In Love with Leipzig

This is a copy of one of my earlier blogs!

“I found an interesting contribution about the German city of Leipzig.

http://blog.goethe.de/meet-the-germans/archives/179-In-Love-with-Leipzig.html

As a ten and eleven year old in 1945/46 I did get to know a bit about this city. Sure, when we first moved there to stay at grandmother’s place, the war hadn’t finished yet and we experienced quite a few bomb raids.

As I told in another blog, one bomb raid in April 1945 turned out to be disastrous for us. This was probably the very last bomb raid that Leipzig had to endure, because soon after the American troops together with some Canadians occupied the city. When the Canadians moved through neighbouring streets to lay out some cables, we kids were watching them. We were impressed by their appearance. They were all very young looking, tall and lean in immaculate uniforms. We welcomed the foreign troops.Them being with us meant, we wouldn’t be bombed any more. From now on we could sleep in peace!

We were a family of six. Having lost our home in the bomb raid, we applied for accommodation for our family. We were given a flat in an area where the buildings weren’t damaged at all. We were assigned an apartment that had  three rooms plus kitchen and bathroom. Had grandmother been just with Renate she would not have been able to get an apartment  of this size. Only families of five or more were assigned accommodation with that many rooms! So we were lucky again. Grandmother stayed in this apartment in Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse for many more years. She died in 1957.

About Leipzig I remember the ‘Ratskeller’, where we had a few times a lovely meal. I always thought it was something special to eat out somewhere. But I loved Grandma’s cooking too. Like magic she always produced excellent meals even when there was not much food available. She was a great one for improvising. And never ever was any bit of food thrown out. She always pointed out to us, to throw away good food, was a sin. This kind of thinking still sticks with me today!

I also  remember the Thomaner Church in Leipzig and the Thomaner Choir. I believe the journalist who wrote the blog about present day Leipzig is from England and lives in Berlin now. He went for a visit to Leipzig and ended up loving this city. If ever I have a chance to visit Germany again, I plan on paying Leipzig a visit together with Peter, my husband, and Peter, my brother. If you are interested in finding out more about Leipzig, please look up the above link.”

Last year during our visit to Germany we did not forget that we had wanted to visit the city of Leipzig. We  actually went there for a day visit. We had in our minds to search for  the grave of my paternal grandfather who had died in 1947. After a lot of searching we were able to locate his grave site. We made some pictures which I published in a blog. Leipzig seems to be a thriving city these days. We would have liked to stay there a bit longer. But we had to go back to Berlin the same day.  The Main Leipzig Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof) has been very modernised. A huge modern shopping center is located within its premises.

12 thoughts on “In Love with Leipzig

  1. Leipzig is a great city. It is only 75 minutes by fast train away from Berlin. Historical it is important because the anti government movement in former East-Germany started there. Every Monday evening they had a demonstration that grew over time to a real mass movement that later, in November 1989, blew away the wall in Berlin.

    This year they celebrate the Bicentennial of the Battle of the Nations against the French Army of Napoleon in October 1813.

    1. In Leipzig “East Germans protested against the communist regime, speeding the downfall of the Wall, re-making Leipzig as the Stadt der Helden (the city of heroes).” Rory MacLean mentions this in his blog about Leipzig from November 2011.
      Thanks for reminding me, Berlioz, that this year in October is the Bicentennial commemoration of the Battle of the Nations. Last year we took pictures of the “Völkerschlacht Denkmal” (Battle of the Nations Memorial) in Leipzig. The Südfriedhof (Southern Cemetery), where we found my grandfather’s grave, is right next to this Battle of the Nations Memorial.

  2. You have lived under some extremely turbulent and difficult situations in the worst of times. You are such a remarkably resilient person, Uta. I really admire your happy spirit. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your response, Debra. Writing it down so many years later it seems indeed like we went through turbulent and difficult situations. Turbulent and difficult, yes. Still, I do not believe there was desperation. Everyone showed some kind of humour in coping with the situation. No, there was no desperation as far as I can remember.
      About desperation I learned a few years later during my early teenage years. I didn’t show a very happy spirit then. Luckily this desperation did not last for very long. I soon found my happy spirit again.

  3. Leipzig is on my list of next to see in Germany. I love your descriptions of what it was like in Germany during the war. We Americans…of my age, anyway, have no idea what war is like. I simply can’t imagine the level of fear people had to live with (and, unfortunately still do in too many parts of the world.) But kids adapt so magnificently. All these years later, you are remembering the good parts, your Oma’s cooking, the smart looking soldiers. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Linda. You’re right, kids often adapt magnificently. However I think if they happen to see some atrocities they are likely to suffer trauma. I feel we were lucky that we didn’t suffer trauma. Being in the cellar while the whole building above us went to pieces was quite scary. I would say it did not turn into trauma because we were immediately able to find an escape window to the outside. Everyone was immensely relieved that we had this way out. I think in the midst of disaster we considered ourselves to be extremely lucky. People were laughing and joking for we had been saved! This was the general feeling.
      If you visit Leipzig you’ll be astonished how beautifully restored the city looks now. I think it’s marvellous that a lot of the pre war old buildings could be restored!

      1. Yes, I found Dresden to be an amazing example of restoration. I suppose, as long as you or your loved ones weren’t directly injured, it all felt a bit like an adventure. That’s the thing with kids, what’s better than a book? A real life adventure.

  4. All your reminicenses Auntyuta tel a great story from a time that is embedded in a lot of peoples mind, you talk from the other side which is rare to find these days, I truly hope that all your writing one day, become a book, they are invaluable to , not only your family, but history.
    Ian/Emu

    1. I read an article in a German paper the other day. Even they are worried now that people who lived through war years are dying out. History books only give you an incomplete view of history, usually from the point of view of the ruling classes.

      1. I guess it is kind of important to record for instance how people’s lives were effected by wars and political decisions. I mean it is important to record the lives of ordinary people who experienced hardship caused by wars.

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