A German boy of tweleve, alone and destitute and displaced, migrated from Germany during World War I, to New York City. Before leaving Germany, his grandfather placed in his hands a wood carving of Gottschee to give him as a rememberance of his homeland and his roots.
Not being able to speak English or make a living due to his age, he stumbled upon a furniture shop who needed extra hands in the shop. Rudolph eagerly complied.
Through an unforturnate happening, an insurance settlement gave him the means to travel to Florida and begin a new life. The wood carving still close by his side, he settled in Southwest FLorida where we met at a social gathering.
One of the many colorful stories he relayed to the group during social activities, was the story behind the carving he carried with him for so many years.
It seems the wood carving has signifcant and important historical events behind it.
Gottschee was a strategic part of the Holy Roman Empire dating 1330-1941. There were many important castles and fortifications in and around Gottschee during this period. In 1350, three-hundred families from Germany settled in the newly formed Gottschee, where 650 years of history was born in this created linquistic county measuring 331 square miles. In 1574, the Hapsburg Archduke Carl owned Gottschee. In 1641, Wolfe Englebrecht of Auersperg bought Gottschee. Through its turbulent times Gottschee is still held dear by its former inhabitants.
He met many Gottscheers during his short time in Germany and knew them personally. The carving connected him to them even though they were separated by many miles apart.
The Gottscheers lost their homeland of 650 years when the German and Italian armies invaded their homeland during World War II. Scattered and displaced, many migrated to the United States.
Just like Rudolph, the displaced Gottscheers found a new life in a new homeland. It was not many years later and our dear friend left our company leaving behind his most beloved wood carving to us to see that it would find a home with a historian collector who would love it as much as he did.