Willi Graf describes his childhood
The first years of my parents’ marriage, they lived in Kuchenheim near Emskirchen, where my father was director of a dairy. I was born in this Rhineland village on January 2, 1918 and spent the first four years of my life there. I do not remember anything from that time.
In 1922, our family moved to Saarbrücken, where my father was hired as Managing Director for a wine wholesaler and banquet hall rental company (today Johannisdorf [sic] [illegible]). I spent my youth in the circle of parents and both my sisters. I knew nothing of worry or ill health, because our family enjoyed relatively good though frugal financial circumstances.
Our upbringing was in the spirit of [illegible] and respect for our parents and persons in authority over us. My father was irreproachable and honest in his business and private life and held his children to these same standards. Whenever I made a mistake, [three illegible sentences].
We children returned this love with small signs of our own love. We helped out with the housework in our home and tried to be grateful children.
Early in my life, I was familiarized with the traditions and the life of the Catholic Church. Each season of the year was filled with the spirit of religious performances. Even daily life centered around the [illegible] of the church. I spent time in church, or rather the first years of my life, in the shelter of a good and loving family.
The first four years [of my education], I attended the elementary school in Saarbrücken. There I was introduced to the beginnings of knowledge. I was able to handle the demands of school without any trouble. The whole thing seemed like a game to me. I was able to retain everything I heard and read without any effort. I had plenty of time left over for extracurricular activities. I was able to learn how to play the violin. I had plenty of time to play and took part in the pastimes of children of our acquaintance. [Illegible paragraph.]
When I was 10 years old, I was promoted to the Ludwigs Gymnasium in Saarbrücken where I completed 9 grades.