It is summer. Maybe a late spring day. She was cycling and dismounted briefly. Her hair throws graceful waves, just like the landscape in the background. Rolling hills. The gables and roofs of a village. Home idyll in 1931. Luise Gumbmann is 25 years young…
Where did Luise cycle to on this beautiful day? The photograph waiting to be viewed on a page of an old family photo album doesn’t tell us that. The photograph waiting to be viewed on a page of an old family photo album doesn’t tell us that. There’s a bit of skepticism in her look, as if she doesn’t want to stop and pose, but instead wants to keep cycling. Was it like that? We do not know it. And for Luise too, so much was still uncertain at that time. Stop, turn around or continue driving? On this day all paths seem open. Even at 25, you still have dreams, longing, make big plans, pray for the happiness of your loved ones. The daughter is still a little, happy girl. On this sunny day, Luise certainly had no idea that Marga would one day found a hotel that would bear Luise’s name.
Ultimately, Luise shouldn’t have been surprised that her daughter would take this path. She herself is a child of gastronomy. When Luise was around 14 years old, her father Andreas Pflaum, son of a shoemaker from Hallstadt near Bamberg, bought the concession for the legendary “Red Ochsen” on Erlangen’s Hauptstrasse 24. Luise spent her youth between the bar and a handful of guest rooms. Andreas Pflaum soon became one of the most dazzling figures in the Huguenot city. He comes into conflict with the city police station on more than one occasion – sometimes he has to answer for gambling, sometimes he lets a gentleman from Forchheim, who has grown tired of his wife, stay overnight in the inn without registering him with the city in accordance with the regulations at the time. Entertaining stories that can now be read in archived, unintentionally humorous police reports from back in the day, and whose uncensored version was probably served to Luise at dinner by her father. Did they interest Luise in her father’s talents? At some point she feels like almost every young woman. Her parents’ dining room becomes too small for her. Luise is in love and soon goes her own way. The down-to-earth woman doesn’t choose a rascal, but rather a dreamer. A man with foresight. Georg Gumbmann is a precision mechanic at Siemens during the day, and after work he works on his own little inventions.
They travel around a lot in Germany, once even going to Lake Constance. Luise in Lindau. Maybe it’s the honeymoon that takes the young couple to the edge of the Alps. Marga was born in 1926. Margarethe, that’s also Luise’s mother’s name. Luise and Marga – the photo album shows many of these pictures. Happy Days. Beautiful hats. The three of them also pose diligently in Erlangen’s castle garden. In the fine Sunday thread. Or more casually at the lake. Luise’s world seems distant. Luise in meadows, in the forest, in the idyll. Meanwhile, Erlangen is decorated with swastikas. Then comes the war. The next pages in the album remain blank. After 1945, Luise’s daughter ambitiously built her own future. Like her mother, Marga has grown into a self-confident, attractive woman. She is cultured, can fence and sing, and she prefers to assert herself among men. She found one long ago. Heinz Förtsch supported Luise’s daughter when she set up a hotel in 1956 after swapping property with Siemens. The time is favorable. Siemens is expanding and the hotel is growing due to the economic miracle. Again: happy days. Luise in the middle of an illustrious party. She now wears glasses. The graceful waves have perhaps become a little silvery. She laughs. Does she already know that she is sick? Luise dies in 1967. She will only be 61 years old. Your name remains. Luise’s great-grandchildren continue to run the hotel in the third generation.