When georg wurstlein tells of his childhood, the picture of an ideal world emerges. Only a closer look reveals that the idyll was often tragic. The advent of national socialism cast a shadow, the war caused gaps, and medical care for people in the countryside was more than inadequate.
"We children bathed in the main, hung onto the float and swam along", tells the 85-year-old. The flobbers from the frankenwald did not like this at all and chased the high-spirited children away from the flob ends with their long poles. For the children it was a joke, just as they sometimes distracted the unterzettlitz crossing keeper at the railroad crossing in order to put pennies on the tracks in an unobserved moment. The thundering trains flattened the small munches and hurled them around, so that some of them could not be found again.
The railroad: until the 1960s, pounding steam engines were the order of the day on the tracks in the main valley. The smoking ungetume could bring the women from unterzettlitz to despair. When there were no washing machines, they washed together on washing day, just as they baked together on baking day. Between the fruit trees, not far from the railroad line, washing lines were stretched to dry the persilweiben sheets. The fresh wash could be seen for miles around, which irritated some heaters. It happened that railroad employees wanted to play a dirty trick on the washerwomen and intentionally shoveled another scoop of coal into the firebox. The consequence: a black rubbing flag ruined the washerwomen's work. "The women cried", georg wurstlein remembers.
Loss and death of siblings
Georg wurstlein's childhood and youth were not quite as idyllic as these nostalgic pictures suggest. Two of his siblings died in infancy, as had happened in many families in the past. Together with his three older sisters he grew up in unterzettlitz. "We were a good pair of siblings, he says about the togetherness of his siblings, who have since died. Until the end, they were warmly connected with each other.
On good friday, 15. April 1927, georg wurstlein was born in his parents' house in unterzettlitz. "I am one day older than the pope", he says and laughs.
From 1933 to 1942 he attended school in staffelstein. At the beginning of the war, their teacher predicted that they would be the first children to leave school in peacetime. But it came to nothing. Georg wurstlein was called up in the summer of 1944, but was exempted because he was an independent tugboat driver for raiffeisen. At that time, he drove a lanz over the country roads, a monstrosity with an engine with a glow head. Just starting the engine was an art, and if the bolide stalled on the way, it took a lot of time to get it going again.
In the fall of 1944, things got serious for georg wurstlein. He had to enter, as they said at the time, first the reichsarbeitsdienst (labor service). Until january 1945, he was deployed in the riesengebirge, when he was ordered to join the army flak.
Irony of fate: georg wurstlein became seriously ill just at that time. Articular rheumatism. He lay paralyzed in bed for eight weeks because there was no medication. This may have saved his life, but it certainly saved him from imprisonment.
After the war, things went slowly downhill everywhere in germany. Georg wurstlein remembers the 40 mark "bounty" well, there were during the truth reform in 1948. From 1949 to 1951, he attended the staffelstein agricultural school, and in february 1950, he was one of the co-founders of the "landjugendgruppe unterzettlitz". 30 young farmers had gathered for this purpose. But "young farmer" one was only as long as one was single. So georg wurstlein soon had to give up the office of chairman again, because in february 1952 he married his wife rosa.
At the beginning of the 1950s, he acquired his agricultural assistant's certificate and took over his parents' farm, a breeding operation for "yellow franconian cattle with up to 17 animals. He bought his first tractor, a fendt dieselross with twelve horsepower, he remembers well: in 1954, he bought this bulldog for 5400 marks.
Driver's license was not witchcraft
Georg wurstlein got his driver's license at the age of 16. No comparison with today: in the winter of 1942/43, things went quickly; the class 4 driver's license for tractors and motorcycles up to 250 cubic centimeters was taken by the police in staffelstein.
The applicants already knew how to drive anyway, so all they had to do was a little theory on the magnetic board. "Pushing a car" is what georg wurstlein calls this lesson, in which a policeman pushed magnetic vehicles back and forth and asked the pruflings who had the right of way here.
As a farmer, georg wurstlein didn't need a driver's license for his car at first after the war, so he didn't get one until the early 1960s, after he had become a burgermeister.
Local politics is another of georg wurstlein's fields of activity. From 1. May 1960 until the incorporation of staffelstein he was mayor of unterzettlitz and niederau. "There was no election campaign, he says looking back. Actually, he didn't even want the office (yet), because the farm and his three small children dorothea, franz and johann were task enough. His predecessor, however, wanted to see him in this position, and so he agreed, becoming mayor at the age of 33. He was relieved of the paperwork by a municipal assistant appointed by oskar schramm, then district administrator of staffelstein, to relieve the burden on the honorary mayors of the small communities.
Into the future without debts
Georg wurstlein is a little proud that he has left his community "without debt to staffelstein" to have handed over. In the past, however, the main valley did not change as quickly as it does today. In the pre- and post-war period, things were rather more informal. There was no need to shoulder large construction projects, and the fire department got by for a long time with a sprayer loaded on an iron-tired hanger. The first earthworks project he tackled as mayor, he recounts, was securing the banks of the feuerloschweiher pond. In the winter of 1960/61, the pond was dredged and the banks fortified. The new fire station was built in 1977/78, before the town was incorporated into staffelstein.
The meetings of the seven-member town council (six councilors and the mayor) did not take place in a town hall, but mostly in the house of the mayor. On the facade there was a sign "the mayor's apartment", but which georg wurstlein unfortunately lost at some point in time. "Sometimes we met in the inn thyzel", he remembers. The press was always present – both at the meetings in the mayor's living room and at the inn. The policeman karl schardt acted as reporter at the meetings – even when he himself later became a member of the town council.
During his term of office, a combined sewer was built "stucco by himself", as georg wurstlein points out "and by manual labor, so that no one had to pay connection fees". The implementation of the land consolidation, which began in 1958, also took place during his time as mayor. Without criticizing those who held office later or today, he recounts that three street lamps illuminated unterzettlitz in the 1960s: "that was enough back then."
After the reform of the municipalities, georg wurstlein was appointed mayor of the 1. May 1978 to 30. April 1996, he joined the staffelstein town council and was elected as the town's third mayor. In addition, he was a member of the staffelstein district council from may 1966 to april 1972 and of the lichtenfels district council from may 1972 to april 1996.
The fact that the federal republic of germany, the district of lichtenfels and the town of staffelstein are highly satisfied with his services is reflected in high awards: in 1985 he received the federal cross of merit on ribbon, in 1989 district administrator ludwig schaller awarded him the honorary medal of the district and in 1996 he received the honorary medal of the town of staffelstein.
To name all the honorary commitments would go beyond the scope of this portrait. Therefore only a sketch of the most important ones: georg wurstlein was on the board of the staffelstein dairy farm in main-baunach, he was a clerk at the higher regional court in bamberg, he was on the board of the agricultural employers' liability insurance association for the "self-employed without permanent staff" (with a grin, he adds: "the so-called sofa people") and today, because of his many years of commitment, he is an honorary chairman of the fire department and the horticultural association.
27 pfennig per inhabitant
It is therefore understandable that georg wurstlein reacts amusedly to the question about his hobby: "my hobby"? These were the volunteers." And a municipal election official couldn't get rich either: his monthly mayor's salary in the early 1960s was 27 pfennigs per inhabitant.
In 1987 georg wurstlein handed over his farm to his son franz. From then on, he devoted himself to genealogical research whenever he had free time. He says that his research in the archives took him as far as 1700, but he admits that there are still gaps here and there. An experience that every hobby genealogist can certainly confirm from his own experience.
A severe stroke in september 2003 took georg wurstlein's eyesight away for almost three months. It took a year to restore it to its former glory. He can see again, but his memory sometimes fails him a little, he describes this state of aging, but without complaining: "it's only when I no longer have a sense of humor that it's over."
He not only enjoys researching his ancestors, but also looking to the future. He need not fear that the branches of the family tree will wither away. Seven grandchildren aged between 19 and 32 are the future in his eyes. When he talks about his grandchildren, he does so without exaggeration, but with pride.
Burning railroad embankment
Apropos railwaymen: even if they cheekily blackened the freshly bleached wash with the coal rubbish, they were probably not bad people after all: in the time of need after the war, some threw down a few lumps of coal that were picked up by poor people.
Whether it was by chance or by design that every now and then a glowing piece of coal fell from the locomotive and set fire to the railroad embankment may be left to the reader's judgment.