboren Wedhorn: [Frieda Wedhorn] [...] mentioned that the deportation of Frieda Senger might have been the result of a mistaken identity, that the Russians were looking for some other Senger, but they went to the wrong farm where they found Frieda Senger and they did not want to continue searching. Frieda Wedhorn remembers her Tante Frieda telling her that the Soviets probably were looking for Johanna Senger who was also called “Tante Hannchen” because she supposedly had not been nice to some Poles. Johanna was the wife of Julius Senger who must have been neighbors of Richard and Frieda Senger. The Soviets just went to the wrong house and discontinued their search because they had found a woman with the name Senger. This Johanna Senger later died of “Fischvergiftung” (fish poisoning) while still living in Zeyersvorderkampen, Westpreußen.
The photo is of Frieda Senger in 1951 following the marriage of her daughter Luise to Frederick Rabideau. She is wearing a coat sent to her by Leona Rabideau, mother of Frederick Rabideau.
The Reichluftschutzbund was placed under the authority of the Luftwaffe and performed mainly non-combat support roles such as ground crew training and search and rescue. The group remained relatively small and, as a paramilitary organization, was overshadowed heavily by the National Socialist Flyers Corps.
During World War II, the Reichluftschutzbund performed in air defense support manning anti-aircraft emplacements in Germany’s major cities. In 1945, the Reichluftschutzbund ceased to exist with the fall of Nazism. The Reichluftschutzbund, however, was not condemned as a criminal organization since the group was technically a branch of the Air Ministry and not a paramilitary group of the Nazi Party proper.
Although, we now know with certainty that Frieda Senger was not interned in Perm-36 Gulag; it does represent a Gulag proximate to her location. The photos in this article represent a good approximation of the Gulags in Chelyabinsk. More
In order to classify our early Canadian forebears, we have decided to use the descriptions of The Filles a Marier developed by Peter Gagne.
Note all those without links will soon have information pages for you to read… please be patient while the information is added to our site. All others have their tales described on this site. We certainly appreciate all the work of those who provided us with their stories! More
The information contained in this Posting was sourced from numerous websites (all noted below) and is presented here to facilitate our genealogical research. All rights belong to the original authors. This is being used under the laws of ‘fair use’.
Between 1634 and 1663, 262 filles à marier or “marriageable girls” emigrated to New France representing one quarter of all the single girls arriving in New France through 1673. They were recruited and chaperoned by religious groups or individuals who had to assure and account for their good conduct. In general, they were poor, although there were some members of the petty nobility among their ranks. More
Based upon the research we have done, it appears that the Rabideau’s are descended from a number of the Carignan-Salières Regiment. As you will note, none of our forebears held particularly high rank. They were, instead, the ‘backbone’ of their units! You will see the various men highlighted in blue on the posting containing the names of all ‘known’ and assumed members. More
The information contained in this Posting was sourced from numerous websites (all noted below) and is presented here to facilitate our genealogical research. All rights belong to the original authors. This is being used under the laws of ‘fair use’.
The filles du roi, or King’s Daughters, were some 770 women who arrived in the colony of New France (Canada) between 1663 and 1673, under the financial sponsorship of King Louis XIV of France. They were part of King Louis XIV’s program to promote the settlement of his colony in Canada. Some 737 of these women married and the resultant population explosion gave rise to the success of the colony. Most of the millions of people of French Canadian descent today, both in Quebec and the rest of Canada and the USA (and beyond!), are descendants of one or more of these courageous women of the 17th century.
The following information was sourced from: http://www.fillesduroi.org/src/soldiers.htm and is presented here to facilitate our genealogical research. All rights belong to the original author. This is being used under the laws of ‘fair use’.
Though Jean Bourdon was an important figure in the early days of New France, there is a lot of confusion over his personal life. Some have even given him three wives (married to two at the same time), and attributed accomplishments long after his death. However, in the days of early settlement, there were two Jean Bourdons, possibly brothers, who were both employed by the Company of 100 Associates. Jean or Jehan (b: 1612 and d: October 23, 1665) was an Attorney, and spent most of his time in France, while Jean-Francois was a Surveyor and former ‘doctor’ (barber at lowest end of the medical profession). More
Anne was born on January 19, 1626, in St. Jean De Mortagne, Perche France. She was just eight years old when they arrived in Quebec and her father was always stirred up about something; constantly feuding with Robert Giffard. Despite that, the family did quite well. More
Zacharie Cloutier was born on February 2, 1589, in St. Jean, Perche, France; the son of Denis Cloutier and Renee Briere. His mother died on May 1, 1608, and his father then married Jeanne Rahir-Gaultier on November 3 of the same year. More
Jean Cote – Was born on February 2, 1643 and died on March 26, 1722 in Ville De Quebec. He married Marie-Anne Couture; daughter of Guillaume Couture and Anne Emard; on September 11, 1669; and the couple had seven children: Jean-Baptiste, Noel, Marguerite, Marie, Pierre, Guillaume and Anne. Jean’s first wife died on November 26, 1684; and he then married Genevieve Verdon; daughter of Vincent Verdon and Genevieve Pelletier; on February 25, 1685; with whom he had ten more children: Marie-Charlotte, Joseph, Marie-Josephe, Jean-Marie, Francois, Ignace, Gabriel, Charles, Thomas and Marie.
Marie-Francoise Hebert was born on January 27, 1638, in the small Quebec settlement; the daughter of Guillaume Hebert and Helene Desportes. Her paternal grandparents were none other than Louis Ganton Hebert and Marie Rollet, and though Louis only lived for a short time at the French Trading Post, Marie kept the family together through epidemics, war and even British occupation. More
Marguerite Genevieve Langlois was born about 1602 in St. Xiste, Montpelliers, France; one of four children to Guillaume Langlois and Jeanne Millette.
In 1619, Henri De Montmorency II and Samuel Champlain were recruiting workers for New France, and preference was given to young men with families. At the time, many French people were becoming disillusioned with the way things were at home, in the aftermath of the costly Religious Wars. Unemployment was high and the cost of living even higher, so when her brother-in-law, Pierre Desportes, a director in the Company of 100 Associates, announced that he would be going to the New World, the seventeen year old Marguerite and her nineteen year old sister, Marie; decided to go with them. More
There is a lot of confusion over the origins of Abraham. He was born about 1589, probably at La Rochelle, but since his father Jean Galleran Martin, was known as “The Merchant of Metz”, he could have also been born at Metz, Lorraine, France. His mother was Isabel Cote. Throughout his lifetime, Abraham Martin was referred to as the “Scotsman”, so many believe he was born in Scotland. More
Jean Nicolet was a well known Coureur Des Bois, who first arrived in Kebec in 1618, settling amoung the Algonquins in Upper Ottawa, and the Nipissing on Allumette Island; learning their language and customs. While on the island, he married a local woman and they had a daughter Euphrosine Marguerite, born in 1630. At the age of 13, she would marry Jean Leblanc, but spent most of her life on the first “Indian Reservation’ in Canada at Sillery, where she died on September 30, 1689. More