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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
Ernst Jakob Schmid
January 13, 1923 - August 19, 2021

Public Events and Locations

Visitation - Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 10:00 to 11:00 AM at Ann’s Choice, Warminster
Memorial Service - Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 11:00 AM at Ann’s Choice, Warminster
Graveside Service - Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 2:00 PM at Sunset Memorial Park, Feasterville


Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 501 Easton Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090 - 215-659-0911 - Map
Clergy - Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church - 14100 Worthington Road, Philadelphia, PA 19116 - 215-464-1540 - Map
Place - Ann’s Choice - 10000 Ann’s Choice Way, Warminster, PA 18974 - 215-443-3801 - Map
Cemetery - Sunset Memorial Park - 333 West County Line Road, Feasterville, PA 19053 - 215-357-8440 - Map
Donation - Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church - 14100 Worthington Road, Philadelphia, PA 19116 - 215-464-1540 - Map

Ernst Schmid of Warminster, Pennsylvania died Thursday, August 19, 2021 at his home. He was 98 years old. Ernst was born January 13, 1923 in Bergfelden, Germany, son of the late Christian Schmid and the late Marie Schmid (nee - Schlagenhauf). He is the beloved husband of the late Hedwig Schmid; father of Walter Schmid and his wife Karen; grandfather of Erik and Ryan Schmid; beloved friend of Doris Meyer; brother-in-law of Gertrud Schmid; he is also survived by his extended family in Germany.

Relatives and friends were invited to his visitation at 10:00 A.M. and Memorial Service at 11:00 A.M Religious services were conducted in the chapel of Ann’s Choice, 10000 Ann’s Choice Way, Warminster, PA 18974 on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 by The Reverend Norbert F. Hahn, Ph.D., pastor of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church. His interment followed at Sunset Memorial Park, 333 West County Line Road in Feasterville, PA at 2 P.M.

Donations may be made in his memory to Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 14100 Worthington Road, Philadelphia, PA 19116.

Ernst composed the following autobiographical account of his life:

My Life Story.

I, Ernst Jakob Schmid was born on January 13 1923 as the second son of Christian Schmid and Marie Schmid (nee - Schlagenhauf) in Bergfelden/Sulz am Neckar. Bergfelden at that time was a farming community with about 850 inhabitants located between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb. My brother Eugen was two years older and brother Walter was two years younger, and sister Maria was one year younger than me. My father was a full time farmer with approximately 25 acres of land about evenly divided between grain crops and greenland. The livestock consisted of 2 horses, 3 to 5 milk cows, cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. Besides taking care of us 4 children and the household, my mother milked the cows, fed the pigs and chickens and worked actively in the fields, especially at harvest time.

At age 6 I started school in Bergfelden, and at age 10, I transferred to the higher education school (Realschule) in Sulz. I had the choice of walking the 3.5 miles to Sulz or use my mothers bicycle. After deciding I wanted to become an engineer, I left school at age 15, and started a 3 year industrial mechanic apprenticeship in Oberndorf /N. about 8 miles from home. Before the end of my 3 year apprenticeship in March of 1941 I applied to the state engineering school in Esslingen (Stuttgart) and was accepted to study mechanical engineering and machine design. Since at that time the 2nd world war was raging in Europe, I was drafted at the end of the first semester into an anti aircraft artillery unit, part of the German Luftwaffe. After basic military and driver training I was sent to the Flak division headquarters in Hamburg, where on two occasions I missed being shipped to Rommel’s Africa Corps in North Africa.

In December 1942, after Stalingrad was encircled by the Russians, I was shipped with an ant aircraft battery and battalion staff to within approximately 120 miles of Stalingrad, now Volgograd. We unloaded the trucks and artillery equipment from the train the day after Christmas at a temperature of minus 38 degrees. I survived the brutal Russian Winter, however of the approximately 180 soldiers who were on that train, about 110 were still missing in action by 1949. I probably survived because I was assigned to the battalion commander as messenger with a French motorcycle with side car. After less than 10 days my motor cycle broke down, and I was reassigned to the truck repair crew, where I stayed for the next 18 months. During that time the German armies retreated gradually and my unit crisscrossed the Ukraine providing anti aircraft protection at different air fields from Kharkov to Donetsk to Dnipropetrovsk and Kiev.

On July 31, 1944 near Mielec, Poland, 11 days after a failed attempt to kill Hitler, I and two other soldiers, while unarmed, where surprised by a Russian armored vehicle patrol and were taken prisoners. After being moved through several prison camps in Eastern Poland, I was shipped with a whole train load of P. O. W.s by cattle cars to the region between the Volga river and the Ural Mountains, about 100 miles east of Samara. I spent several years in a camp in Buguruslan, where our labor supported an oil field industry by digging trenches, building houses and shoveling snow on the Trans-Siberian railroad. Toward the end of 1948 our camp was dissolved, and we were shipped to Orsk, an industrial city just south of the Ural Mountains. It was a harsh cold winter in Orsk with 5 to 6 feet of snow and temperatures to minus 40 degrees F.

Finally, in March 1949 our P. O. W. camp in Orsk was closed, and we were shipped back to Germany by cattle cars, first to the Russian zone in Frankfurt/Oder, then to the American zone in Ulm/ Danube, and finally to the French zone in Tuttlingen, where I was released. I arrived home in Bergfelden the week before Easter 1949. It was very hard for me to adjust to civilian and family life. I was very weak, weighing about 115 pounds, and despite good and enough food on the farm, I felt constantly hungry for months. As a P. O. W. in Russia I was constantly hungry for almost 5 years.
After several months of convalescence, I tried to find a job, but after a lost war and much destruction, there were no jobs in my home area or anywhere else. Eventually I decided to go back to engineering school, hoping there would be employment opportunities after graduation. I reapplied, was accepted and attended engineering school in Esslingen (Stuttgart) from 1950 to 1952. I graduated as a mechanical engineer, majoring in machine design. In Sept. 1952, I started working for an automatic screw machine company in Stuttgart- Feuerbach. In 1953 I met Hedy Flinspach, who was visiting her aunt and uncle in Stuttgartt-Vaihingen. After several dates, Hedy had to return to the United States, however we agreed to write to each other. When Hedy and her parents returned to Germany in 1955, we agreed to get married, and I applied for a U. S. immigration visa. After we got married on October 22, 1955, we booked a one way fare on the S. S. Independence from Genoa, Italy to New York for March 1956. After a stormy Atlantic crossing we arrived in New York harbor on March 22, 1956.

For almost two years we lived with her parents in Aldan, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Hedy and I started working in center city Philadelphia. At first, I did not earn much money, as I struggled with the English language and the arcane British-American technical system, but I was grateful to be given the opportunity to learn on the job. During 1957-58 I worked for several engineering and manufacturing companies, including General Electric Switchgear Division in Philadelphia
Hedy and I moved into our small new 3-bedroom split level house in Broomall, Pa. in 1958. Our son Walter was born in 1960, while I was in the process of changing jobs to American Viscose , where I worked as a mechanical designer, I landed a job as a design engineer with Campbell Soup Container Division in Moorestown, New Jersey, which required our relocation in 1969 to Cinnaminson, N.J. I retired from Campbell Soup Company in June of 1988. We moved to Ann’s Choice Retirement Community in Warminster, Pa. in 2007.

I have been a long time member of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Somerton section of Philadelphia, the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein and the Hermann - Humboldt Lodge No. 125 F. & A.M.

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