ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Gene Janssen: 1956-1957 Exchange Student

Janssen's year in Crailsheim changed his life

Gene Janssen was Worthington's exchange student to Crailsheim in 1956-1957.
Gene Janssen was Worthington's exchange student to Crailsheim in 1956-1957.
Special to The Globe
We are part of The Trust Project.

Host families:
Franz/Charlotte Hanish; Rudolf/Wally Stoll; and Rudolf/Marie Thierley

MORE EXCHANGE STUDENTS
Members Only
Crailsheim gave Eva a lot - but her favorite thing is curiosity!
Members Only
Chad's year in Crailsheim had a family connection
Members Only
Staci remembers crossing the Berlin Wall into East Germany

Current city/state:
Edina, Minnesota

Occupation:
Retired church musician

Fondest memories of my year in Crailsheim:
The kindness and care of so many people, specifically, Emilie Krauss and family, Ernst Roll family, Isolde Matthes (advisor and teacher) and Erika (Raddatz) Schumm, as well as Dr. Fritzmartin Ascher, the director of the Albert Schweitzer Gymnasium (High School) in Crailsheim.

Soon after arrival, I was asked about my interests, and I mentioned that I had had some organ lessons. Isolde Matthes then took me to meet the local Cantor at the Johanneskirche (Günther Mühlichen), and he gave me weekly organ lessons for the year on the 1730s pipe organ at the church. That became the impetus for my future career as a church musician (organist and choir director) with full-time positions in Lutheran churches in DeKalb, Illinois; Albert Lea and St. Paul, Minnesota.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other fond memories include hiking in the Alps with my school class for some days soon after arrival in Crailsheim.

Christmas time — Christmas trees lit with real candles

Hiking trips with the Schwäbischer Albverein, a hiking club.

MORE EXCHANGE STUDENTS
Members Only
Astrid became an Opera singer after her year in Worthington
Members Only
Dieter's love of exploring wildlife only grew in Worthington
Members Only
The sousaphone Günter received from Worthington is one of the reasons he plays in the Crailsheim City Band today

The wonderful Volksfest — a fall fair and carnival in Crailsheim.

Free tickets to a concert series and to the local movie theater

A new bicycle provided by a womens' club, which was used by several succeeding students from Worthington.

Trips to other towns and cities at the invitation of various people — such as a Lehar operetta staged on a lake in Stuttgart; visit to the cathedral at Ulm; visit to the city of Nürnberg including the Albrecht Dürer house as well as the huge stadium where the Nazi rallies had been held; a trip to Augsburg, Germany, with a tour of the city of Augsburg and a performance of von Flowtow's opera "Martha".

The trip over to Germany on a ship departing from Quebec, Canada (was supposed to have left from New York, but the itinerary was changed prior to our departure). And then the return on a ship from Naples, Italy, to New York. We were driven over the Alps in the official mayoral car with the city chauffeur and the mayor and his wife, so we saw Milan, Rome, Naples and Pompeii.

ADVERTISEMENT

MORE WORTHINGTON & CRAILSHEIM
Women were on a journey to visit sister cities of German towns in the territory of their reign.
Stadtkapelle, city delegation spent a week in Worthington.
Oberburgermeister Dr. Christoph Grimmer, Mayor Mike Kuhle and Paul Summers LaRoche were among the speakers.

How the year abroad changed me:
Because of the year in Crailsheim, I learned to speak German fluently, which allowed me to bypass language school when I went back in1962 to study organ (with Helmut Walcha) and church music at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Also, since becoming affiliated with the Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America, I have translated numerous books and articles for the organization.

Even after 66 years, I am in regular contact with Crailsheimers: Inge (Krauss) Schmalzried; Waltradu Krauss, widow of Manfred Krauss; Renate Roll, cousin of the Krauss family; and others. Additionally, my youngest daughter, Ingrid, met her husband during her junior year abroad and has been living in Germany for about 22 years. The first city where she was assigned to a Goethe Institute (German language school) was in Schwäbisch Hall, where Manfred and Waltraud lived and she was taken into their family and is counted as one of their children along with Andrea, Christiane and Martin.

Copies of the book "Worthington & Crailsheim: 75 Years of Partnership" are available for purchase at the Nobles County Historical Society in downtown Worthington .

Worthington & Crailsheim: 75 Years of Partnership
Members Only
Copies of the book "Worthington & Crailsheim: 75 Years of Partnership" are available for purchase at the Nobles County Historical Society in downtown Worthington.
75th Anniversary book, lapel pin unveiled during visit by Crailsheim band, city residents.
Members Only
Originally published July 25th, 1947, in the The Worthington Daily Globe
Members Only
Originally published April 29, 1958, in The Worthington Daily Globe
Members Only
Chad's year in Crailsheim had a family connection
Members Only
Staci remembers crossing the Berlin Wall into East Germany
Members Only
Astrid became an Opera singer after her year in Worthington
Members Only
Dieter's love of exploring wildlife only grew in Worthington
Members Only
The sousaphone Günter received from Worthington is one of the reasons he plays in the Crailsheim City Band today
Members Only
Host families:
Members Only
Janssen's year in Crailsheim changed his life
Members Only
Crailsheim gave Eva a lot - but her favorite thing is curiosity!
Members Only
Editorial originally published April 29, 1958, in The Worthington Daily Globe

Related Topics: CRAILSHEIM75
What to read next
The program will be “Exploring Norwegian and Other Scandinavian Christmas Traditions,” presented by Harvey Pedersen.
Licenses issued by the Nobles County Recorder's Office.
“We’re not here to just throw the book at them,” Landgaard emphasized. “We want to do what’s right for them… our goal is not to expel kids, it’s to educate kids.”
"As you walk through the halls of the Learning Center, you will see students collaborating with teachers and students collaborating with other students."