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Who are these people?

 

The simplest answer: “Robert’s German relatives”


The correct-but-not-entirely-helpful answer: “the descendants of Robert’s maternal grandmother’s brothers” (or, “the descendants of Robert’s great uncles”)


The full story: Robert’s maternal grandmother, Gertrude, married a young doctor, Robert, who was Jewish (and for whom Robert is named). Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the couple emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1933, along with their nine-year-old daughter, Lore (Robert’s mother). They were sponsored into the United States by Robert’s grandfather's older brother, who had emigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century. Robert’s grandmother had two brothers.
Robert’s grandmother visited Germany only twice between 1933 and 1983, when she passed away. In 1978, the three children of one of Robert’s great uncles visited the U.S. with their spouses (two of those couples are shown in the German photo album: Christine & Dieter, and Lieselotte & Gerhard). Two years later, Robert and Sharon spent a month in Europe, and a week visiting Germany. During that visit, they met the children of these two couples: Christine & Dieter's daughters Claudia and Anja, and Lieselotte & Gerhard’s sons Achim and Uhlrich.


A few years later, Claudia visited the U.S. and spent some time with Robert and Sharon. In 2000, Lisa spent some time in Europe and visited Germany, and met the next generation, Claudia's children.


During the 2002-03 school year, Lisa’s junior year at the University of Chicago, she spent the year studying in Paris. Robert, Sharon, and Laura joined her in Europe for two weeks over the Christmas holidays. The family spent four wonderful days in Germany. They stayed at Claudia’s house, along with her husband Holger and their children Sophie, Hannah Helene, and Fritz. There was a wonderful New Year’s Eve Party (called a Sylvester celebration in Germany). Most of the pictures in the album were taken at the party.


We also had a chance to spend a fair amount of time with Achim. He picked us up at the train station in Koln, took us around Koln for the afternoon, guided us (along with his father Gerhard) on a nice visit to Munster, and saw us off at the train station on our way back to Paris.


For reasons that we find a little difficult to put clearly into words, we find it very meaningful to have a connection with this wonderful extended family in Europe. While the great distance prevents these families on opposite sides of the Atlantic from getting together frequently, we certainly hope that our respective families will continue to stay in contact with one another.

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