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over many generations my family lived in the small upper palatinate village schlicht in bavaria. the village was first mentioned in a document in the 12th century. a trading artery going from hamburg to rome passed our hamlet. in the 17th century my family moved there, they came from the north as charcoal burners and settled down in Schlicht as farmers.

this didn´t change until my father was born. he was raised there, but as an 18-year-old at the beginning of 1945 he had to enlist and he returned home 1950 after his war imprisonment.

but he didn´t want to live there any longer, and even less if he´d have to be a farmer.

so he went to munich to study at a masters school of fashion. there he met my mother, married her and moved to nürnberg (my mother´s birthtown). At the same time as he got an offer to go to Milan as an fashion designer he received a call.

it was his mother telling him to finally “come home”.

Years later (when I was about 10), my father wanted me to keep the same promise. if I go abroad, I should come back home when he asks me to. intuitionally I realized that this would be wrong, and one day I decided to leave for good, which I eventually did.

before i moved to vienna, my father wanted me to inherit his house, but I rejected.

my father obeyed his mother in those days and moved with kith and kin (children and wife) to the hicktown in upper palatine. during the first years they lived in his parent´s house, but my father refused to speak in upper palatinate dialect and communicated only in a stiff standard german, or shouted, when he was angry, in italian. he started working in a small clothing company in the neighbourhood and used his whole assets of intellect, strength and emotion to support his family of nearly 12 persons.


in 1965, the year of my birth, my father destroyed the centuries old farmhouse, to build a new home for his now 11-person family at the same spot. when the house was finished, my brother joseph was born. my father would have liked to have even more sons, and he wanted to rebuild the whole premises (the farmhouse), so that all of his “children” with their families could live there until their death and all of the later generations too. this was my father´s plan. it never came true. thank God.


next to our premises was a great meadow, where he could have built his house.

my brother, who had to take over the heritage in my stead, is the last one of our family, who still carries my father´s name. but he doesn´t want to live in the upper palatinate village either.

none of my siblings wanted to live in my father´s house.

as soon as an opportunity arose (studies or marriage) they left their home.

I moved out 1987. 7 years later my mother was admitted to a nursing home.

until the day of his death, my father lived in his house on his own.


opposite of our farm was a very old orchard. my father used to plant a cherry tree for every new-born child. after my parents death my brother sold first thing the orchard, which was immediately razed to the ground, in order that the neighbour could build a new house. even today the great meadow still is waste ground….

since my parents passed away in 2008 the house is empty or rent out to american soldiers, as the military training area grafenwöhr is placed nearby our village. thousands of soldiers are trained there and flown into the irak. for a short while my father´s house was used as an illegal american brothel…

Hopefully a future generation will revitalise the ruins of the old farmhouse and my father´s house or tear it down, so that it can be a fresh start for somebody else.

Austria 2013

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