The connotations of “Alplaus” :
1) One of my favorite writers of the sixties and seventies was Kurt Vonnegut.
When Vonnegut returned to the U.S. after his stint in the Army during WW II in which he survived the firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war, he took a job with General Electric in Schenectady, working in public relations. Vonnegut’s brother was a scientist working for G.E. and they were seeding clouds and trying to control the weather. Vonnegut did his work in a building in Alplaus.
2) My father, Gerald Newman, was a young mechanical engineer working for General Electric in the early fifties. Our family was German-American. My great grandparents emigrated from Germany.
At my father’s retirement in 1992 there were many glowing speeches about what a good man my father was and how he valued all of his employees whether they be PhD’s or high school graduates.
My ears perked up when one man said, “Not many of you know that Jerry Newman was instrumental in the development of the B-52 bomber.” The bomber built by Boeing, eight jet engines made by GE and capable of carrying nuclear bombs and conventional bombs long distances: i.e. to the USSR. The plane that carpet combed Viet Nam and Cambodia and was synonymous with the American evil empire. The plane in an updated version is still in use today.
Tom Trocki continued on, “We had a problem, we didn’t know how to take the power from the jet engine to power the systems that controlled the flight of the airplane. However , a German engineer who worked on early jet aircraft for the Third Reich did know haw to do this. The problem was getting him to the U.S. to impart this information to us. Jerry was German through and through : looked German, sounded German and spoke a little German. He was 25 years old and he would be the man to interrogate this German engineer. Otto von Schuler was to be in the U.S. two days on a special visa. One day to travel and one day to meet with Jerry.
A seaplane landed on the Mohawk River near Alplaus and Jerry spent the day with Otto in an abandoned shed on the river and took down everything Otto could tell him about “power take off” from the jet engine.”
As far as I can tell , it is a true story although my father never talked of it.