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Tag Archives: Anna Marta Lipsdorf

Hohndorf, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany – Omi’s Birthplace

My grandmother (♥), Anna Martha Lipsdorf Geier, was born on 17 Aug 1906 in the small village of Hohndorf, Germany which is now known as Muhlanger, a part of the Wittenberg District in Saxony-Anhalt.  The village lies about five miles east of Lutherstadt Wittenberg on the Elbe River, where my mother was born.  This area was once part of Prussia. 

My Grandmother, Anna Marta Lipsdorf Geier

Hohndorf literally means “high village.”  The Saxony-Anhalt region has a very ancient history.  It is believed that Hohndorf came into existence sometime in the 12th century and was settled by Flemish immigrants.  However, various archeological finds seem to indicate that there were earlier settlers within the boundaries of “the high village.”  Examples of some of these finds include ceramic pieces dating to the Roman Kaiser era and glass and flint pieces dating to the Iron Age.  The earliest mention of Hohndorf in any archived record dates to 1349.  

Muhlanger, Germany

Hohndorf/Mulanger is very near the Harz, the highest mountain range in northern Germany.  The legendary Brocken is the highest summit in the Harz at 3,744 feet above sea level.  Settlement within the mountains began only 1000 years ago, as in ancient times dense forests made the region almost inaccessible.  The Harz are steeped in legend and superstition and tales of ghosts and witches.  In fact, do you know what a kitchen witch is?  A kitchen witch is a doll resembling a witch or a crone which is displayed in kitchens as a means to provide good luck and to ward off bad spirits which superstition found its origins in the Harz mountain region.    

Saxony-Anhalt Coat of Arms

Saxony-Anhalt, specifically Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is the cradle of the Reformation of the Church.  It was in Wittenberg in 1517 that Martin Luther made public his theses against the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church by nailing the theses to the door of the Castle Church. 

About ten years ago I was lucky enough to go home to Germany – just me and my mother.  I had never been to “east” Germany – and it is very difficult for me to describe the swirl of emotions as I stood in front of the farm-house here my grandmother was born – and later as I stood in front of the house where my mother was born and where my grandfather was later killed during World War II.  

Imagine what a thrill it was for me to stand at the door of the Castle Church and place my hand upon it – 500 years after Martin Luther nailed the theses to it.  What history! 

Wittenberg

 

Castle Church Doors

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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Geier, Lipsdorf, Times and Places

 

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Growing up in Nurnberg, Germany

Has your soul ever been inexplicably tied to a location?  As if it were a part of  who you are?  For me – Nurnberg is such a city -forever imprinted on my heart and mind.  I hope that you will travel there some day and indulge me a little as I tell you about it. 

Nurnberg, Bavaria, Germany

Nurnberg is a city in the State of Bavaria in the region of Middle Franconia.  It is situated on the Pegnitz River and the Rhine-Danube Canal.  It is located about an hour north of Munich – which is at the base of the Bavarian Alps.  As far as German cities go, it is a fairly large city with a 2006 population of about 1,020,000. 

Nurnberg has a long and interesting history.  It is often referred to as having been the “unofficial capital” of the Holy Roman Emperor, particularly because courts met at Nurnberg Castle.   

Nurnberg Castle

During the Nazi era – Nurnberg played a significant role as the Nazi party picked the city to be the site of huge Nazi party conventions – the Nazi rallies – which were held annually from 1927 to 1938. 

You might be interested to know that this rally location is now called Soldier’s Field….and this is where Nurnberg American High School played its football games.  Go Eagles !!!    

Go Eagles !

Despite the devastation of World War II, Nurnberg was eventually rebuilt and was to some extent restored to its pre-war appearance, including the reconstruction of some of its medieval buildings. 

Soldier's Field

I can’t even begin to tell you how often we toured these landmarks – the ancient old city (“Alt Stadt”) surrounded by the Nurnberg Wall – the Nurnberg castle – the Germanishe Museum – the Albrecht Duhrer house – and the Tiergarten (Zoo). 

 

They are a part of me and always will be. 

For years after leaving Germany – into my adulthood – I would dream about these locations – and in my dreams my grandmother (Anna Marta Lipsdorf Geier) would always be there with me.  One night in my dream she told me that, “I wouldn’t be coming to visit her anymore.”  And three weeks later my grandmother had a massive stroke and died while visiting her sons in east Germany.  I never visited Germany – or saw my grandmother – in my dreams again. 

My grandmother, Anna Marta Lipsdorf Geier

I wish you all sweet dreams……..

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in Times and Places

 

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Anna Marta Geier – Omi

By now, you’ve probably figured out, that for me, the fascination of genealogy is not about the names, dates and statistics, but rather the study of how our family members lived their lives. I believe that when a person has learned to forgive themselves of their failures and rejoice in their successes – then that person has lived a full life. My grandmother – Anna Marta Lipsdorf Geier – lived such a life. She was born at the turn of the 20th century (on 17 Aug 1906 in Hohendorf, Germany) at a time when great strides were being made in industry, science and medicine. She was one of five children born to Franz Hermann Lipsdorf and Wilhelmine Auguste Anna Roestel.

Anna MartaLipsdorf Geier

Anna Lipsdorf survived both World War I and World War II. Throughout her life she suffered much and witnessed many things: the total destruction of her country during both world wars; the murder of her husband (Kurt Willy Geier) by Russian soldiers at the end of World War II; the trial of raising three children as a single mother in war torn Germany; the ensuing cold war years and the erecting of the Berlin Wall – sadly, she did not live to see the reunification of her homeland. My grandmother also witnessed the growth of the automobile industry, air travel, the beginning of the “information age” (I wonder what she’d think about this blog?!) and the rise and fall of many world leaders. All of these experiences made my grandmother a complicated woman – but they also made her a very strong woman. When I look at her life – and the lives of all our ancestors – I see the past unfold – and I also see in her (and all of them) our future. In all of my grandmother’s triumphs and adversities, she turned out to be who she was meant to be – and so it is for all of us. She was a wife, a mother and a dearly loved grandmother, well-respected and thought of by others. Hers was a life fully-lived.

In loving memory – I love you – and I still miss you and think about you – every day….deine Judi.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2011 in Lipsdorf

 

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Kurt Willy Geier – Opa

Kurt Willy Geier was my grandfather – and sadly – I never knew him.  He was born 11 Dec. 1908 in Legenfeld, Germany.  He was the only son of Johann Heinrich Geier and Anna Lina Kutscher.  On 9 Mar 1930 he married my grandmother, Anna Marta Lipsdorf in Elster, Germany.

Kurt Willy Geier and Marta Anna Lipsdorf – Wedding Photograph

 My Mother tells me that her father was a very serious man.  He stressed learning, studying and education to his children.  He was athletic and played on various soccer teams.  He taught my mother, 5 years old at the time, how to ride a bicycle.  He used to call her his “kleine Radfahrerin“….his little bike rider!  My grandmother regularly made pancakes for the family.  As fast as she could make them my mother was peeling off the edges and eating the yummy crust.  My mother remembers getting in trouble with her father over that quite often! 

Kurt Willy Geier

Kurt Geier was a machinist by trade.  He worked in a factory in Wittenberg, Germany.  His life came to a tragic close on 28 April 1945 at the end of World War II.  During this time – as the American soldiers were liberating the west – the Russian soldiers were advancing into eastern Germany.  The Russians very often retaliated by shooting citizens at random or by seeking out perceived Russian enemies.  My grandfather was a victim of a Russian soldier’s gun. 

I am very much indebted to my Onkel Wolfgang (Geier) for giving me (and transcribing) a copy of the Geier “AhnenPass.”  Because of this gift, we can fairly well document the Geier/Wolf family back to about 1770. 

 For the new year it is my goal to become better familiar with German genealogy research and to begin in earnest with the research of my German family.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2011 in Geier

 

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