Ingrid vonReitzenstein ’62 Claussner

Ingrid was baptized by her maternal grandfather Maximilian Pohl who was a Lutheran Pastor, in August 1938- A BLESSING!

In December 1944 her father was drafted into WWII; he did not return from Russia until spring 1947. Mother, older brother Rainer and younger sister Ulrike (Rickie) were displaced forcibly in August 1946; they were moved in cattle cars; it took one week to get from their village to Leipzig, where they spent 6 weeks in a camp, before they were assigned two small rooms in a widow’s house. They lived there-starving (the only meal the kids got was the school lunch Mondays to Saturdays- which was meagre at that- and this for about 9 months. The winter 1946/1947 was an extremely cold winter with no heat; the family went to bed with all clothes on, including coats; the water for washing in the pitcher in the bedroom froze! BUT the LORD brought them through! In spring 1947, her mother took her brother and went to West-Germany to find work and more food; Rainer was entering his teen years… Father had returned shortly before Mother left; he took Ingrid to Berlin (mostly on foot) and put her into a home for under-nourished kids. After a few weeks the two of them went to Bavaria where her father put her into an orphanage of 400 kids. After 3 months, Ingrid was put into a children’s home in Noerdlingen.

Her mother picked her up from that home one day before her 12th birthday and took her to Frankenberg/Eder- where she lived and went to school until 1955. Her mother was the head of the hospital kitchen in Frankenberg. From 1955 to 1956 Ingrid and Rickie lived in West-Berlin where her mother had a job teaching in the Teaching Kitchens of the Berlin Electrical Co. In October 1956, her mother, Ingrid and Rickie came to the USA on an old transporter for soldiers with 1000 immigrants, arriving in New York on Oct. 29- and by train in Kalamazoo, MI a day later: a small Methodist congregation near Holland, MI was our sponsor!

Since Ingrid had not quite finished high school in Germany, she entered the senior year of Fennville High School and graduated in 1957. She attended Adrian college from 1957-58 and Hope College from 1957-1962, except for one semester in 1960 because her mother was so ill she had to stay home to get well; Ingrid worked full time for one semester for a family in Woodstock, IL 1963-1965, Ingrid taught school in Gurnee, IL teaching all 4 levels of French the first year and starting a German department the following year. From 1965-67 she taught at Seoul Foreign School in Seoul, Korea- this time again all 4 levels of French.

January 1968, Ingrid went to Stuttgart, Germany, where she married Ottmar Koch whom she had met in Korea. Late that year she had a baby boy Ingmar, who came too early and only lived one day. In January 1969, her husband finished Deacon School in Stuttgart while she went ahead to Ghigo di Prali in NW Italy. Until September 1970, Ottmar and Ingrid did volunteer work for AGAPE, an international ecumenical youth center founded by Waldensians after WWII. Daughter Maureen was born in Lahr, Black Forest in Germany in January 1970. Upon returning to Germany in September 1970, they found out that Ottmar had contracted TB and had to enter a sanatorium immediately; it took a whole year for Ottmar to be well again. The German State paid for schooling so Ottmar could become a foreign language correspondent; they moved to West-Berlin from late 1971-January 1975. The Following year they spent in Gross-Karben by Frankfurt/Main, before moving to Munich. Maureen stayed in the USA; Ottmar filed for divorce immediately. Ingrid worked for HEADSTART in Mauston, WI for one year. She received an Assistantship from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and lived in Evanston with Maureen from 1978-1980. From 1980-1993 she taught German and French at Mundelein High School in Mundelein, IL; then until 1998, she substituted in schools in Evanston and surrounding communities and worked part-time as a shelver in the Evanston Public Library. In 1997, Eberhard had lost his wife of 36 years the year before; they were married in June of 1998, and moved to Tucson in June 2001- after Ebby’s retirement in December 2000.

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