Tales from Hitler’s Germany part of Price of Freedom’s 9/11 Remembrance Day
Emmy Terheun was drafted into Adolf Hitler’s labor force, called the Arbeitsdienst, at 17.
Almost all young men and women from age 17 had to join for one year. Terheun eventually worked with a group that maintained a radar station and searchlights near the Saar region of Germany. She never got to see Hitler, but she was excited about the war and very patriotic.
“Hitler was good to people, especially the poor. We wanted to do our part. We never knew that the concentration camps existed,” she said.
When the war ended, Terheun was caught behind the Russian lines and eventually completed a harrowing return to post-war life in Germany. She came to the United States along with her husband and daughter in 1951 after hearing her mother say, “In America, if you work, you are better off than in Germany.”
Terheun arrived with one suitcase. “A lot of people have asked about my life, so I put it all down in a book,” she said. The fascinating book, “Emmy’s War Time Story,” is now housed at the Price of Freedom Museum on Weaver Road near China Grove.
Saturday was the Price of Freedom Museum’s annual 9/11 Remembrance Day. Bob Mault, founder of the museum, was all smiles as he said, “I can see my vision of 10 years ago coming together. This day is exactly what I had hoped for. The community spirit has to come together to make a special day. The Lord led me through so many small projects to learn how to help make this one a success.”
A “Backyard BBQ” was sponsored by the We Care Ministry of Oak Grove Baptist Church in China Grove. Stanley Rice outlined the work that the ministry does for those in need, “For 10 years, we have been able to assist those in need of help with utilities, rent, and prescriptions. It is all done by word of mouth. Low-income persons get priority, but our help is not limited to that.” Oak Grove has been a participant in the 9/11 Remembrance Day for three years. About 30 volunteers were on hand to sell barbecue and drinks throughout the day. Rice added, “We help anybody, no particular race or socio-economic group. We account for every penny of proceeds. Our clients are confidential. Basically, our assistance is between them and the Lord.”
Chase Overcash, who lives near the museum, provides the entire barbecue for the “Backyard BBQ.” He entered the first year event as a contestant hoping to produce the best tasting barbecue. There were only three entries. Overcash now works with a group of local men to cook the meat from Friday night into early Saturday morning. He said, “We are up all night using hickory coals and a pit. It makes me feel real connected to Oak Grove Baptist, the museum, and our community to do this. All the proceeds go to local charities. It takes about 480 pounds of barbecue to feed everyone today. I grew up sitting in Bob Mault’s service station drinking Cheerwine and eating crackers. Right now, I am just about ready to go home and take a nap.”
The barbecue was a big favorite throughout the day. Kristi, Michael and Cooper Miller all enjoyed a nice meal with Michael’s dad, David, before touring the grounds and museum buildings.
Kristi said, “We love to come back each year and see what is different. We run into a lot of people that we don’t usually see, and plus we get to learn more about history. I love seeing Cooper’s reaction to the tractors.”
A tractor and car show continued all day on the grounds of the museum. Chris Corriher stood proudly by his 1953 model Oliver 77, bought new by his grandfather in 1953.
Chris said, “We still use it, mostly for raking hay.” It took about four months to restore the tractor, a task that Corriher called a labor of love. His tractor was featured at Farmer’s Day in China Grove this past July and was one of many Oliver tractors purchased locally in China Grove at Dan Ritchie’s General Farm Equipment.
Leonard Deal listened to Corriher talk about his tractor, then mentioned his own special memories of his 1949 Oliver 66 tractor. Deal said, “I used to sneak out of the house at night and go ride with my dad at night on this tractor while he plowed. My dad worked two jobs, so he had to farm at night. I restored it in honor of my dad. It was called Mama’s tractor because my dad bought it for her on her birthday.”
Another highlight of the day was John Hartley’s military themed paintings. Hartley just added eight more paintings to his extensive collection at the Price of Freedom Museum. “I want people to appreciate what has happened to allow us the freedoms that we have. We must preserve what the veterans sacrificed. Otherwise, all will be forgotten.”
Remembrance of 9/11 was the theme of the day, but touring the museum reminded everyone of the veterans who sacrificed so much. Mault concluded, “It is all about the community being here to pay tribute today.”
The Price of Freedom Museum now houses more than 5,000 artifacts of all branches of military service. For more information, call 704-857-7474.