By Martin Nicolaus
My mother, Margot Nicolaus, wrote this manuscript at my urging for the benefit of her two grandsons, Fred and Jack Nicolaus. She gave it the modest title, “A Mosaic of Life in the Old Country.” Apart from a small portion, Mosaic 46, having to do with liberation in 1945, which was previously published in a local newspaper, she kept the manuscript to herself. I found it among her effects after her death in 1997.
I have copied my mother’s text for the web with negligible editing for typos, punctuation, and occasional word errors. I have made only one change of substance, and that is in the case of a woman who appears in the sections on “The Village,” where it is clear that my mother misremembered her name. There are a few other points where my mother’s memory differs from the documentary record or from the memory of others; I intend to add notations or comments when time allows. I have added the chapter titles and the main title.
I am grateful to Dr. Hartmut Ludwig of the Theological Faculty at the Humboldt University in Berlin for his inquiry about my parents in connection his writings about the Bekennende Kirche, the anti-Nazi underground section of the Protestant Church in Germany, to which my parents belonged. Ludwig’s inquiry stimulated me to gather together my mother’s papers and photographs and to put them up on the web, where not only my parents’ grandsons — my sons — but also other interested readers can see them. Dr. Ludwig also alerted me to the fact that several archives in Germany had copies of letters and other documents concerning my parents. Thanks to Ludwig and to staff members of the archives, I have been able to add a number of letters from my mother in the Postscript, and I have been able to sketch a biography of my father. I am grateful to the staff members of the archives for their courtesy and efficiency in making copies available to me.
I am also grateful also to P.C. Loewenberg, who appears in my mother’s text, for his own reminiscences, and for copies of correspondence between my mother and his parents.
– MN 2011