In Memory of Charlotte, my Mother

This is a passport photo of my mother Charlotte before she got sick.
This is a passport photo of my mother Charlotte before she got sick. We do not know for sure, but she may have suffered a certain kind of memory loss later on.
A few Years later another Passport-Photo was taken of her.
A few Years later another Passport-Photo was taken of her.

We did fly BRITISH AIRWAYS in 1994. We departed London/Heathrow Airport on Saturday, 19th of November at 12.45 and arrived at Tegel Airport/Berlin less than an hour later.

We moved in with my brother Peter Uwe who lived at the time with our mother in a spacious apartment in Berlin-Charlottenburg. For about ten days we stayed there and of course saw Charlotte every day. Once every day a woman would arrive to see after Charlotte’s personal needs. Peter Uwe was still a teacher and had to leave his mother on her own during the day.

Towards the end of November we left Berlin in a rental car. We had planned on going again to Windischgarsten, Austria, where Peter’s sister Eva lives with her husband Harald.

Our tour down south led us first of all to Wittenberg for a break at lunchtime. There was a Christmas Fair (Weihnachtsmarkt).I remember we were able to buy there delicious freshly baked potato pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer). A bit further on we noticed to our delight at some building our Australian flag! There happened to be an exhibition in that building about Australian  aborigines.

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From Wittenberg we went on to Radebeul near Dresden. This is were famous author Karl May had lived. We knew that they had a Karl May Museum in this town. So we went there for a visit. It brought back to me old memories about the noble Winnetou and his friend Old Shatterhand. Soon it was nighttime and we booked into a small hotel at Radebeul.

The following day we spent visiting Dresden. The Frauenkirche was still in ruins. Money was raised for its restoration. This is where I got my Swiss watch. The proceeds of this purchase helped towards the restoration of the church! There was a lovely Weihnachtsmarkt in Dresden too where we bought some food at lunchtime.

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Our next overnight stay was in a hotel in Bad Schandau, a pleasant little spa town at the Elbe River near the Czech border. We took a walk through a wooded area and actually reached the Czech border!

I took this picture of Peter and Caroline where it said that this is the Czech border!
I took this picture of Peter and Caroline where it said that this is the Czech border!

Well, we had not planned to take a direct tour to Austria. We first wanted to see on the way a bit of Germany . During the 1990s we did not have mobile phones. I guess we could have stayed in touch with Berlin or sister Eva via a hotel telephone. But we only rang Eva when we reached Trockau in Bavaria. It was 2 pm on the 2nd of December (I made a note of it!)  Peter talked to his sister Eva, wanting to give her an indication when we might arrive at her place. “Did you ring Berlin yet?” she asked. “No, why?” And then Eva said to ring straight away. “Yesterday Uta’s mother has had a stroke and is in hospital!”
(My brother Peter Uwe had been ringing Peter’s sister Ilse who had been ringing her sister Eva.)

We did ring Berlin then of course and said to my brother we would straight away come to Berlin. We reached Berlin late at night. Peter Uwe was waiting for us and went with us to the hospital. My mother did not recover and died during the night from the 21st to the 22nd of December.

On the 13th of January 1995 we were back in Australia. My mother was to be cremated. Only there was a severe backlog at the time. The cremation could only be done well into February. And the funeral service could only be held after the cremation. Well, this was the German way of doing it. It upset me terribly. Yes, this was very difficult for me.

Peter Uwe, my brother, had been living separated from Klaudia, his wife, for some time.  Peter Uwe had a new partner already. Her name is Astrid. At the time Klaudia and Astrid did not like each other, not at all. But over the years this has changed. I think they are at ease with each other now whenever they happen to meet. Peter Uwe and Klaudia have a daughter, Corinna, who was at my mum’s funeral, also Klaudia and of course Peter Uwe. Astrid was not there. Just two more people were there: Our cousin Wolfgang and his wife Gisela.

These are the five people who were at my mum's funeral.
These are the five people who were at my mum’s funeral.
This building is at the entrance to the cemetary (Städtischer Friedhof Schöneberg)
This building is at the entrance to the cemetary (Städtischer Friedhof Schöneberg)

I guess the funeral service would have been held in there. We took the above picture in 2010 when Klaudia had the idea to show us the spot where Mum’s urn is buried anonymously amongst other urns on a beautiful lawn. The following pictures are the ones Peter Uwe sent us from the day of the funeral.

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This stone we recognised in 2010 when Klaudia showed us the cemetery. Where these flowers are from the day of the funeral is presumably where Mum's urn was buried.
This stone we recognised in 2010 when Klaudia showed us the cemetery. Where these flowers are from the day of the funeral is presumably where Mum’s urn was buried.
And here is the stone we saw in 2010.
And here is the stone we saw in 2010.

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2 thoughts on “In Memory of Charlotte, my Mother

  1. It is interesting that she passed away on the night of our wedding anniversary. A wedding she had originally not liked taking place. In later years she changed her tune and we were good friends. When we saw her last before she suffered her stroke she suffered severely from dementia. She actually did not know who we were. But I must say she was at that stage a very easy going lovely old lady. I think, without her memory her real good self became dominant.

    She was immortalised in the film about the Olympic Games in 1936 when the camera, probably scanning the crowd, caught her image. I made this into a fictional story and published it in a blog of my own.

    http://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/the-woman-who-jumped-up-for-jesse-owens/

    1. Thanks for the comment and for the link, Berlioz.
      Actually I reblogged the Jesse Owens story. Maybe this way a few more people are becoming aware of it. If it is true – and we cannot be 100% sure about this – it would say a lot about my mother. Peter Uwe, as I remember, refused to believe that Charlotte jumped up for Jesse Owens, when we showed him the documentary. But who knows? It might very well be true. This picture from the Leni Riefenstahl documentary for sure shows a great likeness, This is what I think. 🙂

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