Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rediscovering Baumholder

Since it's been almost 50 years since I've been in Baumholder, I thought I'd look at a street map to refresh my memory of how the village is laid out, especially in relationship to the military installations surrounding it. I've always bragged about finding anything on the net but I thought I was stumped with this one -- until I stumbled across "", the official city site in German. There was a street map with everything I need to know.

I also found some recent photos. Looks more like a quaint touristy village today than the Sin City of Europe. Imagine every door here being into a bar. That's the Baumholder I remember.

I also found something I had missed when I was there: a swastika in brick on the kaserne wall!

In my reading I learned that in 1956, only 4 years before I arrived, there was a GI race riot downtown that left several soldiers dead. The bars were segregated "by choice" when I was there, though I used to go to the black bars with black colleagues in order to listen to jazz on the jukebox. In the white bars, it was all country-western. On one occasion, a black soldier came in, saw me and immediately broke a chair over my head. My friends hustled me out. Turns out the same thing had happened to the black GI across the street, a white bar he had entered by mistake. He was just returning the favor.

I'm having so much fun with this project. Sure brings back memories.


Anonymous said...

Hello Charles,

I have a few photos that may interest you.I live near baumholder and have heard many stories about the heydays there. let me know if you get this message.

Charles Deemer said...

Got it, thanks!