If we take a closer look at the Scharnberg family tree, we discover that some Scharnbergs and their family members, sometimes with other family names married, "conquered" the world outside their hometown of Trittau, either out of zest for action, out of thirst for adventure or out of necessity needed bread because of economic problems or poverty at birth and homeland can no longer earn. I am thinking in particular of the Scharnberg emigrants to Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and the USA, whose descendants live there in many places.

It may have been a little bit adventurous that my great-grandfather KARL Heinrich Friedrich Scharnberg, born 1851 in Trittau, "emigrated" from Trittau to Hamburg. He started as a waiter, then became an innkeeper with his own restaurant in the ABC street. This is how the # 8222 "Hamburg Scharnberg Line" was founded. Karl Heinrich Friedrich married Anna Maria Schacht. And a few years later, their five children were already playing catch in their parents' restaurant. Unfortunately, the second youngest son Franz died as a child as a result of illness, and my great-grandfather Karl Heinrich Friedrich died early at the age of 44 years. My great-grandmother later married again, the master chimney sweeper Schilling, who owned the house Böhmersweg 5 in Hamburg-Rotherbaum. She also survived her and since her marriage had remained childless, her children inherited from their first marriage the house Böhmersweg.

My grandmother Hermione Maria Margaretha Scharnberg, born 1883 in Hamburg, was probably the baby of the family, namely the only sister among older brothers. All the children went to school in Hamburg, the brothers completed commercial apprenticeships, while my grandmother was educated in the household as well as privately. She also took care of the music department, played theater and took piano lessons in the Milky Way at the Conservatory, just around the corner, so to speak.

Hamburg as a gateway to the world encouraged the brothers to leave their hometown to find happiness elsewhere. The eldest, Carl, worked many years in Spain, one of his sons, Robert, later called Roberto, emigrated to Bolivia before World War II, lived there for about 30 years, emigrated from there to Argentina with his wife and daughter, where he died in 1994. His wife and descendants still live in Buenos Aires and inland.

The two younger brothers Robert and Alfred were just around 20 years old in their vital age settled down in Paris. They dared to try to gain bread and prosperity there in the shipping insurance industry, which they probably succeeded in the first place, as my grandmother repeatedly assured me. Presumably, the contact with Hamburg was constantly maintained in business. Wilhelminian Germany took an economic upswing, shipping companies, especially Hamburg and Bremen made more emerging shipping traffic across the Atlantic to North and South America. The transport of goods increased and even the emigrant ships could not complain about lack of passengers. Of course, the ship insurance companies also benefited from that.

It was certainly not easy to settle down as a German in these times in Paris. The discrimination of the French against Germans began creeping after the lost war of 1870/71. Many naturalized Germans, even well-off ethnic German, were increasingly sidelined. It was especially hard for the countless Germans "Maid" (as they were called at that time), who were classified as particularly reliable and efficient and probably had the entire service sector of Paris "in the hand". All of them were spontaneously expelled in the summer of 1914 before World War I, so as not to be interned. Although the German craftsmen immigrated at the beginning of the 19th century, at first still had a good reputation and its work was appreciated, these craftsmen suffered from the increasing hostility to German. There were also many unskilled Germans, which can be found as Street sweeper, ragpickers or day laborers died their lives in Paris and drifted off there to the poor settlements.

That's what it took but much courage (or was it naivety and carelessness?) of Robert and Alfred to assert themselves professionally and privately in Paris. And indeed, the place of residence, the house and the dwelling and the necessary "small change" proved that they had obviously managed to assert themselves professionally and economically in Paris. Yes, the shops were obviously doing very well. As my grandmother told me, they first lived together in the Rue Marbeau 8, in the Ternes district, not far from the Avenue des Champs Elysée and the Arc de Triomphe, near Porte Maillot. It was desirable to live there and it probably cost a lot accordingly.

The Rue Marbeau is still considered the preferred residence of the wealthy Parisian Bügertum within the city center. In this street is now u. a. one of the branches of the German Embassy. Alfred and wife Rita Scharnberg moved to a very sought-after place of residence wealthy not far from the center of Paris: in the suburb of Le Vèsinet, not far from St. Germain-En-Laye.

My grandmother was often invited to Paris by her brothers, she told me. It has also happened that she took turns in Paris for a few months, if not one or two years in a row. From her stories, I do not remember exactly whether our grandmother was not there in Paris in the area of raising children, housekeeping, learning French, teaching German or otherwise, at least probably in the household of the brothers. She also had learned something French. She will also enjoy the cultural life in Paris through regular theater and concert visits, as she did when she was a young girl in Hamburg. Unfortunately, these happy times in her life were less and less, because she lost her hearing due to an illness and was already 100% deaf before the birth of my father (1914). She died in 1973 at the ripe old age of 90.

The foreshadowing of the specter of World War I also affected Paris. It must have hit everyone deeply to have to leave Paris in the summer of 1914 before the impending World War I. Arrest and internment threatened, all Germans were expropriated and expelled. So the Scharnbergs left Paris, their possessions, their fortune, leaving behind all their possessions. Robert went back to Hamburg, Alfred and Rita with the now born son Freddy emigrated to America and settled in New York.

From Alfred's many letters, my grandmother did not read much good. Alfred initially continued in insurance. However, the business suffered greatly under the American economic depression of 1929-1932, so that he suffered as well as his brother in Germany, considerable financial losses. However, Alfred sent American food packages to my grandmother and brothers after World War II, which undoubtedly underscored the concern for well-being and love for siblings.

Robert Scharnberg later founded a family in Hamburg with his wife Ottilie, Alfred Scharnberg remarried in New York after Rita's death, but he impoverished more and more. From the letters of his son Freddy we learn that his father Alfred had to live for the last 20 years of American caring. He also survived his second wife and was the victim of a traffic accident in 1954 in New York. He was overrun by a car. The death, the dissolution of the apartment and the funeral are described by his son Freddy in a very sad letter to my grandmother. The once glittering times in Paris fade, if you read of Freddy in the letter that Alfred left behind only a lot of junk 2 dollars 30 cents as an inheritance.

In January 2006, during a small trip in Paris, I visited the places of residence described above, photographed them and tried, after about 100 years, to understand how "our" Scharnbergs lived and worked here. Although their time in Paris was not very long, perhaps 10 to 15 years, it was certainly impressive for those affected to live in beautiful residential areas of Paris, with a wonderful cultural offer and very beautiful parks around their former dwellings.

The economic situation and their own abilities enabled them at that time to work out the desired quality of life abroad. Let us grant them success and happiness, even if it was not of very long duration.

Hasso Bensien, February 2006