Instead of having every Wednesday afternoon off, Maria had every second Wednesday the whole day off. That made it possible for her to go on the long journey to Berlin to see her butcher friend to whom she was engaged. When she came back, she always carried a large packet of smallgoods (wurst). There was liverwurst and salami and Berliner fleischswurst as well as frankfurts and ham. That Maria was willing to share all this with us, certainly shows that she must have regarded us very much as her family.

Yet as far as I remember, she alsways had her meals in the kitchen the same as our previous maids. I guess this was just the custom at the time. I don’t think any of the maids would have felt like complaining about that. Yet Maria once said to me, she would like to be allowed to go to Berlin every Wednesday. She pointed out to me, that Mum went to Berlin every Thursday. Therefore on Thursdays Maria had to look after us children all by herself. ‘Why cannot your Mum do the same for me everyWednesday? Certainly this is not too much to ask?’

I talked to Mum about it. Her answer was: ‘Now look, a maid is entitled to only one afternoon off per week. I am very generous that I let her stay away for the whole day every second Wednesday!’ And that was it. Nothing would have made her change her mind.

Mum enjoyed to go to Berlin once a week. She stayed in our city apartment, which we were still renting, even though there was hardly any furniture left in it. Eventually Mum had to take in several ‘Untermieter’ (sub-tenants). That is some rooms had to be sublet to people who had lost their homes during some bomb raids. Towards the end of 1944 Mum was only left with one room to herself. None the less, she liked the excitement of being in Berlin. I can’t recall Aunty Ilse ever going to Berlin. She did not have an apartment to go to any more, since the top floor where her apartment had been, had been totally destroyed by fire-bombs.

4 thoughts on “CHILDHOOD MEMORIES 1943/1944 CONTINUED

  1. What on earth happened to people when their apartment was bombed?? Where ever did they go. War is so far reaching.

    1. Great question, Noeleen. Lots of children didn’t live in their hometowns any more anyway. They had been evacuated to far away places, for instance Peter’s two sisters and later Peter as well. Whereas their Mum and Tante Mietze stayed in Berlin. Each of these city houses would have had strongly built basements and cellars underneath. Often people could survive in these cellars and even live in them for a while if the apartment house had been destroyed by bombs. The buildings that were left standing would have been occupied by lots of additional people. Whoever didn’t need to stay in the cities escaped to somewhere in the country.

  2. Maria sounds like a very lovely and generous girl, it would be lovely to be able to follow up on her life and everything that occured after the war, did she marry the butcher and raise a family ?,
    Enjoyable reading Auntyuta.

    1. Thanks, dear Emu, for this comment. Yes, maybe she married and raised a family. I like to think that she did. Is she still alive now? Maybe she is and maybe she isn’t. She would be well into her nineties now. I do not recall her surname and I have no idea what the butchers name was. We often talked about her with my brother Peter. He knows that she looked after him a lot during his early years. But he was too little to really remember her now. But he’s always interested to hear more about Maria. He knows of course that she was Polish. That reminds me once when we were visiting my brother when he still lived in Berlin, he had a young Polish woman coming to Berlin from Poland for a few days every week to do some apartment-cleaning jobs not just for my brother but for other people as well. With the money she earned she could do a lot of things in Poland for the German money was worth considerable more than Polish money. She was polite, respectful, well spoken – she reminded me a bit of Maria. This goes back now more than eighteen years. Her husband in Poland was a tennis instructor. For his efforts he earned in Poland far less than what his wife could earn in Germany doing some cleaning jobs! Even when you consider she had expenses travelling on the train it was still very much worth it for her to do this job for a while.

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