Aug. 26, 2015

"Teufel Tod?"

"Teufel Tod?"   - I picked up the postcard in the Wartburg Castle bookstore because it is the first place I had seen my maiden name in Germany.  I never liked my maiden name.  "Teufel" means "Devil" in German.  Why would a family be named that?  It felt like a curse.  In college chemistry labs where German was compulsary for chemistry majors I was tormented with "how is the joyful devil today?"  The first thing I did when I married was drop my maiden name and take my middle name on my new social security card.

But still I was intrigued and could not and should not bury my roots.  Whether my social security card stated it or not part of me was "Teufel".  When I asked Germans about the name "Teufel" they laughed and said the family was still in Germany but knew nothing of the name origin. One suggestion was this name was"Heretic" for a family that "rebelled" against the state church.  That might fit my unconventional family heritage but was only a theory.

Here I stood in the bookstore.  "Teufel Tod?" means "Devil Death".  Apparently Martin Luther saw "the Devil" while he was locked away in the room translating the New Testament into German.  He threw his ink bottle at the Devil and said he would kill the Devil with ink.  The ink mark remained on the wall for many years.    Can't help but think this is some sort of commissioning for the Teufels to kill the Devil with ink:) I will  write to kick the Father of fear and lies to death in I claim my maiden name without shame, "Teufel".