This photo album came to me from the German ebay. It tells the story of the families Krempe & Schröder & Weber over the course of more than 60 years! And it holds some wonderful clues, so I put on my detective hat and this is what I could find out.
Hermann Wilhelm Hans Johannes Krempe was born on January 4th, 1903, in Hamburg, as the oldest of the Krempe children. His birth was recorded with the St. Gertrud Church in Hamburg-Barmbek. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Tönning in northern Germany. I found him in the confirmation records of the local church which also gave me his birth date and the names of his parents.
Hermann’s brother Hans Wilhelm Krempe was born on August 4th, 1906, in Tönning, Germany. All I know is that he got married in 1938 and was living in Kiel at the time.
On December 22nd, 1909, Hermann’s sister Marta Elisabeth Krempe was born in Tönning. The only reference to a Marta/Martha in the photo album is the following photo titled “Martha’s birthday in 2.1929”. But this could very well be another Martha cause wouldn’t she celebrate her birthday in December instead of February though?
The youngest sibling of the family was Anni Krempe. She was born some time in the 1910s, but the online records are not accessible to find out more.
The above photos of Anni were taken at a traditional children’s festival called Shooting Birds (Vogelschießen). This festivity has a very long tradition in Tönning, dating to the end of the 17th century. A boy invites a girl to walk in the parade through the streets of the town with him, he brings her flowers and all the flowers the children are carrying in the parade make a beautiful sight. Different games are played and wooden bird marks are shot at.
Hermann’s parents were Carl Hermann Friedrich Ferdinand Krempe and Anna Katharina née Weber. The father was born in 1872 in Waren, Germany, and passed away in 1933. His wife Anna Katharina outlived him by more than 30 years.
Hermann Krempe Sr. owned a painting and glazing business in Tönning. Thanks to my Instagram community we found a photo of his house in Tönning in 1929, on sale on the internet. Perhaps the photo was once part of this photo album too, I don’t know.
There are several photos of Hermann’s mother Anna Katharina Krempe née Weber in this photo album. The first one is showing her very young and the last one was taken in September 1963 at her son Hans’ silver wedding anniversary.
On August 2nd, 1930, Hermann married Gertrud née Schröder in Hamburg, Germany.
The next photo from 1940 is titled “The 10th anniversary of our business” and the only clue is the phonenumber on the window. But I did not know in which city or in which street this shop was located at. Luckily, my amazing Instagram community got busy doing detective work and found the second photo on sale on the internet! It’s the same entrance, just a few years apart. And it gives us another clue – the house number was 28.
At first I thought this shop must have been in Hamburg where Hermann and Gertrud got married in 1930. But I could not find Hermann in the Hamburg adressbooks between 1930 and 1940. It was also pointed out to me on Instagram that the phone number was too short for Hamburg which had 6-digit phone numbers at the time. I then remembered a passport photo of Hermann, printed in Kiel, and decided to check the adressbooks of Kiel. And voilá – Hermann Krempe owned a shop of (colonial) delicacies in Annenstr. 28 in Kiel.
Unfortunately that area of Kiel was heavily bombed in the WWII. The building does not stand today.
The photo above holds another important clue – could the little girl have been Hermann and Gertrud’s daughter?
Some words to Gertrud’s family. I assume Gertrud grew up in Hamburg. She had (at least) two sisters whose names I unfortunately don’t know. This photo of the sisters was taken in 1929, before Gertrud married Hermann. The description says something like “the three girls household” (which as someone pointed out on Instagram could be an inside joke referring to the German silent movie of the same name). The second photo shows Gertrud, her sister and a friend going to a masquerade party in 1928 and posing for a fun photo in Wandsbek in Hamburg, Germany. Unfortunately I don’t know anything about the sisters. Schröder is such a common German surname, there were about a thousand families with that surname living in Hamburg already then.
And these were Gertrud’s parents whose names I haven’t been able to find.
I’m thinking that the couple in this unidentified photo might have been Gertrud’s parents when they were young. Compare Gertrud’s mother in 1942 and Gertrud’s sister in 1929 to the lady in the photo. There are many similar features in them all, they could be at least related if not the same persons.
And here’s another lovely photo of Hermann’s wife Gertrud with her mother and daughter from the 1940s.
Now to some mystery photos in the photo album. I believe this could have been Hermann Krempe’s paternal grandfather Wilhelm Karl Krempe (1838-1906). Hermann’s father was born in 1872 in Waren, Germany, where this photo was taken.
I believe that in the next photo you can see Hermann Krempe’s maternal grandparents, parents of his mother Anna Katharina née Weber. The similarities in features to Anna seem pretty obvious to me. They lived a long life together. Unfortunately I don’t know their names.
The next photo shows family Schuch in February 1929. The lady in the photo was Hermann’s paternal aunt Ida Erna Minna Schuch nèe Krempe who married a Paul Gustav Schuch, a smith by profession, in 1907. Aunt Ida passed away in 1942. She would be spared the knowledge that her oldest son, Paul Otto Gustav, born in 1908, would get killed in an air-raid in 1943. I don’t know the name of the younger son.
Thanks to my Instagram community I was able to identify Hermann and Gertrud’s daughter – Ingrid Krempe. Ingrid never married or had children. She was born in 1934 and passed away last year. There is no immediate family who would be interested in this photo album.
My only hope now is that perhaps Hermann Krempe’s siblings had descendents and they are out there somewhere. Also his wife Gertrud née Schröder had younger sisters who, if they had descendents, might be out there.
I’ve started a family tree on Ancestry for Hermann Krempe which can be seen HERE.
Leaving you here with the handsome Hermann when he was just 18 years old (or so it says on the back of the photo).