Chapter 9
                                        Carl and Karl Friedrichs

I now return to my grandfather Carl Friedrichs (4) and his wife, Nanny Heiberg (5). Carl was an
attractive man; he was a good storyteller. Nanny, however, was not outgoing. She very much
demanded proper behavior of us children. Only when she was ninety and I twenty-eight years
old, could I talk to her freely.

As the owner of a bookstore in Kiel, Carl was at first very successful. Most professors at the
university frequented his store. In particular, if anyone needed a special rarely used, book, Carl
could locate it. He became a personal friend of several of the professors, in particular of
Nöldeke, a famous specialist for old Oriental languages. Some of the professors had the habit of
walking in the afternoon to a certain garden restaurant at the seashore in order to chat there. Carl
always went with them and left a salesman to handle the store. After a number of years, other
bookstores sold cheap novels or something like paperbacks. Carl, however, would not do that.
He considered that below his dignity as a scholarly book dealer. That caused trouble. My father,
Karl, told me that, when he was 17-18 years old, he had to act as a salesman in the store. A few
years later (1888) the bookstore went bankrupt.

Carl took a job as an accountant and bookkeeper at a printing firm in Breslau, run by a former
apprentice of his. Carl’s wife, Nanny, stayed in Kiel and established a boarding house, which she
ran on a very high level with the help of her daughter Anna. The boarders were mostly what now
would be called post-doctoral visitors at the university. They were from Finland, Turkey, Japan,
American, and other countries. Some of them I have met on one of my many travels.

In the course of years, Nanny and Carl met on occasion, but did not live together any more.

Carl and Nanny Friedrichs had three children,
Karl, Ernst, and Anna. Anna first attended her
Aunt Hermine's trade school for women and later on helped her mother in her boarding house.
She was severely hard of hearing. Still she was very active and quite enterprising; in particular
she was active as something like a vice-president of the organization in Germany for those that
are hard of hearing. She could communicate very well by asking questions. That way she could
extract any information she wanted. She died when she was 97 years old.*

*Being hard of hearing was, and to a certain degree, is a family trait. My father, Karl, and his
father, Carl suffered from this failing in later years. Carl's sister Marie suffered strongly. Their
mother, Minna (9), also was hard of hearing. I myself became hard of hearing when I was about
60 years old.

The younger son of Carl and Nanny, Ernst, did not finish the gymnasium and went into
agriculture. He was a very effective charmer of the girls. Supposedly, he had fathered two
illegitimate daughters; but I have not been able to find out about them. He went to South-West-
Africa, then a German Colony, to be a farmer. This worked well for some years, up to the
uprising of the Herero tribe, 1903. To Protect himself he fled, with others, to a minister's house.
A group of Hereros demanded of the minister to surrender Ernst. They claimed that Ernst had
done something wrong to them “ what, I do not know". They threatened that otherwise
everybody would be killed. Reluctantly, the minister surrendered Ernst who then was shot dead.
This was a great shock to the family.

My father, Karl,(photo with siblings-MNF) went to various universities to study law and Oriental
languages. The latter was the wish of his father, Carl, who was very enthusiastic about the rise of
the German Empire, and, in particular, about the fact that Germany now had colonies, just as
other countries. He wanted my father to be a consul in one of the colonies or in a foreign
country, but, my father was totally unsuited for such a position. In fact he soon gave up the
study of Oriental languages.

Actually, my father was born to be a German university professor with all the trimmings; too bad
that the circumstances prevented achieving that.

My father was in his second year of study when his father went bankrupt. My father’s
grandmother, Asta, then supported him as a student. Still he had a hard time getting by. He told
me that he always bought a last year’s herring instead of meat and, when he was invited for a
meal, he got severe stomach troubles since he was not used to heavy good food. Apparently, this
poverty situation improved over the years.

My father got his degrees at the University of Breslau in Silesia. There he lived together with his
father. My grandfather had become a friend of the manufacturer of the ink that was used by the
printing shop for which my grandfather worked. On several occasions my father met a
grandniece of this friend, Elisabeth Entel, and soon they got engaged and married.

The couple traveled together to Kiel where my father was to settle down as a practicing lawyer.
When they arrived in Kiel, they were confronted by three elderly ladies, all looking nearly alike.
My father asked his wife to point out which one was her mother-in-law. Sure, my father should
not have done that; he often did peculiar things, not realizing their effect. But my mother had a
very good instinct; she approached the right one, Nanny. My mother was not only accepted but
even very much loved by her husband’s family.

Before talking about Karl and Elisabeth’s life I shall describe Elisabeth’s family.

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