Martin Nicolaus

Author's posts

About My Father (1)

Growing up as a bomb baby in Germany, as I did, it was common not to have a living father.  About 2.5 million German children lost their fathers in World War II.  Source.  In my case, my father lost his life two months before I was born, so we never knew one another. From my …

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The Family Tree

The Nicolaus family name has some mythical roots.  My mother’s mother Lydia, her mind clouded by advancing dementia, maintained that it came from the Tsar, who on his travels had got the daughter of a German merchant pregnant, etc.   A myth I like much better is that we’re descended from the original Bishop Nicolaus of …

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About the Town Where I Was Born

I was born in Essen.  My father was born in Kiel but raised in Essen.  His mother was born in Essen.  His father worked as an office supervisor for Krupp in Essen.  My mother, who was from Berlin, married my father in Essen.  My mother and I lived in Essen until sometime in mid-1943.  My …

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Memories of Frankfurt (1945-1953)

On V-E Day (May 8 1945) I was three and a half years old. Since the Allied bombing had stopped, my mother pulled up stakes in Fürstenhagen and in the fall of that year we moved to Frankfurt/Main. To this day I am quite comfortable in small spaces. Very likely this stems from our first …

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Revisiting “The Village”

In the fall of 2010, my wife Sheila and I visited Berlin, and my son Fred joined us there.  On Fred’s initiative, he and I took a trip to Fürstenhagen, the village where I spent most of the war years.  (See my mother’s “The Village” and my  “Memories of ‘The Village‘”)  He had read about Fürstenhagen …

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Memories of “The Village” (1943 – 1945)

My mother writes in her memoirs that a piece of a bomb came through the roof in Essen one summer day in 1943 and took off a corner of the kitchen table.  She decided it was time to get out of Dodge.  With the help of her church connections she found a room in a …

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My First Memory

My first memory is of going into a bomb shelter.  It was down some dirty stairs, there were a lot of people, there was a dog (a shepherd), it was noisy.  I mainly remember the atmosphere: dark, cavernous, dusty, loud; and the dog, who seemed very big.  This memory is probably a composite of many …

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