per aspera ad astra – as colorful as a starry, that was my life
I was born on June 16, 1920 as the eldest of 4 surviving children at the time in Trechtingshausen near Bingen on the Rhine, the son of Johann Baptist Tabarelli and Elisabeth (Elli) Walldorf née Tabarelli. My younger siblings were *1923 Christine (Christa, Dina) Tabarelli, *1925 Magda Tabarelli +1932 ,*1928 Adam Tabarelli, *1938 Hans Willi Tabarelli.
My birthplace and first parental home was between 1920 and 1922 on Römerstraße, in what later became Haus Schmengler, before we moved to my grandfather Johann Walldorf’s house *1861 on Rheinstraße (now Im Winkel 4). My father was a railway worker and still cultivated vineyards on the Left (federal state Rhineland-Palatinate) and Right of the Rhine (Bodental in federal state of Hesse) in his spare time.
Years of school and apprenticeship
I attended the primary school in Trechtingshausen from 1926 onwards. Here is a photo of the male classes 1918-1922 in 1933, draped in the zeitgeist of the National Socialists‘ seizure of power with flags and likenesses of Hindenburg and Hitler.
I am standing in the top row, 9th from the left. In the 3rd row from the bottom on the far left as 1st my cousin Heinrich Tabarelli (15 years old). In the 2nd row from the bottom on the far left as 1st my cousin Friedel Tabarelli (13 years) and as 6th my later brother-in-law Hermann Metzroth (12 years). In the bottom row, 3rd from the left, my later brother-in-law Heinrich (Heini) Hanß (11 years).
After school I started an apprenticeship as an electrician at a company in Schweppenhausen. For years, I used to travel the distance from Bingerbrück by bicycle. It was a sporting challenge for which my fitness as a gymnast served me well, as at the age of 8 I had joined the local gymnastics club TuS 1921 Trechtingshausen and was a diligent gymnast and track and field athlete. I have been able to win Hindenburg awards at various gymnastics festivals.
in the shipyard
After finishing my apprenticeship, there were three good reasons to work at the Krupp Germania shipyard in Kiel. First of all, I wanted to broaden my professional experience; secondly, the shipyard attracted well-paid young people for the construction of the heavy cruiser „Prinz Eugen“; and thirdly, it was also a trace of naval adventurism and romanticism that drew me to the coast, where my cousin Josef Tabarelli was already working as a naval engineer and my cousin Heinrich Tabarelli was joining him. Since I was only 17 years old, my father had to come with me to Kiel to sign the lease on my apartment.
After work in the shipyard workshop or on the belly of the „Prinz Eugen“, the construction of the submarine was pushed particularly hard and I was assigned to install the electrical system on board the submarine. And so it happened that at the beginning of the war I was not conscripted into the troops, but was put in the status „indispensable“ because of the priority now given to building submarines.
But even far from the front lines, life was not without its dangers. One of my tasks was to be present during the tests of the submarines as an electrician on board. Several times I came under air attack and torpedo fire, because the allies did their best to sink the submarines before they could enter service. But with a lot of luck we always arrive back at the docks of the shipyard.
In the firestorm of Gomorrah
In 1943, the year of the war, I miraculously survived the rain of more than 100,000 explosive and incendiary bombs of „Operation Gomorrah“ by an Anglo-American bomber fleet during a day stay in Hamburg on 24/ July 25. Within minutes, tens of thousands of individual fires were planned and combined to form a five-hour conflagration with extreme heat of 1,000 degrees Celsius at hurricane force for 400,000 affected people in working-class neighborhoods. People burned to death in cellars and shelters. I was sitting in the bunker when my neighbor fell into my lap, killed by a bomb shrapnel. Unforgettable.
Link to NDR (northern german radio) with „firestorm destroys Hamburg“ Operation Gomorrah
study electrical engineering
After the war, I enrolled at what was then the Rheinisches Technikum Bingen, now the TH Bingen, to study electrical engineering, and today I am probably the oldest living graduate of the Dipl. Ing. (FH) programme. In order for the classes to take place, each student had to bring a briquette or some embers to heat the lecture hall in the cold post-war winter. We also help as a cleaning and debris removal brigade to make our classes possible.
During the reconstruction of the Herder Bridge in Bingen, I was assigned the task of supervising the electrical safety of the overhead lines laid in the ground and the supply of electrical power for the construction equipment.
Independence and creation of a company
After successfully finishing my studies, my real goal was to work as an electrical engineer in the industry. However, these jobs were rare at the time. Since I had been married to Christine (Christel) Metzroth since 1948 and had become the father of Alfred Adam Tabarelli on June 11, 1949, I had to support my young family. I decided to become self-employed. My beginnings in the electrical shop were modest in the converted attic of my parents‘ house on Rheinstraße (today Im Winkel 4) in Trechtingshausen. Both the family and my business grew with the birth of my second son, Lothar Heinrich Tabarelli, in 1957.
New building in Staab
Therefore, we decided to build a new building in 1960. Directly on the B9, on the northern edge of Trechtingshausen (Im Staab), we purchased a piece of land and built a residential house at what was then Koblenzer Strasse 109c with a shop and a workshop. At the time of the construction boom in Trechtingshausen, with several new developments, my electrical installation company had as many as seven employees, most of whom I also trained as apprentices and journeymen. My wife Christel ran our electrical supply store. We continued with the business until I was 70 years old.
Refoundation of TuS
After the Second World War, in March 1947, a group of 10 people was formed around Klaus Vogel and myself to refound the TuS, which was approved by the occupying power on February 7, 1948. I was elected to the position of CEO 1948-1952.
Soccer at TuS
In 1951, another sport, football, was established at TuS and required a sports field. I was co-responsible for its construction on the Rhine by planning, financing and overcoming resistance from previous tenants of the plot.
To everyone’s surprise, the young team from Trechtingshausen, led by Gerd Köhler and Hans-Gerd Reinehr, won the championship and promotion in their first year of play.
Gymnastics and sports badges
With the construction of the new gymnasium in Trechtingshausen in 1977, I gladly took on the role of gymnastics director for the senior team until I stepped down from this role in 2003 at the majestic age of 83. Until that year, I completed the annual sports badge (the 20th at the age of 80) and also acted for many years as a sports badge examiner at the TuS, which for many years was in the top group of the clubs in Rheinhessen due to the high number of successful sports badges and was honored for this.
90 years as a member of the TuS
In 1983, the TuS delighted me with honorary member status, and in 2018 I was honored for my 90 years of membership.
the cornucopia of life
Unfortunately, old age also brought me some drawbacks and blows of fate. In 1990 I lost the center of clear vision in one eye due to macular degeneration, and ten years later I also lost my second eye, severely limiting my life. While my wife Christel lived in the house with me, she replaced my eyes to the best of her ability. I retired in 1990.
Unfortunately, after a successful knee operation in Bingen, my wife passed away during the subsequent rehabilitation period in Bad Dürkheim in 2014, completely unexpectedly, unnecessarily and in medically uncomfortable circumstances.
marriage anniversaries – 25 – 50 – 60 – 65
Not only did we experience our marriage anniversaries together, Silver wedding anniversary 1973, Gold 1998, Diamond 2008. After Iron wedding anniversary 2013 we looked forward to the Jubilee of Grace in 2018, but … fate separated us 2014.
We also take extensive annual vacation trips beforehand with sons Alfred and Lothar mainly to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, later as a married couple to different places such as spa holidays or with the Trechtingshausen school cohorts of 1920 and 1928, as well as with the couples of the engineering class of 1948 in the country and abroad.
In 1983 we became grandparents and we are happy to have our granddaughter Petra Alexa Tabarelli, who also supports me today. After graduating from the Hildegardis School in Bingen, she successfully studied history at the Johannes Gutenberg University. Today she heads the municipal archive of the city of Bingen and publishes issues of the city of Bingen in digital media. Privately, he takes the time to record my orally described experiences and to conceptually advise the author on the presentation.
It was a special grace of god to reach 100. A relatively physically and mentally stimulated active lifestyle, well-adjusted medication as well as very good medical care from my GP, Dr. Wolfram Emig, as well as, in If necessary, by other specialists from the Holy Spirit Hospital in Bingen, they were the basis for gratefully contemplating the 100-year cornucopia on June 16, 2020.
We had chosen Burg Reichenstein, the main castle in Trechtingshausen, as the location for the small family celebration with neighbours, friends and dignitaries. The place where my grandfather Giacomo Tabarelli, as an immigrant from Ospedaletto valsugana, carried out the paving works in terrazzo technique for the owner Baron Nikolaus Kirsch-Puricelli during the expansion of the Reichenstein Castle into a residential castle from 1898 to 1902.
In the evening, Uwe and Sabine Hanß and their daughter gave me a spontaneous and lively instrumental concert in front of my house in the company of my very good and always helpful neighbors to round off my anniversary.
the eleventh decade
Competitive sports and being a sports official at TuS 1921 Trechtingshausen are a thing of the past for me. At 95, I was still able to walk the 2 km to my wife’s grave at the graveyard of St. Clemens Chapel Trechtingshausen or to St.Clemens Church church Trechtingshausen in the mid of the village , carefully using a cane, but in recent years my range has shrunk to my House.
My son Alfred and his family take care of me in every way in my current life beyond 100 in the house and take me to the doctor/clinic or contemplative minutes at the grave of my beloved wife. My second son, Lothar, is in regular contact with me by phone and encourages me when problems arise.
I am also grateful to my younger brother, Hans-Willi Tabarelli, who lives in Trechtingshausen and who, as an accomplished handyman, is able to help me quickly and well with small household problems.
My food comes on wheels from the local supplier. My television serves as my radio during the day, since I am intensely interested in local and international news. I listen with great interest to sports programs, especially soccer, winter sports, and track and field, and follow the game in my head. Although unfortunately my eyesight is drastically limited and I am classified as blind, I remain well informed about world events.
Memory opens the temporary window 1936
At a doctor’s visit in August 2021, we were discussing the Olympics that had just taken place in Japan when my long-term memory suddenly opened a time window. Surprisingly for my son Alfred, I recounted that in 1936 I used a free ticket on my father’s Reichsbahn to travel alone to Berlin at the age of 16, where my father had arranged for me to stay with a railway colleague who looked after me on-site for a few days. On August 3, we attended the Olympic final of the 100 meters, won by Jesse Owens in 10.3 seconds. The next day he also won gold medals in the 200m and long jump, and took 4x gold with the relay team.
what are you going?
What the future holds for the mind, soul and body is not in my hands. I am curious to see how things develop… As my father, Johann Baptist Tabarelli, said when he turned 90: „Old age must be endured like an illness“. I see it with more optimism:
Mature age is capable of all the joys of blossoming youth, and old age of all the joys of childhood.Joseph Joubert (1754 – 1824), French moralist
This vita is based on a more compact basic text by Marliese Tabarelli-Weinheimer, who wrote for the media on my centenary.
It has been enlarged by his son Alfred Tabarelli to its current state in sense of
„You shall honor your father and your mother, that you may live long in the land which the LORD your God is about to give you.“Fourth Commandment
My Profiles – password protected detailled life of Klaus Tabarelli
My Passports 1934 – 1945 – with german comments only