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Years ago a woman from Argentina wrote to me, she had found a German poem on a monument in North America -- and asked if I knew of it.

I knew the poet and the poem, and I broke it out of the German schoolbooks. The man is named Konrad Krez. And he had become again forgotten; then it was the time of confusion in the state.

But the name Konrad Krez was illuminated for me through many years of diligent book study, he leaves me not free, and because I had behind me every struggle of German land and blood, -- in summer 1936 --, there must I sit down and write, travel, compose the book of the unknown emigrant Konrad Krez, "A Strong Life".

Hopelessly little was still known about him; only always the same colorless litany on both continents. I had to search and dig, and I found his traces in the museum of his home city Landau and in Milwaukee; I researched his ancestors and relatives, which noone had yet then done. He had become forgotten. Possibly had also the the travels of the fleeing emigrant Germans intentionally become mixed up and misplaced, as if one were ashamed of them, one would not know more of them and have to expel them. So had it been in the old order. The bloodbonds had become severed.

Konrad Krez, however, had been a great German fighter and poet, the truest one in North America to his untrue fatherland. That had I realized from the first word of his song. He has long had a monument in America, in Vicksburg, -- a wounded horse and a soldier --, he has one now in Germany.


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