Irmi's uncle
Forsthausen, Germany  (1939)
Hans Ulrich Scharna  (1922-1951)
During World War II, Hans served on the Russian front, arriving in 1941 as a nineteen-year-old infantryman.  Within months,
he was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class, for bravery.  In 1942, during heavy fighting in the city of Orel, Russia, Hans
was severely wounded in the upper thigh and knee.  After months spent recuperating in a hospital, he was reassigned to a
rear-echelon desk job in Vienna, Austria, where he remained until the war ended.  When American troops entered the area
and established an occupation sector, Hans was initially interred as a prisoner of war; however, after a brief number of days,
he was released and allowed to go home.  But where was home?  While Hans had been away, his native Forsthausen and
the whole of East Prussia had been transferred to Polish control; and his parents had fled to Gera, in the German state of
Thüringen.  It took nearly a month of travel, but Hans walked the entire distance to Gera, ignoring the pain in his leg, and
rejoined his family.  In Gera, he began employment as Chief Inspector in the local county Department of Justice.  Several
years passed in unremarkable routine.  Then, in 1949, Hans worked closely with a judge who had unknowingly contracted
tuberculosis, and he became infected, as well.  In the early years of the East German regime, treatment for tuberculosis
was simply not possible, as the required medicines were unavailable.  The family urged Hans to flee to West Germany,
where he might receive a cure, but he had already grown too weak for the journey.  He died in 1951, at age twenty-nine.

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