Childhood Memories

Katyn and the Wailing Wall

Werner M gave us a piece of land some distance away from the house so that we could grow our own vegetables. Aunty Ilse very enthusiastically started making a few beds and put in seeds for radishes, tomatoes and lettuce. The beds looked totally out of proportion. Aunty soon was teased by the family that her beds indeed looked like graves. From then on the garden was called ‘Katyn’

Aunty soon got fed up with working in the garden, which turned out to be much too large for the effort she was willing to make. Mum and Mrs. T showed no interest in growing vegetables either. So what to do with the rest of the allotted piece of land?

Werner M came up with a solution. He offered to get his workers to plant carrots and potatoes for us. That way all the land could easily be used. Soon neat rows and rows of machinably planted crops appeared some distance away from the ‘Katyn-graves’. Further down on the site a huge rectangular basin was built and filled with water. Werner M was of the opinion that we needed this pool of water in case of any accidental air-attacks on our ‘Ausbau’. Should there be any fire, at least there would be some water close by which we could use.

To me this basin looked a bit like a swimming-pool. So I was planning to go into it as soon as the water had warmed up a bit. By June it seemed warm enough for a dip. However by that time the water had already turned quite dirty. I told Mum I did not mind a bit of algae in the water. I wanted to try to go into it anyway. Mum let me have her two-piece swimming costume, which she had sewn together for me. Mum came to the pool with me to watch me. The water came only up to my chest, which was just as well because I could not swim yet. I did not venture again into that pool at any other time. I felt once was enough!

And the ‘Wailing Wall’? Well, Werner M had a wall built for Aunty Ilse and Mum, but not for wailing but as a screen so they could sunbathe in the nude. They laughed when they called it ‘Wailing Wall’ . The local working families in the complex could not understand how anyone would want to sunbathe behind a wall!

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