The End of War

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.

10 thoughts on “The End of War

  1. Hallo liebe Freundin wünsche dir einen schönen Tag und Sonnenschein heute ist mal ein schöner Tag.Ja der Krieg war schon schlimm ich war ja noch klein bin 45 geb.Da war der Krieg schon zu Ende aber es waren immer noch schlimme Zeiten.Grüße dich lieb Gislinde

    1. Hallo, liebe Gislinde. Ja, wir waren froh wie der Krieg zu Ende war. Wünsche die noch viele sonnige Tage. Wir fühlen uns wie mitten im Winter, denn die Tage sind sehr kurz und und es gibt nicht viel Sonne.
      Geniesse den Sommer, liebe Gislinde. Liebe Grüsse, Uta.

  2. When you speak of these years, you know, Aunty Uta, I can’t help but think in parallel what my mother must have been doing, & my grandmother. Such different lives between Poland and Germany.

    Having tenants would have been interesting? I reckon.

    You sure don’t have Alzheimers!!

  3. Liebe Uta! Thank you for sharing those memories. It’s important that people are reminded of the human element to war. It’s not just bombs and guns, it’s people and homes! WWI was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”. Then we hoped WWII would be the same. And I’m glad you are posting some again!

  4. Oh yes, dear Devon, WW II had been the war to end all wars. We said after the war: “Nie wieder Krieg”. I think the German psyche became very anti militaristic. This is what this crazy war had taught us at the time.
    Now, so many years later, wars are still going on in many parts of the world. Why is it that we don’t seem to be able to avoid wars? Is it because we cannot tolerate anyone to be different from us?

  5. I remember hunger and picking up cigarette butts for my dad when the Canadians had freed Holland. My dad was as desperate for a smoke as we were of food.
    Marlene Dietrich sang; Wo sind all die Soldaten hin, and Wo sind al die Blumen hin?

    Memories form parts of our lives. Thanks Auntyuta.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Gerard.
      A Dutch friend of ours passed away at the beginning of this year. She had been born in 1933. I remember her telling us how she and her family in Holland did not have enough to eat. They must have been through terrible times.
      Cigarette butts, that the soldiers of the occupation forces threw away, were straight away picked up. People were always on the lookout for them. Cigarettes were traded in the black market, also coffee. A loaf of bread was sold for 100 Mark on the black market!
      My mother did a lot of trading on the black market. She always did earn a few cigarettes for herself with all this trading.

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