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German Man Finds his Grandfather’s Message in a Bottle

Peter Brandt, a roofer in Goslar, Germany, was conducting maintenance on the town’s cathedral when he made an incredible discovery: An 88 year old message in a bottle. But this was not just any message from a distant stranger. This was Peter Brandt’s own grandfather’s message in a bottle. Willi Brandt signed the message on March 26th, 1930, and it remained hidden in the cathedral’s roof for 88 years, according to The Local Germany.

Goslar Cathedral 88 year old message in a bottle

Goslar Cathedral, where Willi Brandt’s message in a bottle lay hidden for 88 years. Photo: By Tilman2007 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62673101

This discovery is one of the world’s oldest messages in bottles, and one of the most unique. In 2017, a Scottish man discovered a message in a bottle his father had written 83 years before. But Peter Brandt’s discovery of his grandfather’s message in a bottle stands alone, as no one else has ever found a message in a bottle from their own grandparent.

88 year old message in a bottle Goslar Germany

Reproduction of the 88 year old message in a bottle found in Goslar city Cathedral, Germany. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/Picture-alliance/DPA/AP

1930 Message in a Bottle Found in German Cathedral Wishes for Better Times

The message was cowritten by three laborers repairing the cathedral in 1930. One of them was Willi Brandt, Peter’s grandfather.

The message discusses the current state of Germany circa 1930, particularly the depressed economy. The writers state optimistically that “difficult times of war lie behind us,” and yet they end the note by writing, “We wish for better times soon.”

Sadly, it was not long after Willi Brandt signed this note that he signed up as a soldier for World War II, according to the Washington Post. After being captured and imprisoned by the Russians, Willi Brandt survived the war and returned to Goslar where he resumed his roofing trade.

Willi Brandt's original message in a bottle from 1930, right, with reproduction, left.

Willi Brandt’s original message in a bottle from 1930, right, with reproduction, left. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/Picture-alliance/DPA/AP

Goslar is now in much better shape than in Willi Brandt’s day, “with an old town center that’s become a tourist hub and ­UNESCO World Heritage site,” according to the Washington Post, and “the unemployment problems that Willi Brandt described have largely disappeared, according to Goslar Mayor Oliver Junk.”

A New Message in a Bottle to the Future

After Peter Brandt discovered his own grandfather’s message in a bottle, the original message was placed in the town archives. However, Peter Brandt, along with Mayor Junk and town residents, placed a copy of the message along with a new message in a bottle to the future in the cathedral’s roof, according to the Washington Post. No one else knows what those messages say. But if we are lucky, perhaps Peter Brandt’s grandchildren will climb up there some day to find out…

Willi Brandt 88 year old message in a bottle

Goslar city employee holding a reproduction of Willi Brandt’s 88 year old message in a bottle. Photo: DPA.

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Goslar Cathedral Porch

Goslar Cathedral Porch. Photo: Holger Uwe Schmitt – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48486995

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