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   An English-language novel with geographical and historical significance to the Harz, particularly to the South Harz, appeared in the USA - it is a rare literary phenomenon, that it should appear on the market. Bells of May is the title of the first work of the American authoress Jane Wagoner, whose ancestors stem from Wieda and Zorge. The novel takes place mostly in Wieda and Zorge, but also in Braunlage and BraunschweigIt is the history of one American family, which has its roots in the mystical Harz Mountains of Germany. Novel heroine Katherine Allewelt must get over her unlucky liaison with a poor, young miner from Zorge.

   The novel follows thetracks of Katherine and her descendants, beginning in the 18th century in the Harz and ending in the 19th century in America. The authoress presents the geographical and historical background of the Harz and brings in her family history, predominantly fictitiously. Jane Wagoner found basic historical background about the Harz on the Internet. But she also visited Germany and the Harz Mountains in 2004. On the internet she made contact with Olaf Strecker, who is from Wieda. He supplied her with basic information and then referred her to his former teacher, Klaus Pfeiffer, who, with the cooperaton of Ortschronisten Willi Kamphenkel, provided information about the history of her family and the village Wieda. From Wieda Jane Wagoner visited, among other places, the local history museums in Zorge and Braunlage. Research in the church register of Wieda showed her that her first Ancestor in Wieda was Ludwig Eimbeck, mentioned in 1647 as master blacksmith(?) in the Lower Forge (today Sachsa Packing). Later the family became charcoal makers. Jane Wagoner’s great-grandfather emigrated to America in 1887.

   Again and again some Americans, whose ancestors are from Germany, visit the southern part of the Harz-Mountains and try to follow their family histories. From the middle of the 19th century on many Germans emigrated to the “New World” because the region’s mining and metallurgy went downhill from there. The habitants of the South Harz are very amazed and happy that one of these exciting family stories has been published in a novel.

Translation courtesy of Gabi Zimmerman of Wieda and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Marie Shank of Independence, Missouri.
A novel which takes place in Wieda and Zorge appears in the USA
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