A woman with a story to tell

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Readers of the first edition of Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans learned of Peter Heimig, a German immigrant who operated the Black Forest restaurant at 6432 Gravois Avenue in the late 1930s. Suspected of pro-Nazi leanings, Heimig got disgusted and brought his family back to Germany in 1939.

We’ll read the rest of the story in the upcoming second edition. Nicholas Skaer, a great-grandson of Peter Heimig, got in touch and told me about his grandmother, Ingrid Favre, who was five when her father brought her back to German. Now eighty, she told her story over lunch Friday at Reifschneider’s Grill and Grape in Freeburg, Illinois, where she lives. In the picture, she’s holding a framed copy of the Black Forest menu.

Back in Germany, Heimig became a successful restaurant owner, but ran afowl of the Nazis when they discovered he had Jewish blood in him. He avoided a concentration camp because a friend in the SS told him to hide. After the war, Heimig lost a chance to return to America after a physical revealed he had contageous tuberculosis. Only Ingrid returned.

The story of Peter Heimig, Ingrid Savre, and the rest of her family would make a great movie. You can read it when the Second Edition of Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans comes out this summer.


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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