Community life in the early years of
Century was similar to any other small town in this predominantly Catholic
area - the Oberpfalz of Bavaria. It revolved around the Catholic Church's
calendar year. The feast days of the Church were celebrated with fervor
and enthusiasm. These feasts and festivals were a welcome break from the
daily labor of the
the Church Year, there were many pilgrimages taken by the townspeople to
the numerous holy places and shrines that dotted the Bavarian countryside.
My great-grandmother was a very
devout Catholic whose faith had been
re-enforced by the tales told each succeeding generation about the turmoils of
the religious wars of the
16th Century and the horrors that had been endured by the people during the
Thirty Years' War.
These were still deeply engrained in the minds of people of her
The inhabitants of this area had been
forced to convert from one religion
to another several times during this period, depending on which religious
group and its noble or royal benefactor had the upper hand. Thousands of
civilians lost their lives during the Thirty Years' War as armies plundered
the Oberpfalz. As a result, whole villages disappeared. At the same time,
Plague ravaged the area. Famine was everywhere as armies not only destroyed
crops, but also forced townspeople to furnish them with food from their
meager resources and to quarter their men, as well. These tragedies left
a bitterness in the collective minds of the older people that had endured
even to the early 20th Century.
My great-grandmother often took care
of her grandchildren so that their parents could concentrate on the business of
the restaurant and guestrooms.
Her availability lightened their load considerably and also gave her the
opportunity to instill her strict religious beliefs in her grandchildren.
My father fondly recalls his grandmother...