Hans E. Vergin
July 2, 1929 – December 30, 2018
Preceded in death by parents, Walter and Erna; brother, Horst; sister, Gertrude. Survived by wife, Hildegarde; daughters, Johanna Walker (Scott), Jocelyn Kelly; sons, John (Heather), Joseph; 7 grandchildren; 1 great grandchild.
Hans was born in a small farm community just south of Berlin, Germany on July 2nd, 1929. He was the youngest of 3 children born to Walter & Erna Vergin. Hans, his parents and brother survived the great depression and the unexpected death of his sister when he was very young.
Shortly afterwards, World War II started, and his father was recruited by the German army as a motorcycle messenger. As the war continued, the German army took Hans at age 15 and his brother Horst at age 17 forcing them into Hitler Youth. They also killed and ate all the rabbits that Hans and his brother raised as pets. Hans and Horst’s commanding officer, who was very young himself, devised a plot to help all the boys in their unit to desert the army.
One night they were awakened from their barracks and told to remove their uniforms and dress in their street clothes. They snuck out of the barracks around midnight and walked across the German countryside for days trying to escape, resting wherever they could hide. As they walked, they would sometimes hear the hum of bombers heading toward them and they would hide in ditches and sometimes bunkers trying to avoid the bombs dropping. Some of the members of their unit did not make it. But Hans, Horst and the rest of their unit kept moving. One night they found shelter in a barn loft sleeping under hay. They were awakened by American guns in their faces and lead to an American POW camp where they worked for the US military preparing meals. Hans met an American soldier named Willard Mumm, who spoke German and befriended him.
Willard’s father ran a farm in Red Oak, Iowa. After what the German army did to Hans’ family, he wanted to come to the United States. Mr. Mumm sponsored Hans, and after 9 years of paperwork and waiting, he arrived at Ellis Island in 1955. When the Mumm farm in Red Oak was sold 2 years later, Hans moved to Omaha and met the love of his life, Hildegarde Czapiewski at a dance hall called the Music Verine. They had four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Hans realized his dream of being a proud American. He worked for almost 40 years for Fruehauf LB&T and loved many of the fireworks displays around his birthday every year.
Visitation, Thur, January 3, 2019, 5-7pm with 7pm Vigil at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 2708 South 24th St, Omaha.
Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, January 4, 2019, 10am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
Interment, Hillcrest. For memorials, the family prefers Masses.