Notes On My Trip to Europe

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By Constance A. Holman

September 2, 1952

1. Obtain passport from the State Department.

a. When papers are in order, you may start your journey.


2. Sailed from Hoboken, N.J. on September 2, 1952.
a. S. S. Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland—American Line.
b. Watched the Statue of Liberty slowly fade from view.
c. An especially calm trip over and disembarked at Rotterdam, Holland.
d. Meanwhile, my husband had met a dutch friend named Leo Van Den Burg, who showed us the important parts of Holland.

3. We went to see the Peace Palace in The Hague. Breath taking!

a. Valuable gifts from many countries.
b. Japanese Hall -- built around gifts from Japan, vases paintings, chairs that symbolized various countries. The United States was symbolized by the Eagle.
c. Gardens outside the Palace.

4. The Royal Picture Gallery of Dutch art; this was once a Palace.

a. Masterpieces of Rembrandt and other famous painters

5. Boat ride through the canals and harbors of Amsterdam.

6. Fishing villages still wear traditional costumes.

a. Youngster's don't have a hair cut for seven years; both boys and girls dress alike. Boys wear checkered aprons, the girls flowered.

7. 12 hour ride by train to Augsburg, Germany. Augsburg is in the southern part of Germany in a section called Bavaria. It is 200 miles from Stuttgart, and 1 hour by train from Munich.


1. Small automobiles are built low and small, not too comfortable for four people.
trucks are tricycle -— 2 in back and 1 in front, and visa versa, trolleys are plentiful -— usually crowded.
a. majority of streets are cobble stones.
b. Autobahn road made of concrete, built by Adolf Hitler.

2. Many of the ruins still not rebuilt -— majority in Augsburg have been rebuilt.

a. Evergreen tree on top of the building until completed, round of beer to the crew upon completion based on a tradition.
b. Buildings of stucco, gables, and balconies. Very few constructed of wood.
c. Scenic pictures and figures painted on the buildings.

3. $1.00 is equal to 4 Deutschemarks and 20 pfennigs in 1952.

a. Money can be exchanged at any American Express.
b. We used Military Certificates, not "Greenbacks" in Germany. When money was once changed to marks, it could not be changed back to Script or Military Certificates.

4. Food

a. The German people eat a lot of starchy foods, potatoes, bread, noodles etc. For lunch, a German person might have some hard rolls and wurst. The main meal for the average family is in the evening.
b. On Sundays and Holidays, they eat more heartily.
c. The German family we knew, lived on about five dollars a week in the winter time (4 persons).
d. German people think we eat like kings.
e. Beer drinker.
f. water is not served at a meal.
g. Shaking hands is a common practice.

5. Conveniences compared to ours are few.

a. We lived in a German apartment for four months.
1. A coal stove, We carried our own coal.
2. Running water for the whole house was in the hall, not in the kitchen.
3. No hot water!
4. No refrigeration; a 2 burner gas stove, but no oven that worked.
5. Majority of the population did not have a bath tub as we know them in the states. They did have tin tubs, however.

6. Hard working people.

a. The whole family, women and children, work in the fields, plowing, weeding, haying etc.
b. Old men that we would have on pensions, shovel snow and work on the streets (cleaning or repairing).
c. Some women work on trolleys as ticket collectors, etc.

7. Farming

a. The german people use every inch of land to be had. You don't find them wasting farm land and you don't see much grazing land to speak of.
b. Soil doesn't look as rich, a great deal of hill farming.
c. Knew very little about commercial fertilizer. Their fertilizer comes from animal manure and sewerage, which is distributed over the land by means of small tanks on wagons made of steel or wood. (Soldiers refer to them as "Honey wagons".)
d. We had a special disinfectant to wash the vegetables if we used fresh vegetables. You dissolved this compound in clear water and allowed the vegetables and fruit to soak no less than 1/2 hour.
e. They raise a white radish which is the size of our turnip, they slice them and put salt on them to eat with bread and beer.
f. They raise potatoes, asparagus, cabbage, hens, hogs, goats, sheep etc.

8. Bicycles, 130 thousand in Augsburg with a population of 200 thousand.

a. A few ride bicycles even in the winter.
b. People old enough to be our grandmothers or grandfathers ride bicycles.
c. They can carry more on a bicycle then you ever dreamed of.
d. 26 bicycles crossed at one corner, together was common place.

9. Clothing.

a. Women wear hats most of the time -- Flat shoes, very few heels.
b. Bright colors, knit shirts etc.
c. Very little, if any makeup.
d. Plaid and cotton stockings in the winter. Men wear green felt hats with a feather.
e. Trousers don't have belts (buttons or suspenders) they say belts aren't good for the health.
f. lederhosen and lederbox, leather trousers, plaid stockings, leather brief cases.

10. Garmisch

a. Garmisch is about sixty miles south of Augsburg, in the valley of the Bavarian Alps. Garmisch is called the playground for American Personnel. It has skiing, skating, boating, roller skating, tennis, horse back riding,etc.
b. While in Garmisch we too the cog railroad to the top of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. Snow capped all year round.

11. Dachau

a. We took a trip to Dachau's Concentration Camp, was about, an hour ride from Augsburg by car.
b. This was an emotional place to see and with a little imagination you could picture the torture.
c. We saw the furnace rooms of the crematory, the gas chambers (the prisoners were told they were going to take a shower).
d. There were persons from all countries in the world, that suffered. They had records of two Americans killed in this camp. How they got there, no one knows.
e. They even went so far as to experiment with ice water and air pressure. It was horror beyond one's understanding.
f. The survivors greet their liberators, April 29, 1945.

11. King Ludwig II Castles

a. King Ludwig II took the throne in 1864 at the age of 19. During his life time of 41 years, he built three castles.
b. He died from a mysterious drowning, and no one to this day knows how it happened.
c. The Linderhof Castle one of the three he built and was especially beautiful. He was an admirer of the French, so the entire castle was designed in French architecture, famous French people, etc. No germans are to be found in the castle. (Paintings, staircases of marble, gold ceilings, crystal chandeliers, velvet covered chairs, hall of mirrors, curtains with gold embroidery, 1 chandelier had 108 candles in it. He liked to be alone, so had a cave built in the castle so he could be by himself. In the dining room, there was a table that could be set with a meal in the kitchen and placed in front of him by means of an elevator.

12. The Passionspiele

a. The passion Play House in Oberammergau in south Germany.
b. The people of this small town in the Bavarian Alps, reenact the life of Christ.
c. Only the people of this small town can participate in the play. They grow beards, learn to speak to fit the part and even let their hair grow below their shoulders.
d. This play is put on every ten years. The people from all over the world come to see it.


1. Paris
a. 350 Francs to the $1.00 in 1953.
b. Movie: "House of Wax" in 3-D. French language dubbed in, instead of English.
c. Arc de Triumphe Monument.
1. Unknown Soldier.
2. Burning flame never goes out.
3. Sidewalk Cafes.
d. Boat ride up the Seine River.
1. Miniature Statue of Liberty adjacent to a bridge on Seine River.
e. Eiffel Tower.
f. Notré Dame Cathedral.
g. Napoleon's Tomb
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