This is a link to a story about a Trümmerfrau, a woman in Berlin who during and after the war started working as a ‘rubble’ woman. She did this for ten years. This woman, who apparently had come from a well to do family, lost everything during World War II: Her husband, her seven room apartment, everything.
A ‘rubble’ woman worked to clear the rubble away that was left after all the bomb raids. Peter’s mother became one at the end of the war until she could go back to her post-office position.