It almost didn't happen. In the fall of 1983, it was far from easy for Korneli to get a job with VEB Chemiewerk Nünchritz, even though he fulfilled all the job requirements: a high school diploma, a technical certificate, and even a degree in Process Engineering with top marks. Having completed his apprenticeship in Guben on the Polish border, he was supposed to return to the company where he trained after qualifying. However, Korneli did not want to go to Guben. He wanted to go to Nünchritz on account of a girl he had met from nearby Riesa a few years earlier.
So Korneli took a chance and sent an application to the personnel office in Nünchritz – and got lucky. He started there as a young engineer and worked on the construction of a facility that was very modern, given the conditions at that time – though the word “modern” certainly did not apply to payroll processes. In 1983 in former East Germany, wages were still paid out in cash. The man in the cash office counted the money out loud and Korneli overheard what the “two guys in front of me in the line earned.”
On May 21, 1983, Wolfgang Korneli married the girl he had met at his sister’s wedding five years previously. She was the groom’s cousin and, like his sister, her name is: Karin. This resulted in a surprising changeabout, explains Wolfgang Korneli: “My sister’s name was Karin Korneli and now her name is Karin Schandert.” “My wife’s name was Karin Schandert and now her name is Karin Korneli.”