Hanau my home away from home for 18 months

by David Arsenault
(Dracut,MA USA)

Market Square

Market Square

Market Square Freiheitsplatz in the old days

I was stationed in Hanau with the US Army at the Pioneer Kassern from July 1966 to Jan 1968.
I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed my stay there. The wonderful times I had in the city during my off duty hours. Partying and drinking some fine German beer at places like the Eden Bar on Lamboy Strasse or the Jolly Bar. Also the fine German food I ate at the many restaurants through out the city. Oh those Bratwurst and Wiener Snitzels.

But the best part is the really good German friend I met while I was there. His name was Bernhart Koenig (Bernie) and he worked on the base with me in one of the mess halls. We bonded a good friendship and enjoyed going out together partying at the local bars doing some sight seeing and of course admiring the pretty young fraulines in the area. At 19 y/o and the first time away from home, I became very homesick and lonely but that all changed when I met Bernie and considered myself very lucky to have met and became friends with such a nice friendly German guy, who also spoke English very well.

Unfortunately due to some circumstances beyond his control he stopped working there on the base and I didn't hear from him or see him during the last 6 months or so of my stay there. As I went back to the states and got discharged I continued on with my life but always thought of him and wondered how he was doing. For some reason through the years I always had the premination that I would hear from him and see him again.

Then one day nearly 40 years after I left Hanau I came home and had a voice message on my phone from someone in a nearby town of Westford Ma. I came from a city near there called Lowell Ma. The message asked me if I had ever been stationed in Hanau Germany and that someone he was chatting with on line was looking to get in touch with me.

I had thought maybe it was and old army buddy from my company in Pioneer Kassern. So I called the number he left me and the guy gave me the email address of this person. I wrote him an email and he wrote back to me. I was shocked to learn it was Bernie. This was incredible, I couldn't believe it was him after all these years.

We immediately rekindled our friendship and the following Sept I went back to Germany to visit him and his wife of 35 years. It was such a wonderful time visiting him and Hanau again.
He and his family, a son and daughter and 3 grandchildren, were so friendly and hospitable to me.

I have since been back there twice and the last time with my daughter and grandson also.
I am returning to visit him again this Sept and this time he and his wife are taking me on a week long trip through Bavaria and the beautiful Bavarian Alps. It is a trip I'm looking forward to very much and of course a chance to do some sightseeing around Hanau again and a trip to my old base which was closed and all deserted last time I was there 2 years ago.

So that's my story about Hanau and can't wait to go there again this Sept.


Comments for Hanau my home away from home for 18 months

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Jun 23, 2016
by: joe

I was stationed at the Pioneer Kasern, Feb. 1955. I remember most my visits to the Jolly Bar. Sorry to see the Pioneer Kasern in its present condition.. Many GI's called it home. I was part of the 507th Ordinance and left Germany in the Spring of 57. Joe

Feb 23, 2016
574th PSC
by: Anonymous

I was stationed at the 574th PSC from April 1972 - March 1975 and loved every minute of it. When my wife arrived we had an apartment on Burgalee before we were assigned quarters I Fliegerhorst. We went on as many Volksmarches as possible - usually within two hours of Hanau.

My wife and I returned to Hanau in 2014. Through a series of exchanges with the townspeople, we were able to gain access to Pioneer and tour the old sod. We even got to go into the 574th building. It was one of the last to close down before the kaserne was turned over to the German government. The walls and rooms had many memories of the good time and interesting people that I met and worked with. On the basement floor, next to the gun room, was a tailor shop where we could get our uniforms put together with the proper insignia and also buy a tailor-made suit at a very reasonable price. It was the people that made the place special - plus I was in my early twenties back then.

They unlocked the old dining hall building and we were able to walk through it. The building was so strongly made that it would only take a couple of week of cleanup and installation of cooking equipment and you would have a first rate dining facility one again. I would go there for breakfast some mornings because the head chef made some superb SOS.

I also remember going into town every Saturday for the farmer's market (that also operated on Wednesdays) During our recent trip, my wife and I went down there and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Although I no longer drink beer, I did have a "curry-wurst mit senf und pommes-frites

Great memories - keep them coming

Oct 23, 2015
lou fabbiano
by: David Arsenault

I read your post and have to say I was in Germany from 1966 to 1968 and stationed at Pioneer Kasern. If you went to the Jolly Bar then Im sure we must have bumped into each other because I pratically lived there especially on the weekends. Went there all the time with my German friennd Bernie who worked on the base with me. I have so many fond memories pf the jolly Bar and of Hanau also.

Oct 23, 2015
by: Bill Messacar

I was with the 574TH from July '70 to Feb '71 - a short hitch over there. Was unit CBR NCO.

Oct 23, 2015
Looking for Fellow Soldiers
by: Lawrence Moody

Hello, I was stationed in Hanau from September 1982 until July 1984, on Pioneer Kasern, with the 574th PSC, I would like to hear from some of my fellow soldiers, I have a lot of fond memories of being there, and the people I've met will forever be in my heart!

Sep 19, 2015
Mess Hall On Pionier kaserne
by: Bill M

Does anyone remember the German Army artwork on the ceiling of the mess hall on Pionier (H shaped building) located at the Western side of the kaserne ?

Jun 16, 2015
Lamboy Kaserne
by: lou fabbiano

I was stationed at Lamboy Kaserne 1966-1968
Visited the Jolly Bar on a regular basis.
Loved the food. beer and people overall.
I visited Frankfurt and Heidelberg, Paris,
Rome, Athens and Holland.
Great experiences with my side kicks Larry
Schlenger, Pat Murphy, Joe DePasquale, Albert
Snachez, Rich Lytle and many more.
Never a dull moment. Summers in Germany were
in particular, beautiful.
Take me back anytime.

Mar 01, 2015
Lamboy Strause
by: Wendy

I was there in 1973... I lived on the 6th floor above the
Roxy Bar and paid 350 DM a month for
rent... Beautiful City ... I will never forget the weddings in the park... The food.... The people and Pipneer Kaserne
weekends at Kimg Ludwigs Castles... The Markets

Aug 01, 2014
HI Anita
by: Anonymous

Thank you for that nice reply. So you live in Douglas. Im up outside the Lowell area in Dracut.

That was an old posting and I already went to Bavaria in 2012 and it was a beatifull trip and such pretty country. It reminded me of Vermont alot. Also visited 3 different castles while there. Bad part was I had a miserable cold all the time I was there. Must have caught it on the plane.
I haven't been back to see Bernie since but im sure I will eventually go back again.

I just recently made another interesting trip this past April to the country of Cambodia with my Cambodian American friend who was born there. Was a fantastic trip and certainly very much different then Germany. Only thing there was I don't care for the Cambodian food but boy do I love German food. Give me a bratwurst or wiener snitzel with pomme fritz or german potato salad and my taste buds are in heaven.

Aug 01, 2014
long lasting friendships
by: Anita

Hi David, My name is Anita and I live in Douglas, MA. I learned about you through facebook from Bernhard König. As a matter of fact he sent me your youtube site just today. I am one of those souvenirs my husband brought back with him from Germany. He came from Cambridge. Just wanted to say that I love your story and that you were able to get back in touch with Bernie and all your memories of Germany. I lived in Offenbach and Frankfurt for a few years. So I know the neighborhood. Unfortunately I never made it to Hanau.
My home town is Augsburg. I don't know when you wrote about your plans to visit Bavaria, but I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time (or HAD a wonderful time)
Good luck and God bless

Aug 05, 2012
Visiting Hanau
by: David Arsenault


I am glad you like my story about Hanau. I forgot to metion though he actually now lives and another town very near Hanau called Langenselbold and that's where Ill be staying with him when I'm there but I'm sure we will be visiting Hanau too and my old base Pioneer Kassern even though it is deserted now and kinda makes me a little depressed to see i that way.

Aug 05, 2012
Hanau revisited!!!
by: Anonymous

Dear David
Loved your Hanau story.I was born in Hanau and lived in a small town nearby. I met a handsome young GI in Hanau and we have been happily married for over 33 years. It is nice to see that others remember Hanau and Germany as a nice place. I am thrilled that you found your friend Bernie and are in contact with him. I myself am always looking to find friends from "way back then" Good luck on your next trip, and enjoy.

Aug 05, 2012
What a coincidence!
by: Rita

Hello David,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your story. It always makes me happy that so many people have good memories of my home town.

Wow, that is really wonderful that you met your old friend again, after nearly 40 years. The internet is not a bad thing :).

Many of the former US barracks have changed into new housing areas, however, the Pioneer Kaserne is still empty, a sad sight.

There are big changes happening in Hanau right now. I've put on a photo album on my Facebook page called Hanau baut um. Freiheitsplatz is going to be totally rebuilt with a huge cultural and shopping center, but this will take a few years until completed.

I've added also many other photo albums on the Facebook page, so have a look around and stay in touch. There are quite a few people who are "fans" of the Germany Facts Facebook page who were also stationed in Hanau. Perhaps you will find some more friends.

Anyway, thanks again for your story. Enjoy your stay in Hanau and the trip to Bavaria. Have a good time.


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