Christmas Truce

World War I has been talked about more than I ever remember this year for its 100 year anniversary. Because I have a direct ancestor that died during World War I whom I know little about, I have a much bigger interest in that war than in others. My great-great grandfather, Frederick Langeneck, died while fighting for Austria-Hungary.(1)

I don’t know much about him. He came to America about 1907 (2) and stayed in Pennsylvania where he married Theresa Kibel (also from Austria Hungary) on 17 Jan 1910. (3) Six months later, his son, my great-grandfather named Frederick (Jr?), was born. (4) That makes me wonder if they married because she was pregnant or if they had planned on getting married anyway.

Sometime shortly after his son was born, they moved back to Austria-Hungary. Maybe there was the rumblings of war that made him return? I’m not sure. I do know another son, Karl, was born while they lived there but that Karl died sometime while there as well (so says the family rumor and the fact that he isn’t with his mother and brother in 1920 or ever again). (5)

Theresa and Frederick Jr. returned to the United States in 1920 and went to Michigan where her parents and siblings had moved to from Pennsylvania. (6) She was marked as a widow on the passenger list.

That’s all I for sure know about Frederick. I wish I knew more. Sadly, Langeneck is a popular name in that area and so is Frederick so I haven’t been able to pinpoint his parents or siblings. Also, the records are in German and I have had some help with the translation but so far, nothing that has told me more.

I had heard the story about the Christmas Truce during World War I and I saw this video today. It’s based on real letters and diaries that describe that time. Although this video is a chocolate advertisement, the history and story behind this made me tear up. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe my great-great grandpa was a part of this and wonder what he saw that night.

I love that stories from World War I are getting a bit more notice right now.

Here’s the video, tell me what you think :


1)“Verlustliste Ausgegeben Am,” 9 June 1916, vol. 1916, periodical, Kramerius National Library of the Czech Republic, Kramerius National Library of the Czech Republic ( : accessed 13 Oct 2013), Friedrich Langneck, p. 32

2) “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” database, ( : accessed 25 Feb 2014), entry for Friedrich Lenzeuck, aboard Kroonland, Antwerp, Belgium to New York, New York, arriving 5 Mar 1907; citing Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, National Archives at Washington D.C. microfilm publication T715, roll 0838.

3) Mercer County, Pennsylvania, Marriage License Docket 11:10755, 1910, Fred Longenick and Teresia Kibel, recorded license; County Clerk’s Office, Mercer; index and digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Nov 2014), FHL 004838956.

4)Frederick Langeneck, birth certificate [short form] no. 123372-1910 (1910), Pennsylvania Department of Health – Vital Records, Harrisburg.

5) Evangelical Church (Nova Pazova, Serbia), Central State Archive Stuttgart Taufen (Baptisms) 1900-1939, Karl Langeneck baptism (1916), FHL microfilm 1340294.

6) “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” database, ( : accessed 25 Feb 2014), entry for Terezia Langenek, aboard Caronia, Cherbourg to New York, New York, leaving 20 Dec 1920; citing Supplemental Manifests of Alien Passengers and Crew Members Who Arrived on Vessels at New York, New York, Who Were Inspected for Admission, and Related Index, compiled 1887-1952; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service 1787-2004, National Archives at Washington D.C. microfilm publication T715, roll 2901, image 1138.


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  1. The “War to End All Wars” deserves attention and this episode is fantastic, isn’t it! Goes to show you – it isn’t the civilians that make war, but the politicians!

  2. My very limited knowledge of this may be wrong, but my understanding is that officers on both sides were alarmed over this “truce”. That they made sure in the future this could not happen again. If someone knows a little more about this I would like to know more. Great blog today and yes I did have a few tears. Getting soft in my old age.

    • NikiMarie

      There is another video that goes along with the one above that talks about the history behind the piece. It does mention that some people were killed that night because others didn’t believe the truce or didn’t like it, etc. I’m not sure if it is something that can’t happen again, I’ll have to look into that. Nevertheless, I still love this story. 🙂

  3. both videos going along with it are really worth watching. It’s a making of and the historical background to it. Very touching.. and I already apologize for “borrowing” the idea from you, Niki 😉

    • NikiMarie

      Yes they are both worth watching! And no need to apologize! 🙂 That’s how these good stories get spread around!

  4. Thank you for sharing this post NikiMarie, World War One is certainly a subject I love. I don’t think the football game actually happened in real life and the photos of this evening were stopped from going to press, although one did appear in a national newspaper.
    It must have been very difficult for these guys to fight after that night, names would have been shared with each other and perhaps even photos of loved ones.

    • NikiMarie

      I agree it must have been very difficult to continue to fight after that night. It is probably one reason why it was not allowed to happen again during World War I. Even if the football game didn’t happen, it’s still a nice thought. 🙂

      • I agree, the football game is a lovely thought, it’s one of those big questions marks about the war, and there certainly was talk of it in the trenches and it must have really lifted their spirits. 🙂

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