Recently my great Aunt Anneliese Schmitt, born Anna Marie Elizabeth Burghardt on 2 February 1926 in Kassel Germany, passed away. I never meet Anneliese in person but emailed with her for several years and loved getting to know her and learn more about my Germany family.
As I started to research my German family and talking to my mom I decided to email my great aunt Anneliese and ask her about our family. This is something I wish I had done with my grandmother but she passed away before I asked any questions.
I first emailed Anneliese in 2013 shortly after my grandmother, Anne Burghardt, passed away. There were so many questions that I had not asked my grandmother about growing up in Germany and living there during World War Two. It took me several years but I finally did ask Anneliese questions about Germany and what our family was like.
As I have spent some time reading the emails I received from Anneliese, it reminded me of how much I learned about my family and how I wish I could have meet her in person. The last email I sent her was in 2017 about my trip to Germany to see our families home town of Kassel. When she responded she was confused about who I was and after responding to her I felt that was the last communication I would have with her and it was. Although I am sad and have missed emailing her I know that she lived a full life when she passed away at the age of 92.
This has reminded me that I should ask questions before it is too late. Today we have so much modern technology that allows us to get to know family that in the past would have been very hard. Anneliese lived in Schiedem, Netherlands. She moved there after she married in 1947.
Here is a copy of one of the emails I received in 2014 from Anneliese about our German Family.
” Good morning, thank you for your mail. Yes, that aunt was our favorite auntie: Tante Änne. Married with Uncle Hans: Mother of Hildegard, Erika and Angelika and a just born and died boy. They lived in our neighbourghood: 10 minutes. We had to look – on the corner of our street – right to their house: when Tante Änne had a white sheet in her window: she was at home and she expected us!!! So, your grandmother and I went – running – to her, she opened the door and we got every time a sweet sugarpiece!!! Then she had a big stick with a thing on theend to clean the floor and we could sit on it and she went with us through the floor of the flat to clean it!!!!! She was always laughing. When she got 70 years…..I was in Kassel to bring a visit to my mother _ you kno: Erna !!! she came to my mothers birthday…and I said: please, auntie may I sit for a few minutes on your lab????Yes, she said and I gave her a big kiss and a hugh….and a few days later she was dead. It was sad…..but always thinking about Tante Änne, she was born 1903 in Kassel. 8. of April, I remember. So, dear…and that early in them morning!!!!!! I am still alone living, you know, my husband, uncle Wim, died a year ago. I stillmissing him, every day. At the moment my eldest doughter is on holiday and my youngest lives in Spain and my grandchildren are working in Great Britain, because theeconomic situation of Spain is not so good. Bye, my girl, have a lot of greeting….also for your dear mother Jeannet. Love from your aunt Anneliese”
This email was talking about my grandmother(Anne Burghardt and Anneliese’s)favorite Aunt Anne and her family. I did not know much about my Germany family and this was such a great story to receive.
I will always treasure the time I had to hear from Anneliese and the family I learned about from her.