|Posted by Victor Prince on October 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM|
Our Visit to Duehren—Taking a Step back in Time
By Sue Halen
Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013
When I first saw the beautiful choir room in Duehren where our ancestors were married, I had the desire to attend a church service there someday. Today that became a reality! We first had breakfast at our nice hotel Wincent. The weather was quite pleasant, so we decided to walk the short distance to the Lutheran Church. When we arrived, two ladies greeted us and welcomed us to the church. They told us we could take photos since it was still early and the service would not begin for one half hour. We were introduced to Pastor Dietmar Coors. He pointed out some members of the Wolfhard family who were in attendance. We met Hermann Wolfhard and his daughter, Friedhilde. She then introduced us to her brother Jorg and his son David. The service was beginning so we sat with our Wolfhard famiily members. The pastor also welcomed us and mentioned that we were here because we were seeking the place where our Wolfhardt ancestors had worshipped. We sang several hymns, including the Communion song, Let us Talents and Tongues Employ! The first and third verses were sung in German and the second was sung in English. We then participated in Holy Communion. First, twelve church members gathered around the Communion table where 12 chalices of grape juice were arranged. The pastor passed around the plate of bread. Then each drank the juice from the silver chalice in front of them. The 12 held hands in prayer. Then it was our turn to come forward --Lowell, Marion, Randy and I were invited to partake. This was very meaningful to us to be able to take communion near the choir room in which our ancestors were baptized by our ancestor, Georg Johann Wolfhardt. After the service, we spoke with family members and we went into the Sacristy where we could see a list of the Pfarrars from the church dating back to 1554. We also saw pictures of what the original church looked like before the bombing during WWII. Then we went outside and Jorg pointed out the house in which the Wolfhards had lived during the 1600’s. There were several restaurants across the street in which church goers would dine following the service. We were then taken to Hermann Wolfhard’s home, which was attached to the barn. He was a bauer (farmer) and raised 10 cows and 4 pigs in this barn. The house dates back to 1517. We were given a tour of the house, including the attic where we could see the original beams and walls. There was an old sled made by a great grandfather as well as an old trunk in which the immigrants packed their belongings when sailing to America. Some returned to Duehren and the trunk remains in the attic for the past 400 years. This was really like taking a step back into the time of our forefathers! The family shared photos and documents of the Wolfhards as we gathered around their dining room table. We also saw a well and the root cellar in which potatoes and other produce would have been stored during the winter. After the war, Hermann gathered up weapons and grenades left by the American soldiers and they are at the bottom of this well. We were then invited to the Potato Festival, which is held once a year in this village. Marion enjoyed the homemade applesauce and potato pancakes while the rest of us enjoyed the potato soup with a sausage in it and dark bread. Randy had a beer and we had new wine. Following the delicious meal, we were told that the program was starting behind the barn. There was a demonstration of two different types of potato harvesters. The first one dug up the potatoes and some children gathered them and placed them in wire baskets. The second harvester had a basket apparatus on the back in which the soil and potatoes were spun around and separated before being placed on a conveyor belt. The children sat on each side of the conveyor and placed the potatoes in bins along the outside. Then the potatoes were dumped into large burlap sacks. Several mice scampered out of the potato patch as the harvester went through. It was quite interesting to see how this was done. After that, Hermann and his grandson, Jan took us down the lane to see his farm. We saw the machine shed and some orchards with apples, pears and nuts. He owns 14 hectars which includes 8 large fields. He raised tobacco until 1958 and had a small shed for drying it where Friedhilde had fond memories of playing and making mud pies. He also raised sugar beats and wheat. We have a photo of a photo with Hermann and his wife harvesting the beats. Some of the land was developed in 1970 and his son and daughter have new homes on that land. We were invited to the home of Friedhilde and her husband Gunter. Gunter and their sons, Jan and Alexander, showed us their garden in the private back yard. Friedhilde served us a variety of delicious desserts, including a plum pie which the four of us enjoyed! She also had coffee and apple and lemon juice. The Wolfhards were very hospitable and embraced us like long-lost relatives! Jorg and his wife, Magdalena met us en route to Friedhilde’s home and gave us copies of a Wolfhardt family tree prepared by Robert Trent from Midland, Michigan. Gunter made copies of some pages from a book which belonged to Hermann. We discovered that this branch of the Wolfhard family has done very well and are also well-educated! It was indeed a very lovely and special day filled with many unexpected and pleasant surprises!