About Clemens Reif
I am Dan Donovan, son of Bernice Hoffend Donovan. My wife Nell and I took a vacation to Germany in 1972. We visited Urmitz, the village on the Rhine River where my grandfather Herman Hoffend was born and raised. There we met Clemens Reif, about 80 years old, whose mother was Herman's sister. So we were distant cousins. As I recall, Clemens was a retired school principal. He was a courtly old gentleman. We have many photos of him. He showed us around Urmitz, including its beautiful church, its cemetary and even a workingmen's bar full of tired looking men. He explained the history of the area, the fact that the town hall was destroyed in the 30 Year's War ( I believe between the Protestants and the Catholics ) - that being the reason why he wasn't able to trace much of the family history back beyond the 1600's. His hobby was the geneology of the Reif/Hoffend families. He introduced us to "Herr Pastor" of the Church, who took us into his wine cellar and showed us his ancient bottles of mostly white wines. The area of Urmitz is mostly white wine grape-growing country. It is about 10 miles from Coblenz where the Mosel river meets the Rhine river. Clemens corresponded with us a little over the years and I still have most of his letters, which contained much Hoffend/Reif family history. The last thing I received from him was about 20 German wine bottle labels which he had collected and thought I might be interested in.. He was a pleasure.
dan donovan 6/19/08