Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part 2: Volksdeutsche in Croatia, before World War II — Jakob and Katarina Webel are Merchants in Marinci (Taking Care of Business and the Business of Life)

Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part 2:  Volksdeutsche in Croatia, before World War II  —  Jakob and Katarina Webel are Merchants in Marinci  (Taking Care of Business and the Business of Life)

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man, who walks, to direct his steps.   (Jeremiah 10:23)

Webel.Jakob-and-KatarinaAs mentioned in Part One[1] of this series,[2] Texas hosted the birth of Luke Webel,[3] a boy born of German stock, furthering the biogenetic impact of his paternal grandfather’s immigration to America, as an 8-year-old boy.  Like his older brother (Nate Webel[4]), another native Texan, Luke Webel should one day learn to appreciate how his family history, thanks to God’s good providence, includes the survival and immigration (to America, after WWII) of “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen”, on Monday, March 19th of AD 1950, as “expellees” seeking refuge in America (under the amended Displaced Persons Act) from Communist tyranny.[5] 

How Two Native Texans Descend from Post-WWII Refugee Volksdeutsche

To recap the Texas connection, little Luke Webel arrived in Texas, during the summer of AD2012. Luke’s parents are Stephen and Erica Webel, whose lives (and those of their daughters and sons) are in constant motion (due to Steve’s professional responsibilities teaching English to students in Asia), yet they periodically alight and reside (just long enough to catch their breaths) in Arlington, Texas.  Stephen Webel (Luke Webel’s father) is the son of Chaplain Robert (“Bob”) and Marcia Webel, who currently reside in Florida.   Chaplain Bob Webel (Luke Webel’s paternal grandfather), as an eight-year-old, was one of the “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen” who flew from Munich (Germany) to New York, arriving at Ellis Island, March 19th of AD1950.

Bob Webel’s parents—Jakob Webel and Katarina (née Schleicher) Webel—who immigrated to America with their surviving ten children, have repeatedly illustrated the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction”.

As noted before, Jakob Webel’s family belonged to an ethnically German evangelical Anabaptist church tradition, a group known as “Evangelical Rebaptizers”[6] — who lived in what was then called Yugoslavia.[7]  In Jakob Webel’s mind it was vitally important, when he selected a wife, to marry within his family’s faith tradition—it would have been unthinkable to marry someone of another faith.[8]

Jakob succeeded, marrying a kindred spirit wife, Katarina Schleicher, during the early AD1930s, before the world had learned that trying times would be forced upon the war by Hitler, Hirohito, Mussolini, and their ilk.

 After the Wedding, Married Life Began with Hard Work on the Farm

As time would begin to show, and as more time would continue to demonstrate, the simple wedding vows of young Jakob and Katarina (reported in Part One of this series) were not a mere matter of happy youthful enthusiasm or ceremonial tradition.  Jakob and Katarina were promised to one another; there was no looking back. It was unthinkable to consider separate lives thereafter:   these two young hearts were now truly “one” (see Genesis 2:24), loyal to each other (and also to their God), as later events would prove, again and again. The young German-speaking couple (living in what was then Yugoslavia) were faithfully committed to each other, before God and many witnesses (including themselves), and World War II’s horrors and deprivations would soon (and repeatedly) test that marital union.  But the couple at least got started, as a new family, before those horrific challenges confronted them.

In the transcribed interview, quoted repeatedly below,[9] the reader will notice that sometimes the replies of the Webel parents (“DAD” = Jakob; MOM = Katarina) don’t always fit the questions actually asked by the inquiring daughter (ROSIE). Notice also that Mom chimes in, frequently, to clarify (or correct) Dad’s memory on certain details.  At this point (following Part One of this series), Jakob and Katarina Webel are newlyweds, in Vinkovci, Jakob’s hometown.

Vinkovci-Croatia

ROSIE: Now surely you didn’t live your entire lives with Grandfather [i.e., Jakob’s father, Reinhardt Webel, i.e., the paternal grandfather of Robert Webel].

DAD: We lived with Grandfather [immediately after getting married] about a year and a half or something like that.

MOM: Yeah, the [i.e., that was] before Elsa [i.e., Elisabeth, child # 2] was born.

ROSIE: Oh, you mean you had Reini [Reinhardt, child # 1] there.

MOM: Yeah, we had Reini there [in Vinkovci] and we still worked in the fields and all the chickens and all the ….

(A discussion follows, about other relatives, who lived and farmed in Vinkovci; then the interview returns to Jakob and Katarina Webel’s life in Vinkovci, —  and their decision to move on to another town.)

DAD: And then when Reini [child #1] was born and then about 2 years later, we decide to move to different place and [have] the store, because I …

ROSIE: In the same town again?

DAD: No, no.

ROSIE: Different town, okay.

Dad and Mom Webel describe entrepreneurial activities as merchants in Marinci   —  juggling cashflow, inventory, using credit, barter, and family.

DAD: In a different village called Marinci, we opened not a grocery but a …

ROSIE: General store.

DAD: Yeah, general store.

ROSIE: How did you get the money to do this?

DAD: How did we get money?

ROSIE: Were you working for your father [i.e., for Jakob’s father, Reinhardt Webel] for money at this point?

DAD: We was working but there was no money almost.  We set up the store, the inventory, without what to sell.  Then we owed more, you know, then [we] owed already, then we bought the merchandise on credit with no money, that’s the way we start it.

MOM: They give us credit and they pay it nice, often get other credit.  More and more and more.

ROSIE: Did you have money to buy the premises, the building?

DAD: No, we rent it. We rented a house.

MOM: We rented a big house, the house, then we open a big store on that corner.

ROSIE: And you borrowed for inventory.

DAD: I borrowed as I did inventory, that doesn’t mean the shelf and whatever you need.

ROSIE: How many kids were born at this …?

MOM: Just Reini [child #1].

ROSIE: Oh, you moved out [from Vinkovci] before Else [child #2] was born.

MOM: Before Else was born.

ROSIE: How many kids were born at this house [in Marinci] with the rental of the store?  Oh, we’re not getting that far yet.  Okay.  You borrowed money for inventory, then you purchased on credit your stock items.

DAD: Yes, yes.

MOM: The store went very good.

ROSIE: How large was this town, Marinci?

DAD: That town, it was a 250-300 houses. It was not large.

ROSIE: Were you the only general store in this …?

DAD: No.  There was already 2 stores when we opened ours but theirs was very small space.

ROSIE: Was yours bigger? … [Were other stores] smaller than yours?

DAD: Oh, yeah.  Then when we open, the next year another man opened a large store.

ROSIE: Even larger?

DAD: Not larger but competition but so bad, we have then 4 stores and that was too much for the town.

MOM: Just you don’t say we had the yard goods.

DAD: Yeah.  Then we start that.

ROSIE: Oh, we’re going to get that, Mom.  I know all about that.

DAD: Then we saw it is…  I rented that house for 3 years.

ROSIE: Your lease was for 3 years?

DAD: Yes.  And then when the lease was over and the time was over, there was a church property with a house over the church and a man had a store, he was working with us and he insisted to be auction for the lease.

ROSIE: Option probably.

DAD: Not option, but operate from an auction sale, but a lease I gave her that much more rent, you give that much[?], who gives more for that rent.

MOM: Who give more rent.

ROSIE: That would be like a bid.

DAD: Yeah, like bid.

ROSIE: He wanted to bid for what you were renting?

DAD: No, he wanted to push me out, to make it, but then I insisted, okay, everybody whoever had to, had to put that much money, it not just a bid.

ROSIE: You wanted cash up-front.

MOM: Oh, yes.

DAD: I bid $10,000.  He would bid $1 more, and I don’t go farther, and then when I move out, he has nothing given, the building stay empty, so I said, you have to put that much money if you want it, and so we did.  Part one way, and they eventually sold, then that man withdraw.  He withdraw.

ROSIE: Where did you get that much money to lay on the table?

MOM: We get.

DAD: I had no money.  Again, I borrowed enough money in stocks form someone.  I borrow stocks to put.  But that man withdraw but soon we could get the auction, so I have found another man who came to bid against me.  So I found and I bought it, for if one came to bid against me too, so I get the house again.

ROSIE: For another 3 years.

DAD: Yeah, for another 3 year[s] I get one.

MOM: We get.

DAD: Yeah, it wasn’t important.  It was ’39, it was ’33, ’34, ’39 … 6 years.

MOM: In ’34 was Reini [child #1] born, we just moved in before winter when the first snow fall.

DAD: Yeah.

ROSIE: To your new store.

MOM: Yeah.  In this store, was usually.

ROSIE: You moved into this house [in Marinci] in the fall, near winter.

DAD: In the fall of ’35.

MOM: And then early ’36 April was Elsie [child #2] born.

DAD: Reini [child #1] was born in September of ’34, next year in ’35 we moved in, and when the first snow fell, you know the salt is white, you know, and he said heh (noise), not so salt we got, because salt always white.

ROSIE: Reini was just a tike and he thought [the snow] was salt.

MOM: It was salt.

ROSIE: Now his kids, if you remember when Paul first saw the snow, he decided it was sugar, not salt.

MOM:  He said, salt we got now.

DAD: The store we got sugar that much, but salt we got much, you know.

ROSIE: I want to talk about this store.  When you first opened it up, you had the normal things like nails and screws and …

DAD: No, no.

ROSIE: No hardware?

DAD: No, at first it was just grocery.

ROSIE: And what else?

DAD: Grocery.  Period.

ROSIE: When I talk grocery, am I talking fresh fruits like apples, lemons, cucumbers, what kind of groceries?

DAD: No, no, no.

ROSIE: You’re talking dry goods, flour, and sugar.

DAD: Coffee and …

MOM: Poppy seed.

DAD: And rice and salt and …

ROSIE: No vegetables?

DAD: No.

MOM: All colors what you painting, all the colors needed for house painting.

ROSIE: You had groceries and paints.

MOM: Paints, all kinds of paints.  Not like here is made the paint ready in big bucket…

ROSIE: This you had to mix.

DAD: Yes.

MOM: This was just powder.  We had to fun …

ROSIE: Furnace?

DAD: No, no, no.  To mix the oil paint, you have to mix that to be some kind of oil, not oil but they call it something like that, for to mix it.  And we got the water paint for the house, just make it with water, like…  you have to mix it with the oil.

MOM: For paint, for furniture you have to mix with …  we call it “Fearnice”.  “Fearnice” was oily and thick like here when you buy the ready-mix.  But then you put the color in whatever you want in.

ROSIE: SO your store was groceries and paint.  How long did you have that, groceries and paint?

DAD: Maybe 2 years.

ROSIE: And then you decided to expand?

DAD: And we had the wooden shoes, and the strings [harness] for the horses and cows and all those things.  It whatever the farmer needs.

ROSIE: Farmer supplies.

DAD: Then, little by little, you …

ROSIE: Did you have garden tools at this time?

DAD: Oh, yeah.

ROSIE: Hoes and things like that?

Not right away but we did have…

ROSIE: Shortly thereafter.

MOM: Yeah.  Hoe and rake and all kinds of strings [harnesses used by farmers].  What they need for this … for the barn and yards [pastures, fields, garden plots].

DAD: Little by little expanded.

MOM: How you said that … Here is grease job.  Over there for the wagon, what they use every day in the field and everywhere, they had to kind of grease, big can grease like here.

ROSIE: Oh, for the wheels and stuff.

MOM: For the wheels.  They call you in the morning early, they had to go in the field and they forgot to buy.

ROSIE: Yeah, wheel-bearing grease.

MOM: Yeah, thick grease, yellow-brownish.

DAD: you have to put the grease on the axle.

MOM: All the axle, whatever turns the wheel, this had to be with this thick grease.

ROSIE: You have that?

MOM: Yeah.  And cigarettes, matches and how you say?  Kerosene?  Every house had kerosene.

ROSIE: That’s the lighting you had, this kerosene lighting.

DAD: The kerosene light.

ROSIE: What did you cook with?

MOM: Cook, we with wood stove, with sticks under of wood.  We cook in the same stove.

ROSIE: How did you heat?

DAD: Heat?  Wood stove.

ROSIE: You had no coal?

DAD: No, no coal.

ROSIE: Did you buy your wood, or …?

DAD: Buy, sure, I buy.  But the wood was not far, you could find it.

ROSIE: Was there water?

MOM: Well.  We had well.  We have …

ROSIE: [To] carry it into the house?

MOM: Oh, yeah, sure.

ROSIE: And you had outhouses at this point?

MOM: Oh, yeah.

DAD: They build the house before Adolf was born.

ROSIE: Alright.  We [are] just a little bit past Elsa here, we’re not anywhere near Adolf.  Elsa was born in April.

DAD: In April ’36.

ROSIE: And Reini was born in September?

DAD: ’34.

ROSIE: I have all the information at home but I just thought I’d ask.

DAD: And then we rent on lease was almost over —  you know, for that house, that we bought, and bought an old house.

ROSIE: We’re talking the second time around.

DAD: Yes.

ROSIE: So that would be 6 years later?

DAD: Yes, it was 5, 6 years, maybe for … for rent that for 3 years.  Then we bought an old house, and tore it down and build a new one.

ROSIE: You bought the house, tore it down, and bui9lt one on top of it?

DAD: No, no.  We tore up the house.

MOM: Oh, make them level and then start building.

ROSIE: Bought old house, ripped apart, tore down?

DAD: Tore down and put a new house and new foundation [down].

MOM: And then it’s not built like here with bricks.

DAD: That makes a difference now.

MOM: Yeah, makes a difference with just the dirt – that thick.

ROSIE: Like the kind of stuff you’re talking that your dad used to make.

DAD: No, no, no.  You put like telephone post here.  Both side of wall that thick, then form, each side 2×8’s, put along, and then it’s filled up with dry dirt.

ROSIE: The telephone poles were for support, then you put wood in-between so that the telephone poles hold it.  And then you put dirt in-between.

DAD: In-between dry dirt.  And …

MOM: The ladies, the girls, they stomp it!

DAD: Stomp on that and then seal it up, and then you lift that board, both sides up and fill it again with dirt.

MOM: The wagon is bringing the dirt.

ROSIE: How did that dirt stay solid?

DAD: They stay solid when you put pressure …

ROSIE: All day long they do this?

DAD: On the corner they put … weeping willows or any kind of wood on the corner.

ROSIE: That you can bend a little bit?

MOM: No, no.  Hold all together that when this dry out, this is hard like cement.

DAD: And then they said the house is, all walls are put up together, the middle walls, all the walls, all up together goes up.  When they finished, before they’re dry, they have to take a hatchet hole and make a hole in it.

MOM: And the holes going to be the windows, doors.

DAD: They have to because these are later on becoming hard like concrete.

ROSIE: Is this similar to the adobe houses that the Indians built in New Mexico?

DAD: I never saw that, but that is …

ROSIE: Now, were the standard homes built that way?

DAD: The most.  The many, many.

MOM: The most, just very seldom with bricks.  This was not a solid house like the houses like they built here [in America].

ROSIE: What kind of a roof did you put on something like this?

DAD: Brick roof.  Thick bricks.

ROSIE: What kind of support did you have?

MOM: They had noses.

DAD: They put the wood rafter on.  How do you say that cross beams, that’s not rafter.

ROSIE: Braces?

DAD: No, no.  From wall to wall.

MOM: The “bulker”.

ROSIE: That’s a rafter, Dad.

DAD: No, the rafter you put after.

ROSIE: Tresses?  Beams.

DAD: Beams.  But the beams are about 6×6 or 6×8, and then the rafters are 5×5.

MOM: Oh, at least that.

DAD: And that rafter, and on the rafter are …

ROSIE: Grooves.

DAD: No, no, no.  From one rafter to other like that, but …   No, no.  But an inch by two, 1×2.  They nail from one rafter to other, and on that hangs the brick.

ROSIE: Shingle.

DAD: But that [was] like bricks.

ROSIE: Yeah, but hangs.

DAD: Hangs, yes.

MOM: Hangs like the fingers on this, closed together, one after the other row will come over here.

ROSIE: Is that similar to the tile roofs that you see in some old houses?  The half-moon tile roofs?

DAD: No, no.  They are flat.

ROSIE: Well, okay, but …

DAD: Yeah, yeah.  Just on that top is a half-moon to cover the …

ROSIE: The ridge.

MOM: This was my work when I was a girl making this bricks.

ROSIE: Oh, you made the bricks!?

MOM: I made the bricks when I was a young girl.  My father was this for the house.

ROSIE: He was a brick maker.  Yeah.

MOM: I and my sister, we had to work this …

ROSIE: Okay, Mom, when you built the house, who was born then?

DAD: Then we moved in.

ROSIE: How long did it take you to build this house?

DAD: About a whole summer, the whole summer.

ROSIE: And did you have your other store?

DAD: The other store?  We had brought the store.

ROSIE: You had the store?

DAD: Yes, yes.

ROSIE: Did you hire this work out?

DAD: Yes.

MOM: No.  All on one floor.

DAD: All on one floor.

ROSIE: Is this place still existing today?

MOM: Yeah.

DAD: Yes.

MOM: The building is still there.

ROSIE: And did you close out the other store at that point?

DAD: Yes.

ROSIE: Was it a gradual close-out or was it immediate?

DAD: I gradually close.  That’s how we could move.

ROSIE: You closed own.

DAD: We moved that first store down.

ROSIE: Who did you hire in this store?  Just you and Mom?

DAD: Just we two.

ROSIE: Just the two of you.  And who took care of your kids?

MOM: Nobody.  Nobody by themselves.  They have to be in the store and helping.  Even Reini know how to help and how to get matches and to give change.  He knows they’re good, some people they want to trick him, maybe give you, it’s not the right change what you give to me.  And he would look at you, and say, I give you the right change.  I know for sure.

ROSIE: He [i.e., Reini] sold matches?

MOM: Matches and he sold tobacco and cigarettes.

DAD: That’s a … like a brick you can eat, chocolate, and we cut them into pieces for that much money a piece.

ROSIE: Reini was like 8 years old here.

DAD: About that.

MOM: He know [what] he do.

DAD: When we moved in, he was 2 years, but in 4 years he already a good merchant.  He could give cigarettes, he could give yeast, if it was pre-packed, he could do.

MOM: Like now the pound of butter, the yeast is the same size it was a piece like a pound butter was it in one piece.

ROSIE: Did you have the flour in big sacks and you divided, you bought it in big sacks and they wanted to come in for a pound, you had to measure it out?

DAD: Yes.  Sugar, that way the sugar, that way the rice, that way everything.  Nothing was pre-packed.

MOM: Nothing.  Raisins, nuts.

ROSIE: Oh, you had raisins there, too, and nuts?

MOM: Oh, yeah.  Nuts and raisins and all kinds of things, plus you need for anything?

DAD: Before Christmas apples too, and oranges.

ROSIE: Where did you get all your produce from, or whatever?

DAD: In the grocery store.

MOM: Big city.

ROSIE: Big city in Yugoslavia?

DAD: In the … it’s a whole city in Vinkovci.

MOM: Yeah, he went to the whole city.

ROSIE: Did you go there and pick this stuff up and bring it back?

DAD: Yes, yes.

ROSIE: There wasn’t any delivery?

DAD: No, no delivery.  We hired a man with a wagon, you know, horse and buggy, to go there and bring it back.

MOM: All day.

ROSIE: Oh, you went with him.

DAD: I went with him. And I take the cash along to pay it and I paid last bill.

ROSIE: Last time’s order?

MOM: Always we paid the last order and get the other order.

DAD: And always at Christmas time, is always a big business time, and when Christmas time, after Christmas, with the Christmas and New Year, it’s day to day.  In that time I went there and paid all my bills and came home empty.  So on the New Year when they has [sic] to close the books, Jakob Webel owes nothing.  And after New Year, I go right away, you don’t have to do that, I stop to fill up the store again …  5 to 600 dollars …

ROSIE: Did you close the store?

DAD: No, no, no.  Then I had not everything …

MOM: Everything sold plenty, was not so filled everything, he wants to fill all shelves full.

ROSIE: Okay, you just went ahead.

DAD: Yeah.  You have no 100 pounds of sugar, and you have no have … you have only maybe 10 pounds of sugar now in that period.  Everything little bit, but you have everything.  Somebody could come there, you don’t have it. And when a customer came, ask something, you don’t have it, you mark it down that we have to bring it.

ROSIE: The next time you’re in Vinkovci.

DAD: Whatsoever the customer asks.  [notice the King James English! Jakob and Katarina learned the English language by using the King James Bible in America]

MOM: Keep supply, people don’t get them.

DAD: Whatever the customer asks, you know …

ROSIE: How far was Vinkovci from Marinci?

DAD: It was 20 kilometer, 20, 25, so what.     [i.e., about 14 miles distance]

MOM: And then so many time on the bike, you get stuff, the people was asking and we will not say we don’t have it in our store …

ROSIE: What is kilometers in miles?

DAD: Miles? It’s 160 kilometers is 105 [miles], that is …

ROSIE: So it’s less than 20 miles?

DAD: Oh, yeah.  Less than 20 miles.

ROSIE: Yeah. 80 kilometers is [about] 50 miles.

MOM: And the tobacco and the cigarettes are always sent on the bike, loaded on the bike, this is not heavy stuff, just these big packages and he bring them on the bike.  We cannot get in the same city where he get the groceries.  He had to go in the …

DAD: That is the state-owned, you know, cigarettes and matches.

ROSIE: Because of taxes and everything?

MOM: No, no, no, that you got the …

DAD: That is state-owned.

MOM: You cannot buy in the big stroe.

DAD: You get only the 5%, that’s all, the price is, let’s say $1, you paid that $.95, and you could not sell it higher.  You cannot put higher or lower.

MOM: Right.

ROSIE: In other words, you made no money on the sale of cigarettes.

DAD: No, but you have to have them because the customer wants [them].  And the same with the matches.

MOM: You had to go even [i.e., sell for cost – no profit on cigarettes and matches] in the store.  When you work in the kitchen, go in the store, he wants 5 cigarettes, is not worth nothing to go even in the store, wipe your hands, just you have to give it.

ROSIE: Give me [the] layout of your home, so I have an idea of what it is like.

DAD: Okay.  There was a store in the front, and one of the bedrooms beside it.  Behind the store was a magazine or a storehouse.

ROSIE: Is that where you had more stock?

DAD: More stocks and that dirty things like lime.  The people …  that lime means a stone, not [lime powder] dust like here.  Like a stone, and you put them in water, then [that] boils …

MOM: It gets so thick, you cannot even mix it, like cook.

ROSIE: I’ve seen it before.

DAD: That’s kind of stuff, and wood, coal, for ironing …

MOM: That’s why you say, how you say you would what you make the wieners, well, charcoal.  We had this, they put them in the irons, a little bit.

DAD: But we buy from a gypsy, not in a sack like here.

MOM: This is black and dustier, [in] big pieces.

ROSIE: You had a storeroom in the back behind the store.  What was behind the bedroom?

DAD: Behind the bedroom was a kitchen.

ROSIE: And that was it?

MOM: No, we had the other room too.

ROSIE: One more room?  Where was that?

MOM: And we had behind the store, first was, like this porch, a little, plus a window out.

DAD: Yeah.  Like a porch, maybe just a little, and there was a door here, and here was the stockroom.

MOM: And from there we go into kitchen and the kitchen was very big.  There was 2 beds in.

ROSIE: Oh, you had 2 beds in the kitchen?

MOM: Beds in the kitchen and we had the children’s beds and we had a couch in the kitchen.

ROSIE: Just like in Medina [Ohio].  You had a couch and a chair and …

MOM: Yeah, this was almost so big, big, and we had a big hutch where all the dishes are …

ROSIE: Cupboard, yeah.

MOM: Where all the dishes are, in the kitchen washing …

ROSIE [speaking to Dad]:  And the bedroom was yours and Mom’s bedroom?

MOM: We sleep in the kitchen.

ROSIE: What was this bedroom then?

MOM: For guests.

DAD: We sleep in the kitchen and children too.

ROSIE: Okay, now back to facilities, did you have indoor plumbing here?

DAD: No.

MOM: No well.

ROSIE: You had to go out and pump everything?

MOM: No pump.  Over there we had the wheel [i.e., water-well], you wind.

ROSIE: Well.  There was a big open water well and the bucket coming in.

MOM: Yeah.

DAD: Water well was enclosed and was closed and the roof on it and was a wheel and a big axle and the rope goes down with the bucket.

ROSIE: Did you ever get any animals in your bucket?

DAD: No.

MOM: No.  We put the watermelons in this bucket and put them down and the yeast [in order to refrigerate them].  Dad make a little box form wood, the yeast had to stay down cool, otherwise they spoiled in one day.  Just his house is not like this one, this is the thick wall, so thick walls.

ROSIE: How did you keep your food cold?  Did you have ice boxes?

DAD: No, no ice box.

MOM: No, no have.

ROSIE: How did you keep food cold?

MOM: Like this, hanging down in the well.

ROSIE: How did you keep milk [from spoiling]?

DAD: For one day only.

ROSIE: Did you have a cow?

MOM: No, we buy every day.

ROSIE: From the milkman?

MOM: No, not milkman.

DAD: From the farmers.

ROSIE: Did you have to go and buy it or did they come and deliver?

MOM: We can go and get them or she can bring it, whatever we want.

ROSIE: So it was a little town where you kind of exchanged things back and forth.

DAD: No, with the money.

MOM: For money, everything for money.

ROSIE: Tell us more about your store.

DAD: The store was everything all for money but the people had the chicken and eggs and then they can bring eggs and we give them grocery for the eggs.  We know that that much egg, than many eggs, what is worth …

ROSIE [or was this said by Mom?]:  This is this much and they exchange the eggs.

DAD: And then in the fall, they can bring flour, exchange for bread. And they could bring corn and exchange for candy, the children.  And when the fall is, the farmer brings corn, wagon full of corn, and the children are hollering “give me a cup, give me a cup, give me a cup”.  And they get a cup and they run with the cup in the store and candy for that.

MOM: They come, so many children …

DAD: And we put on the scale how much is it, so we give 1 candy or 2 candy, how much …

MOM: 2, 3 candy, how much is, how big, how many corns they have in cup, the children.  And the lady has no salt at home, she bring an egg and I show her how much [salt] she gets for this egg.  She has no money, she has egg.

DAD: Nothing is pre-packed then.

ROSIE: When did you start getting more things?  Did you ever become a hardware store?

DAD: Little by little.

ROSIE: As the customers asked for it or how?  What inspired you?

MOM: When we came in this new store, it was a lot bigger.

DAD: The new house.

MOM: A new house, this was now 4 times as big.

DAD: Then we started yard goods.

MOM: And all the lace for all kinds of when you want to have lace, and kind of lace.

DAD: And yarn.

MOM: Or like I crocheted the …

DAD: Oh, and also we had the yarn there for sale and to crochet, and people need that.

MOM: And then I thought to …

DAD: To pre-print for handiwork.

MOM: You know all this what you buy that was printed blue on white material.

ROSIE: Oh, that you iron on so you can embroider.

MOM: Yeah, that’s for embroidery.

ROSIE: Transfers.  You made those.

MOM: Yeah, I made this.  The people come in with the wagon, and bring lots of what they sell by themselves, woven.

DAD: Self-woven.

MOM: Self-woven stuff.  When I print it, they help me.  Evenings when we close the store and the children went to bed.

ROSIE: Just like that thing you made that Theresa has that you embroidered when you were a little girl.  You drew that.

MOM: Yes.  This was on paper and then I make this and the next day or day after …

DAD: Everything was to get money.

MOM: When other day or next day, I said then they can come and pick it up.  This was the good thing then they buy even the embroidery.  All this was standing there.

ROSIE: Did you draw this on their … to their size that they wanted on their material, where they wanted it?

MOM: Yeah, yeah.

DAD: We had pre-printed papers.  They came and look at the paper, I want that and that, and then from that paper we make it.

MOM: Put pattern onto skirts and on the bedspreads and on all kinds of things.

ROSIE: You made it to the size they wanted even though you only had a small picture to look from?

MOM: Don’t matter.  They was looking on a small picture.  But my pattern we enlarge it and do it how they want it.  We had this heavy …

ROSIE: Like carbon paper?

MOM: NO, it was heavy, to put this weight on the … and stretch it on this big counter, like a counter where we selling stuff.  And evening for it was quiet and then I can make it … make money.

DAD: Many times Mom made for [i.e., before] the fire, the stove is here, wood is here, and the meat is here, all the same, other, and a customer came, and customer came, and customer came, and fire goes out.

MOM: And chicken lays half-cleaned on the table, half of its feathers off lying, still there.  But Dad come home from the store, from the city, and I leave him then alone and I go in the kitchen and make us some food to eat, something to eat.

DAD: Maybe we just eat so-so.

ROSIE: What did the kids do when that was happening and they were hungry?

MOM: From one lap to the other.  They were carried.  Customer to carry one and then the other customer …

[Katarina Webel (“Mom”) remembers how babies were cared for during hours when the family store was open for business. Sometimes, customers took turns holding small Webel children while Katarina was attending to customer needs. Customer nowadays would be surprised if the store merchant expected them to hold or carry children during their shopping experience!]

MOM [continuing]: Then is leaving this customer, and give it to the other [i.e., transfer a small Webel child into the arms of another store customer], then they[10] [i.e., infants who were passed from one customer’s arms to the next] fell asleep.

DAD: The small children, we had a …

MOM: A wagon, have a wagon wheel [?].  …  [Wicker?] chair, a chair is just that way, and it put them upside-down and put them on the counter, and here is, and could not get out.  Our customers, they feel sorry, [so] they take this child from this chair out and carry around [inside the store].

DAD: The customer take the children.

MOM: Till they come on their turns, and then they give it [i.e., the small Webel child being held] to the next [customer who is waiting to make a purchase].  So Sometimes [the child] went asleep or they put them over there I their little carry or some are going one day to the other.

DAD: It was not easy, but a hard living.    [What an under-statement!]

ROSIE: What inspired you to have your own store like this?

DAD: Because only that way you could gain something.

ROSIE: By working for yourself.

DAD: By working for yourself.  In a store, you could gain in a 5, okay, in a 5 year you had a store, you owe no money nobody.  Otherwise you could work 50 years, you could not achieve to have your own house.

ROSIE: This is an example?

DAD: Example.

ROSIE: How old were the kids when you put that [child restraint enclosure] in?

MOM: 6 months only.

DAD: They start to walk, either way, when they start walking, then a little bit higher …

MOM: Then we tie a rope around.  Then they begin to walk around, higher, they have higher fence.

DAD: That is the …  a little bit more than that.

MOM: A little bit higher.

DAD: Little bit high, then we put a rope here so that when they get up, to not fall out.

ROSIE: Like a playpen only a lot smaller?

MOM: Lot smaller.  They have to sit there.  They get used to it.

ROSIE: You gave them a piece of bread to chew on, or something?

MOM: Yeah, a piece of bread, give them to chew on, or something else, always was something.

DAD: Homemade bread.  Then we had a bread form bakery too, from the town.  Bring it back for bread, selling the bread were exchanged for money or for flour.

MOM: They had to bring it so many flour, so many pounds of bread, was very good bread.  That … they had very good bread.

DAD: Very good.  Little by little the store [business] was built.  And then we had every other year another child.

ROSIE: Approximately it was every other year.

DAD: Year and a half, 2 year, another child, and then there came time Mom hired someone to wash clothes and do some kind of work, out in the store.

MOM: They come and shop …

ROSIE: A young girl?

MOM: No, ladies, they come.  They are very poor.

DAD: They can’t buy grocery, grocery, grocery without money.  They cannot pay.  They say, I work [in] your store to pay.

MOM: When I call them and I saw them on the road, when I see across the street, then they came.  Can you wash for me?  Or can you come over do something in my garden?  I have to hoe or send [sand?].  When you want to, whenever you can, just come and do it.  Okay, I will, and then they come and do it and then we …

DAD: Wiped her slate clean.

MOM: Then we say, your debt, we say, you owe us that much and that work is, that way, that we erase, oh, I need so bad that much money.  Okay, we give you the half for what your wages and the next day to work for that too.

ROSIE: You’d pay her sometimes in wages [money] and sometimes all for debt …

DAD: Till she paid off the debt she had.

ROSIE: Did you ever get into the hardware part of the store?

DAD: Oh, yeah.  We get little by little.

MOM: We have nails was almost from the beginning.

DAD: Then the tools, shovels, and fork [i.e., pitchfork], and rake, and screws …

MOM: Most time we got the farm stuff.

DAD; And then for the plow, what they need.

ROSIE: At this point was everything done by hand?  Everything was work horses and plows?

DAD; Oh, yeah.  Not big with the tractor.

MOM: How we say the platter or the plates or the bowls?

ROSIE: Oh, your bowls and your saucers and your cups and your plates.

DAD: Every house had a bowl where they wash the face.  And towel was hanging beside the kitchen a nail was here it was a towel for wipe up the hands and the face.  That was custom, every house had that.

ROSIE: So Adolf was born in ’39.  Next we have Theresa.

DAD: Yes.

MOM: Theresa, was in same kitchen born as Adolf.

ROSIE: Now Adolf and Theresa were born in this new house in Vinkovci.

DAD: Yes, and Robert.

ROSIE: Oh, and Robert was born there with [i.e., as one of] the twins and you were so sick at this point.

MOM: Yes, I was so sick; I had malaria.

ROSIE: You had malaria?

MOM: Yeah, then it came to prepare for war.

ROSIE: You mean news of war came?

DAD: Not just news but preparing.      [In other words, not just a rumor of war.]

ROSIE: Right after Robert was born?

DAD: Before.

MOM: Before.

DAD: Before Robert was born.

[TO BE CONTINUED, D.v.]

More adventures of the family of Jakob and Katarina Webel, during and after World War II, needs reporting (God willing), specifically world-changing events directly impacting the Webel family, triggering their emigration from Yugoslavia.

When Hitler’s ambitions reached Yugoslavia (in April AD1941), daily living became an unrelenting challenge to endure, a never-ending series of threats and dangers (including German Nazis, Croatian Ustaše, and Soviet Russian Communists, plus war-caused food shortages, property and relocation losses, illnesses and injuries, etc.), as a growing family of honest Evangelical Rebaptizers tried to survive long enough to hopefully, someday, rebuild a “normal” family life.

For two decades life was anything but “normal”, much less convenient and comfortable. Meanwhile the Webel family grew to include eleven children, though one died an infant in Yugoslavia (during WWII), leaving a dozen Webels.

Webel.Jakob-Katarina-faces

How Jakob and Katarina survived the disasters and dangers and deprivations of WWI (and its aftermath) is a magnificent testimony, firstly to God’s providential care, and secondly to the Webel family’s persistent practice of survival skills.  All of those years, during World War II, as well as the refugee years leading up to March of AD1950 (when the dozen Webels successfully immigrated to America), are amazing chapters in the Webels’ amazing family history.  Meanwhile, the life of business – and the business of life – continued for the growing Webel family.  Hardships and heartaches would hover over the Webel family for years to come, as World War II and its aftermath ravaged the European continent.

Yet, in time, 12 of the 13 Webel family members would successfully migrate to Ellis Island, and from there to Ohio.  But the reporting of the next chapters (D.v.) must, for now, await another day. So, for now, this “chapter” rests with an appreciation that two native-Texan boys, Nate Webel (born in AD2007) and Luke Webel (born in AD2012), as well as their sisters, descend from German immigrant stock (“Volksdeutsche”) who trace back one ancestral line to paternal grandfather’s parents, Jakob Webel and Katarina Schleicher, whose early family life together included challenging years as merchants in Marinci, before the storm of World War II arrived in Yugoslavia.

<> JJSJ    profjjsj@aol.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Dr. James J. S. Johnson is a member of the German-Texas Heritage Society, and an occasional contributor to its Journal pages.  A lover and teacher of Providential history and geography, Jim has taught at 4 different Christian colleges (LeTourneau University, Dallas Christian College, Concordia University Texas at Fort Worth, and ICR School of Biblical Apologetics) in Texas, as well as aboard 8 different cruise ships. As a C.P.E.E. (Certified Paternity Establishment Entity, credentialed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office), Jim maintains a strong interest in family history documentation. After studying under many teachers, at many schools, Jim happily acknowledges that his best teacher (under God) was Chaplain Robert (Bob) Webel.


Below is a newspaper caption, dated 3-19-AD1951, with the “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen” Webel family, who immigrated to America.

Webel-dozen.newspaper-photo

Volksdeutsche by the Dozen AD1951

Also shown (below) is Chaplain Robert Webel (who was 8 when his family came to America), with his wife, Marcia, residents of Florida.

Webel.Bob-with-Marcia.png

Chaplain Bob Webel provided information that supplemented and clarified his sister’s interview of their parents, “From Vinkovci to Medina”, quoted extensively hereinabove.


ENDNOTES

[1] The family history information in this article is derived from repeated personal interviews with Chaplain Bob Webel, mostly when he was visiting Arlington, Texas (during the summer of AD2012), and from the transcription of his sister (Rosie)’s interview of their parents, an unpublished family history titled “From Vinkovci to Medina” (which is further described below).

[2] “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part One: Jakob and Katarina Agreed to Marry Before They Ever Spoke to Each Other, A True Example of Love at First Sight…and First Sound”, Journal of the German-Texan Heritage Society, 35(1): 25-32 (spring 2013), citing Rosalie Webel Whiting, From Vinkovci to Medina (unpublished Webel family history), supplemented by personal interviews with Chaplain Bob Webel (during August AD2012).

[3] Luke Webel was born during July of AD2012, in Plano, Texas.

[4] Nate Webel was born during November of AD2007, in Fort Worth, Texas.

[5] “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen” is the caption of an unidentified newspaper clipping, with a photograph of the 12 Webel family immigrants, who arrived at Ellis Island on March 19, AD1950, after a transatlantic trek that went from Munich to Copenhagen to Scotland to Greenland to New York City. The Webel dozen then were father Jakob, mother Katarina, Reinhardt (17, a/k/a Reini), Elisabeth (15, a/k/a Elsa), Karl (13), Adolf (12), Theresia (10), Robert (8), Rosalia (6, a/k/a Rosie), Jacob (4), Katherina (2), Daniel (2 months old).

[6] The Yugoslav-emigrated, German-speaking Evangelical Rebaptizers, when they immigrated to America, renamed themselves the “Apostolic Christian Church of the Nazarene”. (There is no ecclesiastical connection to what is popularly called the Church of the Nazarene).

[7] Like a violently erupting fumarole, the tragic history of Yugoslavia’s political factions is a series of internal fighting (dominated by Ustaše-led Roman Catholic Croats persecuting Eastern Orthodox Serbs, with Nazi and Russian Communists intervening with their own agendas), and that fighting is a major catalyst in this family history—as will be noted later, D.v., in future reports on this fascinating family history  (see, e.g., http://www.icr.org/article/7056/ ).

[8] Certainly Jakob was thinking Biblically, on this point—see Amos 3:3 & 2nd Corinthians 6:14.

[9] Rosalie Webel Whiting, From Vinkovci to Medina (unpublished Webel family history, copy provided by Chaplain Robert Webel), pages 1-4, supplemented & clarified by personal interviews with Rosie’s brother, Chaplain Bob Webel, during July and August of AD2012.

[10] The small children eventually fell asleep, so they could be laid on a bed and thus no longer needed to be held by someone. The pronoun “they” refers to small Webel children who would fall asleep in the store, not to the helpful customers!  🙂

 

 

 

Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part 1: Jakob and Katarina Agreed to Marry Before They Ever Spoke to Each Other (A True Example of Love at First Sight . . . and First Sound)

Volksdeutsche by the Dozen AD1951

Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part 1:

Jakob and Katarina Agreed to Marry Before They Ever Spoke to Each Other (A True Example of Love at First Sight  . . .  and First Sound)

Dr. James J. S. Johnson[1]

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Webel.Jakob-Katarina-faces

Texas recently hosted the birth of Luke Webel,[2] a boy born of German stock, furthering the biogenetic impact of his paternal grandfather’s immigration to America.  Like his older brother (Nate Webel[3]), another native Texan, Luke Webel will learn that his paternal grandfather’s parents decided to marry each other before they had had their first conversation!

Webel.Jakob-and-Katarina

How could this be? The answer requires some family history that stretches back, ‘cross the Pond, to war-torn Europe, during the years when and after Adolf Hitler strove to establish his “Third Reich” empire. What follows is just the first portion of an amazing adventure in German immigration: Volkdeutsche by the Dozen”, an ethnically German family  of “expellees” seeking refuge in America (under the amended Displaced Persons Act) from Communist tyranny.[4]

How Two Native Texans Descend from Post-WWII Refugee Volksdeutsche

How did little Luke Webel arrive in Texas, during the summer of AD2012?

Luke’s parents are Stephen and Erica Webel, whose lives (and those of their daughters and sons) are in constant motion (due to Steve’s professional responsibilities teaching English to students in Asia), yet they periodically alight and reside (just long enough to catch their breaths) in Arlington, Texas.

Stephen Webel (Luke Webel’s father) is the son of Chaplain Robert (“Bob”) and Marcia Webel, who currently reside in Florida.

Chaplain Bob Webel (Luke Webel’s paternal grandfather), as an eight-year-old, was one of the “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen” who flew from Munich (Germany) to New York, arriving at Ellis Island, March 19th of AD1950.

Bob Webel’s parents—Jakob Webel and Katarina (Schleicher) Webel—who immigrated to America with their surviving ten children, have repeatedly illustrated the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction”: Bob’s parents actually chose to marry before they even spoke to each other.

In other words, their marriage decision was a case of love at first sight—and sound.  (Because Jakob was looking for a girl who could sing well!)

The best way to appreciate their decision to marry, and their earliest days as a married couple, is to read a transcribed interview that one of their daughters had with them, about their amazing journey from Vinkovci (Yugoslavia/Croatia) to Medina (Ohio). But first, a bit of family background information would be helpful.

 

Jakob Webel Decided to Find a Wife

Jakob’s unusual approach to securing a wife cannot be understood apart from an appreciation of Jakob’s native church heritage, and an appreciation for how that heritage was perpetuated inside a Yugoslavia that was then dominated by peoples of other religious traditions, mostly Roman Catholic Croats and Eastern Orthodox Serbs, as well as some Muslims and Lutherans.

Jakob Webel’s family belonged to an ethnically German evangelical Anabaptist church tradition, a group known as “Evangelical Rebaptizers”[5] — who lived in what was then called Yugoslavia.[6]

In Jakob Webel’s mind it was vitally important, when he selected a wife, to marry within his family’s faith tradition—it would have been unthinkable to marry someone of another faith.[7]

But the Webels of Yugoslavia belonged to a church tradition that was only a very small minority religion: German-speaking “Evangelical Rebaptizers”.

And in Jakob’s community he saw no likely prospect for a wife, so that meant that Jakob must travel to another village (by train!) where there were people of his same faith, and from where he would—God willing—find a suitable wife, whom he would commit his earthly life and future to, in holy matrimony.

However, one other thing was indispensable to Jakob Webel, when selecting a wife: whoever she was, she must be a good singer of Christian songs, the kind of songs sung by German-speaking Evangelical Rebaptizers.

 

After Seeing (and Hearing) Katarina Once, Jakob Proposed Marriage

Would Jakob find an attractive girl, good at singing, suitable for marrying, for living with “till death do us part”, a fitting help-mate to raise a family with?

As Jakob prepared to survey the potential “candidates”, he had no foreknowledge about how World War II was about to erupt. Jakob could not then have known how the Christian faith and loyal character of his soon-to-be wife (as well as his own Christian faith and character) would be severely and repeatedly tested—amidst the unthinkable atrocities and unimaginable tragedies that would be ravaging and ruining central Europe during the AD1930s and AD1940s.

But, as time would tell, Jakob was about to make the perfect choice, and that “perfect choice” (Katarina Schleicher) would herself agree with Jakob’s choice.

In the transcribed interview, quoted repeatedly below,[8] the reader will notice that sometimes the replies of the Webel parents (“DAD” = Jakob; MOM = Katarina) don’t always fit the questions actually asked by the inquiring daughter (ROSIE). Notice also that Mom chimes in, frequently, to clarify (or correct) Dad’s memory on certain details.

ROSIE: …beginning with how you and Mom met …

DAD: [Then] I was in my early twenties … and then … I look for a girl of the same faith [i.e., German-speaking Evangelical Rebaptizer] and because I have no way to see and know that it is good for the family if they can sing and if it’s more or less inherited, if mom or dad can sing, then the children can too, so I went with a boy from the same town, from Vinkovci and he want to go to Beshka to see a girl and I went along to with be him and as it because it was a custom in the [Evangelical Rebaptizer] church.  I could not go without their permission from the church so I had to speak to that.  So I went with them, the boy in there I saw a girl who could sing good and which I like.

Vinkovci-Croatia

ROSIE: Now this [i.e., both Vinkovci, where Jakob then lived, and Beshka, where Katarina then lived] is both in Yugoslavia, right?

DAD: But it is about 160 to 200 kilometers and we traveled only by train.  And I saw the girl and then we then went home.

ROSIE: Was that ‘on Sunday’ or ‘the whole day Sunday’?

DAD: The whole day Sunday, And then we went home but I was not, at that time, it was Christmas, no, at Easter time, and I did not think to marry then but when it came the fall, then I decide to get married and I want to go and went to the same town [i.e., Beshka] to see if that girl is still single and when I get to there, the girl was not at home, she was in town about 20 kilometers farther away, working as a how-you-say … a maid in the house. And I go forenoon [i.e., before noon] in the church Sunday there in Beshka and then we took the train, I went to Novisad to see the girl when I came there somehow the noise get around that I came, I do not know who brought it but …

ROSIE: Was there a church in Novisad?

DAD: Yes, a big, large church.  There’s some boys believers, they were waiting for the train but till I came.  That afternoon church was over and they had no singing in the evening because it was forbidden.

ROSIE: By the government?

DAD: By the government it was forbidden, the church service was in the houses and then the boys tried to arrange to have a singing you know … but there was no phone.  We went from house to house, here and there, wherever there are girls and good singers and invited them.  Me too, I went with the boys, invited and there was singing in private houses, then I made the decision to ask for the girl, for …

ROSIE: At this time you didn’t know her parents.

DAD: Yes, I already knew them but I didn’t talked to them.

ROSIE: You knew who they [Mathias Schleicher & Christina (Wolf) Schleicher] were?

DAD: Yes, I did, but by going home and there was her mom, and the girl was on the same train and so I talked to her mom, little bit.

ROSIE: On your way back to Vinkovci?

 

DAD: On the way back … but nothing about the marriage and then we pass Beshka, her mom get out from the train and I go farther to a crossroads where I have to change the train and there was our [church] elder and I stop in at his place.  It was evening, not very late, but 8 or 9 o’clock, the elder was already in bed, and decide and went to talk to him and to ask for the girl and he asked me should he ask?  I said no, I will talk with my dad [Reinhardt Webel] first, at home, and then my dad will wrote him.  So I went home, Dad wrote him, and he asked for the ministering brother and the mom said yes, and make the story shorter, then but we never talked together before … Then I went, oh …

ROSIE:   You mean she [i.e., Mom] answered you “yes” before she even talked to you one time in your entire life?

DAD: We “talked together” just by singing.  And then some boy traveled there and same back and told me that Mom [i.e., Katarina Schleicher, soon to become Katarina Webel] said she could change her mind.  I don’t know how though.  Then I went back to see her, to talk with her.  When I came there where she work in the household [as a maid], I was with her in the kitchen, maybe for a half-hour, maybe for an hour, but not longer.  Then she agreed on the day when would be the wedding and so I went home.  When the day came, we (from our church) went about four persons (and I don’t think more than that), four persons maybe only three – me and Dad [Reinhardt Webel of Vinkovci, Yugoslavia] and –

ROSIE: Aunt Rosie and another Rosie …

DAD: Yes. I …

ROSIE: Why did you do that?

DAD: Because it is expensive to travel, you have no money to go to that town.

ROSIE: So your father [Reinhardt Webel], Aunt Rosie, another Rosie came to the wedding?

DAD: Yes, from our church [in Vinkovci].

ROSIE: From your town, oh, from your church, okay.  When was the wedding?

DAD: It was November, 1933.

ROSIE: So it would be Grandfather [Reinhardt Webel], Aunt Rosie, and a friend, right?

DAD: She was a member of our church.

ROSIE: Yeah.

DAD: But the wedding, the church service is the regular service, you know, and…

ROSIE: At the end, you get married, that’s it.

DAD: At the end,  we are called forward, and then we got married, that’s all, then we went apart, there was supper up there at Mom’s parents’ place [i.e., at the Schleicher home] and there was an elder and the ministering brother and maybe 20 persons, that’s all.  There was singing after that …

MOM: More than that . . .

DAD: Good. 20, 30 persons.

ROSIE: Singing at the [Schleicher] home?

DAD: At the home.

MOM: A couple girls came along from Novisad, where I was from.

After the Wedding, Married Life Began with Hard Work on the Farm

As time would begin to show, and as more time would continue to demonstrate, the simple wedding vows of young Jakob and Katarina were not a mere matter of happy youthful enthusiasm or ceremonial tradition.

Jakob and Katarina were promised to one another; there was no looking back. It was unthinkable to consider separate lives thereafter:   these two young hearts were now truly “one” (see Genesis 2:24), loyal to each other (and also to their God), as later events would prove, again and again.

The young couple were faithfully committed to each other, before God and many witnesses (including themselves), and World War II’s horrors and deprivations would soon (and repeatedly) test that marital union. But the couple at least got started, as a new family, before those horrific challenges confronted them.

The interview transcript now resumes, at the conclusion of the wedding songs:

DAD: And then, for the singing and after the singing we went on the train and went home.

ROSIE: Where’s home?

DAD: To Vinkovci from Beshka.  But the travel was very uncomfortable.  We have to go from one train to another, so we spent the whole night traveling.

MOM: The whole day and the next day.

DAD: Yeah. The evening, next morning we get home.  And then we get home, and the same day ….

ROSIE: Where are you talking – “home” to your father’s house?

DAD: TO father’s house, yes, live with Father now.  Then the same day we get home, we undressed [i.e., changed from church/wedding clothing to work clothing] and went to the field working for the farmers.

ROSIE: What kind of work?

DAD: Cutting the stems for the cornstalks.

ROSIE: Cutting corn shocks.

DAD: Okay. We are all day in…

ROSIE: Did you set them up in little piles and bind them like the Amish people do?

DAD: Yes, yes, like the Amish people do.

MOM: It’s not the same day, but the next day.  The same day was right around 4 o’clock when we came home.  No, we had the supper, his sisters was all there and from all the married kids with the grandchildren and relatives, and we had the …

DAD: That was the before … that’s not Monday.

ROSIE: This was Monday?

MOM: Afternoon.

DAD: We had supper at Mom and Dad’s place.

ROSIE: Then what did you do?  You went to bed in the evening and then you got up the next morning.

MOM:  We had singing, some sing, some wash dishes and some, you know, it was nothing, just so ….

ROSIE: Then you went to bed and got up and worked =the next morning and … in Dad’s field.

DAD: Yeah … yeah.

ROSIE: Together?

DAD: Yeah, all together.

ROSIE: You and her were together that day.

DAD: Yeah. And the rest of the family too.

ROSIE: Of course.

MOM: Aunt Rosie and all the others.  We worked all day.

ROSIE: Now surely you didn’t live your entire lives with Grandfather.

DAD: We lived with Grandfather about a year and a half or something like that.

MOM: Yeah, the before Elsa [i.e., Elisabeth] was born.

ROSIE: Oh, you mean you had Reini [Reinhardt] there.

MOM: Yeah, we had Reini there and we still worked in the fields and all the chickens and all the ….

[TO BE CONTINUED, D.v.]

When Hitler’s ambitions reached Yugoslavia (in April AD1941), daily living became an unrelenting challenge to endure, a never-ending series of threats and dangers (including German Nazis, Croatian Ustaše, and Soviet Russian Communists, plus war-caused food shortages, property and relocation losses, illnesses and injuries, etc.), as a growing family of honest Evangelical Rebaptizers tried to survive long enough to hopefully, someday, rebuild a “normal” family life.

For two decades life was anything but “normal”, much less convenient and comfortable. Meanwhile the Webel family grew to include eleven children, though one died an infant in Yugoslavia (during WWII), leaving a dozen Webels.

AD1951

Webel-dozen.newspaper-photo

Volksdeutsche by the Dozen AD1951

How Jakob and Katarina survived the disasters and dangers and deprivations of WWI (and its aftermath) is a magnificent testimony, firstly to God’s providential care, and secondly to the Webel family’s persistent practice of survival skills.

All of those years, during World War II, as well as the refugee years leading up to March of AD1950 (when the dozen Webels successfully immigrated to America), are amazing chapters in the Webels’ amazing family history. And the Webel family “singing” continues…including some who came (by birth or otherwise) to Texas.  But the reporting of the next chapters (God willing) must, for now, await another day.  So, for now, this “chapter” rests with an appreciation that two native-Texan boys, Nate Webel (born in AD2007) and Luke Webel (born in AD2012), as well as their sisters, descend from German immigrant stock (“Volksdeutsche”) who trace back one ancestral line to paternal grandfather’s parents, Jakob Webel and Katarina Schleicher, who committed to marrying each other before they ever had their first conversation: a true case of love at first sight—and first sound.

><> JJSJ     profjjsj@verizon.net

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Dr. James J. S. Johnson is a member of the German-Texas Heritage Society, and an occasional contributor to its Journal pages.  A lover and teacher of Providential history and geography, Jim has taught at 4 different Christian colleges (LeTourneau University, Dallas Christian College, Concordia University Texas at Fort Worth, and ICR School of Biblical Apologetics) in Texas, as well as aboard 8 different cruise ships. As a C.P.E.E. (Certified Paternity Establishment Entity, credentialed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office), Jim maintains a strong interest in family history documentation. After studying under many teachers, at many schools, Jim happily acknowledges that his best teacher (under God) was Chaplain Robert (Bob) Webel.

=========================================================================

This article (and its endnotes, below) began a series of family history journal articles.  This “Part 1” episode was originally published as “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part One: Jakob and Katarina Agreed to Marry Before They Ever Spoke to Each Other, A True Example of Love at First Sight…and First Sound”, Journal of the German-Texan Heritage Society, 35(1): 25-32 (spring 2013).

ENDNOTES

[1] The family history information in this article is derived from repeated personal interviews with Chaplain Bob Webel, mostly when he was visiting Arlington, Texas (during the summer of AD2012), and from the transcription of his sister (Rosie)’s interview of their parents, an unpublished family history titled “From Vinkovci to Medina” (which is further described below).

[2] Luke Webel was born during July of AD2012, in Plano, Texas.

[3] Nate Webel was born during November of AD2007, in Fort Worth, Texas.

[4] “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen” is the caption of an unidentified newspaper clipping, with a photograph of the 12 Webel family immigrants, who arrived at Ellis Island on March 19, AD1950, after a transatlantic trek that went from Munich to Copenhagen to Scotland to Greenland to New York City. The Webel dozen then were father Jakob, mother Katarina, Reinhardt (17, a/k/a Reini), Elisabeth (15, a/k/a Elsa), Karl (13), Adolf (12), Theresia (10), Robert (8), Rosalia (6, a/k/a Rosie), Jacob (4), Katherina (2), Daniel (2 months old).

[5] The Yugoslav-emigrated, German-speaking Evangelical Rebaptizers, when they immigrated to America, renamed themselves the “Apostolic Christian Church of the Nazarene”. (There is no ecclesiastical connection to what is popularly called the Church of the Nazarene).

[6] Like a violently erupting fumarole, the tragic history of Yugoslavia’s political factions is a series of internal fighting (dominated by Ustaše-led Roman Catholic Croats persecuting Eastern Orthodox Serbs, with Nazi and Russian Communists intervening with their own agendas), and that fighting is a major catalyst in this family history—as will be noted later, D.v., in future reports on this fascinating family history  (see, e.g., http://www.icr.org/article/7056/ ).

[7] Certainly Jakob was thinking Biblically, on this point—see Amos 3:3 & 2nd Corinthians 6:14.

[8] Rosalie Webel Whiting, From Vinkovci to Medina (unpublished Webel family history, copy provide by Chaplain Robert Webel), pages 1-4, supplemented & clarified by personal interviews with Rosie’s brother, Chaplain Bob Webel, during July and August of AD2012.


 

Evolution’s Counterfeit History Perpetuates Identity Fraud

Evolution’s Counterfeit History Perpetrates Identity Fraud
James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D.

haeckel-fraud-recapitulation-cartoons

Evolution teachings can perpetrate identity fraud due to two of its traits: (1) evolution theory is ubiquitous – it is taught almost everywhere; and (2) evolution theory provides a counterfeit history of human identity, because it is a fraudulent report of family history.

I. Evolutionary Assumptions about Human History are “Everywhere”.

The creation versus evolution controversy is ubiquitous—it’s virtually everywhere. Evolutionists routinely and repeatedly provide the public with a counterfeit history of human origins (and of cosmic origins), and that tall tale is so pervasive that it is largely unnoticed  —  hidden in plain view.(1)

What if I Had Never Been Born?

Before we look at a couple of examples, let’s consider first how God’s creation is the most basic blessing that He has given to each one of us. If God did not make us to start with, no other blessing would matter. He created each one of us as unique individuals. Each human being was deliberately planned, foreknown, and provided for by God as the exact person He intended him or her to be.

While I was touring the World War II museums in Fredericksburg, Texas, recently, I considered this contingency: What if the two atomic bombs had not been dropped on Japan, catalyzing a quick surrender by the Japanese emperor and thereby ending World War II?(2)

The Allies would have invaded the Japanese homeland with several hundreds of thousands of troops. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Purple Heart awards were already authorized for manufacture in anticipation of the expected casualties. Many hundreds of thousands would likely have been killed and/or wounded, with a million deaths, counting both sides, expected during the year to follow such an invasion. But Japan chose surrender rather than risk any more atomic bombs.

Had the war continued, my father would have been one of the U.S. Marines sent to invade Japan’s shores. As my wife and I viewed the museum exhibits, I considered the possible end result of this scenario. My father may have been killed, so my siblings and I might have never been born. There are many such what-if scenarios that our minds cannot fully comprehend, but they pose no problem for God.(3)

Evolutionist Teaching Illustrated in Military History

During World War II, the Allies exerted great efforts to learn the military secrets of their adversaries. They monitored radio transmissions from Germany, Italy, and Japan, and then tried to decipher the encoded messages.(4)

Japanese officials stationed in Germany and in Italy reported military information to Japan, so the interception of their military transmissions—if and when the content could be accurately and timely deciphered—often provided military secrets not only of the Japanese, but also about the war machines of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. Consequently, American and British code-breakers carefully scrutinized whatever they could learn from military messages sent from Germany or Italy to Japan.

Allied researchers also sought intelligence from non-coded sources, such as local newspapers. One piece of intelligence displayed the strategic team spirit that was then developing between Japan and Italy. This intercepted information contained an evolutionary theme that should be familiar to readers of Acts & Facts:

The Foreign Office had no need of codebreakers to interpret many of the Japanese and German moves towards a grand alliance with Mussolini’s Italy. Sujimura [a Japanese ambassador in Rome] was regarded as a moderate in Japanese terms, but in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, he spoke of an “identity of ideas” between Japan and Italy: “We consider ourselves to be in the same condition. Overpopulation creates for obvious reasons the right to occupy more territory and the rights of civilization demand that people install themselves in those areas where the inhabitants stand in need of human evolution.(5)

This quote shows that the Japanese leadership was using human evolution to rationalize Japan’s ongoing conquest of Pacific and Indian Ocean countries. The “need” for human evolution made unprovoked military conquest acceptable; the supposedly under-evolved peoples of Korea, China, Indochina, and the Pacific islands needed to have their territories evolutionarily improved by being conquered by the Japanese, who, of course, were “superior” in their own human evolution.

Most Americans know that Adolf Hitler argued evolutionary science to justify his genocidal mass murders of Jews and Slavs, but many do not know that Japanese propagandists sang the same social Darwinism song before and during World War II. Evolutionary thinking is not limited to academics, television documentaries, and television ads selling insurance.

Even Japanese political propaganda (and military codes) demonstrated the pervasiveness of evolutionist teaching.

Evolutionist Teaching illustrated in Cuisine Literature  

Evolutionary storytelling even taints cuisine literature. Consider this quotation from a recipe book featuring favorites from the Alpine countries:

Since the beginning of time man has been preoccupied with obtaining meat for his daily meals. At first he was limited to the hunting of wild animals, but with the birth of civilization the flesh of domesticated cows, pigs, and sheep also became available.(6)

This recipe book assumes an early history of humanity that clashes with the Genesis record. Genesis negates the myth of primitive cavemen limited to hunter-gatherer food acquisition. Cain, the first man born on earth, was a farmer; his younger brother Abel was a shepherd.(7)  Agriculture is as old as the first human family. Also, eating the flesh of animals—domestic or wild—was not a part of God’s food program for humans until after the Flood.(8)  Yet, how casually secular literature assumes and portrays the mythology of human evolution in every form of literature—even cookbooks!

The True Nature of Nature: Testifying to Truth

Secular military politics and cookbooks aside, what is the real story of creation concerning the kind of world we live in and the kind of people we are? The Holy Bible provides true answers to these important questions about the real world and life itself. Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And it is the truth of the Scriptures that satisfies because it is really true! This life only makes sense when the Bible’s answers are accepted and relied upon. It is only God’s truth that satisfies the big questions about life, as Joe Macphee, a happy Hebridean man, learned:

I was born in the Hebridean island of Barra, one of a family of nine children.…My father, who was in the merchant navy, died in 1967 and my mother was left with nine children to attend to. It was a hard upbringing but a happy one.… [Joe then summarizes his spiritually empty experience with closed-Bible Churchianity]…. In early 1988 I was beginning to notice things about the creation—it was suddenly becoming so beautiful that it would bring tears to my eyes….In the Lord’s providence I was directed to purchase a house in an area surrounded by Christians, who witnessed of their faith in Christ. Some of the stories they [i.e., the Protestant believers] would tell me I would initially dismiss as lies but gradually I found myself believing them and in a strange way wanting to hear more and to have what these people had.(9)

The good news is that Joe Macphee learned what the Bible teaches about redemption in Christ Jesus, so he acquired real truth about God’s creation and about his own life, including his need for Christ as his personal Savior. That was more than 20 years ago.(10)

There are many others like Joe who seek true answers—biblical answers—for questions to which our humanistic culture provides only deceptive distractions, like human evolution stories. Whether theistic or atheistic, such stories fuel unbiblical imaginations about human life, sometimes condoning immoral conduct in the name of needed evolutionary improvement.

Evolutionary stories—the counterfeit history of God’s creation—are propagated everywhere around us. Evolutionary teaching is so ubiquitous that we often don’t recognize it when we read military history or a recipe book, because the false story of evolution is so casually, confidently, and constantly “hidden in plain view.”

But God’s truth is present everywhere for those with eyes to see it (Romans 10:17-18; Psalm 19:1-4). For more than 41 years, ICR has been showcasing and clarifying biblical answers about human life and God’s creation. God’s wonderful truth is only “hidden” from those who refuse the truth that He has freely provided in His Word.

II. Evolutionary Teachings about Human Identity are Fraudulent.

Identities matter. I recently lost my credit card, triggering a host of worries and questions: Where and when did I last use the card? Did I leave it in my pants pocket? Is it on the floor of my car? Should I slowly look through every part of my wallet for the fifth time?

After exhausting my mental checklist of where it could be, I called the credit card company to report a “lost or stolen” card and to cancel the account. After I convinced the person on the phone that I was the true cardholder, I asked about the credit card’s latest transactions, to see if it was being fraudulently used already. The last use was at a Texas steakhouse the night before (where my wife and I had eaten). Whew! Abandoning the request to cancel the card with an optimistic prayer, I called the restaurant—and yes, they had my credit card stowed away in their safe.

Only time will tell if my card’s information was stolen and kept for future fraudulent purchases. It is reassuring to know that God is providentially controlling the details of our lives, so whatever trials we encounter were approved by Him before they reach us (1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20).

Misplacing a credit card is no trivial concern—identity fraud is a terrible crime and a messy problem to fix. And when one’s personal identity as a special creation is counterfeited, it produces another kind of “identity fraud” that is even scarier, with much graver problems.

How Can Your Family History Suffer Evolutionary “Identity Fraud”?

When I attended public school as a child, my personal identity was compromised when I was taught that Earth is billions of years old and that my family descended from subhuman “cave men,” alleged precursors to Homo sapiens — true mankind.(11)

In short, I was taught that the family history reported in Genesis was unhistorical and unreliable. If my teachers and textbooks were correct, the biblical account of my family history was not true.

So, what was my real family history?

If the evolutionary tale were true, I am not the human creature described in the Bible. If Darwin’s “natural selection” hypothesis was true (which it is not), the Bible’s teaching about the origin of animal kinds and humans would have to be untrustworthy.  (But — as I would learn — it is the notion of “natural selection” that is false, not the history of Genesis.)

Answers that I sometimes received in church—for example, saying that the Bible is only “inspired” when it teaches about “spiritual” truth but not on details about “non-spiritual” matters —further confounded the problems and questions about my true origins. Because every spiritual aspect of Scripture is inextricably contextualized by “non-spiritual” details, so just trusting the “spiritual” parts of the Bible was more confusion than a solution. For example, Jesus came to Earth as a Jew, not a Mede or Persian (Galatians 3:16). Jesus was born in Bethlehem (as prophesied in Micah 5:2), not in Damascus or Dallas. The resurrection of Christ is a spiritually crucial fact, but what about the three days (instead of two or four) that He was in the grave? Was it spiritually crucial that Christ be physically resurrected?

One Scripture-abusing clergyman told me that it was only important to believe that Christ “lives again” in the lives of His followers, as they follow His teachings (what he called a “spiritual resurrection”). But that “spiritualizing” interpretation obviously clashes, irreconcilably, with the comprehensive explanation Paul provides, in 1st Corinthians chapter 15, about the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

How Can You Recover Your “Missing” Family History?

As a college freshman, I wrestled with these big-picture family history questions, not realizing how much “identity fraud” I had already experienced. But God soon provided answers to these questions and clarified the truth about my actual family history, disproving those Genesis-contradicting misrepresentations.

It was like the helpful credit card company employee who provided clues to where I had been in the past so I could restore what was missing. Several of God’s servants helped me in my critically important college years, applying 1 Peter 3:15 and Jude 1:3-4 to real-world apologetics. Only two will be mentioned here, to illustrate how real answers can be given to real questions.

In God’s kind providence, my first major hurdle was recognizing that the Genesis record unavoidably conflicts with the evolutionary depiction of human origins.(12) Despite strained attempts by theistic evolutionist harmonizers to blend (and “reconcile”) Scripture and Darwinism, the bottom line is Genesis and evolutionary theory cannot both be true — there is no “redeeming Darwin”.(13)

Chaplain Bob Webel, (then) my college pastor, clarified that fundamental fact for me by explaining the authoritative relevance of Romans 5:12-21—the Bible teaches that our redemption through Christ depends upon the Genesis history being literally true.(14) That meant that the evolutionist explanation of life was not even close to being true. But what about the fossil “evidence” for evolution? Bob Webel provided a quick solution to that problem in a thought-provoking tract, “Have You Been Brainwashed?“, written by Dr. Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research.(15) Although I didn’t appreciate the scientific details then, it was immediately clear that the biblical creationists had a lot to say, and they obviously had scholarly reasons for their beliefs (1 Peter 3:15).

Dr. Gish raised challenges that embarrassed the evolutionary accident scenario, such as how did an imagined primordial “soup” accidentally and unerringly form all left-handed amino acids to make life eons ago when the statistical odds for forming each amino acid as either right-handed or left-handed was always 50-50?(15),(16)  Then Bob Webel loaned me Dr. Gish’s paleontology book Evolution: The Fossils Say No!

Next, Bob told me to read The Genesis Flood by Drs. John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris. Bob also encouraged me to sign up for a free subscription to Acts & Facts.

As the ICR materials gave me a worldview “housecleaning” by showing how the evolutionary scenario was illogical, unscientific, and unreliable, Bob guided me and my friends through the Scriptures. There, I discovered my true family history, including my own personal identity as a human creature redeemed by Christ my Creator. This dismantled earlier identity fraud confusion.

Pass It On

What are you doing to help people escape the identity fraud they may have suffered from evolutionary teachings—from schools, television, movies, textbooks, secular museums, and even churches?

Like Bob Webel and Dr. Duane Gish, who provided real answers, we all can provide help to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see the truth. ICR stands ready to help. Please use our resources to help solve identity fraud problems. Although many refuse the truth about Christ’s creation, some will gladly learn and love the truth when it arrives:

He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [Greek: exousia, literally “authority”] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:10-12).

References

1. Things can be “hidden in plain view” due to camouflage or familiarity; we ignore those things, focusing more on what attracts our immediate attention. See Jonathan Sarfati’s “Colourblind squid camouflage” in the January-March 2012 issue of Creation magazine.
2. What is planned doesn’t always occur. The two atomic bombs, dropped on August 6 and 9, 1945, were planned for Hiroshima and Kokura, respectively, but the Kokura bomb (“Fat Man”) was dropped on Nagasaki instead. Six days later, Japan announced its unconditional surrender to the Allies.
3. Matthew 11:21-24. Christ spoke confidently of contingent cause-and-effect scenarios that humans could not know about.
4. Coded information is useless unless the recipient of that coded information has the capacity to both receive and recognize the coded message’s meaning within a timeframe that permits useful action to be taken. See James J. S. Johnson, “DNA and RNA: Providential Coding to ‘Revere’ God”, Acts & Facts, 40(3):8-9 (March 2011).
5. Smith, M. 2000. The Emperor’s Codes: The Breaking of Japan’s Secret Ciphers. New York: Arcade Publishing, 51, emphasis added.
6. Nelson, K. S. 2005. Cuisines of the Alps: Recipes, Drinks, and Lore from France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia. New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc., 89.
7. Genesis 4:1-4.
8. Compare Genesis 9:2-3 with Genesis 1:29.
9. Joe Macphee, “Testimony (of Joe Macphee)”, The Bulwark (Magazine of the Scottish Reformation Society). Oct.-Dec. 2011 issue, pages 12-17, quotations from pages 12 and 15.
10. Ibid.
11. One notable exception was dear Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, who taught second grade at Damascus Elementary School. Mrs. Bumgardner taught that God created according to the Bible’s account of creation, clarifying that evolutionary ideas were irrational lies invented and promoted by ungodly people who refused to recognize God’s Creatorship.
12. “One of the most common misunderstandings among Christians is that the biblical account of creation can be allegorized or harmonized with the evolutionary system of science.” Morris III, H. 2013. Willingly Ignorant. Acts & Facts. 42 (3): 5-7.
13. Ibid.; see also, generally, pages 11-102 within Creation Basics & Beyond: An In-Depth Look at Science, Origins, and Evolution (Dallas: Institute for Creation Research, 2013), chapters 1-3, co-authored by Henry M. Morris III, Jason Lisle, James J. S. Johnson, and others.
14. Yugoslavian immigrant and WWII refugee Bob Webel became a pastor (and later chaplain) who taught Bible (and Biblical apologetics) to teenagers and college students. See James J. S. Johnson’s “Volksdeutsche by the Dozen, Part One: Jakob and Katarina Agreed to Marry Before They Ever Spoke to Each Other (A True Example of Love at First Sight…and First Sound)”, in Journal of the German-Texan Heritage Society, 35(1): 25-32 (spring 2013), quoting from Rosie Webel, From Vinkovci to Medina (unpublished Webel family history, verified & supplemented by Chaplain Bob Webel, August AD2012).
15. Dr. Duane Gish’s fruitful ministry with ICR, promoting biblical creation apologetics as a speaker, writer, debater, and teacher, concluded with his heavenly homegoing earlier this year. See Remembering Dr. Duane T. Gish, Creation’s “Bulldog.” Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org March 6, 2013, accessed May 17, 2013.
16. Charles McCombs, “Evolution Hopes You Don’t Know Chemistry: The Problem of Chirality”, Acts & Facts, volume 33 (May 2004).
><>  JJSJ

Full spectrum prayer: P.R.A.Y.I.N.G.

Wise-men-still-seek-Jesus.silhouette

Pray without ceasing   (1st Thessalonians 5:17)

During the mid-AD1970s, thanks to God’s kind providence, I studied the Bible in Maryland, under the best Bible teacher I can imagine, Bob Webel.  Since I never had much of a memory for details (or, as I prefer to say, — being more gifted in seeing, appreciating, and remembering the big picture), I have benefited for decades from the practical memory helps that Bob taught me (and my friends), such as acrostics that  help with prayer and/or Bible study.  In time (i.e., during AD1976, to be exact), I consructed an original acrostic to appreciate 7 aspects of prayer, using this user-friendly acrostic:

P: praise (objectively appreciating God for Who He is, giving Him credit He is due);

R: reliance (actively relying on God to be Who He is, and trusting Him to keep His Word);

A: admission (confessing to God my personal wrongs, both sins of commission and sins of omission);

Y: yieldedness (submitting myself to God for His service, like Isaiah’s “here I am, LORD, send me”);

I: intercession (praying for God’s work in the lives of others, including prayers for their basic needs);

N: needs (requesting what I/we need (such as job needs or “give us this day our daily bread . . .”); and

G: gratitude (subjectively thanking God for creating me, for Who He is in my life, for redemption, etc.).

Pretty simple and straight-forward.  If this acrostic helps your praying, use it to God’s glory!   ><> JJSJ