It is with pride and pleasure that I present the continuation of the family his-story written by Willy Wenger that first appeared on March 14 under the title “the great hope: the German Reich.” Wenger was born in 1926 in Styria in the diminished independent nation of Austria, 'victim' of the Paris Peace Conference following WWI. Willy had a loving father and mother, and an older brother Leopold (named after their father) with whom he was very close. From the time Leopold Jr. first began to speak, he was called “Bibi” (a mispronounciation of Bubi by the child), a nickname that took hold with family and friends all the way through high school and beyond. However, when Leopold, Jr. went to the NSDAP Napoli school in Pomerania and entered pilot training in the Luftwaffe, he naturally did not want to be called Bibi, and he became known by the nickname 'Poldi. More will be forthcoming on that period of his life; for now I am leaving the name 'Bibi' as it appears in this written account because that is what Willy called him and still calls him today.
The Referendum of April 10th, 1938
By Willy Wenger
copyright 2013 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager
Translated by Hasso Castrup
Several months ago we had moved from the Timmerdorfer-Straße to Dreierschützenstraße No.16 where we had a larger apartment that belonged to the municipality. (Pictured below left with Willy, Gretl and their mother standing in front.) It consisted of a kitchen, a pantry, a small room – a cabinet, as we call it in Austria – with two beds, and a spacious loggia opening on a large garden in the inner part of the massive block. There was also a large living room, and the parents bedroom, as well as a hall and the toilet. Gretl slept in a small bed in the parents' bedroom, while Bibi and I shared the cabinet. Our building accommodated the municipal baths, which had bath tubs and showers which we used frequently.
Election Day was Sunday, April 10, 1938, on Vati's [Dad's] 45th birthday. Many had predicted that the referendum would be a big success for the Nazi regime, and with the end result, all doubts were gone: the people decided and the result was convincing. Never in history has there been such a clear result: In Leoben, the vote was 99.83 per cent in favor – the proof of the willingness of the Ostmark to join the German Reich.