Biography of Wolfgang Pomnitz, 1904 - 1928... The Young Glider Pilot...

The Young Glider Pilot
(Wolfgang Pomnitz, 1904 - 1928)
The Pomnitz Family Name

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 reported:"

"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.
[Thür. 1724]

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Translation from the Pomnitz and Senf Family Tree (Page:  102 - 103) Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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Last Update:  Monday, January 21, 2013