The Young Glider Pilot
(Wolfgang Pomnitz, 1904 - 1928)
|At last there are still notes about the last of the Cölledaer Pomnitz, a young glider
pilot, a talented cellist and student at the Technical College in Dresden: Wolfgang
Pomnitz (1904 - 1928). In the obituary notice of the College newspaper (IVth year
from Jan. 1929, page 91) and in a report of the "Ebersbacher Paper" (from
26.IX.1928) it says:
"Born 1904, the only son of his parents, he grew up with 3 sisters. He must
have received a lot of loving care in his father's house, otherwise we would not have
known him as the one who showed himself to everyone in his open way, as a person full of
son in his heart and sun in his features, against whom nobody could have held any grudge.
Light-hearted enough, yet strong enough to serve a task with all his will and able
to carry full responsibility for it! In August he represented the people of Dresden
in the river Rhön glider competition. Here is the following report:"
"When we had received the enrollment forms for the competition of the Rhön glider
flight, we decided to take part in it. Our old machines which we had built in 1924
and 1925 lay half-repaired in our workshops. Another investigation of the whole
aircraft confirmed that despite its age it would represent a worthy competitor even for
modern gliders. When the competition started, the aircraft was also ready. We
hung the transporter onto an old 10/20 Benz of which evil soul claimed that old Benz had
built it himself. Pomnitz should fly. For twenty hours the old Benz was racing
through Germany, at first slowly, then gradually faster and faster. On the 3rd day
of the competition at 7 o'clock in the evening we arrived at the water dome.
Finally the mist faded and a stiff north-westerly wind was blowing over the dome. The
machine was dragged out of the tent and Pomnitz made a trial jump on the flat slope.
Everything went well. The start was made at 2 o'clock - without watch,
without leather jacket, without a bite to eat. About this flight Pomnitz
"The start was perfect, thanks to the encouraging shouts of my buddies I flew over
the memorial towards the west slope gradation where I expected strong up-winds. I
was not mistaken, and soon felt how the machine rose. At first I still flew very
carefully but soon I knew about my "box" and because I could hold her very well,
I decided not to land too soon in order to finally prove that our machine not only flies
but can fly very well. Gradually I gained more and more height, and down below me I
saw the air base with machines and people, and behind it the stretched out deposit town.
Other airoplanes [airplanes] started and we greeted each other in mid-air. At
one time five machines were in the air. However, I saw all of them land again after
some time. It was a little rough and cool - and you get stiff in the narrow body but
I did not mind too much. I flew out across the valley - over to the northern slope
gradation and soon knew the area very well. "Time passed like a flight [German
proverb] until I noticed that something had loosened at the lateral steering so that I
decided to land. I landed smoothly in front of the gradation and was cheered with a
"Hurrah Pomnitz". With four hours and seven minutes I had achieved the new
'Rhön Flight Duration Record'."
"However, as much as his endeavors pleased him, he still wanted to prove that
there were areas for gliders in the Dresden environment. The weather conditions were
right for a duration flight. Soon after the start the machine gains a height of a
hundred meters, partly lifted up through the wind. Those who see the flight, follow
it enthusiastically, he waves at them. A damage shows itself at the steering.
Down below they fear for their pilot. However, he soon notices it. Calm,
fully aware, he begins to land. Yet as the wind had uplifted him before, it now
pushes him down. The chosen landing ground cannot be reached anymore. At the
border of the forest the machine gets stuck in an oak tree. The impact takes away
the pilot's consciousness. In difficult hours his young life opposes its end.
Alas, before dawn he dies. On his 24th birthday we were mourning at his deathbed.
We often talk about our mechanized empty existence, about our intellectualism and greed
for money. Such youth, between music and gliding, between books and skiing, near
nature and challenge; that does not clash with the style of its generation but shows
another side of today's alternatives. Life and death of this young German remind us
more of the heroic times old songs told us about."
|Thus fate wanted it that with the death of the parents in 1945 and 1949, who had lost
all their belongings after the night of the bombs in Dessau in March 1945, and who had
found refuge in the old home of Cölleda, not only the Senf branch of the family in Jena,
but also the Cölledaer branch died out, at least with regards to the male side of the
family but continued their existence in the succession of the daughters.
This has been
written for their remembrance and the long reign of ancestors who lived their strenuous
and honest lives, working in their homes in the land of Thuringia as unknown farmers,
craftsmen and merchants.
This house is mine and yet not mine.
The one before me also thought 't was his.
He moved out and I moved in.
After my death it will be the same.
Also see http://acro.harvard.edu/SSA/AS/STOZ.HTM
- or -
mirror site http://www.netcentral.co.uk/~agself/STOZ.HTM.
Translation from the Pomnitz and Senf Family
Tree (Page: 102 - 103) Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter