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New book connects Mon Valley with Germany

| Monday, April 16, 2001

Mon Valley residents can connect to an ethnic German village in Middle Slovakia through a new book which has ties to the Monongahela Valley.

'A Look Back at Munnichwies,' written by Charleroi native Thomas Kendrick, chronicles the heritage and history of the North Carpathian Germans, many of whom immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. According to Kendrick, as many as 150 of the villagers settled in the Mon Valley area, including his grandparents, Paul and Kati Turtzer.

'I've always been mystified by their way of life, their language, their accent,' said Kendrick, who now resides in Columbus, Ind. 'Through research, I gradually began acquiring knowledge about the area and its people. The book is a combination of what life was like in that little village and what happened to them in the interim, especially during World War II.'

The author estimates between 2,500 and 3,000 villagers are scattered throughout the United States.

Kendrick spent months researching the history of the area and twice visited the village he describes as 'sliver of a town along a brook.'

In his book, the author expresses the pain and suffering endured by these people during World War II and its aftermath, when they were expelled from their villages and forced to take up new homes in war-torn Germany and Austria.

'It's a very quaint, very pretty town,' said Kendrick of Munnichwies today. 'It's very rural, with geese, ducks and goats all walking along the main streets.'

The author said he received a note from a woman in Manchester, Conn., who said the book made the village come to life. 'If there is a single phrase that I'd want my book to say, that would be it,' said Kendrick.

Retired from IBM Corp., Kendrick shares his time between creating software programs and application designs for various companies and writing his self-published works.

'A Look Back at Munnichwies' is the first in a three-book series Kendrick plans to write. He is nearly finished with book two, 'History Journey through Northern Carpathia,' and is gathering information for a third book, 'Paul and Kati Turtzer in America: From Munnichwies to Charleroi.'

A copy of 'A Look Back at Munnichwies' is available at the J.K. Tener Library in Charleroi and the Monessen Library Center.

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