STORY BY THE TRANSYLVANIA TIMES
WW II Romance Brings Son, Film Crew To Transylvania – Brevard, NC
“Secrets of Survival” and a trailer may be seen at https://vimeo.com/116525613.
The story of 68-year-old Juergen Ulloth of Babenhausen, Germany, is a wild one, with plot twists and false leads and a Transylvania County connection. Ulloth’s world was turned upside down when his grandmother died in 2002. He was given a shoebox filled with love letters addressed to his mother from a mysterious American man. Upon further reading, Ulloth discovered that his biological father was not the man he’d grown up to know but an American veteran who’d served during World War II in Germany and who was born in Transylvania County. “I had nearly two years to (digest) that stuff,” he said. “That’s not so easy.”
The complex story of how Ulloth came to find out about his father is also the subject of a documentary due out sometime next year. Ulloth’s biological father was Malcolm William Ingle, a Rosman man who died in 1998. The documentary is being produced by the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC).
“The entire story was so interesting to the CBC people (that) they wanted to make a documentary,” Ulloth said. The story goes something like this: Ulloth was born in Kassel, Germany, in 1946 to a German mother and what seemed to be a German father, a man by the name of Erich Ulloth, who was coincidentally a German Navy seaman.
Ingle was stationed in Kassel during the war, when he had a passionate romance with Ulloth’s mother, who was called Gertrude Reinhold at the time. At one point, however, Ingle got lost in Russia during a battle, and once he was found by fellow American soldiers, he was sent back to the United States. Ingle then spent years looking for Gertrude Reinhold from the states.
“Malcolm, my father, wrote her for years,” Ulloth said. “She never answered. He finally stopped.”
The letters he was sending were being intercepted by Gertrude’s mother and were never given to her. Both eventually married other partners and the rest is history.
The path of Ulloth’s past, discovering his father was born in Transylvania County, led him to Brevard, researching his family tree and searching for family members.
Ulloth was recently at the Transylvania County Register of Deeds to search over documents, and the film crew tagged along.
Ulloth said without the friendly help of the staff at the Transylvania County Register of Deed’s office he wouldn’t have discovered his father was born in Rosman.
“His story was so intriguing, and we are very happy that he was able to discover some of his family history here in the (United States),” said Cindy Owenby, the county’s register of deeds.
Scenes for the film were also shot in Asheville and Rosman.
The path has also led to Ulloth discovering several relatives in the area, including cousins in Candler who have planned a family reunion to celebrate the addition of the long lost German boy, whom the family had only ever heard rumors about.
“Finally, it’s our big family,” said Ulloth.
Ulloth said he has thought about retiring to Transylvania County because he’s fallen in love with the area after spending so much time here while researching his family’s past. He also said he plans to write a book about his experience, something he just might pen in Transylvania County, bringing the story full circle.
“It’s a crazy story,” he said.
The documentary has a working title of “Secrets of Survival” and a trailer may be seen at https://vimeo.com/116525613.