|Title||Curriculum vitae of Daniel Heinrich Fromholtz written in Hoboken, . Includes later transcription, English translation and notes by translator.|
|Collection||Family & Friends Memorabilia Collection|
|Credit||Gift of Inge Trebitz|
|Scope & Content||
Curriculum vitae, memoir, in German of Daniel Heinrich Fromholtz, written in Hoboken at 204 Eighth Street, . Photocopy of original manuscript plus transcription, translation in English and a time line for his life by transcriber and translator Inge Trebitz.
Both the translation and notes have been copied to notes in this record from disk with digital files provided by donor. N.B.: PRINTING THIS RECORD will result in a long, multi-page document. See container list and related.
Fromholtz (1844- ?) had lived in Hoboken probably since 1888. In Germany, he had been a train engineer and in the only mention of Hoboken other than his signature and address at the end, the last paragraph (pg 13 of translation) mentions he was hired in "Brookline as an engineer, later in New York and Hoboken, where I have lived for 14 years now." The date that this manuscript was written was interpolated by the translater from such information as above.
Folder 1: Photocopy of original holographic memoirs of Fromholtz, 55 pages. Not complete as noted in the English translation.
Folder 2: Fifteen-page typed transcription by Inge Trebitz ca. 1975. NOT IMAGED; the digital file of this transcription in the notes of archives record 2005.039.0001.01. N.B.: PRINTING THIS RECORD will result in a long, multi-page document.
Folder 3: 13-page typed English translation by her. She notes she has modified some of his run-on sentences. This text is imaged here and is in the notes of this record as a digital file. N.B.: PRINTING THIS RECORD will result in a long, multi-page document.
Folder 4: 1-page typed note with time-line of his life to the date of the manuscript plus other correspondence. This document is in the notes of this record as digital file. I
This folder includes compact disk from donor with three digital Microsoft Word documents:
Includes compact disk with three Microsoft Word documents:
1 - transcription of German text (reference copy in archives record 2005.031.0001.01 in the notes tab )
2 - notes by translater (in notes of this record)
3 - English translation (in notes of this record)
A second copy of the compact disk was made in June 2005 and is in this folder for research use. Also complete printouts of this both records in this accession.
|Related Records||Show Related Records...|
MEMOIRS OF DANIEL HEINRICH FROMHOLTZ
WRITTEN IN HOBOKEN, NJ, PROBABLY AROUND THE YEAR 1902.
In the 1980's, when I was still living in Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, NJ,
a neighbor asked me to translate the memoirs of one of his ancestors, Mr.Daniel Heinrich Fromholtz. This man had emigrated with his family from Germany to the US around 1880.
Living in Hoboken, NJ, at the turn of the century, he wrote about his travels in Eastern Europe before his immigration and about his reasons for leaving his native country.
Since his memoirs were hand-written in the old German script, I first typed them out in German, using his spelling and punctuation. I then translated them into English.
These two write-ups are contained on this CD, which I am giving to the Hoboken Historical Museum, together with a photocopy of the hand-written material.
Since Mr.Fromholtz mentioned only one single specific date in his memoirs, namely his birth, I have tried to come up with some kind of a time line for his life story:
Birth in Thorn1844
End of schooling in Thorn1860
End of apprenticeship and Military Service1867
Travels and work in Russia1868
Travels to and in Egypt / Suez Canal1869
Travel to Jerusalem and back1870
Return to Thorn / War in France1871
Job training as engine driver1872
Work for Royal East Railroad until about 1878
Work for railroad under Bismarck until1880
Emigration to United States (Brooklyn)1880
Move to Hoboken1888
Writing of Memoirs1902
Thetford Ctr., VT
MEMOIRS OF DANIEL HEINRICH FROMHOLTZ
I was born in November of 1844 in Thorn/Wechsler in West Prussia. The city might be known to many because the most famous astronomer Nickolaus Kopernikus was born there, and a beautiful monument of him decorates the city.
My father was a carpenter, also my two older brothers. One of them died in southern Russia, the other is still alive in Bergen, where he works as a builder for the Norwegian government. As the youngest of ten children, I went to secondary school until 10th grade. Then I worked for one year as assistant clerk for the county government, where I earned 1 Thaler = 75 c monthly. My good mother saved my first salary of 1 Thaler as a souvenir for me.
Since I was used to fresh air and did not like all the sedentary work, and since my salary was not too good, I decided to become a mechanical engineer, whereas my brothers were woodworkers.
My father, who was friends with the owner of the largest factory, succeeded in getting me an apprenticeship without salary and meals, and I had to pay a fee of 100 Thaler to complete the four years of work in the different departments.
Trusting in God, I started working in the iron foundry. My goal was to respect my superior and to follow his directions precisely. At the end of my first year in the foundry, I had to make an apprentice piece under the supervision of the master. Shortly before, a rich family had ordered an iron crucifix for the cemetery, which I made as apprentice piece. I succeeded after quite some troubles, because the crown of thorns was a lot of work. When it was delivered, gold-plated, it looked quite good, and it still decorates a well-tended grave.
The next three years, during which I apprenticed in the carpenter shop, forge, metal shop, and at the lathe, passed quickly, because I worked with enthusiasm and did my best in the various fields of ...
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... I was sent to Spandau for my master's exam. Of course, I had to go through all the different departments first. Before I left, my director said to me, "When you arrive in Berlin, take a carriage to the 'Hamburg' train station immediately, because you will find a train connection there. Understood? You will be expected."
Although I followed his instructions, I did not make it to the train. I did not want to walk via Charlottenburg, for it was already late. Instead, I angrily went back along Invaliden-Strasse. Hotell Walter was the first one where you could find a room for the night. But since I saw nobody downstairs, I went up a flight of stairs. I heard merry voices singing, and I thought, "Where they sing, you can settle down, because bad people don't know any songs."
I knocked and heard a many-voiced "Come in!" when the door opened. I apologized and asked where one could spend the night. A little girl answered, "If you, dear artillery-man, can play the violin, you can stay; we have a violin and nobody to play it". To this I said, "Hand me the violin, and sing what you want me to play."
Since I can play fairly well, everybody sang "Die Wacht am Rhein", for that's what they wanted to hear. My knapsack flew off my back, helmet and bayonet were taken by many hands. The night passed very quickly with happy playing and dancing; it was an engagement party like I have seldom seen.
I went to Spandau the next morning at 6 o'clock and reported to the director. I got a healthy scolding because I had been expected and hadn't arrived from Berlin until a day later. My explanation was not accepted, for there are no excuses in the army. After 5 months I was finished with everything and sent back to Danzig.
During that short time much had changed already. Our Director von Boris had been transferred, the squadron dissolved, and everything went into private hands. I was in charge of the metal lathe shop. Most of the discharged soldiers went home. Several, who lived close by, stayed. For a while things went fairly well. But then the new director, Mr.Doerge, introduced a new course. Almost all the work was done as piece-work, yet he only wanted to pay half of the original salary. Most of the good and reliable workers left. Though I went to see the director to protest, it was in vain, he did not change his mind.
I remained with a bunch of bunglers. Not one was left who could do good work. So I also lost interest, because not everyone is able to treat people unfairly. I quit my job and took to the road. My brother's place in the Caucasus was my destination.
First I visited my parents, then I traveled to Vienna, via Breslau. I enjoyed the Austrian Emperor's city, but I was running out of money. I was forced to sell my gold chain for a ridiculously low price, because I needed a little more for the trip down the Danube, to the Walachia area. We had a two-day stop-over in Pest, for much cargo had to be loaded and unloaded. I used this time to go sightseeing in Pest and in Ofen, especially to see the beautiful suspension bridge connecting the two cities. The Hungarian wine there is also not bad at all.
The journey then continued down the beautiful Danube, past Belgrad and through the "Iron Gate", where the river has to squeeze between rocks. Specially trained captains had to guide the steamships carefully through the rocks, since the current is very swift. After that we made several more stops, and one day, towards evening, we docked in Gallaz. "Everyone on land", we were told, for the steamship would go no further. The luggage could stay on board until the next day. Everybody left the steamer, I also, hat-box in hand, because I meant to impress my brother with my hat during the visit.
Most of the passengers went to a hotel. If my purse had permitted it, I would have liked to go, too. Instead, I wandered around Gallaz all night, exploring. At about midnight, a thunderstorm came up, and it rained hard. In order to find shelter, I crossed the square in front of me, because I had seen a light on the other side. I had hardly reached the middle of the square when I was attacked by several large dogs. It was very dark, and the only thing I had in my hand was the box with my hat. I swung it around to protect myself while I called for help. All of a sudden, the strings on the cover broke and my hat fell into the abundant muck. All I had left was the cover with the handle. Like mad, the dogs threw themselves on my beautiful hat and tore it to pieces. But help arrived. Alerted by my yelling and the dogs' barking, I heard voices calling the dogs back. Two lanterns came towards me, and then two night watchmen stood in front of me, looking at me curiously.
I made myself understood as well as possible and asked for a place to sleep. One of the watchmen understood a lot of what I said. He and his colleague grabbed my arm and helped me up, for I had sunk deep into the mud while fighting off the dogs. You will rarely find a city as dirty as Gallaz.
When I felt solid ground under my feet again, one of the guards asked me to follow him. He led me to his house and woke up his wife, who said, in German, "Come in and don't be afraid, look, I am German, too."
In the small room next to the living room, a light was burning in a corner in front of a picture of a Saint. A bed, table and chair was all that was there. "Now sleep well, my husband will come home from work in the morning and wake you up. Good night."
I was alone. Many thoughts raced through my head. Maybe a den of thieves? But no, the woman had too honest a face, and above the bed hung a picture of a little girl kneeling in front of her bed, hands folded, and underneath was written:
Dear Father in Heaven,
I am closing my eyes,
In want to lie down on my bed,
Give me, oh Lord, your blessing,
Dear God, this I ask of you,
Stay with me, watch out for me.
After seeing that my suspicions faded. I gladly took off my wet clothes, went to bed and slept soundly. My host knew exactly when the next steamer would leave for Odessa, so he didn't wake me until 9 o'clock. My good hostess had already prepared breakfast, and quite at ease, as if we had known each other for years, we sat down together at the breakfast table. The woman was from the Vienna area, the man from Gallaz. He helped me carry my suitcase to the other steamship, and when I tried to pay the woman for her hospitality, she refused. "I am happy that I could help a German. Go with God", she said.
The steamship left and went down the Danube to where it flows into the Black Sea at Tunseverin. For a long time one can still see the blue streaks in the sea.
The steamer always stayed close to shore until one morning we reached Odessa. The city leaves a good impression when seen from the sea. It is situated high up on a rocky plain and looks very uniform, all the houses being built of limestone. After the luggage has been checked by the customs clerk, and the passports with the visas from the Russian Consul in Gallaz have been taken care of, everybody can go where he pleases. Of course there are always many hands ready to help the arriving people. Carriages and hotel cabs have a lot to do.
After I had hand-carried my box to shore and the first rush was over, I put it on my shoulder and walked on down the first road which ran along the sea. I had to stop often to rest, for my shoulders felt the load. My eyes were searching for smokestacks, because I had no money left, except for that one Thaler which I had earned first and my mother had saved for me.
After some searching I heard hammering, as if kettles were being riveted, and really, I had come to a factory. I reported to the guard at the gate and asked him to take my papers to the office. It didn't take long before I was called in, questioned and, after 30 minutes, I was put to work. My box stayed with the guard.
There was a lot to do, so we worked through the first night, also the following day and another night. I did not mind, for I had no money except for that one Thaler which I wanted to keep. But even that was impossible, because I was just too hungry. Reluctantly, I had to spend it (because we were paid only after four days of working). I bought bacon and rye bread. I cut both into four pieces, even though I was so hungry I could have eaten the double ration. But I had to. After all, I was in Russia and had the privilege to be able to spend the night at the guard's.
Finally, it was payday. Everybody went to the office until his number was called. Mine was 49, "sorro dezwiatters" in Russian. When I had my pay - it was quite a bit, since I had worked for three nights and my job was well paid - the guard took me home with him and allowed me to stay in his house for the time that I worked in this factory. Right away I wrote a letter to my brother in Nikolajew, where he had married a woman from Odessa. Several days later he came to see me, introduced me to his in-laws, who were from Luebeck, and invited me to spend the Easter holidays with him in Nikolajew, which I gladly accepted.
Shortly before leaving, I bought myself a nice high hat with a box and got a ticket. On the Saturday before Easter, I boarded a steamship. Of course, I stayed on deck from where you had a nice view. The steamer had many passengers. My luggage consisted of the hatbox, which I guarded quite well, and of another box with small presents for my brother's children. A rather heavy-set Jewish woman was standing right next to me, and pretty soon we had a conversation going.
Nikolajew is situated on the River Bug, which runs into the Black Sea. It is the town of the Admiralty. After we had followed the shore of the Black Sea, we went up the Bug River. After a journey of about ¾ of a day, we reached our destination. The steamship slowed down and docked. My eyes searched the shore to locate my waiting brother. There was a sudden jolt, everything swayed, and the lady next to me fell onto my hat, squishing the box and everything.
I helped her to get up; she apologized and thanked me for my help. Everybody laughed, but I didn't think it was so funny when I saw the result. I had to throw everything overboard, nothing could be used anymore. Yet I was glad that the lady was not hurt, because besides toys, there was some light glassware in the box, which was all broken.
I enjoyed the days with my brother's family, and the time passed too quickly. After the holidays I had to return to Odessa. I said good-bye to my brother, but we never saw each other again. God's plans were different from ours.
Back in Odessa, I returned to work the next day. That same evening, a colleague asked me if I was interested in working for the railroad. Twenty-two locomotives, sent in parts by Segel in Wiener-Neustadt, had to be assembled, and the pay was very good. I didn't hesitate, went over to the railroad station, was hired as a mechanic, and started working the following day.
After about six months, all the locomotives had been put together. They all passed their trial runs and were taken over by the directors.
With everything finished, we were supposed to be transferred to the repair shop. I did not like that idea, since I did not intend to stay in Odessa for good. After a short consideration, I decided to travel with a colleague to Africa, by way of Constantinople.
A Turkish cargo ship, which also took on passengers, lay at anchor and was scheduled to leave soon. We hurried to get our passports, went to the docks and bought our tickets. Since we thought we could surely buy food on the ship, and there was not enough time anyway, we boarded with just our luggage. The ship sailed off proudly, with the half-moon banner of the Aberus hoisted.. The next morning we felt really hungry. We were the only Christians on board; the others were all Turks who never even looked at us Unbelievers, let alone gave us food.
The trip was stormy right from the beginning. Although we offered one ruble for a ship-zwieback, we got none and had to satisfy our hunger with half-rotten art prints as well as possible. On the evening of the third day it became very stormy. The cargo consisted of Podolick oxen with long horns, with which they gored each other. It must have looked awful in the cargo area. We were spared that sight because the ship sprang a leak. "Everybody to the pumps!" We, of course, first in line. Distress signals were sent out, and the captain walked around with a loaded revolver. I still wonder why we were not shot and thrown overboard. But help was near.
The storm had sent our ship off course to Constantia, where our distress signals were seen and answered. Despite hunger and exhaustion, we were happy: Maybe we would be saved in time. The pumps were manned continuously, and as much freight as possible was thrown overboard. After about an hour, which seemed endless to us, the long-awaited life-boat arrived. Our own small life-boats could not be used, since they were badly damaged. We climbed down the ropes into the boat, which took us to shore with much difficulty. Gradually, the sun came up. We were sitting on rocks not too far from the lighthouse. After we had recovered a bit, our old friend hunger showed up again. My companion was quite hopeless, folded his hands and prayed continuously. Finally, I was fed up and told him, "Friend, praying alone won't get us something to eat. Let's walk further up. It is almost daylight, maybe we can buy some bread to satisfy our hunger for the moment." We did have money, having even exchanged some Turkish coins. Since I could not convince him to come along, I went by myself and was lucky, too. I soon met a Turkish man who carried a board with pretzels on his head. When I showed him the money, he put the board down on the ground. I tried one pretzel, and it tasted very good. So I took off my belt, strung it full with pretzels while the Turk was watching, and gave him some money. He must have been an honest man, for he gave me back some small change for my big coin. I returned happily to my hungry friend. When he saw me holding up a pretzel, he walked towards me, and we feasted on the freshly baked goods without leaving anything. That same evening, we continued our interrupted journey on a Russian steamship.
We arrived at the Bosporus on the next day. The entrance from the Black Sea is spectacular, and not without reason is it called the Golden Horn. Europe to the right, Asia to the left. The eyes cannot get enough of the beauty in nature and of the wonderful architecture.
We got an offer to work in the arsenal, but we passed it up since it was well known that payments were quite irregular. So we continued our journey through the Dardanelle, until we were held up in Smyrna for several days. We were told we had to wait for the mail from East India. Smyrna is situated on the slope of a mountain and produces a lot of good wine, besides providing many countries with the best raisins and currants. From there we crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Alexandria in Egypt. From far away you can already see the column of Pompea, made of one piece of stone, very high and large, polished from top to bottom. (I still have a picture of it).
I reported to the German Consulate and received a letter of protection in German and English language. My companion did the same at the English Consulate. His father was an Englishman and died shortly after his birth, so his mother moved to Heidelberg where he was raised.
Immediately, we started to look for work, because the journey had cost us quite a bit of money. On the third day we found work in an English repair shop for locomotives, which also had a foundry. The locomotives running between Alexandria and Cairo were repaired there. Also, many iron bowls were cast in the foundry. They were placed upside down into the sand and connected with iron bars to support the railroad tracks, since wood is very scarce over there.
The factory was located right at the Nile River, from where we also got all our water. For home use, it is carried in goat skins from the Nile. It has to be filtered first, otherwise it cannot be used. For this purpose, they use large earthen vessels which are very porous, so the water can seep through and then be caught again.
The most beautiful street in Alexandria is Consulate Square, similar to "Unter den Linden" in Berlin. Above many doors, stuffed crocodiles are nailed up in semi circles.
When the Suez Canal (connection between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, 21 miles long) was dedicated, then Crown prince Frederick of Prussia stayed for some time with the German Consul in Prambarb in Alexandria, where we Germans arranged for a torch parade in his honor. He enjoyed it very much. After I had worked there for several years and had saved quite a bit of money, I wanted to see Palestine. My companion was unable to stay very long in Egypt, because the climate was too hot for him. He spent most of his days in the hospital and finally left for Europe.
So I embarked and traveled to Jaffa. Landing there is very dangerous in stormy weather, since a barrier of rocks blocks the shoreline, which has only one opening. The captain did not want his passengers to land there, because the sea was very rough. But finally, the begging of five Franciscan monks, pilgrims from Rome, changed his mind, and he gave the signal to disembark. Immediately, several boats left the shore to take on the passengers. The monks occupied the first one to arrive. I wanted to join them, but the pious men did not allow me to do that, so I had to enter the second one. The first one was about a hundred paces ahead of us. Slowly, we approached the entrance through the rocks. It was hard work for the Arabs, for the waves were quite high. All of a sudden the first boat hit a cliff, capsized, and all passengers fell into the water, never to be seen again. A cry rang out from our boat, since we were almost at the dangerous spot. But our heavily laden vessel passed the cliffs like an arrow and reached the quiet water close to shore, where everybody thanked God.
Since the monks had been awaited, many brothers standing at the landing place had watched the accident. I went into the monastery, where each pilgrim gets food and shelter for three days. Services were held for the victims, and every evening people prayed in the chapel until late at night. On the second day I asked how I could continue my journey. I was advised to leave on horseback the following noon. A caravan had left in the morning, and I should have no difficulty catching up with it. I should also take some letters along. I did as the brothers had advised me.
After I had fortified myself with food and drinks, I followed a monk who handed me some letters to Jerusalem. He led me to the main gate of the monastery, where a beautiful horse waited for me. Of course, it had to be paid for at the beginning of the journey. The horse stomped its feet impatiently, and I regretted that I had not started with the caravan in the morning. But I was told that the grey was a quiet horse. The saddle and bridle on the animal looked beautiful; the Turks have a very special taste in these things. The bag with oats was strapped behind the saddle. After I had tied the straw hat under my chin - because of the heat it was adorned with a veil - I mounted the horse. "Allah Karim - may the Lord be with you", I heard behind me. "Let the horse run, there is only one way!" He let go of the reins, the horse turned on its haunches like lightning, but I held on to its mane and petted its neck. I succeeded, for after a while the horse quieted down and we took off, trotting and galloping at a frightening pace. But I got used to it very quickly, and around 4 o'clock I had reached a monastery. The horse whinnied, and before I had time to knock on the door it was opened. A monk fed the horse and brought wine and bread for me. Then we went on. We met some Bedouins. Towards evening I caught up with the caravan in a coffee shop. They had rested and were about to leave again, but I had enough time to feed my horse before joining them.
A camel was walking in front of me, carrying the sweet load of a Jewish family from Poland. It was not easy for the animal, for it carried five people. The old man sat at the neck, his wife with the youngest in a wicker basket on the right side, and on the left side two rather grown-up boys also in a wicker basket. Both baskets were tied together with wide belts over the back of the camel. The boys must have been too heavy for the old basket, for all of a sudden there was loud shouting, and the boys were down on the ground on the left side. Of course, with the counter weight missing, the Jewish lady with the child also fell down on the other side - quite some picture. We all stopped, the camel had to lie down, and when everything was fixed we went on.
It is dangerous to travel alone in that area because there are jackals in the mountains ( a kind of wolf known to have killed quite a number of people). Since I was not used to riding, I quite often walked for hours alongside my horse. The journey continued without any further mishaps. Sometimes at night we could still see the place where we had started in the morning, because Jerusalem is situated at 2,000 feet above the level of the Mediterranean Sea. Finally, we were told we would reach our destination the following morning, if nothing went wrong. Immediately, the Catholics started to let their rosaries glide through their hands. The Jews tied the commandments to their heads. The Russians and Greeks beat their chests to bless themselves. But I could only thank God quietly.
They were right. Early in the morning we reached Jerusalem. The companion from Jaffa took my horse. Of course, you can't forget the tip after a successful journey. I felt bad for my dear grey, for in the evening he had to start the same trip back with an Englishman. Now I knew why the horse whinnied at the gate to the monastery and stopped at each spring to drink. Many wealthy Russians, who had been ordered by their priests to travel from Jaffa to Jerusalem, walking barefoot as a punishment, now washed their feet.
The Jaffa Gate was not yet open, so I went to a coffee shop, from where I had a view of the town. Soon the sun rose beyond the Mount of Olives in the East, and its rays greeted the golden cross on top of the cupola of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The cupola was built by the French, wide golden bands stretch from the cross to the edge, and the eye is blinded when the sun hits stem.
I thought, this is the town so well known for all the blood shedding, and sacred to so many religious faiths; for the Christians, no matter of what faith, have lost their savior there at the cross. It is sacred to the Turks, because Mohamed is said to have gone to heaven from there, and even more to the Jews, because some day their Messiah will come from the Mount of Olives
and enter through the most beautiful gate, the golden one. But the Turks have probably walled the beautiful gate shut with the remark that right now they have enough Messiahs, and when the Messiah of the Jews comes from the Mount of Olives, he can walk through the Gate of Damascus or the Gate of Stephen.
Jerusalem is surrounded by a thick stone wall certainly wide enough that a cart could travel on it. Boulders as big as a house are right on top. I wondered how they got there, because people didn't have steam power at that time.
When the Jaffa Gate was opened, I went inside. On the right I saw a fortified castle, surrounded by a moat. A draw bridge led to the inside. It was the Castle of David. I was looking for Hiaskis Pond, where King David overheard the two virgins from his castle, but I could not find it. So I went on, observing everything carefully. But you have to watch out, for the cobble stone pavement is not the best. After some walking back and forth, I found the German Consulate, where I registered and legitimized myself. If I am not mistaken, the Consul's name was Roose. He welcomed me and told me that I could stay for 15 days with free meals and lodging, to have time for sightseeing. The Consul's servant accompanied me to the place where the pilgrims stayed.
I liked it right away, because it was meticulously clean. The host who greeted me looked rather trustworthy. He invited me for breakfast, which was very good. He said that I should hurry to the outer court of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, because on this morning the stone would be blessed on which Christ had been anointed. I thanked him and left after he had described how to get there. It was quite a solemn place. I observed all the ceremonies with lively interest and got so involved that I did not notice that my gold watch was stolen from my vest pocket, though it was fastened with a steel chain.
I really had not expected something like this at this place. I was surrounded by Greeks, Italians and Maltesians, but since I had not noticed it I could not accuse anybody. I had enough for the first day; I felt so bad about my watch for which I had paid 200 Thalers in Alexandria.
The Consul informed the police, and I gave them the number and an exact description of the watch. However, it did not reappear, in spite of the fact that I had promised to donate it to the Protestant nursing order if it were found. To no avail.
The next day, and later on several more times, I went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Right at the entrance on the left you find Turkish military guards to keep order. A beautiful marble chapel is in the center. In front of it are two rows of huge candlesticks of solid gold. In the first hall you find the stone which is supposed to have been rolled away from Christ's tomb, and on which the angel was sitting. Then you see an opening just large enough to let an adult through, crawling on his knees. Now you find yourself in a dark room, sparsely lit by many golden hanging lamps. On the right side is the place where Christ was buried, and where each pilgrim prays with devotion. In the background on the left, a priest reads from the bible. A small crucifix above the entrance is supposed to have been made from the wood on which Jesus was crucified. You can also see the crack in the rock which is said to have burst that day. Just about always the church is filled with the faithful from all over the world.
Many Arabs are sitting in the outer court to sell souvenirs, beautiful things made of mother of pearl, mainly rosaries and crucifixes. The Leoma-Mosque, where Jesus expelled the money-changers in his days, is also a beautiful sight. It belongs to the Turks and is surrounded by a strong wall. These are the mourning walls of the Jews, where they pray to God to return the temple to them. I also liked the Chapel of the last Supper, where Jesus had supper with his disciples. A very sad sight are the lepers, who have to stay in one particular place and are not allowed to walk around everywhere. This is an incurable disease, many have only half a face left, the other half you can hardly look at, because it makes your skin crawl. They live mainly on alms, and just about everybody gives them something. I have even heard that they intermarry.
Later on I also found Hiaskis Pond. It is very close to the Castle of David and surrounded by houses, the back walls of which enclose a huge rectangular basin, like a big cistern. From the coffee shops, you can see how the water is fetched with containers tied to ropes.
Through Josaphat Valley, where you also find Mary's tomb, you get to the Mount of Olives. At its foot lies the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ was praying while his disciples slept. It is well taken care of. Kidron Brook flows between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, from where you have a beautiful view of Jerusalem and Bethany.
Having spent ten days with sightseeing, I left for Bethlehem. I left in the morning and arrived in the afternoon. Found .....
...cavern turned white. In the field of the shepherds you find a small house of prayer. When I was there, an old Arab, a sculptor of Catholic faith, worked in it. Since his youth he had worked on three big stone sculptures; two were already finished and the third was close to being completed. The first one represented the birth of Christ and will remain in Bethlehem; the second one, the crucifixion, will go to Jerusalem; the third one is supposed to go to Rome and represents the sending of the Holy Spirit.
This man has dedicated his whole life to these three pictures. You can see some sculpture there, all these faces and all raised and in granite. A sculptor from Rome told me, " I have been master for a long time already, but compared with this work I am an apprentice". I often saw him admiring the pictures for half a day at a time.
The Ponds of Salomon, which are not far from Bethlehem and provide it as well as Jerusalem with water, are constructed very wisely. Each one is situated a bit higher than the one before; they are connected with each other and surrounded by high walls; they can be closed off separately, so that the water of the lowest one is used up first, then the water of the second one flows into the first and so on. All are filled with water from the mountains, so that both towns have enough water during the dry season.
When I returned to Jerusalem and was not very far from it, I met a Jew who, to my utmost astonishment, addressed me with my first and last name. When I asked him how he knew my name he answered, "You are a mechanic. Quite some time ago, I and another rabbi received a loco mobile and mill from England. The parts are packed in crates. Until now we have waited in vain for a mechanic who can put them together. The German Consul told us about your presence. Now we would like to ask you to help us out and set up the mill and loco mobile".
We walked to Jerusalem together. The rabbi took me to his living quarters and showed me the contents of the crates. Since I remembered my stolen watch, I did not hesitate. The next day we went to the consulate, where we signed a contract. Quite pleased, I started to work, having been paid half of the money - 150 Thaler - in advance. It took me several weeks until I could grind flour for the first time. My rabbis were very pleased. Every day many Jews came to watch, because this was their first steam engine, I was told. But pretty soon we experienced a lack of coal, for it had to be transported from the harbor on camels, which is quite troublesome. So I taught a son of the rabbi how to run the steam engine. I also had them write a recommendation for me. Then I went to the convent to get a letter of pilgrimage, to which everyone that stayed there is entitled. In Thorn, I had it translated into German by Prof. Dr.Brohm, a friend of my father. He said, "I have translated many books, but this is the first letter of pilgrimage". It does not cost anything and serves only for legitimating.
Since I had seen everything in and around Jerusalem and had also bought souvenirs, (among them three beautiful 'Roses of Jericho', which, no matter how old they are, open up after a while if you put them in water; no other plant does that) I started my journey back. Right away a priest implored me to give him one of my roses, which I did not like to do. Also, my little travel bag, which I always put under my head when I went to sleep, was cut open and some money and souvenirs were stolen.
When I arrived in Alexandria, I found work in a big French mill. Through an Arab by the name of Abegdaim, who was my helper, had been educated in England for a while and was rather intelligent, I had the chance to learn some things about Mohamed. He said, "I will tell you how he became prophet: Clever and good at talking, he always preached in the open fields to the people, who loved to listen. So he talked a friend into hiding in a deep well before one of his sermons, and whenever he prayed to God the friend should answer from below. Naturally, they had practiced everything beforehand. It worked like a charm. The people heard the voice of God, of course from the well, but it sounded as if it came from heaven. They fell to their knees and kissed the ground. Because he did not want to be betrayed by his friend, he asked the people to build a temple where they had heard the voice of God, and to close the well with rocks. Everyone hurried to do as Mohamed had told them, and so his friend was killed.
My helper also told me that a rock followed Mohamed when he went up to heaven. The prophet noticed it and ordered it to return to earth. To the amazement of the faithful, the rock stayed in the air until a woman saw it for the first time and was so frightened that she died. Therefore a high pillar was built underneath it, so it would not look so dangerous to people with weak nerves. Of course, the rock is really floating in the air. Every year, a long caravan moves along the Nile to Mecca to visit the tomb of the prophet. The ones who have seen it and want to become holy, lose their eyesight and have to be led by the hand for the rest of their lives. The poor ones who cannot afford the journey but want to become half holy, go to Cairo to wait for the return of the holy pilgrimage. As soon as it arrives, the people who want to become half holy throw themselves close together on the ground, and the leader of the caravan slowly rides over them on a fiery horse. Only rarely can someone get away with his limbs in one piece.
When their fast is over, they slaughter a sheep. It is customary for the poor Arabs to pour the blood of the animal on the outside of the entrance door. Flies live on it for weeks, and it looks rather ugly.
Many ducks live in the reeds along the shores of the Nile, and I was interested in finding out how they are caught. One Sunday, my helper invited me to go hunting. Since he did not carry a gun, I thought he had forgotten about it, but it was not so. He explained that the ducks would be chased away if he would shoot. We walked along one arm of the Nile. My companion carried the hull of a big water melon; he had scooped out the pulp at home and eaten it. Two small holes were in it, and he carried a strap and many hooks. With the eye of an expert, he watched the movement of the reeds. Then Abegaim said there should be many ducks. He quickly took off his clothes, stringed the hooks onto his belt, fastened it around his body, cut a big hole into the water melon, put his head inside and told me to be quiet. Slowly, he walked into the water until it reached the water melon, and then towards the ducks. It did not take long until he was close to them, and they quacked peacefully around the melon. Then I noticed that one after the other disappeared, for with his hands he grabbed their legs, pulled them under water, broke their necks and hooked them onto his belt. It took hardly half an hour until he came back to dry land, and many ducks were hanging from his belt, which made him look like an Indian and made me laugh.
The Arab prays with devotion, mainly when the moon is out, and he kisses the ground. He also holds Christ in high esteem and says that he was a great prophet, but Mohamed is the greatest. I liked the greeting of the Arabs: When two of them meet, they touch forehead and chest with their right hand, bend down to earth and say something like "I put my mind and soul at your feet".
One evening, when my helper had finished his prayers, I asked him why he had not become a Christian in England, or why he did not let the missionaries convert him here. He answered, "I respect each religion, but not a man who changes his faith. Why do you send us missionaries? What would you do with our missionaries if we would send some to you? Why don't you convert the Jews in your country first? Everybody likes his own faith, and every dog is moody in his own backyard. We all pray to one God only. Why don't you give the money that you spend on missionaries to the poor, or don't you have any?"
Since I forgot about it earlier, I would like to describe a short experience from Odessa:
I was invited by a Russian family (Greek Catholics) to attend an offering for the deceased at the cemetery, which I gratefully accepted. Early on a Sunday morning I joined the family, burdened with baskets and bottles, to go to the cemetery, to the place where their relatives were buried. They spread out a white sheet and unpacked the baskets, filled with bread, cake, wine and brandy. Everything was placed on the sheet, and then we waited, I with particular expectation, for the things to come. Soon the cemetery was filled with people who did the same. After a while, a priest appeared with a man carrying a big bag. The priest pulled a crucifix from his robe and had the people kiss it, which cost 10 Kopeks for everybody. Then he drank a good mouthful from the bottle that was already opened He took everything he liked and handed it to his helper, who placed it in the bag and carried it over to the wagon, which was waiting at the cemetery. But before the priest tasted the wine, he carefully looked at the label with the eyes of a connoisseur. Yet I have to admit that he leaves a good swig for each of the mourning relatives.
At night the moon was shining on many mourning people and priests lying in the aisles, unable to move, much less to stand up. I had seen enough.
The catacombs in Alexandria are a wonderful home for vermin. You feel a cold shudder when you enter the passageway, in which the captured Christians were buried alive during the crusades. One cannot go in very far because of all the snakes and scorpions. I even brought one scorpion home accidentally, and had a hard time catching it after it had hidden during the night.
A letter from home informed me that my father was severely ill. I decided to take a three-
month vacation to go home and see him, but after that I wanted to return at all costs.
I arrived in Trieste by way of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea, intending to travel from there. On a mountain close to the Adriatic Sea is the proud and beautiful castle Mira Mara ("admire me") belonging to the unhappy Emperor Maximilian, who was shot in Mexico.
It was Easter time, and we had a joyful reunion. My relatives enjoyed listening to my stories. Then the war with France broke out, and it was impossible to get a foreign visa. During the torch parade in Africa, Crown Prince Friedrich had spoken to us quite seriously when he said that we would be received with open arms if we came home. It did not take long before I was ordered to report to Stettin. I was assigned to the 12th company of the 2nd Fort Artillery Regiment in Pomeranian.
We marched to Magdeburg, where we stayed for several weeks, training with heavy artillery. From there we went to Spandau to pick up eight twenty-four pounder cannons, and to take these to France by way of Berlin and Frankfurt.
The story of the war is well known, but I would like to mention one small incident.
After we had taken Mont Avron and Fort Romanville, we settled comfortably in the latter. We destroyed the heavy artillery of the enemy, also the grenades, and we buried the huge amounts of powder in ditches. Since I served as the battery locksmith, I frequently had to go to the village of Romanville at the mountain to make repairs at the local blacksmith's. We were under the orders of the Crown prince of Saxony. One Sunday, when I was about to pass the guard on my way to Panten (?), I heard a soldier point me out to an officer as the battery smith. The officer, whose rank I could not see since he wore a long coat, approached me and asked me if I could put a new shoe on his horse, since the old one was broken. He was on the way to Fort Olne (?), but his horse was very lame. I could not help him, since this was not my trade, but I offered to accompany him to the village of Romanville, where I knew the blacksmith who could certainly help him. Since it was not very far, the officer accepted.
A wagon with two horses stood in front of the fort. When I started to go ahead and show the way, the officer asked me to sit next to him, since he was in a hurry and it was faster this way. Reluctantly, I sat down to his left, an orderly seated himself behind us. We had traveled about half way, when my commanding officer approached us on horseback. He dismounted quickly and, holding his horses, saluted the officer beside me. The officer returned the salute. Naturally, my commander recognized me. I studied the officer beside me more closely; he smiled now and asked me many questions of military nature, which I answered respectfully.
When we arrived in the village, we got out and I asked for the blacksmith. He quickly went to work, with me helping where I could. The officer paid the blacksmith and thanked me for my help. Before he left, I asked the orderly who he was. "You don't know him?", he answered, "He is the Crown Prince of Saxony". Now I knew why my commander had dismounted so quickly and looked at me so strangely.
When I returned to the fort, I was ordered to appear before the commander, who reprimanded me. But when I told him what had happened, he laughed heartily and said that it is an honor for our regiment if the Commander-in-Chief goes for a Sunday ride with his men. Next Sunday, I had better stay at the fort, or I would end up riding with His Majesty Emperor Wilhelm. All the officers were laughing.
Not long afterwards, the older men of many regiments were allowed to go home. Via Strasburg and Berlin, we marched into Stettin with fanfare and hurrah. We were soon discharged and allowed to go home. Boarding the train, I saw many Sisters of a Protestant nursing order on the platform. One of them looked very familiar. When I greeted her and said her name, she recognized me immediately, because she had taken care of me while I was ill in Alexandria and had to spend four weeks in the hospital of these nurses. She had also come over, and now she took care of wounded soldiers. We were both very happy about the unexpected reunion.
Back in my hometown, I wanted to return to Africa as soon as possible, but the death of my father and the begging of my sisters and brothers changed my mind. After some time of resting, I decided to become an engine-driver. I went to Bromberg and applied at the Royal Railroad repair shop, where I was hired.
Since I had applied for a job as an engine-driver, I was employed after one year as an assistant fireman. When they were convinced of my capabilities, I became fireman, later on I took the exam as a certified fireman and passed with good grades. I also passed my trial runs with courier, express, regular and freight trains, so that I was finally promoted to engine-driver.
During my many travels I got to know a very nice young lady, who became my wife. I was transferred to Thorn, where we lived contently and happily in the house of my mother.
Since I had no misconducts during my army service and during the five years in the Royal East Railroad, I became Royal engine-driver, which I can prove with documents. This was the shortest time span in which such a position can be attained.
One day, when I was driving the express train to Alexandrowo (Russia) and had a delay at the last station (Ottloczyn) for border control and passports, the head conductor came up to the engine and reported that there was a Jew on the train who claimed to come from Jerusalem. Since he knew that I had been there, he wanted me to check this man out.
I met the Jew in the restaurant. He told me he was born in Jerusalem and familiar with every stone there. I answered, if he had lived in Jerusalem, he must know of the steam-powered gristmill, which was built some time ago close to the church of the Holy Sepulcher. I built this mill, and it had created quite an excitement among the Jews. The rabbis who owned the mill were Salomon Levi and Aron Fellhaendler. The Jew had heard enough. He exclaimed, "Oh God Almighty, that was you?", and he embraced me. He said he was Salomon Levi's son, whom I had trained in running the steam engine. We were both overjoyed at the unexpected reunion. He got married in Russia and was traveling with his young wife to Jerusalem, where he left many regards from me. Fate brings people together in strange ways.
After Count Bismarck took control of the Eastern Railroad, conditions became worse every year. We were supposed to save everywhere. Extra pay was stopped, we received less money per mile, and oil rations for the trains were reduced. The coal rations were curtailed so much, that many of the engine-drivers had to pay back part of their salary for coal they had used in excess. As Royal engine-driver, I was paid an extra 120 Halers per year for lodging. This angered my superior, especially since I paid almost nothing in my mother's house and was able to save quite a bit. One day, I was ordered to move into an apartment in the train station for job-related reasons. It was an apartment for a points-man and very small, for 48 Halers a year. I protested, but to no avail. This angered me, and I quit my service with the railroad. I was not willing to put up with such a treatment, even though my relatives did not agree. Especially my father-in-law, a clerk, who said, "This is just the way things are. Fat floats on top."
But I was unwilling to give in. Making a quick decision, I sold my furniture for a very low price and emigrated with my good wife and three children to America, because after this injustice I hated everything.
With God's help, I intended to build a new future. However, we had to pay dearly for it. Eight days after arriving in New York, our children became ill, and the two oldest, Wildman and Listen, died within eight days, a son and a daughter. My wife was inconsolable, and I had to send her and the youngest child to relatives in Boston to give her some time to recover, because I feared for her sanity.
It was my sad duty to accompany my loved ones to the Linden-Hill-Cemetery, for my wife had to stay home to look after the sick child. Besides God's, only four eyes followed them into the grave, the undertaker's and mine.
Yet in good time any wound heals. Now I have fenced in the place where they are resting and waiting for us. I was hired in Brookline as an engineer, later in New York and in Hoboken, where I have lived for 14 years now, and where I recently also celebrated my 27th wedding anniversary with my family. Trusting in God, I now look forward to my further pilgrimage to the end.
Daniel Heinrich Fromholtz
204 8 St., Hoboken, NJ
Recommendations from Europe, Asia, Africa and America in German, English, French, Russian and Latin are available to the revered reader of my curriculum vitae.
Fromholtz, Daniel Heinrich
|Year Range from||1902|
|Year Range to||1902|
204 Eighth St.
|Caption||pg 1 of 13|
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