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On April 27, 1828, a son was born to the rent collector and lottery numbers runner John Krez of Landau in the Pfalz, who he named Konrad; the house where he was born remains today beside the German Gate, its window opening on the walls of rigidly correct Landau. The young mother, Katharine Luise Henrietta Naas, stemmed from the gristmills of Landau. Her ancestors had been Pfalzers mixed with the Italian blood of Cetti and Brentano. His father's parents were French; the grandfather, John Krez from Brebersdorf of Schweinfurt, became a teacher at Wolfsmuenster, and as a teacher's son Konrad's father was born at Wolfsmuenster in France. So French and Pfalzisch blood from handwork and chalkdust were in the youth's constitution and it was driven by the hot heartbeat of a time of unrest.

Already in his father it was planted and stormed. In 1832 the lottery runner John Krez volunteered in the service of the Bavarian prince, Otto von Wittelsbach, as a lieutenant and traveled with him to Greece to help him overthrow the Greek monarch. But after only two years he fell sick and was sent to Athens; he lies buried there and should be listed on a tombstone.

Two sons he left his widow in Landau to look after, Konrad and Paul; two daughters died young.

The youthful Konrad came to the gymnasium at Speyer, and should have become Catholic; he earned his school fees as a house student, through tutoring in the house of a high official, whose son he gave free lessons. This youth eventually became a famous German poet under the pen name Martin Greif, -- his early teacher Konrad Krez, perhaps the greater poet, became forgotten.

In Speyer Gymnasium Konrad acheived respectable reports; but because of his superiors' unreasonable demands, he rebelled. For punishment during his religion class he had to serve meals to them and place napkins around their necks while kneeling and ask them how it tasted; without doubt would his unbending will be broken. Konrad tore the napkin in pieces and threw it to them at their feet.

He had to face the consequences. He was expelled.

Here appears that monstrous inheritance from his father, that he carried thankfully in heart. He must have traveled as a boy to Wasgau and the home county; he loved the mountain and the forest, the river and the stream, the Queich and the Rhine. He longed for the large open space of the countryside, for cabins and such, and he became a subversive mind, a revolutionary, who took action against all obstacles; he felt himself an heir to the knights from the Pfalzisch castles.

From the technical high school in Munich he found like-minded friends, and he published at age 18 a small chapbook of poems, 'Thorns and Roses from the Vogesen' (Landau 1846); the volume is long out of print and has become today a valuable collector's item. It contains fiery verse about first love, its mood swings, friendship and homesickness. The fatherless, youthful romantic of blood ancestry got his strength from the clouds and from nature.

He entered the University of Heidelberg to study jurisprudence and joined a student association. What this meant at that time is well-known. The year was nearly 1848. One can imagine what Konrad Krez underwent. A second chapbook followed, 'Gesangbuch (Prayerbook)', which wisely was printed in Strassburg, 1848, because it was his pious church songs, but instead of sorrows of love it told of hate against princes and priests, bloodthirsty lines full of overpowering pathos.


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