African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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from my Aunt Germany 1918 Portland, Oregon

My Aunt several years ago researched our familly history and so when I was given a school project to research my familly tree she was the person I turned to. One of the many stories that she told me was of her mothers mother. As a young teenager my great grandmother, along with her parents and six other sisters, were forced by some sort of conflict to flee Germany in the middle of the night and come to America. My great great grandfather was apparently some sort of minor nobility in Germany and when they fled they sewed as much of their gold or precious stones they could into the girls' skirts. My Aunt says she doesn't know exactly what the conflict was that caused them to be afraid enough for their lives to leave everything behind. But the time period fits pretty well with the German Revolution at the end of WWI. Sailors unhappy with the Keiser Wilhelm II and his military decisions led a revolt that eventually led to the Keisers abdication and the end of the German nobility.

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