Now that I had my main character, I needed to introduce the element of danger. From scouring old New York Times articles, I knew that an important office of the Hamburg-America Steamship Line was located on the
To find out more about this
I turned to the National Archives in
to analyze the records and photocopy them. By the end of the day, I came home loaded with precious documents about his grandfather's dramatic last days on the island.
I had uncovered hand-written letters, formal memos and documents written by Swiss diplomats and State Department officials, emotional telegrams where he reaches out to his wife and colleagues, official documents regarding his internment in
society in the years leading up to and during the Great War contained a well-entrenched, affluent, influential German colony that invested huge sums of money in real estate, docks, warehouses, and a coaling depot. The German captains, officers and engineers who operated the steamships were all reserves in the Kaiserliche Marine. The upper management in the steamship office were German nationals as well, maintaining close contact with
In my next posting, I will describe how I developed my story.