Tag Archives: Berlin

Uta’s Diary, 3rd of September 2015

3 Sep

In September 2013 my blogger friend Linda wrote in a comment to one of my blogs:

“As I grow up :-) I discover that families the world over and through the centuries have been weird. Just plain weird! It’s a good thing to know. More kids should recognize this fact so they wouldn’t feel so isolated by the facts of their families.”

And my reply was:
“Quite amazing, Linda, isn’t it? What exactly do you mean by ‘weird’? Families that are somehow ‘dysfunctional’? What about divorce? Hasn’t this been on the increase in our time? Maybe it has partly to do with the increase in life expectation? In any case I believe it is important for children to know who their parents are. Whether they stay through all their growing up years with one, two or none of their parents this is a different matter. Some parents might not be the best option for a child, but the same goes for some institutions. It all depends. I did get to know during my growing up years some very well functioning families. I am talking about our extended family and about the families of some of my friends. I also saw examples of desperately struggling war widows with for instance four children and a bone breaking job with very little money. When I was a child a lot of people seemed to blame WW II for the increase in dysfunctional families.”

I experienced my growing up years in Berlin, Germany. During my teenage years I was always dreaming of living in some other country with a different family. I feel, having lived in Australia since 1959 I grew more and more apart from Berlin. Over the years I have been back to Berlin for some family visits. But I am always glad when I am back in Australia. It is quite amazing how Berlin has changed over the years. I can understand how a lot of young people feel now

A cafe in Berlin, where we like to go to when we visit Berlin.

A cafe in Berlin, where we like to go to when we visit Berlin.

The cafe is right at the Gendarmen Markt.

The cafe is right at the Gendarmen Markt.

attracted to living in Berlin. However, I definitely want to spend the last few years of my life in Australia. Even my husband Peter, who has still very strong attachments to Berlin, prefers to live in Australia for as long as he can still afford to go back to Berlin for regular visits!

My parents separated soon after WW II. Then, around 1950, my mother demanded a divorce. During 1948/49 Peter’s mother left Peter’s father and got a divorce from him. Peter and his two sisters moved along with their mother. Both our fathers, Peter’s and mine, died long before our mothers. Both fathers had suffered badly due to war experiences.

All my cousins seem to come from very stable families. The generation of my nieces and nephews is different though. Whereas Peter’s nieces and nephews seem to come from rather stable families. Of course, Germans these days have very small families. Some people point out,  the increased influx of migrants to Germany could be a blessing,  for there are too many old people in Germany and not enough young people. Still, this enormous influx of refugees, that is taking place right now,  does cause major upheavals. I hope, all this can be settled in a humane way, and a lot of effort will be directed towards avoiding outbreaks of violence.



Before and after the Fall of the Wall (Memories)

23 Jul


Sunday, the 16th of September, 2012.

On that day we were travelling by public transport to Borgsdorf visiting Ingrid and Erhard at their summer place. Ingrid is related to Peter’s family. Over the years we were always happy to visit Ingrid and Erhard whenever we happened to be in Berlin. On the phone Ingrid wanted to make sure we would come on Sunday. When I mentioned I still had a bit of a cold she said, not to worry, it was going to be a lovely, sunny day. I could just sit outside in the sun and this would do me good. I didn’t have to do anything. She was going to cook lunch for us, she said.

She did serve us a wonderful lunch. She loves to cook with healthy ingredients and lots of herbs and vegetables from her garden. I really felt all right sitting in the autumn sun for hours and hours, being served a lovely meal and later on coffee and cakes. Before the coffee break we all went for a walk to the close by river. Borgsdorf is a very secluded little village. In people’s gardens we could see fruit trees with hundreds of red apples on them.

This is an extract from a blog I wrote after our visit to Berlin in 2012:



My brother Peter Uwe had dropped us off at Berlin Tegel Airport. It was already afternoon, so he wanted to drive back straight away to his place in Mecklenburg/Vorpommern, where we had stayed with him and Astrid for the last few days of our holiday.

We checked in and then had plenty of time to have a drink with the six family members  who had come to see us off:
Peter’s cousin Ingrid, Peter’s nephew Daniel, Peter’s sister Ilse, and all their partners, all had come to farewell us.

It turned out, the flight to Amsterdam was delayed. Because of this,  we got into trouble with our connecting flight in Amsterdam. We had in Amsterdam actually less than one hour to get to our connecting flight. When I pointed this out to a cabin crew member he inquired about my age and whether I could walk all right. I told him I couldn’t walk as fast as younger people. Voila, a drive on a buggy was arranged for Peter and me.

Being driven through the immense airport with passengers roaming about and making way for the buggy, we felt like in a movie. It was a long, long drive to the departure point for our connecting flight. I doubt I could have made it in time by walking. We were extremely grateful for the lift and were able to board on time on the long stretch to Kuala Lumpur.

At Kuala Lumpur Airport we had a seven hour rest. From there we took off  on a seven hour flight to Sydney.  The longest non-stop stretch was from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, namely eleven hours! During this long flight Peter got sick. After that he had hardly anything to eat anymore.

I got distracted again. Searching for some pictures of Ingrid and Erhard,  I finally found the departure pictures that Peter took at Berlin Tegel Airport. You can look at them here:



All the above happened in 2012. The wall had come down already in 1989. We were still thinking about it and all the changes it had brought. Berlin was an undivided city again, East- and West-Germany were one country. But we could still remember what it was like before the Fall of the Wall.


I wrote the following on the 19th of November 2012:

Peter and I  landed safely back in Australia. Yesterday morning our daughter Caroline picked us up from Sydney airport and drove us to our home (100 km south of Sydney). So we’ve been back home now for nearly thirty hours and are gradually getting rid of our jet legs. Everything is fine at our place. Our lovely daughter is going to stay with us till tomorrow (Tuesday).

Six people had come to Berlin Tegel airport on Friday to see us off. We found the perfect place to have a drink with them. This was very relaxing for us. We knew already that our plane to Amsterdam was going to leave somewhat later than originally planned. My brother had driven us to the airport from his place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He had only dropped us off,  for he wanted to  be  back home before it got too dark.

In Amsterdam we had scarce time to catch the connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur. We made sure we’d get some help by the airport people. Just as well! It turned out we had to go  right to the other end of the airport. This would have meant a tremendous walk for us. We were very grateful for being driven to our departure point. I doubt that we could have made it on time by walking.

In Kuala Lumpur we had close to seven hours to catch our Malaysian connecting flight to Sydney. This meant we had no problem with being on time for boarding at the departure gate. It also gave us the opportunity to stretch our legs a bit and then take a break in a beautifully furnished cafe with French songs playing in the background. The toilet facilities were also very welcome. We couldn’t take a walk through the airport’s beautiful open air jungle walk since it was closed for renovations. What a pity!

Near our departure gate we found some stretch-out chairs.  To be able to stretch out on these chairs we welcomed very much.

Some pictures of these stretch out chairs you can actually find in this blog:


I wrote in this blog further on:

We were grateful for the long break at Kuala Lumpur Airport. It gave us ample time to recover a bit from the previous eleven hour non-stop flight. In Kuala Lumpur Peter even enjoyed the coffee and cake we had at one of the airport’s coffee-shops. At some other establishment we had a large glass of iced Chi tea. This tasted very good and was very refreshing. On the next seven hour stretch  to Sydney Peter refused food again. However he had lots of drinks all the time: Mainly water, but also some juice and coffee. He just didn’t feel like eating.


My main purpose of looking up all these posts was actually that I wanted to be reminded what experiences we had on previous visits to Berlin when the city was divided by that Wall. There was a lot of confusion going on about currencies in East and West, lifestyle changes dividing East and West, crippling shortages in the East. a lot of spying going on in the East, West-Berliners making nasty remarks about the “poor” East-Berliners and so on.

And after the Fall of the Wall? To this day these parts of Germany that had previously been GDR territory are still a bit less prosperous than their cousins in the other parts of Germany. Yes, it is one country again, but you do find differences. People in the East seem to be somewhat different from people in the West. The unemployment rate is much higher in the eastern parts of Germany. West-German companies seem to prefer to go to a neighbouring Eastern country where they can pay lower wages.

For some time low cost housing was available in East-Germany. In areas where there is work or tourism, housing prices are on the up. In some remote areas, where there is no work, low cost housing is of no use to the people. It is unbelievable, but people who cannot afford any more to pay for housing and live on the streets for most of the year, these people are on the increase, while other people gentrify their places, and they invest in places they can let for more and more rent. How about this attitude that “the Market” regulates all?






Reflections on Travel

29 Apr

Recently I reflected a lot on our past two overseas travels. One trip to Berlin we did five years ago and another one two and a half years ago. When we travel we always try to economise, meaning we are not out to stay in expensive hotels or visit restaurants that are well above our budget. The greatest extra expense we consider to be the air-travel ticket plus insurance. Since both Peter and I are going to be past eighty when we travel next time the insurance is going to be sky high! We usually book a flight well in advance and look for special offers. The last two times we did fly with Malaysian Airline from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and from there we had connecting flights with KLM. We thought these flights via Kuala Lumpur were pretty good. Soon we want to find out what’s on offer for next year.

2016 is going to be a huge family reunion in Berlin. Our Australian family is already planning for all this.  Some members in our family have never been to Berlin yet and are very keen to get to know a bit about the city and the German family members who live there. Especially Peter’s sister Ilse is very hopeful that a large family meeting can take place next year in Berlin. She and Finn are already thinking about all the arrangements that can be made. One of our grandsons is busy making plans about all the destinations where he and his family intend to travel to. He worked out that a nine day stay in Berlin could be included. They also want to stay for a few days in London and maybe some days in Switzerland, and I think there was also talk about Paris.

When Peter heard that they plan on staying for nine days in Berlin,  he  soon thought about a number of places he could show them in Berlin. Peter knows Berlin very well, partly from personal experience but a lot he knows because he keeps himself always up to date on the internet about what is going on in Berlin. When it come to history, he can tell you a thing or two about Berlin’s history as well. The past few days he published memories about the last days in Berlin before the end of World War Two. You can look it up under:


The memories start already here:


There are diary entries of Peter’s mother which he translated.  Also, Peter’s own comments about these eventful days continue for several days.

It is amazing how much Peter remembers about this time seventy years ago. This was just a few days before he turned ten! He also likes to read up on official records about the last days in Berlin before the end of the war, and he is also always looking for relevant pictures from that time.

Our Five Weeks Holiday in 2010

27 Apr

From Sydney we did fly with Malaysian Airline to Kuala Lumpur. Our connecting flight was with KLM to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. From there we had another connecting flight with KLM to Tegel Airport in Berlin.


Gaby, Caroline and Matthew had come to Sydney Airport to farewell us.

Caroline took this photo.

Caroline took this photo.

DSCN0209 - Copy

Peter took a few photos in Kuala Lumpur at the airport.



We enjoyed the Tropical Garden in the midst of Kuala Lumpur Airport.

We enjoyed the Tropical Garden in the midst of Kuala Lumpur Airport.


When we arrived at Tegel Airport there were Daniel, Ilse and Ingrid waiting for us.

When we arrived at Tegel Airport there were Daniel, Ilse and Ingrid waiting for us.


They took us first of all to Scharnweber Strasse, where Ilse lives. It was Spargel (Asparagus) time in Berlin. Ilse served us a sumptuous Spargel lunch. Soon after lunch, Ilse’s son Daniel drove us to our holiday unit in Bastian Strasse. We stayed in this unit for fifteen nights. On the morning of Tuesday, the 15th of June we were picked up by Peter Uwe, my brother, and his partner Astrid. They took us to their home in Neu Canow in Mecklenburg Vorpommern where we stayed for nine nights. On Thursday, 24th of June, they drove us back to Berlin. Peter’s sister Ilse accommodated us for the rest of our stay in Berlin

On Friday, 2nd of July, Klaudia, my brother’s ex-wife, drove us to Tegel Airport for our departure back to Australia. Several family members farewelled us at Tegel Airport.




For Saturday, the 26th of June, our last Saturday before our departure, Ilse had organised a family meeting. One cousin came from England, another one with his daughter came from Frankfurt and Peter’s sister Eva came with husband Harald from Windischgarsten in Austria. And of course Ilse’s sons and family, who live in Berlin came also as well as Eva’s daughter and granddaughter. Ilse’s partner Finn made a great video of the occasion. A copy of it he sent to us to Australia. There were also some photos taken of this family gathering. I show some of them here:

We met at this restaurant in Scharnweber Strasse.

We met at this restaurant in Scharnweber Strasse.

Peter with his sister Eva who came from Austria.

Peter with his sister Eva who came from Austria.




Another photo in front <a href=


Ilse und Finn

Ilse und Finn

Ilse and Finn invited us for another farewell meal at the same restaurant a few days later.

Here Ilse talks to Daniel, the manager of the restaurant.

Here Ilse talks to Daniel, the manager of the restaurant.

Finn took this photo.

Finn took this photo.


Berlin in 2010

22 Apr
A street in Berlin-Friedrichshain

A street in Berlin-Friedrichshain

This is where my niece lives in Friedrichshain.

This is where my niece lives in Friedrichshain.

DSCN0450 There’s no lift in the building, but a beautiful staircase.

Here I see Carlos, the son of my niece, for the first time.

Here I see Carlos, the son of my niece, for the first time.

This picture was taken some other day with Klaudia and Corinna.

This picture was taken some other day with Klaudia and Corinna.

I took this picture of Peter with my brother Peter Uwe and partner Astrid.

I took this picture of Peter with my brother Peter Uwe and partner Astrid.

This is a street in Berlin-Friedenau where my brother Bodo used to live.

This is a street in Berlin-Friedenau where my brother Bodo used to live.

Peter took this picture on my brother Bodo's 72nd birthday.

Peter took this picture on my brother Bodo’s 72nd birthday.

Some time later. . .

Some time later. . .

 ' ' '  we met Ilse and her friend Erica in Berlin-Friedenau.

‘ ‘ ‘ we met Ilse and her friend Erica in Berlin-Friedenau.


That same day we went with Ilse to this 'Friedhof'.

That same day we went with Ilse to this ‘Friedhof’.

The ashes of Peter's and Ilse parents and of Ilse's husband are buried here.

The ashes of Peter’s and Ilse parents and of Ilse’s husband are buried here.

This site is in one of the next rows.

This site is in one of the next rows.

Am Schlachtensee 1986

17 Mar


Even though this is another blog by pethan35 written in German, I still want to reblog it. I assume, that some of my followers can understand a bit of German, and besides some people might like to see the pictures and listen to the duet on the video.

I found in Google this Obituary about Karl-Josef Hering:



Thursday 18 June 1998

After gaining experience in Hanover and Krefeld, Hering was engaged in 1966 by the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, and remained with the company until 1979, when ill-health forced him to retire. He then became landlord of the Fisher Cabin, an old and well-known hostelry in the Zehlendorf district of Berlin. There he frequently entertained his guests with a song.

Hering was born in Westonnen, Westphalia, and had already begun commercial training when he started to study with Franz Volker, a German tenor famous for his Wagnerian roles. Hering also studied with Max Lorenz, another heroic tenor. He made his debut in 1958 in Hanover, where he progressed from the First Prisoner in Fidelio to Florestan, the hero of Beethoven’s opera. In 1964 he moved to Krefeld and in 1966 to Berlin, where one of his earlier roles was Max in Der Freischutz.

In October the same year he made his Covent Garden debut as Siegfried in Gotterdammerung: everyone admired his voice, the kind of heroic tenor not heard in London for many years – older opera lovers even invoked the name of Lauritz Melchior in comparison – but his lack of stage experience and stiff acting were also commented upon.

In Berlin the following April, Hering first sang the young Siegfried, and it became immediately obvious that he had found his perfect role. Nearly two metres tall (around 6ft 5in) and broad to match, the tenor effortlessly conveyed the thoughtless, badly behaved child that lies at the heart of Siegfried, while his “big, never- failing voice unites melody and words with complete naturalness”, as the late Arthur Jacobs wrote, continuing, “I really enjoy his Siegfried.” So did I, quite enormously, when Hering sang both Siegfrieds at Covent Garden in September 1968.

Meanwhile Hering was rapidly acquiring new roles. He sang Pedro in Tiefland at the Vienna Volksoper, Parsifal in Marseilles and, in 1969, Erik in Der fliegende Hollander in Berlin. He visited Buenos Aires the same year, to sing Andres in Wozzeck and Max. He added Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos, Aegisthus in Elektra and Hermann in The Queen of Spades to his Deutsche Oper repertory, and in 1970 returned to Covent Garden for both Siegfrieds in what turned out to be his final visit.

Siegmund in Die Walkure took him across the Berlin Wall to the Staatsoper, while he made guest appearances all over Germany, usually as Siegfried, which he also sang in Toronto. Hering was made a Berlin Kammersanger in 1974: his final new role at the Deutsche Oper was the Drum Major in Wozzeck, a character for which his gigantic stature well suited him. His retirement at the age of 50 because of ill-health was a great loss to opera. At any time there are very few tenors who can sing Siegfried; hardly any of them can sing the role the way Hering did.

Karl-Josef Hering, opera singer and innkeeper: born Westonnen, Westphalia 14 February 1929; died Berlin 20 May 1998.”

Originally posted on Pethan35's Blog:

Im europäischen Frühling 1986 waren wir wieder einmal  zu Besuch in Berlin.

Am Sonntag, den 27. April nahm ich am 25 km Lauf teil. Berlin erlebte einen späten Frühling. Aber endlich meldete sich der Frühling an. Die ersten Knospen waren mutig und wagten sich ans Sonnenlicht und gaben den Sträuchern einen grünen Schimmer.

Nach dem erfolgreichen Lauf beschlossen wir, meine Frau Ute, Tochter Caroline und ich,  uns am Schlachtensee zu erholen.  Hier hatte ich auch für den Lauf trainiert. Der Rundlauf (etwa 5.5 km) ist wunderbar zum Joggen geeignet. Aber das lag hinter mir.

Wir erreichten den See mit der S-Bahn und liefen am Ufer entlang zur Bootsvermietung. Es war mitten in der Woche und nicht viele Menschen kamen mit der gleichen Idee.  Die Frau, die uns das Boot verlieh, war überrascht und plauderte munter mit uns. Für Caroline war es auch ein neues Erlebnis und sie wollte natürlich selber…

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Bayerisches Viertel

27 Jan
This is a view of Bozener Strasse towards the Chestnut Tree. This picture is to be found in

This is a view of Bozener Strasse towards the Chestnut Tree. This picture is to be found in this article by the Tagesspiegel  about Bayerisches Viertel.

Here is another picture of that Chestnut Tree.

Here is another picture of that Chestnut Tree.

This is a picture of Bozener Strasse seen from the

This is a picture of Bozener Strasse seen from the “Robbengatter” Restaurant.

The top three pictures were all taken from this Tagesspiegel article:




On September 20th, 2012 I wrote the following:

“Yesterday, Tuesday, our destination was Bayerischer Platz. Just round the corner is Bozener Strasse, where I grew up. I felt quite nostalgic to see my old stomping ground again. We picked up a few large, shiny, rather big chestnuts from under the huge tree at the end of Bozener Strasse. I remember this tree very well from my childhood!”

I mentioned this chestnut tree in this blog: http://auntyuta.com/2013/06/02/early-memories/

This picture under the chestnut tree was taken on the 9th June 1940, my brother Bodo's second birthday.

This picture under the chestnut tree was taken on the 9th June 1940, my brother Bodo’s second birthday.



9th June 1940: All the party guests are under the chestnut tree for picture taking.

9th June 1940: All the party guests are under the chestnut tree for picture taking.

Here I am under that tree in September 2012,

Here I am under that tree in September 2012,

Peter in Bozener Strasse, the street where I grew up!

Peter in Bozener Strasse, the street where I grew up!


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