This is the first post of Lorenz Schmid’s blog on josefganz.org. Together with author Paul Schilperoord, Schmid is one of the owners of this website and a relative of Josef Ganz. Find out more about Lorenz on the bottom of this page.
Recently the movie trailer of the documentary about Josef Ganz was published and soon I travel with my father to The Hague for the official movie premiere and presentation of the restored Standard Superior Type 1. Many of my friends who have seen the trailer asked me about my relation to the story. It motivated me to write about it in order to explain how it all started!
Back in 2005 I was going to a family meeting which is being organized by the Ganz-family about every 5 years. While it was nice to meet this big family again, I actually didn’t know my relatives very well. When Jürg, a cousin of my father, hold a little speech, he showed at the very end an article of Swiss newspaper “Tagesanzeiger” about one of our relatives who died in 1967 in Australia: car engineer and journalist Josef Ganz. I remembered that once my grand mother had mentioned very quickly that one of her cousins worked with Ferdinand Porsche. Unfortunately at that age I was too young to understand what this really meant. After Jürg’s speech I went to check the newspaper article in detail. As a car enthusiast and editor in chief of a model car magazine I was very interested in the story, although I imagined it to be a very old article. How wrong I was: it was published just a few months ago, in March 2005 if I remember well! I saw that it was based on the research of Dutch journalist Paul Schilperoord.
When I was at home again, I immediately started researching Paul Schilperoord. I imagined it to be a very old journalist who just published one of his last articles. I found out that Schilperoord also published for a technology magazine and I contacted the editor in chief to ask for Paul’s contact. Quickly I got a reply together with Paul’s email address. After writing to him it was sure for me that I needed to go to visit him in The Hague and I motivated my father to join me. In the same year we realized this trip! How wrong I was about Paul Schilperoord: he was in my age! And what we have seen in his apartment was just overwhelming: he presented us more family pictures than we had ever seen before. My father recognized pictures of his grand parents, his uncles and cousins. It was amazing! Also the amount of micro films and documents was just mind blowing and I took home some of the documents that seemed most impressive to me (see photographs).
Since then a great friendship started between Paul and I. While I tried to help him with his research wherever I could, I also started to learn much more about my family. I wrote to many family members and also met most of my father’s cousins to find out what they still remembered about Josef “Seppl” Ganz. It was a very nice way to learn more about my past, too! I met with the editor in chief of Automobile Revue, a renowned Swiss car magazine. Paul and I met all over the world again, visiting archives together or companies like Rapid (manufacturer of the “Swiss Volkswagen”). It was a true and unique adventure! But it started to really get crazy when I found a family member who thought she was all alone in Switzerland… read more about this in my next post!
So after almost 15 years, and after the publication of Paul’s book, which has been translated in 3 languages, and after restoring 2 of Josef Ganz’s cars, after exhibitions in Wolfsburg and Switzerland, I will be able to go back to The Hague with my father, where this adventure started, enjoying the premiere of the so long awaited documentary about Seppl’s life: “Ganz: How I lost my Beetle” – I couldn’t be more excited!
I am very happy to know what you think about this first “blog” post – so I turned on the comment function! Feel free to send me your feedback or thoughts about Josef Ganz and the documentary.