War and Peace in Hohatzenheim
The story of a family of the village
Marius Meyer, the village teacher
1938 Marius Meyer is appointed schoolteacher in Hohatzenheim.
1939 Marius and Marie-Louise Birg are married on September 3, the day the war is declared. Marius is drafted into the French army on September 16.
1939-40 Marius is stationed in the Paris region as a senior officer cadet, before retreating to Tulle (South).
1940 Marius returns home after France’s surrender. Simone is born in September.
1943 Marius is drafted on April 16 into the Wehrmacht with the same rank. He is sent to Kustrin (70 miles east of Berlin). He avoids the Russian front through a first self-inflicted mutilation (a friend beats up his shoulder blade) which fails. In the military hospital of Brumath (7 miles from Strasbourg) a suspicious S.S. doctor forces the truth serum on him. Marius talks and is immediately recalled to Kustrin. The follow-up inquiry will be filed without consequence, thanks to the testimony of the family doctor.
1944 Spring: Marius attends the final of the German soccer cup in Berlin’s olympic stadium. There, he sees Hitler and the other Nazi dignitaries.
Fall: Home leave in Alsace. Second self-inflicted mutilation (injection in the knee) which requires immediate hospitalization. As he leaves the hospital, Marius deserts and hides at a friend’s in Strasbourg. Finally he reaches the convent of Hohatzenheim in a parachutist uniform and carrying his bicycle across the fields. Marius stays hidden in the convent but his family has no idea where he is. He spends his time helping with the church administration, the printing of clandestine pamphlets and he attends mass from the underground of the church. At the insistence of the pastor, the three hiding men dig the underground in search of a mysterious golden grail dating back to the French Revolution, but they would not find it. When the Gestapo burst into the convent, Marius is in the kitchen and has just the time to hide in the attic. It is during this period that he makes a vow to our Holy Lady of Hohatzenheim never to leave the village should he make it safely.
On November 24, Marius is staring with his binocular from his window under the roof. He is proud to be the first one to see an American tank bounded for the village. Hohatzenheim is about to be liberated.
1945 Marius is appointed local representative of the French liberation forces. The US regiment established in the village bares all access to the school, which has become its headquarters. Yet, Simone will manage to sneak in and extort from the officers a large quantity of chocolate. However, the tension will rise when US soldiers accuse Marius of hiding flame-throwers in his garage. The weapons in question turn out to be nothing but sprayers to fight no one but the potatoe beetles.
1946-1977 Marius is schoolteacher, mayor assistant, and organ player in Hohatzenheim.
Eugene Jost, Farmer
1760 First family record in Hohatzenheim. Madeleine Schneider, daughter of farmer Valentin Schneider and Catherine Roos, is baptised in the church of Our Lady of Hohatzenheim.
1900 Louis Jost who lives in the neighboring village of Bilwisheim marries Catherine Huber, widow Hoenen, who lives in Hohatzenheim. Thanks to the lands of his new bride he start his own farm on Village Street in Hohatzenheim.
1918 Florentine Goetz is 11 years old. She witnesses the arrival of the French troops in the village after Germany’s surrender. The soldiers give her a kind of sweets that she has never seen before: chocolate.
1928 Death of Louis. His son Eugene, takes over the farm.
1934 Marriage of Eugene and Florentine in the church of Hohatzenheim.
1939-1940 Eugene is drafted in the French army and participates in the overall retreat of our troops, which will end for him in southern France. He will return home to Hohatzenheim after France’s surrender.
1941 Birth of Hubert in July.
1943 At 39 years old, Eugene is too old for the forced German draft. He will be allowed to stay home.
1943-1946 Three Polish prisoners of war are allocated to the Jost farm by the German administration. They will help with the field work and the overall maintenance of the farm in exchange of room and board. One of them will stay some time after the end of the war.
1944 In November the allies arrive in Hohatzenheim and drive out the administration put in place by the Germans. Eugene is appointed provisional mayor until the elections of October 7, 1945.
1947 Benefiting from the advantageous loans of the Marshall plan, Eugene buys the first tractor of the village. It is a Massey-Harris built in the United States.
1964 Eugene is retiring. His son Philibert (my uncle) takes over the family farm.
1984 Eugene Jost dies at 80 years old. He was born in Hohatzenheim in 1904.
1994 Florentine Jost dies at 87 years old. She was born in Hohatzenheim in 1907.
On July 22, 1965 Simone daughter of Marius Meyer and Hubert son of Eugene Jost are married in the church of Our Lady of Hohatzenheim.
Almost 36 years later, on May 19, 2001 Elizabeth daughter of William Madigan and Bertrand son of Hubert Jost are married in the church of Our Lady of Hohatzenheim.
They lived happily ever after and had lots of children.