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Sunday, 22nd of February 2015

22 Feb

Today, after lunch, we drove to Forest Grove Estate, a gated community with some well kept garden areas, a pond, lots of water birds and a cafeteria near the water. We walked around the area for a little while after we had parked the car. Peter took a lot of pictures with his camera which he has given me so I can publish some of them.

At the cafeteria we had some coffee. Peter also ordered some cake with the coffee. It turned out to be a beautiful desert on an extra large plate. The cake was surrounded by caramel sauce, ice-cream and cream. They provided two spoons in case we wanted to share. However I decided to have just the coffee. I did not feel like having anything that sweet.

When we went to the cafeteria it was only a bit after one. A lot of people – mostly pensioners – were still having their lunch. Since it was Sunday, there was a guy playing the guitar and also singing. On a notice it said that Sundays from 12,30 to 2,30 there was always some live music. The staff were all young and very friendly. Really, a beautiful place for having Sunday lunch! We plan on going there for a bite some time soon.























Diary, February 2015 (continued)

19 Feb


On some of the days last week I felt pretty awful. This week I feel so much better. I took up a bit of walking again. To be able to go for walks feels so very good!

Since yesterday I have a major problem with my camera. Last week and yesterday I could still take a few photos. However after taking some pictures the camera would not close any more. Some mechanism seems to be broken. I have no idea how this can be fixed. My guess is, getting the old camera fixed would probably cost nearly as much as buying a new one. What a pity!

When I started walking yesterday, I saw this along the way!

When I started walking yesterday, I saw this along the way!



How did this stuff get there?

How did this stuff get there, I wonder.

Walking on I took a few more pictures of some bush things growing on the other side of the footpath.


RIMG0027 (2)


The following pictures are from Monday last week. We left out car at the service centre in Warrawong at 8,30 in the morning. Our movie was to start at 10 am. This meant, we had time for a cup of coffee. Rather than having our coffee in the Shopping Centre, we preferred to sit outside. The only cafe in Warrawong where you can sit outside is the MCCafe, which luckily provides excellent coffee.



Reflections on the past Week

16 Feb

Catterel is right, I did not feel well last week, but I had still such an enjoyable week. Despite not feeling well for a lot of the time, somehow I could participate in everything we had been planning. It seems I can feel well one minute and terribly unwell the next! Often I do not feel quite all right early in the morning. What do I do then? I drink warm water with lemon juice and a bit of honey. I take lots of vitamin C. On mornings when I feel very, very unwell I take some aspirin. And last but not least I take a spoonful of olive leaf extract. The olive leaf extract taken three times a day usually seems to help a great deal to keep any flu symptoms in check. Only when I get chilled for staying for too long in very cold air conditioning, then it does not seem to work anymore.

In our house we have during the day usually temperatures between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius. This kind of temperatures I find very pleasant. Anything below 26 degrees, especially with a bit of wind blowing, you’ll find me with head coverings, scarves and jackets; I am that sensitive!

As soon as everything in my body feels all right again, I forget what it is like when my limbs feel heavy, the eyes feel watery, the head feels numb, the chest feels somewhat congested. And I get so very tired!! After a bit of rest, like sitting for a bit in the sunshine perhaps, I feel much better. If not, I just have to lie down for a little while, trying to get nice warm, and then I soon feel better again. The funny thing is, I never lose my appetite. A nice vegetarian meal always cheers me up.

I forgot to mention that I drink lots of lemon/ginger tea and I eat a lot of fruit. When I felt unwell while we were staying at our son’s in Melbourne, our son Martin kept serving us lots of ginger tea which is supposed to strengthen the immune system. And it still works a lot of the time that the tea makes me feel so much better!


Diary, Sunday 15th of Feb 2015

15 Feb

Yesterday we left our car in Waterfall. From there we caught the train to the city. We got off at Kings Cross Station. Coming out of the station we met Caroline. Peter took a photo as we were walking along Darlinghurst Road.

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A bit further on we had a pizza lunch at the “mad” pizza place. The pizzas we ordered were delicious. I had a pumpkin pizza with plenty of rocket salad on the side. It was so much I could not eat it all. I had not brought my camera. I asked Peter to take a picture of the two pieces that I had left.

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The following pictures are from today.







Monika and Mark did bring little Lucas and Baby Alex along today. They were on their way of taking the little ones back home to their parents who were happy that they could yesterday have a good night out for Valentine’s Day. We had not seen the great-grandsons since Christmas Eve. It was a very nice surprise for us seeing them today!

We have had  a fairly busy week. On Wednesday and as well as yesterday we have been to Matinee performances in Sydney. On Wednesday it was a performance by New York’s SHEN YUN Performing Arts Company. They are the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. We very much enjoyed all this classical dancing. It is claimed that this kind of classical Chinese dancing has a long history,  going back 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

And yesterday we saw a contemporary Asian Australian story on stage, called Through a Distant Lens. The story is built around old photographs of early Japanese settlers in for instance Broome. These stories go back more than one hundred years. The early Japanese settlers contributed much to the development of Australia’s north. Apart from narration there is naturalistic acting, soundscapes, film, live music and sound, song dance and photography. The old photographs were wonderful to look at on the large screen. They gave a feeling for this long ago life in the northern parts of Australia.

GetAttachment (2)Peter took the above picture. This is the entrance to the theatre of the Griffin Theatre Company.

GetAttachmentWe did see the story of Yasukichi Murakami – Through a Distant Lens

in the Griffin Theatre.

Last Monday we went to the movies while our car was being serviced. We saw in the HOYTS Cinemas in Warrawong “The Theory of everything”. Here is the synopsis to this movie from the HOYTS Cinema page:

“Little was expected from Stephen Hawking, a bright but shiftless student of cosmology, given just two years to live following the diagnosis of a fatal illness at 21 years of age. He became galvanized, however, by the love of fellow Cambridge student, Jane Wilde, and he went on to be called the successor to Einstein, as well as a husband and father to their three children. Over the course of their marriage as Stephen’s body collapsed and his academic renown soared, fault lines were exposed that tested the lineaments of their relationship and dramatically altered the course of both of their lives.”

I thought this movie was well worth seeing. It was very interesting to see what sort of relationships Stephen Hawking had to other people and how he is managing this very debilitating sickness of  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (This is when the nerves that control the muscles are shutting down.) Eddie Redmayne played Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. I thought he played this part extremely well.

On Tuesday we were home. We had a very dear visitor on that day. We want to go to Sydney with Bronwyn to see a French movie during the French Film Festival next month.

On Thursday I felt sick all day. I think having to stay with very cold air-conditioning on Wednesday for long periods of time had an adverse effect on my system. I can never stand very cold wind or air-conditioning for more than an hour or two. I don’t know what I can do about this.

On Friday I still did not feel quite all right. I tried to take it easy. Luckily on Saturday I had overcome this flu-like sickness. It was a beautiful warm day. This helped a lot. The play lasted only for an hour. We were having lunch sitting outside in balmy summer weather. During the train ride to Waterfall I sat on the sunny side near the window, plus I was wrapped up warmly enough.

Caroline had giving us free tickets for the play on Valentine’s Day. Apart from lunch we also had a gelato treat at Messina’s and later an excellent cup of coffee in an outside cafe nearby. All in all we had a lovely day with Caroline, while Matthew had to work on that day.


Starting a bit of Diary for February 2015

12 Feb

I have recently neglected to write any kind of diary writing or any kind of writing for that matter. What kept me occupied was scanning through quite a few blogs by bloggers I subscribe too. Some of the blogs stirred something in me that I felt I very much liked to reblog. I think sometimes I commented a bit when I reblogged something. All the reblogs I found very much worth noticing in one way or another.

Some of the said reblogs had to do with the Ukrainian crisis. Everything that goes on in connection with this crisis alarms me. Nobody seems to be on top of the crisis. How easily a situation like this can lead to war. This frightens me, it frightens me very much!

Then there are the frightening changes our government here in Australia plans for us. Peter is the secretary of our body cooperative. He just received a notice from the office that our funds are not sufficient for all the necessary repairs that are outstanding right now. All the owners of the units in our complex always want to keep the fees as low as possible. They want to keep as much money as possible for their own personal use. It is the same with taxation overall. Nobody wants to pay a lot of taxes, but expects government to look after services and infrastructure and maintenance of everything. The changes our government plans, are definitely affecting low income earners much more than well off people!

This is what we saw as we entered the Capitol Theatre in Sydney for a Matinee  on Wed 11 Feb 2015

This is what we saw as we entered the Capitol Theatre in Sydney for a Matinee on Wed 11 Feb 2015

Yes, we went to Sydney yesterday. I’ll write about it in my next post.

Public Services International

30 Jan

The report on TISA was prepared for Public Services International, written by Scott Sinclair, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Institute of Political Economy, Carleton University.

Also see PSI and OWINF’s special report The Really Good Friends of Transnational Corporations

The above refers to:

PSI Special Report: TISA versus Public Services


28 April, 2014

I published the above report some ten days ago, actually on the 20th of January 2015. I want to copy it here again and stress some of what it says.

So here is the copy:

“A new report by Public Services International (PSI) warns that governments are planning to take the world on a liberalisation spree on a scale never seen before. According to the report, this massive trade deal will put public healthcare, broadcasting, water, transport and other services at risk. The proposed deal could make it impossible for future governments to restore public services to public control, even in cases where private service delivery has failed. It would also restrict a government’s ability to regulate key sectors including financial, energy, telecommunications and cross-border data flows.
Treating public services as commodities for trade creates a fundamental misconception of public services. The Trades in Services Agreement (TISA), currently being negotiated in secret and outside of World Trade Organization rules, is a deliberate attempt to privilege the profits of the richest corporations and countries in the world over those who have the greatest needs.

Public services are designed to provide vital social and economic necessities – such as health care and education – affordably, universally and on the basis of need. Public services exist because markets will not produce these outcomes. Further, public services are fundamental to ensure fair competition for business, and effective regulation to avoid environmental, social and economic disasters – such as the global financial crisis and global warming. Trade agreements consciously promote commercialisation and define goods and services in terms of their ability to be exploited for profit by global corporations. Even the most ardent supporters of trade agreements admit that there are winners and losers in this rigged game.

The winners are usually powerful countries who are able to assert their power, multinational corporations who are best placed to exploit new access to markets, and wealthy consumers who can afford expensive foreign imports. The losers tend to be workers who face job losses and downward pressure on wages, users of public services and local small businesses which cannot compete with multinational corporations.”

I ask myself why do I bother reading such stuff? I am just one of the masses. I have no special education, I cannot compete with the power of governments or multinational corporations or any of the very rich people. I am very near the end of my life. Why is it not enough for me to just concentrate on having as good a life as possible for the last days of my existence here on earth?

UTA’S DIARY, 20th January 2015 and Thoughts on the End of World War Two

20 Jan


Peter and I eat a banana every day. When they are as large as the ones in the picture, we share one banana. We also have a few cherries every morning. At the moment Australian grapes and peaches are in season and taste very good. I think we spend more money on fruit and vegetables than on meaty things.

Today’s news is that next year one per cent of the global population are going to own as much as the rest of us together. I wonder how this shall go on!!


“Where there is charity and wisdom,
there is neither fear nor ignorance.”

I think it is fair to say that our civilisation is in crisis or very close to an immense crisis. I do not want to be ignorant about this, but I also do not want to give in to fear. Isn’t there always some light at the end of the tunnel?

Today I reblogged quite a few blogs that were written by very knowledgeable people, mainly by Joseph E. Stiglitz, who comes across to me as an economist who knows what he is talking about in a global sense. The warning signs are clearly there for everyone to see. Maybe it is mostly people and organisations with too much power and also people who think they have too much to lose who want everything to just to continue on and on and on. Common sense would tell them it just cannot go on like this indefinitely. But who wants to let common sense rule their lives?!

Enough of this for today. I am going to enjoy my life with what I have today. I plan on looking up one of my old posts. Actually I decided already on one that I want to re-post. Here it is:

Thoughts on the End of World War Two

Here in the blogger world there are always a few people who respond to what I write. I am very grateful for this. It keeps me going. I mean I would like to continue writing anyway but getting some kind of response helps a lot in actually proceeding with it.

When I write about my experiences during war time and after the war,  people instinctively respond in proclaiming their thoughts upon the horrors of war. Undoubtedly the horrors of war are immense. I know it,  just about everyone has some inkling about it. It may sound strange, but I always had the feeling that I personally escaped real horror.

Did I experience hunger? Real hunger and starvation that resulted in problems with health? I don’t think so. When I hear stories from people who were absolutely starved,  it makes me feel terrible. Why did my Dutch-Australian friend, who was about the same age as I was during the war, why did she at times have to go absolutely without food in Holland whereas I had in Germany always a little bit to eat? It is just not fair. War is not fair!

During the war the Nazi propaganda machine constantly bombarded us with slogans how we as Germans had to believe that we were going to win this war. We all had to work towards the ‘Endsieg’ (the winning at the end). By 1944 hardly anyone I knew still believed that Germany could win the war. My grandmother was the exception. She expressed an unshakable belief in the ‘Führer’ (Hitler). For this she was ridiculed by the family.  She believed stories about the ‘Wunderwaffe’ (wonder weapon) which would save us.

More and more everyone talked about it how they wished an end to the war. All our lives were put on hold so to speak. And this went on for quite some time after the war too. Schools were closed a few months before the end of the war. Where I was I couldn’t go back to school until four months after the war had finished.

My eighteen year old cousin couldn’t go to uni as she had planned. She had to work in a munitions factory instead, getting up at five o’clock every morning to travel by train to her place of work. I heard everyone saying to continue with the war was madness. But still everyone seemed to go on doing what they were supposed to do. Even the bomb raids generally didn’t effect people’s behaviour very much. I mean most people went on doing what they had to do bomb raids or not.

Amazingly a lot of foreign workers seem to have helped Germany by doing a proper job. For which after the war the Russians I believe handed out punishment. It is said that they treated their own people badly if they found out they had ‘co-operated’ with the Germans. However during the war years the Germans would send anyone who hindered the war effort away to concentration camps. Probably executions on the spot were not unknown either. During the first days after the war the Russians took everyone who looked like he could have been a soldier away. A lot of these men were never seen again. They may have ended up in a work camp in Siberia where starvation was rampant.

No doubt about it, Germans had a hard time during the first post war years. But still it was an end to fighting. There was a future without any war. Everyone could live in peace. Peace, peace, peace, this is what we wanted. We were very relieved that the war had ended. Tough times, yes, but at least there was no more war. We could concentrate on peaceful things. What a relief. What hope for the future!


Submitted on 2013/06/10 at 12:12 pm | In reply to auntyuta.
Still, I can’t imagine what that must have felt like to those former believers. A bit like having your priest turn into a mass murderer. Was it you who suggested to me the book , The Shame of Survival? It’s interesting to read how a young girl came to recognize that she’d been duped.

Reply by Uta: We had the feeling we had all been duped, Linda. Over time most of former ‘believers’ had already changed their mind long before the war had actually ended. When you hear of all the atrocities later on of course you feel guilty then, guilty by association even if you were only a kid. I can’t help but feeling weary of all kinds of propaganda and indoctrination throughout my life. This kind of feeling of being duped never leaves me!
Linda, I think towards the end even my grandmother didn’t believe in the ‘Führer’ any more. Germany was well and truly defeated. I think Germany learned its lesson from this.

Submitted on 2013/06/10 at 10:49 am | In reply to gerard oosterman.
The big lesson for me in Australia was, that people from other countries CAN live together. Australians are not totally free from racism and prejudice but it has a much milder form as they don’t feel so much under pressure as people who live much closer like in Europe. Luckily the bad times in Europe are over.
People that go to another country are not necessarily the terrorist but they are the ones that want to avoid conflict. A decent job and income is foremost on their mind once they have arrived.
Give them a chance and the will become valuable citizens.

gerard oosterman
Submitted on 2013/06/07 at 11:11 pm
Acceptance of differences and inclusiveness might also be helpful in avoiding conflict. Break down barriers and learn to respect each other. Are fences between neighbours really necessary?

Reply by Uta: Gerard, you ask are fences between neighbours really necessary?
A very interesting question, indeed. I feel it’s possible to write a whole essay about it. My short answer would be communicate with each other while at the same time showing some respect for what is different in the other person. It’s good to feel included if this kind of respect is shown. Communication is good. But so is privacy. You need a balance, don’t you think?

Submitted on 2013/06/07 at 12:30 pm
You mentioned Holland in your post. Food that was grown there, was taken out of the country by the Germans to feed their own people.
I share your sentiments on war generally. Germany fares much better now trading with every other country and not making war and trying to conquer those countries.
Personally, we were lucky being spared the experience of trauma. But hearing, after the war, of all the atrocities done in our name, gave a big shock. And now? We learn every day from the news that other people do atrocities too. It seems to me one can declare someone an enemy and, Bingo, everything is allowed that you can do to them.
I think, of all the commandments “Love thy neighbour !” is the most important one.

Reply by Uta: Hi, Berlioz. it seems to me too “Love thy neighbour” is a very important commandment. It could help to avoid wars if people were willing to live up to this commandment

Memories of 1943/1944

Having read once more a few of my blogs on childhood memories, I came to the conclusion, it might be best if I tried to put all these blogs about my childhood as ‘pages’ together in the one place, so I could find them more easily when I wanted to look something up. It would make it easier for my children too to read up on my childhood. For now I plan to first copy the relevant blogs. I’ll probably need a few days or weeks for this. As far as possible I might refrain from putting anything else in my posts. Just as well, for ‘news’ items, as far as politics are concerned, usually do not give me much pleasure. And personal news, well, I could probably catch up with them at a later stage.

At the moment I collect the childhood memories rather randomly. Here is one about remembering 1943/1944:

Towards the end of September 1943 we left Berlin to live in the country. We moved to a place called the ‘Ausbau’, which meant that eventually ‘more’ was to be added to the building.. It was a simple rectangular red brick complex with several entrances around the building. There was no plumbing or electricity. The entrance for us ‘Berliners’ was on the left side at the front of the building. We had a cellar, a ground floor and two upper floors.

Mum, my two younger brothers and I, shared a bedroom on the first upper floor. We also had a small kitchen and a living-room. I would sleep in the living-room when my dad came home on leave. Two maids, one Polish, the other Russian, shared two rooms on the top floor. All the rooms on the top floor had sloping ceilings. Our Polish maid was in her early twenties. Her name was Maria. She was very efficient and always rather serious.. The T. Family, who lived on the ground floor, employed Katja, the Russian maid, who was only eighteen and extremely fun loving.

My mum’s sister, Tante Ilse, also had her rooms on the first upper floor. She had a bedroom and a living-room. On the ground floor, right underneath her upper rooms, she had a kitchen and a dining-room. She hardly ever used those downstairs rooms. Our friends from Berlin, the T. Family, occupied three rooms downstairs, namely a kitchen, a living-room and a bedroom, the same arrangement of rooms that we had on the upper floor.

There was an additional larger room for storage under the sloping roof. T. Family and my Family stored in that room additional larger furniture which we wanted to save from the bombs in Berlin. — In that room Mum stored a lot of Boskop-apples during the cold season. They were neatly spread out on some straw. Come Christmas-time, other delicious food was also hidden somewhere among our stored furniture. It was very tempting for me to go exploring in that room! Mum noticed sometimes, that some food was missing. And I admitted, when questioned, that I had helped myself to some of the goodies. However I was never punished for doing such a thing. That shows, that Mum must have been quite tolerant. —

On the same upper floor right under the roof was a playroom, which my brothers and I shared with eight year old Edith T. There was another room next to the playroom where Mrs. T.’s parents had stored some bedroom furniture. The parents were Mr. and Mrs. B. and had a business in Berlin. They sometimes stayed at the ‘Ausbau’ in that bedroom in order to be with their family away from the bombs in Berlin.

Our toilets were “plumps-closets” some distance away from the house. Water for cooking and washing had to be fetched from a pump in the backyard. Fetching water from the pump kept both maids very busy indeed. For lights we had kerosene-lamps, for heating there were coal-fired stoves which could also be used for cooking. Everything was very basic.

Gradually some changes were being made. The first big change was that our landlord had electricity laid on. All the workers who lived with their families in the other part of the building, received the benefit of electricity at the same time. This certainly was a very welcome improvement for them.

The ‘Ausbau’ was built close to a dirt-track which meandered through wide open barley-, oat- and potato-fields. On the track it was a good half hour to walk to the next village. Bike-riding however made it a bit quicker.

Werner M., the owner of all those fields that went on for miles and miles, was an acquaintance of Tante Ilse. He was apparently quite rich and also owned extensive brick-works (Ziegeleien). It was said of him that he was a millionaire. He was our landlord and he liked to spoil us. With no strings attached! Tante Ilse only had to voice a wish and Werner M. immediately did whatever he could to fulfill her wish. He spoiled us by constantly getting produce delivered to us: Potatoes, cabbage for making sauerkraut, wonderful treacle made of sweet-beets, and coal for our stoves.

Even I, as a nine year old, could see that sixty year old Werner M. was hopelessly in love with Ilse. I also was quite aware, that she always kept him at a distance. He was happy to just be invited for ”Kaffee und Kuchen’ on weekends and to spend some time with all of us. He always came to visit on his bike. On his daily inspection tours of the workers in the fields he also went around on his bike. He owned coaches with horses, but hardly ever used these to go anywhere.

Occasionally we were invited to his place (which people called ‘Schloss’), Then he sent a coach with a coachman to pick us up. Once in winter when there was plenty of snow, Werner M. sent a ‘Pferde-Schlitten’ (horse-drawn sledge). On this sledge we were wrapped up in blankets under a clear night-sky with the moon and lots of stars shining on us. It was unforgettable and one of the rare highlights in our otherwise pretty dreary country-life existence.

The place where Werner M. lived, did not look like a castle at all, even though people called it ‘Schloss’. It was not even a mansion but a rather large, but fairly plain house. There was a huge, fenced in veggie garden next to the house. I have seen the veggie garden only once. However I was very impressed by it, because it seemed to be so very large.

When we moved to the ‘Ausbau’, Ilse had already been divorced from her first husband. It was obvious that Werner M. would have liked to marry Ilse. However, it never came to that. Tante Ilse married Onkel Peter aka Helmut L. on July 20th, 1944.


It was a big thrill for me to go exploring among the furniture in that big storage-room, especially in the weeks before Christmas! Mum used to store lot of goodies during the Christmas season. It was very exciting for me to find out what new things had been stored in that big room. I remember seeing huge chunks of nougat (a yummy hazelnut-paste) as well as heart-shaped marzipan-pieces. There was a pot with sweetened thick milk. Sometimes I dipped my finger into it to lick this wonderful sweet stuff! I also liked to eat a few of the stored raisins and prunes! Smells of ginger bread and apples: It made me feel that Christmas was something to be looking forward to.

Where on earth did Mum get all those things from? It was war-time, wasn’t it? We were in the midst of war! I knew very well where all this came from. The parents of Mrs.T. had a distributing business. It was called ‘Backbedarf en Gros’. That meant they delivered goods to bakeries and cake-shops. Even in the midst of war deliveries of the above mentioned goods still took place! Of course there were shortages, but basically most things were still available.

Mr.T. and Mrs.T., as well as Tante Ilse and Mum were all good friends. Every Saturday night they came together for some card games. Eight year old daughterEva and I were allowed to stay up late on those nights. For hours we were watching the adults playing cards. At the same time we entertained ourselves with doodling on bits of paper. At around ten o’clock some cake and hot chocolate as well as coffee were served. But the maids did not have to do the serving, They were already in their rooms at this hour. The cake was usually freshly baked, very fluffy yeast cake topped with delicious butter-crumbs and filled with a thick custard. Hmm, yummy!

Mr.T. always stayed in Berlin during the week, where he worked in the business of his parents-in-law. Being over forty, he was not required to join the German army. Mr.T. always brought some sweet goodies along when he came home from Berlin for the weekend.

During the summer of 1944 Mr.T. and Mum liked to go on their bikes to a neighbouring Nursery where they were able to trade sweets for fresh produce. Eva and I were often allowed to go along with them on our bikes. The sweets were traded for strawberries or cherries or gooseberries as well as peaches and apricots, and later on in the year for pears and apples. I remember the Boskop apples were still in season in late autumn. The owner of the nursery was a well-off looking middle-aged woman who was very fond of sweets and loved to trade her produce. At one time we found out that she thought Mr.T. and Mum were a couple and we girls were sisters. Laughing joyfully, Mum and Mr.T. explained, that this was not so.

Only once as far as I remember were we shown into the lady’s home. Mr.T. made complimentary remarks about the interior of the house. He said it showed off the owner’s good taste. I liked the lady’s house a real lot too. Our families used to have well furnished apartments in Berlin. But this modern looking villa in the midst of the nursery really was something else. My feelings were I would very much like to live in a place like that. However we had to be happy with our accommodation in the Ausbau. To us children it was always pointed out, to be happy that we did not have to live among the bomb raids in Berlin. I’m pretty sure that by myself I felt that I’d rather live in Berlin, bomb-raids or not. I think to children bomb-raids usually didn’t seem as scary as to the adults. At the time we children had had no experience yet how absolutely horrible these bomb-raids could become.

In 1990, soon after the Fall of the Wall, I went with my family to have a look at the area where we used to be hidden away from the bomb-raids. We discovered that the nursery as well as the lady’s house had completely vanished. There was nothing left of the ‘Ausbau’ either!

In 1943, when we had lived at he ‘Ausbau’ only for a couple of months, Mrs. T. delivered a healthy daughter in a regional hospital. The day after the baby was born, it may perhaps have been a Saturday or Sunday, Mr. T. and Eva went for the forty-five minute bike-ride to the Hospital. I was thrilled that I was allowed to go with them! The baby was rather tiny. I think this is why she was soon called Krümel (tiny crumb). Her given name was Ruth. Eva had a pet-name too. She was often called Honkepong.

As soon as Mrs.T. came home from hospital, there was a nurse waiting for her to take charge of the baby. Mr.T. said something like: “Katja is a very nice girl, but I would not trust her with our new born baby. I am glad that Nurse is here to help my wife to look after our Krümel.”

Nurse used for herself the bedroom next to our playroom. Sometimes she sat with us children in the playroom. Since Christmas was approaching, she taught us how to make some Christmas decorations. I was very impressed, because I was nine years old and nobody had ever taught me anything like it! Nurse also made sure, we learned our Christmas poems. We had to be prepared to recite them to Santa on Christmas Eve!

Maria, our Polish maid, had been with us since before my little brother was born. He regarded Maria as his ‘Dah-dah’, that is he always called her ‘Dah-dah’. By the end of January 1945 we had to flee from the ‘Ausbau’ as the Russians were approaching fast. We went to Berlin first and then by train to Leipzig to stay at Grandmother’s place. Maria remained in Berlin with her Polish fiancee, who was a butcher.

When we parted from Maria, little brother Peter had just turned three. Yet he must have missed her for quite a while since she had always looked after him and I am sure, he loved her very much and she loved him. Mum always trusted Maria, who was in every way caring and efficient at the same time. Mum was always impressed how quickly Maria worked. Any dirty dishes were washed immediately. She was indeed capable of doing all the housework. Mum was happy to let her do just about everything. An exception was the baking of a large cake on Saturdays, which Mum loved to do herself.

Maria always made some potato-salad for the weekend. I watched how she did it. To the peeled and sliced potatoes she added finely cut onion, some oil, pepper and salt. Then she poured hot vinegar-water over the potatoes as a finishing touch. The huge salad-bowl was placed outside on a shelf near the stairway so the salad could cool down. I often helped myself to some of the warm salad when nobody was looking, because I loved to eat the salad when it was still a little bit warm. It was the same every Saturday. I watched Maria preparing the salad and placing it on the shelf outside. Then it did not take long before I had a good taste of it!

Friday night was the night for our bath. Maria placed a small tin-tub on the kitchen-floor. She carried several buckets of water from the outside pump to the kitchen. Some of the water she heated on the kitchen-stove in an especially huge pot. I was always the first one to use the bath-water, then it was brother Bodo’s turn. Little brother Peter was always the last one. Some hot water was added for everyone, but still the water must have been quite dirty for little Peter after Bodo and I had had our baths!

When Maria first came to live with us, she knew very little German. However she was determined to learn German quickly. She liked to ask Bodo and me how to pronounce certain words. She also asked me how to write these words in German. Mum often praised Maria, that she was willing and able to learn quickly. This applied to everything she did. She was an amazingly efficient person. A ‘pearl of a maid’ people would say of her. Maria was a city girl. She came from Lodz, which was called ‘Litzmannstadt’ at the time. We had spent the summer-months of 1941 at Zokolniki (near Lodz) and that was when Maria was assigned to us as a help. Mum liked Maria and wanted her to come with us when we went back to Berlin. Maria told me later that she did not want to leave Poland. But she had not been given the choice to stay in her own country.

When Katja arrived, we could see that she was very different from Maria. She was a country-girl from Russia. She never learned German as well as Maria did. She could never be trusted to do all the house-work by herself. Mrs.T. always had to supervise her and do certain things herself because Katja took too long to learn to do it properly. But we all loved Katja. She was always cheerful and full of beans. As a country-girl she did not know certain things that a city-girl had been brought up with. Maria took to instructing Katja about certain things. I think they communicated in German. After they finished work in the evening, they had plenty of time to stay in their rooms together and keep each other company. Both girls always had to get up early. During summer, school-classes in the village started as early as seven o’clock. That meant, I had to get up at six o’clock to get ready for school. Mum never got up that early. But Maria always came down at six o’clock to start working for us. She often had to do Peter’s linen early in the morning, which I am sure was not one of her favourite tasks.

I mentioned in this post our landlord, Werner M. He is here in this picture which was taken by Mrs. T. on Christmas Eve 1943.

Werner M. is on the left, on the right is Mr. T.

Tante Ilse is next to Werner M. together with cousin Renate. I am in the back with my doll.

The children in front are Eva T. and my brother Bodo.

Next to Mr. T. is Mum and Grandma Olga (Mum’s mum) is on the left next to Werner M.

Christmas Eve 1943

I won’t copy the comments I received to this post, only my replies to them. If you want to see the comments, please go to:

Here are my replies:

I experienced this country life nearly seventy years ago. It was very different from life in Berlin. Thanks for commenting, dear Catterel.

I hope some of my descendants are going to find it of interest, Robert.

Well, Emu, the memory can be quite shady. Some things we remember, some things we forget. We always seem to remember holiday times better than other times for instance. I think lots of things that have to do with how I felt at the time did get stuck in my memory. Maybe as a kid I didn’t often have a chance to really talk about my feelings. This is why I reflected a lot during the hours when I was by my lonely self. This reflecting came naturally to me. Nobody did give me instructions how to do it. When someone made a comment to me that stirred my feelings in some way, I would probably reflect on this comment for hours later on and never forget it. As a kid I seem to have analysed what sort of feelings certain persons gave me.


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