Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 05/05/11
UK1999 #40 Dr. Wasgatt's WWII Trip
We left and headed south to the first reachable town on Dr. Wasgatt’s trek
during WWII, Meiningen. Interesting little hamlet that we photographed and then
went further south to Rottenbach. It was getting late so we headed for Bamberg
and stayed in the Ibis Hotel there. We reached our niece, Mary Wasgatt, and took
her to dinner a very cute restaurant in the heart of town. Marcia had seen the
town in June when she came up here to visit Mary, but this was my first. City
Hall sits on a bridge spanning the river, quite a sight. Next morning, got up
and ran up the hill to the Dom which, a nun I asked, told me was still Catholic
(forgot I wasn’t in UK any more). Found a very nice gift for my godchild,
Anastasia. Had one of the best caps I’ve had on the trip. So good I had two.
We left Bamberg and headed to Regensburg, another town he had been to and then to Rotthalmunster, yet another one on the trek. We then crossed the River Inn (remember from Innsbruck?) and drove east to Linz at stayed at the Ibis Hotel there. Most aggravating trying to do email. Hotel mgr says to try at the Post Office, which is open 24 hrs. Insolent man refused to even try to converse with me, so I left. We drove into the downtown to eat but after we parked, A guy looked like he was casing out the car so we moved it and drove to another place. Linz is a very dead and dreary place in our opinion – no reason to ever come back. We had dinner at a place that has regular meetings of a hunting club. When one of the members die, they make a painted bullseye board and they all shoot at it, recording with pegs where he mans shot landed. Each peg is numbered and an index painted on the board. Very fascinating. Many of them were doctors and judges.
We got out there early in the morning and headed west to get to the city of Wels (“Velz”) where Dr. Wasgatt treated camp survivors at a hospital there. Luckily there is only one hospital in the town and it was the one he had been at (much modernized though in 55 years). The people there were friendly and they are going to ask if any of the older nuns there remember him at all. I did my run in the downtown there and it was very nice. Found a leathergoods store named Koffer-Krause.
From here we drove to the most emotional part of the trip, Gunskirken, the little town where the Nazi camp for Hungarian and Polish Jews was liberated by the 7th Army Division in the summer of 1945. We had no idea where it was, but Marcia got the idea to ask the local Gerndarmes. They were so nice they got in their car and escorted us to the spot where the memorial stone was and then directed us into the woods where the camp had been. As I walked down this old unused dirt road, I could almost hear the Nazi soldiers yelling. It was very eerie. After a while I came across an area that was not covered with old trees and new this was the spot. There was absolutely no evidence that anything had been there or anything had happened there. Later we learned 15,000 prisoners had been held in this camp. When the Army freed them, Marcia’s dad treated them at the hospital in Wels. It was an unusual experience.
We left there and drove straight to Vienna (Wien) for the Ibis Hotel. We met up with Dimitrii later and we had a good time getting back together. Now I have to be “Dr. Hoffer” again and get my slides together for talks on Tuesday.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #41
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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