Obersgegen is a very small village in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It is a few kilometers east of the Our River which forms the Luxembourg/German border in this region. The Our is a tributary of the Mosel which lies about 25 miles to the southeast of Obersgegen. The village is located in a region called the Eifel which is a rolling upland extending from the Our River to the Rhine below Cologne. The Eifel appears to be a northeastern extention of the Ardennes into Germany. The area is now part of an international park on the German/Luxembourg and German/Belgian border. About the only thing I have been able to find that is located in modern Obersgegen is a "nationally known" tourist attraction named Gaytal Park.
So far, I have been able to find only a single historical reference to Obersgegen, and that was long after the Hansens emigrated. However, it is possible to put together a history of the area in which it is located.
The region around Obersgegen entered historical accounts when it was conquered by Julius Caesar. Because it lies west of the Rhine, it remained in Roman hands even after they were defeated in the Teutoberg Forest. Roman occupation of the area continued for about 400 years. Toward the end of Roman occupation, German settlers entered the area. This is why the languages spoken in the region are Germanic and not Romance. Some of our distant ancestors may have come to the region at this time and were probably Franks. During the period of the Germanic invasions that destroyed the Roman Empire, both Vandals and Huns passed through the area.
The region around Obersgegen became part of the Frankish heartland and formed part of the Kindom of Clovis I (466-511). The Franks expanded to the south and west into France over the following centuries. When Charlemagne (742-814) turned the Frankish Kingdom into the Holy Roman Empire, Obersgegen was near it's political center. Charlemagne's capital, Aachen, is less than 100 miles north of Obersgegen. Following Charlemagne's death, when his kindom was divided among his sons, Obersgegen was part of Lothair's portion which, after his death, became the eternal borderland under dispute between France and Germany.
Obersgegen has been part of the Dutchies of Luxembourg and Hainaut. Philip the Bold of Burgundy ruled it. It was part of Napoleon's French Empire and the Rheinland of Prussia. Following World War I, it was part of the Rhineland occupied by the Allies. One of Hitler's earliest aggressive acts was it's reincorporation into Germany.
During World War II, the Siegfried Line, the German equivalent of the Maginot Line and, in the end, about as effective, was constructed through Obersgegen. By December 15, 1944, American troops were on the far side of the Our River, in Luxembourg, only a few miles from Obersgegen. The morning of December 16 saw the launching of the German offensive know as the Battle of the Bulge. Although Obersgegen was still in German hands prior to the Battle of the Bulge and was not involved in the fighting, some of the German troops that participated in the offensive were staged in the area. Diekirch, Luxembourg, the original home of Michael Hansen, Sr., was overrun in the initial offensive.
Following the defeat of the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge, American troops passed through Obersgegen in February, 1945, on their race to the Rhine, an attempt to sieze an intact bridge. This attempt succeeded at Remagen. The only historical mention of Obersgegen I have found is an account by an American participant in that drive. He mentions passing through Obersgegen and didn't much like the place: too many hills with too many German pillboxes.
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This site created by Harry E. Connors III
Music is Auf! richtet Augen, Herz und Sim
This page last modified on Saturday, November 17, 2007