Fifty years later, Frank Correl was back in Frankfurt, at the invitation of his hometown. It was a special journey for him. He found many familiar things, many things changed, and some surprises. Even the welcome in the VIP lounge at the airport impressed him. On the way from the airport, he looked amazed at the new skyline of the city with modern skyscrapers and noticed that Frankfurt has the nickname Mainhatten with a certain pride.
The visit program took place during the 2006 World Cup. Thus the Correls experienced with astonishment the city decorated with the flags of the most diverse nations. They enjoyed the international atmosphere, especially on the banks of the Main: “If the multitude of flags were not enough, the international character of this event was readily seen in the great variety of music and food and drink being offered – regional German specialities, Italian, Brazilian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, and so on.” Again and again they were drawn to the banks of the Main. Every game night they were there and enjoyed the colorful mixture of sounds and smells. “It was a glorious, cacophonous hullabaloo and a great deal of fun!”
Frank also learned how international his birthplace is today in his conversation with young people at Ernst-Reuter-Schule 1 in the northwestern city. He found it remarkable that, in addition to his time in Frankfurt, the students were particularly interested in his experiences in Great Britain and were amazed at the extent to which London was threatened by the German Air Force. He also noticed that the young people were particularly impressed by the stories that were different from what they expected. For example, Frank told the story of a frightened teacher who snorted in an airstrike on London: “Why don’t you go back to Germany to your friend Hitler.” The students were particularly moved by a letter that Frank Correl read to them. It was a report of the NSDAP local group Dornbusch of 14 November 1938 denouncing the former business partner of his father, Karl Stier, who was accused of too close contact with Jews. Therefore, he was deemed not suitable to continue to be a reserve officer. In addition, his mail should be monitored. Frank Correl was thus able to counteract black-and-white images with his experiences.
Frank was pleased to see his maternal cousins, who came from Hildesheim to meet him. He showed them not only the sites of his childhood in Frankfurt, but also the Taunus, the Feldberg, Nieder- and Oberreifenberg and Königstein with the impressive castle ruins and Bad Homburg, popular excursion destinations from his childhood. Of course, a visit to a typical cider pub could not be missed. The sour Aeppelwoi, however, was not his favorite. “I definitely prefer the non-alcoholic version.”
The experiences that Frank and Hanne had during their 14-day visit to Frankfurt moved them a great deal. They are grateful to Frankfurt for the invitation and Regine Wolfart, who supported them before and during the visit, for all her research and the contacts she arranged.
„I am deeply grateful to the city of Frankfurt for the invitation and the meaningful experiences – mostly happy, but some decidedly somber – that the trip has given to me. It was indeed the trip of a lifetime!“