Cleveland German Profile

Carl Schmelzer

Carl Schmelzer was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. His father Karl came to the United States from Leipzig, while his mother Anna Ostermaier comes from Bavaria, Germany.

In early 1930's, while working for Ford, Carl's father was asked to travel to Russia to set up machinery purchased by the Russian Government. Since there was a depression in the United States he agreed and the family set sail for Russia. After two years on assignment there, his father was ready to return to the United States with his family.

Carl Schmelzer

However, they were denied a reentry permit by the American immigration department, because his father immigrated illegally to the United States in 1914. The family decided to return Leipzig, Germany instead.

They traveled on the Trans-Siberian Railway via Manchuria and China. In Hong Kong, China they boarded a freighter and continued their journey from the Far East to Hamburg and from there back to Leibzig.

Carl's father applied again for an immigration permit to the United States, but was denied the permit, this time by the German government. At the beginning of World War II, Leibzig experienced rather heavy air-raids, which laid waste to the inner city. At the end of war, Leipzig was first occupied by the western allies, but shortly after that by the Russian army.

Near the end of 1946 Carl's parents decided, that he Carl, now 16 years old and a citizen of the United States, should return to the United States to live with an uncle near Lorain, Ohio.

After staying in a relocation camp in West Berlin, he received permission to embark on the ship "Marine Perch" and sail for New York. Carl arrived there on February 11, 1947.

A year after his arrival he decided to go back to high school, although he had finished the "Hauptschule" in Leipzig. After proficiency tests in English Carl was accepted at West Tech High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Since he had to support himself, he attended classes during the day and worked during the afternoons and evenings.

In 1949 Carl applied as a tool-and-die maker apprentice at the Advance Tool and Die Company and was accepted as such. Carl retired as a tool and die design engineer from the General Motor Co. in 1993.

In 1950 a group of fifteen to twenty young immigrants, organized the "Tomorrow's Americans" social club where Carl became a charter member. He was married to Dorothy Anne (Dennerlein) in 1953, the same year he was drafted into the U.S. armed forces and received his orders for Bamberg, Germany.

His wife Dorothy followed him there a few months later. Upon completion of his military obligations, he returned to the United States. After his return to the States he decided to attended college classes at the Technical Institute of Fenn College (now Cleveland State University) to study tool and die design engineering.

Carl Schmelzer working in German Cultural Garden

Carl Schmelzer working in German Cultural Garden

During those years he became a member of the German Central (Deutsche Zentrale). Several years later he was elected Vice President. During the same time he also held the office of Vice President of the GBU District 810.

In 1995 Carl was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Altenheim and later was appointed as their Treasurer of the Board. In 1997 followed the appointed as Chairman of the Building Committee, which oversees the new construction of Shurmer Place at the Altenheim in Strongsville, Ohio.

From 1997 to 2003 Carl has been the regular delegate of the Altenheim to the Stadtverband. He also acted as a delegate for the German Central. Presently he is the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Altenheim.

He and his wife are the proud parents of a daughter, Christine Marie Buckingham and grandparents to Courtney Marie and Adam Carl Buckingham.

By Hans Kopp

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