Wednesday, 13 April 2016

K is for Kennengelernt

My grandparents Hans Boltz and Charlotte Boltz née Manock recalled and celebrated the day they met, 24 January 1930, for the rest of their lives. The day of such first meetings is known in German as Kennengelernttag, 'the day of becoming acquainted'. I recall it being a special day with them making toasts at each anniversary.

Charlotte Manock as a young woman
Charlotte, eighteen at that time, had gone with her family to a tea-dance, Tanztee , possibly at a restaurant by one of the Berlin lakes. Hans went up to the group and asked Charlotte to dance, and from that time they were committed to one another.

A five-o´clock tea and dance at the Berlin Eden Hotel in the 1930s. Image from https://kreuzberged.com/2016/03/30/berlin-past-five-oclock-at-the-eden/
The Hotel Eden would have been close to where the Manock family lived near the Berlin Zoo.

My grandparents would not have been dancing outside in January.
Tea Dance, Tegernsee 1932 photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt and in the collection of Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Lufthansa German Airlines retrieved from http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/221655

Charlotte and Hans were from different backgrounds. Charlotte's father was a prosperous businessman and Hans's father, who had been in the army, worked as a school caretaker.

In 1931 Hans was a cadet [Anwärter] in the Prussian Geological Survey [Preussischen Geologischen Landesanstalt]. He had spent four years at the Technical School of Cartography in the State Institute for Mapping, and joined the Geological Survey in 1930. His training lasted another three years until he took and passed the examination for the Cartographic Service in March 1933. He was then appointed to a non-tenured post, on three months notice, which he held until May 1937, when he received a permanent position, subject to formal confirmation which was given in January 1938.

Charlotte and Hans married in April 1937, not long after he had received his appointment in the cartographic service. They had been engaged for four years and known each other for seven.

Charlotte and Hans following their marriage in 1937 outside the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche


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