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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Phoenix from the Ashes

Untitled Documen9)
1949 - 1951
American tanks still rumbled through our town, ruining the blue stones of centuries old cobble pavements. Boy was I scared.
They were so terribly LOUD and huge. I was hor-ri-fied. I remember being at the opposite side of our house and needed to cross the street to go home. I did not dare to run between two tanks. Frozen with fear as I was the soldiers were sitting on top of the tanks having a blast throwing chocoloate bars and introducing chewing gum to the old world.
"Shawing Goom" is what we read on the Wrigley wrappings and that's what the kids were screaming for. "Shawing Goom, Shawing Goom"
(Owing to my extreme youth, I don't know how I even remember any of this. But I surely do, even now I still see myself looking in horror at these tanks and sticking my fingers into my ears.)

My parents hated this "shawing goom" and forbade us to chew in their presence and actually all together. "One can not imagine that any one with good manners would CHEW and throw that stuff around in their mouths all day long and in front of other people"!
Now two new states were born. Germany was divided into the German Democratic Republic (DDR) and the BRD, the West.
The East first was fed by Russia, just as the West was supported by the Allies. The Soviet Union could not let the population starve because after all they wanted to take over, thus had to pretend to be friendly.
Sadly however, the Russians dissembled entire productive facilities, complete industries, even the tracks of railroads because Russia had nothing left either.
I can not even start to imagine how chaotic life must have been in the east sector. They were totally isolated - there was no in or out. (Which of course got worse in August of 1963 when the wall was built to halt a mass exodus and keep 'brains' in the eastern part of the country.)

1949 West Germany conducted it's first free and democratic election:
A Catholic Attorney and former Mayor of the City of Cologne,
Konrad Adenauer became the first post war Chancellor, after a while affectionately called:
"Der Alte" (The Old one)
Adenauer shaped the politics of West Germany for more than 14 years
and managed to raise Germany's reputation in the world again.
German soldiers were still imprisoned in Siberia, Russia in 1958 !!!
and Adenauer was the one who traveled, negotiated, and begged
the Russian Government to finally free them.
He was successful, but not many were able to come home.
Most of our POWs had starved to death.

Surely you have heard of the world famous International Frankfurt Fair - a fair for all kinds of goods and the biggest in the world of it's kind. (It could be though, that Shanghai in China might be bigger now)
Father attended the International Frankfurt Fair since the first one in 1948 (Twice a year the Koziol company is present to this day).

This was one of the first if not THE first display ever at Frankfurt Fair,
presenting Ivory and the new "imitations" (1948) Today Koziol is represented at over 40 international fairs every year.

The only thing Germans were longing for now was working and living in peace. They were busy as bees rebuilding their country.

My Father though came up with an ingenious idea. And naturally there is also a story to it.
T'was winter 1950 when a man drove through the forest surrounding his home town and became stuck in a snow drift. Looking back out of the window of his VW Beetle he saw in front of tall firs two deer  that were probably as stunned as he was.
Snow was falling softly and because this man was my Father he immediately saw a "story". It was the birth of the world renown Snow Globe, right there in the middle of a dreamy snow covered forest.

Yup, Bernhard Koziol sr. invented and produced the first Snow Globe ever. An item that I think everybody owned at one point and has fond memories of.
Being a child and wanting an allowance I always had to earn it. I painted figurines or the back "sky" onto the clear globes. I glued scenes together or - later on - had to clean those LOUD, big, greasy injection machines or work benches. This work was carried on after school or on Saturdays and during school vacations.
I earned a dime and then later a quarter per hour and although I didn't like it, I learned some discipline. I had to write an invoice before I got paid and I remember at one point Father handing me a letter saying that he is only paying me if I "promise not to waste the money and spend it on things that are harmful to the body". Yes, I am serious!

Yet today I think he had a good reason to ask for responsibility because I was a bad tomboy, always fervently wishing to be a boy. Yes, I had dolls, but the more welcome gifts were cars big enough for me to sit in and race around. No tree was too high for me, I never ever had "clean" knees. We were not allowed to leave our vast backyard and visiting kids from the neighborhood were almost hand picked. I always was the "leader" but looking back we were not aware then how much our parents had isolated us.
In hindsight - THAT was NOT a good thing for me.

MUCH more to come.

Please don't forget to hug your kids tonight! I missed out on that :(
In the meantime, Please , sign up, become a "fan", follow me? Leave a message? Tweet it, click on +1 ...?? I'd be grateful. Thank you!

And this is what I am doing now, trying to pay my bills :
And I am selling part of my jewelry HERE


Johanna (YooHUNNa)


  1. I highly recommend this blog. There is a lot of history in this and the account of the events are true. I personally know the author and I can vouch for her authenticity. I am also german and grew up after the war. This helped me understand what my parents went through.

    Thank you Johanna for this blog and please continue to write. I can't wait for more.


  2. Thank you, Ruth!
    I wish I could make your comment visible ON the blog...