Hermann Forgot his passport
Hermann hatte den Paß vergessen

The Borkener Zeitung, Ramsdorf, Germany, July 1956

From the end of the last century: Ramsdorf had a double visit from two German Americans returning to their homeland. This Ramsdorf family is larger in America than in Germany because of the Fair.

Ramsdorf.  The old castle city welcomed unusual guests in the past days and weeks, as the Borkener newspaper already reported. Two of its sons came across the sea from the USA in order to be able to chitchat once again with their relatives in their original native dialect after many years. Bernard Christoph Nieland (82) and Hermann Frank Nieland (71) needed a change of scenery, so they suddenly decided to fly to their old homeland.

The Nieland family has branched out. Five brothers and two sisters grew up on the Nieland farm in Ramsdorf-Bleking at the the end of the last century. All could not remain it on the farm, so in 1892 the oldest of the brothers, Heinrich Nieland, decided to emigrate to the new world. Three years later a second brother, Bernhard Christoph, followed him and, like him, left his hometown of Ramsdorf. But the memory of this old city clung in his memory.

Since then the annual clock has turned 61 times. Images of the old city, like it was before they emigrated, have intertwined with reality. The picture of the present could not be reconciled with the past. "Ramsforf has modernized itself significantly, already doubling itself in its expansion, and that means a lot!" the 82 year old said to us in perfect German. Also, he spoke the Ramsdorfer dialect like the citizens of our city rarely do anymore.

Along with the 82-year-old, however, a third of the Nieland brothers, Hermann Frank, eleven years younger, also traveled overseas. For him, the decision to emigrate was made suddenly. "It was during the Fair", he told us jokingly. Relatives from the USA were (1910) in Ramsdorf on a visit at that time, and as they were getting ready for their return trip he suddenly decided to go back with them. He worked for nine years as a farmhand for his brother until he got his own farm. "He who has the will to work and is hearty at the same time, gets ahead in The States," Hermann told us on the question of the prospects for emigrants.

The third of the three emigrant brothers, the 84 year-old Heinrich Nieland, remained in the country, while both brothers, after short delay in Idlewild airport in New York (Hermann had forgotten his passport), climbed aboard a plane made by KLM, the Dutch aviation company. The older of the brothers went along and, although he had lived there 61 years, it was first time in his life aboard an airplane. Hermann had been in Ramsdorf eight years ago, one year after he received the first mail fromthe homeland after the war.

Herman und Bernard Nieland, Ramsdorf, 1956

Bernhard Nieland from the State of Minnesota and Hermann from Iowa-"over there" they live over 500 kilometers apart-were received four weeks ago by their many relatives and treated cordially here in Germany. Their first visit to Ramsdorf was spent with their only brother in Germany still living, Josef in Osterfeld. Invitations and visiting left the brothers hardly any free time; "however, we believe that we will nevertheless still be able to visit the entire family by next Monday " added the 82 year old Bernhard, puffing on his long cigar. Everywhere the "Americans" appeared in the family there was a big celebration, including Ramsdorf. On every occasion the brothers cheered things up with their charming humor. Bernard recited a long poem at the dinner table. He had learned it before the turn of the century in the Ramsdorfer elementary school. In a full voice he sang old German folk songs. His homeland and native language remained dear to him, although many connections to his birth city were lost in the course of a half century

Today the Nielands live in many places in the States. Bernhard alone counts 48 direct descendants. While constructing a family tree they determined that there are more Nielands in the States than in Germany. Hermann is an exception in the family, however. He is unmarried. "All the girls looked good to me -I simply couldn't prefer one", he smiled.

Next Monday the "beautiful days" in Germany are coming to an end. After that the brothers must tend to their farm duties. Old Europe will disappear under the airplane. The brothers bid a cordial " good bye " to us as they parted, and likewise a " good bye " from us to them on as they left for their second homeland.

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