Village of My Berthold & Ullrich Ancestors

Attack on Oberkalbach 1945


    You can read also about the attack of the U.S. soldiers on Oberkalbach in the Biography of Johannes Berthold and Eva Ullrich Part 2.  The following are the memories of  Margaretha Foeller who was a 10-year-old girl living in the village at the time of this event.  She eventually married an American soldier and came to the U.S., settling in Wisconsin.

    Margaretha vividly remembers the soldiers coming to Oberkalbach.  They entered the village from the opposite end of town from where she lived. An evacuation order had been sent out, but it never reached her end of town.  The family went into the basement.  She remembers the rifle shells whizzing past the house.  The mayor, who was supposed to wave the white flag to surrender the town, didn’t do it because there were German soldiers present.  Then the German soldiers began firing at the U.S. soldiers from basement windows.  When one of the Germans shot and killed a U.S. soldier, the Americans pulled out and parked their tanks on the hills overlooking Oberkalbach from the direction of Niederkalbach.  From there, the tanks began firing at the buildings until ¾ of the town was on fire.  Then the soldiers re-invaded, going from house to house.  

    When they got to the house where Margaretha’s family lived,  they entered and everyone put their hands up to surrender.  Her father, who couldn’t lift his arm because of an old wound from WWI,  had put his arm in a sling so that  he wouldn’t get shot for not putting his hands up. The front yard of the house was used as a kitchen to feed the soldiers.  The entire family was locked into one room at night to be guarded.  The soldiers used the rest of the house.  Margaretha’s mother expressed anger, not so much because the soldiers took over the house, but because they slept in the beds with dirty boots on. Her mother was watched as she fried eggs for the soldiers to make sure she didn’t lace the eggs with poison.  

     After five or six days of occupation, the soldiers left to move on toward Berlin.

Then the German government required the villagers to take in refugees from the eastern European countries. If there was an extra room in the house, it was mandatory that a refugee family be placed in the home.  Margaretha’s family didn’t have to take in any refugees because their rooms were full.  Her sister and her brother-in-law, who had just returned from the war having lost an arm in battle, were also living there.  The brother-in-law had to break the curfew when he  ran to get the midwife to deliver his wife of her first child in the middle of the night.  The family held their breath until he returned home safely.  When German soldiers came to collect “surplus” food, Margaretha’s father buried potatoes in the back yard to hide them for his family.

    Margaretha says that it all seems so surreal now, to think that she went through that experience as a child.




Copyright 2000-2010 by Sue Foster.  Please contact me for permission to copy and to let me know why you are interested in this information  :-)