As I said before Mum enjoyed going to Berlin once a week. She was able to stay in our city apartment, which we were still renting. Of course, most of our furniture was in that country place where we were all staying. 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 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 going to Berlin on a regular basis during our stay in the country. Come to think of it 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. I cannot recall the exact date when this happened but I think it was probably soon after we had moved away from Berlin.
Mum had to walk for about half an hour to the next village to catch the bus which took her to the next train station. Going to the center of Berlin she then had to change trains a few times. All in all it was quite a long trip. But even in the fifth and sixth year of war buses and trains were still going pretty much on time.
As I mentioned before, Tante Ilse married Helmut L aka Onkel Peter on the 20th of July 1944. The wedding took place in Merane at the place of Onkel Peter’s parents. This is also the place where Tante Ilse went to towards the end of the war. Had she married Werner M. and possibly stayed at his place, she would have been in the midst of the Russian advances to Berlin in early 1945.
At the end of January 1945 Mum caught a train from Berlin to Leipzig with us three children to stay with Grandma and cousin Renate in Leipzig. Maria, who had been with us for more than three years, stayed with her fiancee in Berlin. I think the T. family, who had stayed with us in the ‘Ausbau’, moved to a town a bit further south of Berlin.
In Leipzig we were occupied by American and Canadian troops a few days before the end of the war. In what must have been the last bomb raid over Leipzig the house where we stayed was bombed. But we all survived in the very solidly built cellar under the apartment building. Grandma, having lived on the ground floor, was lucky that she could even save most of her furniture whereas the four stories above the ground floor were completely destroyed by bombs!
The area surrounding Berlin became the Russian zone at the finishing of the war. Property owners in the Russian zone had to give up their property. They were ‘enteignet’, meaning Werner M., the very wealthy man, lost everything in this ‘workers’ and ‘peasants’ state. Grandma had always wished for her daughter Ilse to marry this rich man. Just as well she didn’t! Anyhow Ilse had been very much in love with her Peter. She never seriously contemplated marrying Werner M. This is the way I see it.
What happened to Werner M. after the Russians occupied the country? Well, we do not know this. The Russian occupied zone became of course the GDR (German Democratic Republic) until the wall between East and West came down in 1989.