Hampton GI And Wife Are Hosts To German Youth

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Hampton GI And Wife
Are Hosts To German Youth

By Sgt. John M. Holman, U.S. Army, Germany

Hampton Union -- August 1953

In a letter received this week by The Hampton Union, Sgt. John Holman of Hampton, stationed in Augsburg, Germany, tells how he and his wife, Connie, entertained a 9-year-old German boy in their home for two weeks.

Our Berlin Boy

Klaus and Connie
Klaus Roschel & Connie Holman
in Augsburg, Germany -- 1953

It was sort of an exciting, if not a suspenseful day, the 20th of July 1953. For on that day, my wife, Connie, and I were going to meet the train on which a little refugee child from West Berlin was coming to share our home and that of another couple, for the next four weeks. What we did know was that it would be either a boy or girl between the ages of 5 and 17. Quite a range, wouldn't you say?

We met the other couple, A Cpl. Raymond Nettles and his wife, and a woman from the Civil Affairs Office, at the railroad station at 1:45 p.m. The train was due at 1:57 p.m., so we had a few minutes to get acquainted. Toward train time, we made our way to track 4, where the train would arrive from Stuttgart coming from West Berlin.

Earlier, we had heard that the majority of the trains were coming in 70 to 90 minutes late, but the 1:57 arrived right on schedule. Now, the problem arose of where to find the child with its chaperone. We'd been told that the lady bringing the child would have on a black dress and would wear her hair in a bob. Literally hundreds of people alighted from the train. Hmmm, this would require tactics to find our party, before the train pulled out to continue on to Munich with the remainder of the children slated for other American homes there. And can you believe it? Only one child was scheduled for Augsburg ... ours, of course.

Finally, after a few anxious minutes, we spotted the woman and a little boy about 9 years old. Very cute and well-mannered was our first impression, which was to last throughout his stay with us. Introductions were exchanged in which we were told his name was Klaus Roschel. The woman escort boarded the train once again and continued on to Munich to distribute the other children who were to live with other American families for the next four weeks.

Cpl. Nettles and his wife were to take Klaus for the first two weeks, and we, the last two. We said goodby to them until we would meet again ons the 3rd of August, when we would receive Klaus for our portion of his stay in Augsburg. How different and how strange things must have looked to him!

Came the 3rd of August and Mrs. Nettles brought Klaus to our apartment in "Centerville", complete with suitcase of clothes. We learned he was in the 4th grade in school, and that besides his parents, he had a sister 11 years old. It was Monday night when he came to us, and after giving him a small lunch of milk and cake, we put him to bed for a good night's sleep, as there was much for him to do and see the following morning.

The next day we took him to the Post Exchange and bought some clothes for him as his wardrobe was a little scant. We bought a new pair of brown trousers, a white shirt for best, a cowboy sweatshirt, two pairs of socks, two sets of underwear, a polo shirt, and a belt for his dungarees. When we finished, he looked every bit like a typical American boy. (Incidentally, his polo shirt was red, white and blue!)

Every day he went out in the sun and played ball, roller-skated, rode Connie's bicycle and played with the other children his age in the block, despite the language barrier.

We took him to the movies quite often, and he thoroughly enjoyed the pictures, even though they were all in English. His English vocabulary contained only a few words such as "Thank-you," "Please," "Hi!," "Goodbye" and "Good-night."

We fed him all kinds of American food, and couldn't find anything he didn't like, as he had a very good appetite, eating everything put before him.

Two weeks just flew by, for him as well as for us, and before we knew it, it was time to take him to the train which would carry him back to West Berlin.

And it wasn't until he had gone that we realized what fun we'd had entertaining him, as much fun as we hoped he'd had being with us. And we knew that he'd always remain in our memory as our little Berlin Boy.

Sgt. Holman Tells Appreciation Of German Family

By Sgt. John M. Holman, U.S. Army, Germany

Hampton Union -- September 1953

Sgt. John Holman, stationed with Army occupation forces in Germany, recently sent this letter to the Union. The Hampton man and his wife took into their home for a two week period a young German boy. He tells of a letter of thanks he received from the lad's family.

Letter From Deutschland

Recently I received the following letter from the mother of the little refugee boy whom we had taken into our hearts and home for two weeks. Perhaps the readers of the Union would like to know how some of these German people over here appreciate what we Americans are doing for them in building better relationships and a more understanding of our American way of life. This is how the letter read:
"August 21st 1953
2 Tsarstrasse
Dear Lady, dear Sir, (Constance and John);

Today I will thank you very much for your hospitality my little son Klaus had in your home for a couple of weeks. I also thank you for the nice clothes you gave to my boy. When I heard how lovely and kindly you have been to Klaus in that time, I was very happy and satisfied.

I hope Klaus has been a good boy and you had much fun and pleasure with him.

For the next days, I'll go with him to the photographer for having his phsoto taken in his new clothes. When the pictures are done, I'll send them to you for souvenir.

I thank you again and again for all your love. You don't know how much you have helped me by your kindness.

With kind regards,
Faithfully yours,
Family Adolf Roschel
with daughter Rosemarie
and yours truly, little Klaus."

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