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Hans Rattenborg was born in 1874 in the community of Arnitlund in Vedsted parish (Haderslev County) in what was then called Slesvig. It was part of the area ceded to Germany after the Dano-Prussian War of 1864. Many Danes emigrated to get away from Prussian rule ain the following decades. Willads Rattenborg, his son Hans and a daughter left around 1880; one photograph shows their home at that time; the other is of the same building taken ca. 1990.