A Long-Standing Friendship, January 13, 2022

Even though the history of the “REIMAHG” dates back almost 80 years, it remains alive for many in many ways.  A week ago, for example, we received a call asking for a translation of a letter from Belgium. An hour later we met with Grete, now 90 years young, in Kahla. Her husband had met the Belgian Loopmans family in Kahla by chance in the 70s. In conversations it was learned that the older man of this family was formerly employed together with his brother as a forced laborer in the “REIMAHG”.  Already in GDR times he had planned to return here to visit the region, to visit the places of his memory again, together with his family.

From this encounter, a beautiful and lasting friendship developed over the years, with subsequent visits to Kahla.  After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Grete and her husband were finally able to travel to Belgium and visit the family. Over the years, a lively correspondence grew and we were able to help translate the Christmas mail for Grete. We promised her to open our archive to the Loopman brothers and to show her the life story of the brothers on the basis of the documents.

This week Grete and her family invited us. With the archive material we met over coffee and cake and told the story of the brothers Alfons and Willem.  Grete listened with interest, she was very impressed with what she heard and asked if we could also contact the family in Belgium. We were very happy to comply with this request and reached the family the same evening. Thus, this friendship, which arose from history, is again very closely in contact with Grete.

Our invitation to participate in the commemorative ceremonies, which will hopefully take place again in May, was also gladly accepted.