The Gerda Nischan Papers contains letters (1930, 1946-1947), handwritten in German between Otto Baumann and his wife, Barbara Hock, all but one written during the time Baumann was a German soldier in a French prisoner of war camp, 1946-1947, and typescripts in English by Baumann's daughter, Gerda Nischa, including an explanation of the letters, and 7 poems inspired by the letters. In 2010 Gerda Nischan wrote a book based on the letters titled Briefe an einen Kriegsgefangenen, an English translation written in 2014 (Letters to a Prisoner of War), and a novel in German (2013) called Dieses neue Leben which are included in these papers.
Gerda Nischan of Frankenthal, Germany was born on March 24th, 1940. Her father was a German soldier in a French POW camp from 1946-1947. She attended local schools until she left for Switzerland in 1958. Later she moved to England to attend an International Language School to further her education. In 1967 she left for the United States to work at the German Consulate in Philadelphia, and she met her future husband in 1967 while working there. The Nischans moved to Greenville, NC, in 1969, when Bodo accepted a position on the East Carolina University History Department faculty. After her move to North Carolina she started writing seriously and joined the East Carolina University Poetry Forum. She published many of her poems in Poetry Journals and started giving readings of her work in the U.S. as well as in Germany. In recent years she has published several books both fiction and non-fiction.
Most notably the papers contain hand written letters between Nischan's parents Otto Baumann and Barbara Hock. All but one were written during the time Baumann was a German soldier in a French POW camp, (1946-1947). There are typescripts in English by Nischan, including an explanation of the letters (2004), a translation of the first letter and 7 poems inspired by the letters.
Also included is correspondence with Ralph Hardee Rives, a retired East Carolina University English professor, spanning the years 2002 to 2009 in which Rives discusses his political beliefs, former colleagues, contemporary political figures such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, and John Kerry and Teresa Heinz, and international political affairs such as terrorism, the Venezuelan government and Fidel Castro. Much of the correspondence is light and conversational and many are Christmas cards or "notes".
Also included in the papers are Nischan's curriculum vitae, donor requests from ECU, certificates recognizing her donations to various organizations, a publishing agreement (1976), information on book signing events, a Neue Literatur! article featuring Gerda, correspondence in German, a contract for a book signing event, assorted newspaper articles, a photograph of Gerda at Book Fair in Leipzeig and a signed copies of Nischan's books Briefe an einen Kriegsgefangenen, Letters to a Prisoner of War, and Dieses Neu Leben.
Gift of Ms. Gerda Nischan
Encoded by Lindsay Flood, April 3, 2008
Processing completed January 20, 2017, by Megan Turner.
Copyright and literary property rights are retained by the donor for publications she wrote. Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
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