I copied this Blog that Pethan (Peter) published yesterday in German about 1943 when he was eight years old!

1943 – Mein Jahr als Achtjähriger

Veröffentlicht am 

Mein Urenkel, Lucas, wurde in diesem Juli acht Jahre alt. Er ist ein stattlicher Bursche, der uns viel Freude bereitet. Er und sein Bruder wachsen in einer Zeit und in einem Land auf, dass nicht unterschiedlicher sein kann von der Zeit und Umgebung in der ich als Achtjähriger aufwuchs.

Lucas an einem Strand von NSW, Australien

Und als ich ihn während der Woche sah, machte ich mir Gedanken darüber wie es war als ich acht Jahre alt war.

Ich lebte damals in Berlin und der Krieg war allgegenwärtig. Die Zeitungen und die Wochenschauen berichteten ständig über das Geschehen an den Fronten. In den Nächten raubte die RAF uns mit ihren Luftangriffen um unseren Schlaf.

Ich laß damals täglich zwei Zeitungen. Morgens die Berliner Morgenpost und Nachmittags die BZ am Mittag. Letztere wurde im Februar eingestellt. Die Radio Nachrichten wurden vom Wehrmachtsbericht des OKW beherrscht. Ich konnte mir damals nicht vorstellen, was es wohl in Friedenszeiten zu berichten gab. Wir hörten oder lasen nie einen Wetterbericht, denn das war ein Kriegsgeheimnis.

Wir Kinder wurden angehalten, Lumpen und Altpapier zu sammel um unsere Soldaten an den Fronten, überall in Europa, zu unterstützen. Dazu sangen wir: „Lumpen, Knochen, Eisen und Papier, ja, ja, ja das sammeln wir…“ . Hier muss ich ein Geständnis machen. Unter dem gesammelten Papier befanden sich viele Bücher. Wir, meine Schwestern und ich, schauten uns die Bücher genau an und so manche behielten wir zum Lesen. So wurde ich zum Wehrkaftzerzetzer ohne es zu ahnen.

Das Jahr fing für uns Deutsche mit der militärischen Katastrophe von Stalingrad an. Die sechste Armee hatte eine Stärke die größer war als die heutige gesamte Bundeswehr. 150,000 Soldaten „starben durch Kampfhandlungen, verhungerten oder erfroren. 108,000 gingen in die Gefangenschaft, Von ihnen kehrten nur 6,000 nach dem Krieg zurück (Wikipedia)“. Am 18. Februar ruft dann Joseph Goebbels im Sportpalast den „Totalen Krieg“ aus.

Mein Geburtstag fiel 1943 auf einen Sonntag, aber schon am Samstag davor lud mich meine Mutter ein, nach der Schule zu ihrer Arbeitsstelle, in der Hedemannstraße, zu kommen um mir ein Geburtstagsgeschenk abzuholen. Es war nicht ungewöhnlich das ich allein mit der U-Bahn zu ihr ins Büro fuhr. Bei ihr angekommen überraschte sie mich mit einem Modell eines Rennautos. Es war blau und etwa 30cm lang. Wie freute ich mich! Als der Zug auf der Rückfahrt ankam, öffnete ich die Wagentür schon vor dem Halt und sprang aus dem noch fahrenden Zug. Ich hatte das schon öfters getan aber diesmal hatte ich die Geschwindigkeit des Zuges unterschätzt. Ich fiel auf die  Platform und der Rennwagen befreite sich von meinem Griff und raste von mir fort. Er knallte mit voller Wucht an die erste Stufe der Treppe zum Ausgang. Außer ein paar Schrammen am Knie war mir nichts passiert. 

Die Verhältnismäßige Ruhe in 1942 ging dann mit der Verschärfung des Luftkrieges im Juli 1943 zu Ende. Zuerst kam es zu einem verheerenden Angriff auf Hamburg (24. und 25 Juli). Ich kann mich noch gut an die Bilder aus Hamburg erinnern. Es war grauenvoll.

Das ließ nichts Gutes ahnen. Die Evakuierung von Schulen mit Kindern und Lehrern wurde für Berlin angeordnet. Frauen die nicht arbeiteten sollten auch die Stadt verlassen.

Am 10. Juli landeten die ersten Truppen der westlichen Alliierten auf Sizilien. In der Wochenschau zeigten sie uns wie die Luftlandetruppen massenweise aus den Flugzeugen sprangen. Mein Vater, der bisher in Lodz war, wurde nach Italien versetzt und dort al LKW Fahrer eingesetzt.

Am 23. August wurden meine beiden Schwestern nach Ostpreußen verschickt. In der folgenden Nacht gab es den bisher schwersten Luftangriff.

Die Luftangriffe bestimmten den Rhythmus unseres Lebens. Kaum eine Nacht konnten wir durchschlafen. Am 22. November, am Abend bis in die Nacht, kam dann der schwerste Angriff. Meine Mutter war ins Theater gegangen. Meine Tante weigerte sich mit mir in den Keller zu gehen. Ich machte mir große Sorgen um meine Mutter. Die Bomben fielen ohne Unterbrechung. Bevor sie explodierten konnte man das Heulen hören, dann Stille und dann ein gewaltiger Knall. Die Erschütterungen ließen das ganze Haus wackeln. Das elektrische Licht flackerte, aber es hielt. Später hörten wir, dass der Zoo schwer getroffen wurde und das viele Tiere, soweit sie nicht getötet wurden, entkommen waren. Es war genau die Gegend wo meine Mutter war. Auch sie überlebte. Ein neues Wort wurde 1943 geprägt, „Heimatfront“. So fühlte es sich auch an. Uns allen war klar, jeder Tag konnte der letzte Tag unseres Lebens sein. Nach den Angriffen brannte es überall in der Stadt und der Himmel färbte sich blutrot.B 17 over Berlin 1945

Eine amerikanische B 17, Super Festung über unserer Wohngegend. An der Spitze des linken Tragflügels ist der Südstern zu erkennen.

Etwa zwei Wochen später kam mein Vater plötzlich auf Heimaturlaub. Am Abend zuvor schickte mich meine Mutter zum Gemüseladen um Senf für ihn zu kaufen. Ich rannte vor Freude und Erwartung und stolperte dann an der Eingangsstufe zum Geschäft und fiel zu Boden. Das leere Glas, das ich trug, zerschellte und ein Splitter durchschnitt eine Ader an meinem rechten Handgelenk. Es blutete sehr, es war aber nicht die Pulsader. Meine Mutter brachte mich sofort zu unserem Hausarzt der dann die Wunde nähte. Am nächsten Tag konnte ich dann den Verband stolz meinem Vater zeigen. 

Er blieb nicht lange da meine Eltern zu Weihnachten nach Ostpreußen fuhren um dort meine Schwestern zu besuchen. Am Heiligen Abend blieb ich bei meiner Tante die in der Wohnung über uns wohnte. Es war ein sehr einsamer Heilig Abend, kein gemütliches Beisammensein mit der Familie und auch kein Weihnachtsbaum. Es war schon spät als die Tante mich dann in unsere Wohnung brachte und siehe da, in der Stube auf dem Tisch  standen etwa ein Dutzend Spielzeugsoldaten in der Uniform aus den Zeiten Friedrich des Großen. Der Weihnachtsmann hatte mich also nicht vergessen.

Noch vor dem Neuen Jahr kehrte meine Mutter zurück und brachte einen Topf voll Königsberger Klopse mit. Meinen Vater habe ich erst nach dem Krieg im Mai 1946 wieder gesehen. So ging das fünfte Kriegsjahr zu Ende. Es hatte große Veränderungen gebracht. Die Krieg war näher gekommen und niemand war mehr siegessicher.

PS. In der ersten Woche im Januar 1944 wurde auch ich verschickt und trat meine Reise nach Oberschlesien an. Für Berlin wurde es ein schlimmes Jahr mit Tages- und Nachtangriffen.IMG_20150203_0001

Bomben fallen auf den Bezirk Kreuzberg

A Sunny Sunday in Sydney

I copied this Blog now with Pictures!

auntyutaDiary  March 12, 2012 1 Minute

We arrived at 10,30 am at Martin Place station to meet Angie and Roy at 11 am. We walked along Macquarie Street to their hotel and Peter took some pictures along the way. When we arrived at the hotel they offered us refreshments straightaway. And we soon got into talking amiably.

Later on we had Japanese lunch with them at the Opera House. The sky had cleared for the day. In beautiful sunshine we walked up to the Opera House. Peter took some pictures. When my lunch arrived Peter took a picture of that too. I had ordered a vegetarian roll. It looked beautiful with the avocado on top and cut up in small pieces. Somehow I managed to eat all this with chopsticks! I spiced every piece with soy sauce, horseradish and ginger. Delicious! The others had ordered something with fish. They all commented that my dish looked much more colourful.

After lunch we walked through the Botanical Gardens and Peter took some more pictures. By 2 pm we were back in Macquarie Street where Angie and Roy were staying at the InterContinental.They had tickets for a concert for later in the afternoon at the Opera House. So it worked out well that they could have a little rest before going out again. Peter and I wanted to catch our train back home from Martin Place. We had had a lovely day with two people we had never met before. But some of Angie’s family are known to us. They all were emailed some photos of yesterday’s meeting. One of Angie’s sisters, who lives in England, already emailed back saying she and her husband were planning to travel to Melbourne next year to see their two sons there and meet other family members. It’s such a small world! Peter worked out that a lot of the descendents of his paternal grandparents already live in Australia.

Angie and Roy travel today, Monday, to South Australia and to the Barossa Valley. They stay in Australia for two weeks only. During this time they also plan to fly to Alice Springs (to see ULURU), as well as to Cairns and from there back home to America. I think in Sydney they had had only three days.

Our Garden

Our Garden looked like this in 2013!

auntyutaUncategorized  January 15, 2013 1 Minute

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Just before Christmas we planted something new at the side of our house which belongs to our private backyard. Now, after less than one month, we took some new pictures of our plants who amazingly survived pretty well the 41 C heat last Tuesday. When you compare the picture of the plants when they were little with the pictures what they look like now, you can see the growth that has occurred is very remarkable.

This is a trial post for inserting new pictures. I was finally able to upgrade my post. My VISA debit card wasn’t accepted. Peter helped me out with PayPal. This worked all right. It’s a great feeling to be able to publish some new pictures!

Some Copies of what I published in December 2011

Christmas

Following is something I wrote in November 2007. It sounds like I could have written this today, only now I am four years older!

Time is running out . . . .

At age seventy-three, how much time do I have left? With every year time seems to be getting more precious. Whatever I still want to do in life, I should be doing it soon, very soon. There is no need to panic. It is just this feeling in me that I ought not to waste time; in other words, I should make the best use of it I possibly can. Making time for reflections as I do right now, I do not regard this as a waste of time. It nourishes my soul, it makes me look forward to spend the day in a productive way. There are the Christmas preparations to consider. How can I keep them to a minimum with that special Christmas Spirit in mind? Some spiritual songs usually help me along to get into the mood. Even in shopping centres the odd Christmas song can bring about temporary elation, a feeling of peace and comfort in a buzzing shopping centre! And even if this sort of mood happens only for brief moments while doing the shopping , it is still appreciated and helps to cope with the mad commercialism that surrounds us everywhere.

The special food at Christmas I like very much. On the other hand I hate it, if food is being wasted. I rather have not too much food of everything. How awful, if food has to be thrown out because we cannot keep it fresh enough in the Australian heat once it leaves the fridge. There may be one and a half dozen people at our family gathering. People bring food along. I would like to keep the food that I am going to provide to a strict minimum. Unfortunately I know already that this is an impossibility at Christmas time! I suppose I’ll just have to grin and bear it. I am determined to make the most of the Christmas Spirit where-ever I may come across it and enjoy the closeness of family and friends. Indeed I am looking forward to a Joyful and Happy Christmas. I did not always feel joyful and happy at Christmas time: There are some happy memories about Christmas, but there are also some very unhappy ones . . . . May the truly happy hours at Christmas time be plentiful and greatly outnumber the sad and lonely hours! This is what I wish for everyone.

Memories

Daddy’s Anger

My husband and I lived with our two babies at my father’s place. Our application to migrate to Australia had been successful and we were looking forward to soon be leaving old Germany. Since our fare to Australia was being paid for partly by the German government and partly by the Australian government, we had to pay only a minimal amount for the voyage. Even that was hard to come up with since we had absolutely no savings. So my father volunteered to help us out a bit.

As a matter of preparing for our departure, we were trying to get rid of a few things which we could not take along to Australia. We put an ad in the paper, thinking, if we could sell the baby cots and pram, it would mean an extra bit of money for us.

I had not anticipated my father’s reaction to this. My usually so placid and relaxed father blew his head, when he saw the ad. ‘Why didn’t you tell me, you needed more money?’ he screamed. ‘I would have given you more!’

‘Do you have no consideration at all for what people might think, when they realise, that my own daughter needs to sell things in order to acquire a bit of money? Don’t you think people might wonder why on earth I do not provide for my daughter? Have you thought about my reputation at all?’

‘People in my position normally hand those things over to charity. How dare you ask for money for anything like that!’ He just went on and on about it and got more and more excited. I started to get anxious the poor man might get a heart attack. My timid apologies did stay totally unnoticed until he had calmed down a bit. But once he had calmed down, the matter was forgotten. He never mentioned it again. And we never did sell any of the items. We just left everything behind in my father’s storeroom in the basement of the building where he lived.

Out of last Year’s Files

The following is an edited version of what I wrote about a year ago. I was reflecting on what Mum was like during my early childhood years. I was also reflecting on the way women and men communicate with each other.

 

MY MOTHER

Mum doted on me. I was her first born child. I am sure I got a lot of attention during the first years of my life, and not just from Mum, but also from her sister Ilse, who had no children of her own. Later on I realised that my mother would very much have loved to have a daughter in her image. What a disappointment it must have been for her that I was in a lot of ways the exact opposite of her! Maybe I did not like to be a girl. I think I wished very much to have been a boy. Girlish things just did not interest me one bit!

On the ninth of June 1938, when I was not quite four yet, I was very excited about the arrival of a baby brother. In August 1939 Mum left us children in the care of our live-in home-help. Why did Mum leave? I remember a phone-call from Mum’s sister who was holidaying in Westerland on the Island of Sylt. I imagine Aunty would have said something like this:

‘Please join me, I am so lonely on that island here, I don’t like to have to spend all the time with that pretentious mother-in-law. She watches me like a hawk! Please, please, come, spend some time with me. It would be so good to have you around here! We can have such a lovely time together. And listen, I’m going to pay for your airfare. You can stay in my room with me. Mother-in-law is in the connecting room.’

Mum promised her sister, she’d fly to Westerland the same day. She was quite excited about this. In her excitement she forgot to ring Dad’s office to let him know about her plans. Or did she deliberately not ring him because she sensed that he would have objections to her leaving. I remember when Dad came home he was furious when he found out that Mum had taken off to join her sister and left us children in the care of an eighteen year old home-help! I believe Mum stayed in Westerland for a whole week. When she returned, she talked excitedly about how she had been spending time with her sister in Westerland.  Come night-time they waited till Auntie’s mother-in-law was fast asleep, pretending they were going to sleep too. However as soon as they thought the old lady was fast asleep, they escaped through their bedroom window and went dancing. I remember seeing pictures of them that were taken on the dance-floor. They had already acquired a nice brown tan from having spent time on the beach. I remember looking at the photos and seeing how very brown their faces looked in sharp contrast to their white dresses. Two young marine officers, smartly dressed in their uniforms, could be seen with them. Later I found out, that one of the officers was Helmut Lorenz who six years later became Aunty’s second husband after her divorce from the first one. And the other officer was no other than Max Tomscick, who after the war became Mum’s friend and whom she would call ‘Bambie’.

I cannot recall that having to stay without Mum for a week did cause us any hardship. So the young home-help must have coped quite adequately. When Baby Brother was about a year old he developed a skin condition called ‘Milch-Schorf’. He was not allowed to drink milk then. When he was a bit older, he could drink milk again.

Mum’s third child, also a boy, was born during the war in October 1941. We had a Polish maid at the time, who soon cared for the new baby as though he was her own. She became his ‘Dada’. She was the main contact person for the first three years of his life. This second brother became a very happy and contented child, whereas the first brother was always highly sensitive and suffering from Asthma through most of his childhood. In lots of ways Mum was a tremendously caring mother. I remember her being always very concerned when Bodo had his Asthma attacks. He outgrew his Asthma eventually, but maybe he never had a close relationship with any of the various live in home-helps we used to have. I think he had a close relationship with me, his older sister, for the first few years of his life and later on with Peter Uwe, his younger brother. My father, when he was around, would pay a lot of attention to us children. But I suspect, Bodo, being very sensitive, noticed that he did not get as much attention as I did or later on Peter Uwe, the new baby in the family. Bodo failed to establish a long lasting relationship with a woman later on in life.

 

 

TALKING TO WOMEN AND TALKING TO MEN

Women talking to women is easy, uncomplicated; there is no pretence. The women are just being themselves. Unless of course one woman in the group happens to be very dominant with an abundance of male hormones. When there are several such women in the group, there may be constant fighting for dominant positions. As soon as a male person enters a women’s group, the mood in the group tends to change . . . .

My experience is, that I get on very well with women if the talk centres on womanly things. Of course women tend to discuss also certain male issues from a woman’s point of view. Which is fine with me, and I enjoy participating.

However I ask myself, why is it, that subjects, on which I have formed my own opinions, which are not necessarily mainstream, I rather discuss with a sympathetic man than with a woman? Somehow I get the feeling, it is easier to discuss such a subject with a man, if the man happens to be  interested in such a subject. I often get a better response to my ideas if I open up to a man.

Naturally the number of men who are interested in discussions about philosophical questions is limited. It would be a bliss for me, if I had opportunities to meet such men on a regular basis.

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/05/2nd-sunday-of-advent-2011/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/05/afternoon-of-2nd-of-advent-2011/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/04/handels-messiah/

I wrote on the 4th of December 2011:

Yesterday,  Handel’s MESSIAH was performed in the Wollongong Town Hall.  We went there with Caroline and Matthew. The Soprano was Siobhan Patrick, Caroline’s friend, who has been performing professionally for 20 years.

Peter is not religious. But he loves music like this. The text to the music is taken from the bible. It starts with:

THE PEOPLE OF GOD AWAIT THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH, THE REDEEMER IS BORN, CHRIST BEGINS HIS MINISTRY

In Part 2 comes:

CHRIST SUFFERS FOR HIS PEOPLE

I felt weepy when they sang:

He was despised (Alto) . . . .

All that see him laugh him to scorn (Tenor)

Later on:

THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED,  DISCORD ENSUES,  BUT THE LORD GOD REIGNS OVER ALL

The Soprano sang in a very lovely voice: How beautiful are the feet of those . . . .

Then the Bass: Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

And after that the Hallelujah Chorus

Part 3  . . . . THE FAITHFUL SING PRAISE TO THE REDEEMER

I know that my redeemer liveth – Soprano

Since by man came death – Chorus

Behold, I tell you a mystery – Bass

The trumpet shall sound – Bass

Then shall be brought to pass – Alto

O death, where is thy sting? – Alto and Tenor

If God be for us – Soprano

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. Amen – Chorus

 

It was a truely memorable performance!

 

 

Uta’s Diary continued

I am still on the subject of cleaning and home help. This morning I mentioned in my diary how Peter’s mother and my mother managed in old age.  This is what I wrote:

Both Peter’s father as well as my father did not live to a very old age. So age care was not an issue. Both our mothers though did live into their eighties. How were they cared for? Well, my mother paid her granddaughter to come in on a regular basis and do some work for her, and Peter’s mother paid one of her daughters to do some work for her. Both mothers lived in a very small apartment when they were at an advanced age.

Peter’s mother was actually towards the end of her life in a care home. She had one room in that place. She did not like to eat anything except for cake. I think she was 87 when she died.  My mum ended up in a hospital after a severe stroke when she was ‘only’ 83 and she very soon passed away then.

Peter’s mother trained to work as a child carer after leaving school early. Probably when she was only 14. But soon after her training she joined the postal service, where she retired from with an adequate pension after 40 years service. Since she had three children, she was lucky that her aunt, Tante Mietze,  offered to stay with the family. So there was always somebody there for the children when Peter’s parents were out working. Peter says, his father would have preferred his wife staying home and not going out to work. But since Peter’s parents separated and divorced after the war, the mother was only too glad that she had never given up her job and that she still had Tante Mietze to look after the family.

My mum had in the 1930s and until the end of the war in 1945 always some live-in home help. The home help was called ‘Dienstmädchen’. These girls were rather young when they were employed. During the war we had Maria, who was Polish from the city of Lodz. Before the war we had every year another girl, all of them German girls from the country. I think I wrote a lot about Maria in my ‘Childhood Memories’. It seems to me she was extremely intelligent and efficient. Even my very demanding mum could not find any fault with her.

By the way as far as I know, Tante Mietze was from the country. At age 14 she moved to Berlin to be employed by a prosperous Jewish family as one of their home helps. This was before World War One!

Now I want to mention my father’s parents. They were German citizens who lived in Lodz. The Germans in Polen at the time were going back several generations! The grandparents had six children, and all of them married and had children. Grandfather was a ‘Tischlermeister’ (joinery master) and all his life self employed. At some stage he had a lot of people working under him. I am not sure what sort of home help grandmother may have had when she had all these children. I am sure the older children would have helped with some of the younger ones. Anyhow when I knew the grandparents. grandmother always used to have two very young Polish girls to help her in the house. However, in January of 1945 the grandparents as well as all the family, that was still residing in Lodz, had to flee the city, for the Russian army was getting very close. Nearly all of them made it to Germany. They were  on the road in freezing temperatures. My uncle Ludwig, who was the grandparents’ younger son, had married late. I think he was in his forties and therefore not required to be in the army. As far as I know he was right to the last still doing his best filling army orders in grandfather’s furniture factory. Anyhow, Ludwig was married to Hilde and they had a young daughter and a new born son, who did not survive the escape from Lodz. I think it was so cold on the way that babies’ nappies did get frozen to their bodies! I think this casualty of the little guy was the only casualty the family had to suffer during the whole war!

So the family had to settle somewhere in Germany as very poor refugees. Grandfather did not survive this life of a refugee for very long. He died in Leipzig in March 1947 being aged 77. Everybody thought he did reach a very good old age. Here I wrote about his gravesite and about our visit to Leipzig:

https://auntyuta.com/2012/11/23/a-cemetery-in-leipzig/

https://auntyuta.com/2019/10/16/a-cemetery-in-leipzig-3/

https://auntyuta.com/2013/06/08/in-love-with-leipzig-2/

 

 

 

Uta’s Diary

Today I want to write about the life of an old age couple and who does the cleaning.

I turned 85 last September and Peter turned 85 a few days ago. Peter has multiple health problems. However the good thing is that so far he can still live at home. To me it seems like an enormous blessing that Peter and I can both live together at home. We enjoy every minute of it for we know that sooner or later all this is going to change; so we might just as well make the most of it while it lasts.

So, who does the cleaning? I would like to think, that we share it. With the sharing this works now only some of the time. Our strength is rather limited. So we cannot be too particular about certain cleaning jobs that should be done.

Some of our children sometimes act as though we do not have enough money to spend on ourselves. But so far this has not been the problem, not at all. On the contrary, we still have some savings and are usually able to save a bit more money on a weekly or monthly basis. Despite quite a bit of spending for medical items and consultations with specialists (General Practitioner consultations are mostly without any charge!), we feel medical expenses do not send us broke. Ambulance and hospital stays are for free! So, just how lucky are we? For some people in other countries this must seem like Australia is a dream country. I must say, we know we are extremely lucky.

And I must say, we are extremely lucky that we can still look after ourselves at home. With advancing age there are of course more and more dfifficulties in doing this. I for instance have advanced recently to using a ‘walker’. This light frame with wheels is extremely useful for when I feel very weak and rather than just using my walking stick to support me, I have this walker which makes it easier to move along! I believe my daughters think I have never done a lot of cleaning but now with advanced age it really is getting more and more difficult. Still, with Peter usually being able to do rather more than his share, we have sort of managed so far. Of course we could pay for some subsidised help. But this kind of help is very difficult to get in our area, unless it is an emergency. Anyhow, we have been put on a waiting list for subsidised help. We feel we are not in a position to pay for a lot of hourly help the way hourly work is paid for in Australia. That goes too for the rates that we would have to pay for gardening. So our backyard, where a lot of gardening should be done, gets extremely neglected!

Since we cannot pay for a lot of outside help, we should really be living in a somewhat more suitable place for old age pensioners. There are lots of reasons why it is rather difficult to move to a place like this unless it is an aged care home. And we would rather like to stay away from aged care homes. Even the very expensive ones tend to have staff shortages, and we could not afford a very expensive one anyway.

Both Peter’s father as well as my father did not live to a very old age. So age care was not an issue. Both our mothers though did live into their eighties. How were they cared for? Well, my mother paid her granddaughter to come in on a regular basis and do some work for her, and Peter’s mother paid one of her daughters to do some work for her. Both mothers lived in a very small apartment when they were at an advanced age.

 

Some Thoughts on the Education of Children a few Generations ago and now

Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s in Germany something of utmost importance seemed to be ‘die Kinderstube’. I was made to believe that without a proper ‘Kinderstube’ a child had no proper chance to get on in life. So my mum and aunt would tell me, how fortunate I was to have this ‘Kinderstube’. How then did I experience this fantastic place called Kinderstube? Oddly enough, I had a ‘Kinderzimmer’. My Kinderzimmer was never called ‘Kinderstube’. It was just that all our rooms were called ‘Zimmer’. To call a room ‘Stube’ was socially not acceptable according to Mum. I was made to understand that only socially low standing people would call their rooms ‘Stuben’. Nonetheless, to have a kinderstuben upbringing seemed to be of the utmost importance!

So, as a toddler I would spend many hours every day in my Kinderzimmer. All my toys would be kept in that Kinderzimmer. I loved my Kinderzimmer and all my toys. I was very much used to be playing with my toys in my Kinderzimmer. So, mostly I would spend a lot of time all by myself in that Kinderzimmer. I remember it quite well, how I would spend time all by myself. I did not mind this, really, because I was used to it. But I always was most happy, when another person would spend some time with me!

I think when I was about four or five, I was allowed to invite a childhood friend to come to my place and play with me. We might be allowed to have a bit of a look into the livingrooms, but to spend time to play in one of the livingrooms was not the done thing. Playtime with my companions would always take place in the kinderzimmer. The same would happen when I went visiting one of my friends.

Did I go to Kindergarten? No way! When I asked Mum, why can’t I go to Kindergarten, she would say, that only kids who had a working mother, needed to go to Kindergarten. And these mothers only had to work because the kids’ fathers did not have a sufficient income.

I could not wait to start school. I knew the beginning of the schoolyear would be at Easter. I would have liked to start school at Easter in 1940. However my birthday is in September. That meant I could not start school at Easter in 1940 because I was then only five years old. It was said I needed to be six years old to start school. In 1941 there was a change: School begin was transferred to the beginning of September, and then I was already nearly seven!

For the first day of school children were accompanied by an adult and receive a ‘Zuckertüte’ that was filled with sweets and fruit. From the second day on children did walk to school and back home all by themselves!

Our school hours in first class were twice 50 minutes. This was our schooling for the whole day! Usually I walked to school with Rosemarie who lived across the road from where I lived. When I started school there were 200 kids enrolled in that school on that day. They made up four first classes, two classes for girls and two classes for boys. That means in every class were about 50 kids!

The war, World War Two that is, had started in September 1939 and ended in May 1945. It so happened that from the beginning of January 1945 all German schools had been closed because the end of the war was near. Later that year I started highschool, that is I had to wait till September for ther school to open. So, in September 1944 I had started fourth class. Only three months later this class was finished. And this was all the official schooling I had till September 1945!

How does the life of kids of my generation differ from the life of todays kids? Todays parents have so many problems with teaching their kids because of the Coronavirus. I do understand that it is very difficult for a lot of parents to have to adjust to all the recent changes because of the virus. I just ask myself, how did my generation manage to grow up in times of war and during the aftermath of the war?

I just copied this post about my early childhood with some pictures:

https://auntyuta.com/2020/05/07/i-published-this-some-time-ago-what-mum-wrote-in-the-book-unser-kind-our-child-and-some-of-my-toddler-and-early-childhood-photos-and-photos-of-my-parents-and-family/

This saying about ‘the Kinderstube’ I think was well known all over Germany. Whenever a child would not behave exactly ‘the right way’ that child would be asked: “What sort of Kinderstube did you have?”  or perhaps the question would be: “Did you not have a Kinderstube?” and the answer might have been: “Yes, but I was not in it!”

Another saying comes to mind: “Children are meant to be seen but not heard.” I think this meant if a child was allowed to sit together with a group of adults, the child was expected to say not a word unless spoken to.

Here are two questions of mine: “Children who had a Kinderstube, were they fortunate?” And the other question: “What if children did lose a great amount of schooling because of the influences of war?

I guess children are always in some way affected by wars. Our present day children in first world countries may have very little knowledge about wars and how to live through a war. Now because of the restrictions that are imposed upon us because of the Coronavirus it is said it is like being in a war. I wonder, how our children and their parents and grandparents may be able to adjust to it to find themselves all of a sudden in a warlike world?

 

I published this some time ago: What Mum wrote in the Book “UNSER KIND – OUR CHILD” and some of my Toddler and early Childhood Photos and Photos of my Parents and Family

https://auntyuta.com/2017/10/12/what-mum-wrote-in-the-book-unser-kind-our-child-and-some-of-my-toddler-and-early-childhood-photos-and-photos-of-my-parents-and-family/

UNSER KIND’ – OUR CHILD , this is the title of a book Mum used for recording notes about my development. Here are some of the notes:

“Uta was born on Friday, 21st September 1934, at 19 hrs and 55 min. in Berlin-Schöneberg. Her birth weight was 3200 g, she was 51 cm in length.

Friday, 5th October 1934, Uta 14 days old. This is the day when she was outside for the first time. She had her first solid food on the 23rd December. She enjoyed eating biscuit with orange juice. On 2nd April 1935 she drank out of a small cup all by herself.

On 27th February 1935, Tante Ilse’s birthday, she wore a dress for the first time. She congratulated Aunty with some violets in her hand. When Uta was four months old she raised herself up into a sitting position for the first time. She could already stand quite well when she was six months. She was ten months and two days old when she took the first two steps all by herself. She could climb one step by herself at twelve months without holding onto anything.

Her first tooth appeared when she wasn’t quite seven months old yet. At twelve months she had six teeth at the top and two at the bottom. These teeth appeared one after another without any problems. On the 20th of March Uta wore ‘Schuhchen’ (little shoes) for the first time.

On the 24th of March 1935, a Sunday, she was baptised in the ‘Kirche zum Heilbronn’ by Pfarrer Wiligmann. Uta’s first words were “wau, wau”. Later she said “Mama” and then “Papa” and “Buh”. With “Buh” she meant ball.

She had three small pox vaccinations, because the first two weren’t successful. (Unsuccessful on 12.5.36 and 24.10.36. Successful vaccination on 13.4.37.)”

Here now is what Mum wrote on the 26th of September 1935: “Uta likes children a real lot. She wants to play with every one. She loves to play in the sand. – When I take her out she always likes to stand up in her pram and she smiles at every one. People always take notice of her. When Uta was ten months old I took her on a bike-tour. She was placed in a basket-seat which was fastened to my handle-bar. We went along the Promenade of Münster. It started raining a bit. Because of this she ended up with a bit of a cold.

She was eleven months when she was for the first time in an outside water, the Aasee of Münster. The temperature was 24 degrees (Celsius). Uta went across the German border into Poland when she was nine months. This was her first major trip. Destination Lodz.

For Uta’s first birthday we were still in Münster. Sissi and Teo were our guests. Uta loved all the presents. All day long she played with her toys.”

And there’s a list of all the presents I received, from Aunty in Berlin, from Grandma in Leipzig and also from the grandparents in Lodz.

These are pictures from Lodz in June 1935. I’m in the pictures with my cousin Horst who was born in February 1935.

These are pictures of me from July 1935 in Münster/Westphalia

These are two more pictures from September 1935

Mum wrote I loved to play with sand. Here I’m sitting at one of the sand-boxes (Buddelkasten) with my ‘boy-friend’. I think I was fond of boys at a young age!

The last two pictures are taken in my ‘Kinderzimmer’. I have great fun sitting in the little bed which is for dolls and teddies. There’s one of the chairs which was a gift all the way from Lodz for my first birthday.

I have here a few more pictures Mum took of me as a toddler. Apparently I wanted to try out whatever other children had, be it a toy car, a doll’s pram or a big tricycle. I didn’t own any of these things, but gee I was keen on trying them out!

How on earth did Mum convince the children to let me try out their things so she could take these photos?

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On my fourth birthday Tante Ilse gave me a ‘Puppenwagen’, a pram for my
dolls.

Mum kept a big photo album with pictures of me. Growing up, I always liked to look at all these pictures. However, I remember distinctly that the following pictures annoyed me quite a bit. I felt awful that the pictures showed me being so very plump! When I was told I looked ‘cute’ I tended not to believe it. I was self conscious at an early age and mostly didn’t feel ‘cute’ at all. I still often don’t like my picture taken because I think I might look awful! The adults in the pictures are my Mum, Tante Ilse and Onkel Addi. I wonder who took the pictures with all three adults in it. Was it perhaps my father? Pussi was Tante Ilse’s dog. Apparently I loved carrying this dog.

For good measure I want to include here another blog with my father and mother in it and some of the extended family.

My father, Alexander Spickermann, was born in Lodz on the 13th of May 1904. The following picture of him was taken in about 1916. This is the earliest picture I have of him.

Alexander’s brother Edmund Spickermann, was born in 1902. Both brothers studied in Leipzig, Germany. The following pictures are from 1925 in the city of Leipzig. There is first Alexander and then Edmund. Both brothers are in their student outfits. And then there is a picture of both of them in front of the Völkerschlacht-Denkmal in Leipzig.

Alexander ca 1916

Leipzig ca. 1925

Edmund ca 1925

Alexander und Edmund am Voelkerschlachts Denkmal after 1925

Alexander, Charlotte, Ilse, Edmund 1925

Alexander and Charlotte are my parents. They were married on the 25th of September 1930. Earlier that year, that is in 1930, Alexander promoted to Dr. phil and Edmund, I think, to Dr. rer.pol. The above picture is from 1925 when Alexander and Edmund first met Charlotte and Ilse. Charlotte was only fourteen years old at the time. Her sister Ilse was eighteen. Below is my parents’ wedding photo from the 25th of September 1930. (Charlotte was born on the 23rd of March 1911 and Ilse on the 27th of February 1907).

25.9.1930

ca 1930

Ostern 1935 mit Oleg

Above is another photo of Dad from 1930. The next photo was taken around Easter of 1935.

Dad is holding me. I had been born on the 21st of September 1934. So I am about six months in that picture.

2-06-2009 5;02;29 PM

In the above picture Dad is probably not quite forty yet. And then there is the photo of the Grandparents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary in Litzmannstadt (Lodz) in November of 1943. On the left is my sixteen year old cousin Ursula; next are Dad and Mum and I am in front beside Grossmutter (Grandma). I am nine years old.

Golden Wedding (2)

Below now is the picture that was taken in June of 1938 soon after the home-birth of my brother Bodo. Since February of 1930 Ilse had been married to Adolf Schlinke (Onkel Addi). They owned this beautiful car, called ‘Wanderer’.
Grossvater Josef Spickermann (Granddad) was in Berlin for a visit. Presumably to see Bodo, his new grandson. The Schlinkes took Granddad, Dad and me for an outing in their car. The picture was taken in Berlin at the Reichssportfeld. Dad is in the picture on the left.

The next picture is taken at the Baltic seaside resort of Graal/Müritz in 1940. In the ‘Strandkorb’ are Mum and Tante Ilse, Dad is standing next to them.

Oleg,Joseph,Ilse,Ute an Schlinkes Wagen

Alexander mit Charlotte und Ilse Graal Mueritz 1940

I copied three more photos, probably all from the 1950s. The first one is Dad in his office, the two others are party photos with Dad and his family. In the last photo are Dad and his three sisters and two brothers. They were probably celebrating someone’s birthday. The Spickermanns liked to come together as a family.

In the Office MNid 1950

Lies, Alfred, Gertrud, Alexander,Ludwig, Horst 13.5.1964

Geschw. Spickermann, Alexander, Ludwig, Jenny, Olga, Lies, Edmund 13.5.1964

I did another copy of this post and published it on the 3rd of June 2020

Memories from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 2010 as well as some other Memories from 2010

We had been away from Australia from the end of of May 2010 to the beginning of July 2010. I started publishing in WordPress in 2011. On the 11th of February 2012 I then published in WordPress what I had written on Sunday, 1stAugust 2010. Here is a copy of what I had written then:

Sunday, 1stAugust 2010

Today I had the feeling that spring was just around the corner. I walked to church and enjoyed the warmth of the sun. Soon I took off my cardigan and let the sunshine touch my bare arms. This is good for replenishing Vitamin D and for absorbing more Calcium, I told myself.

I was amazed how healthy I felt on a day like today. Last month I had persevered with several more tooth-extractions, There were five teeth that did have very old and quite large amalgam-fillings. I had made up my mind that it was time to get rid off these teeth. So now there aren’t anymore amalgam fillings left in my mouth. I wonder whether this is why I feel much healthier? Soon after all those extractions I had started a detoxing program. Kate, the naturopath at the Dental Centre, gave me four different supplements, which I keep taking as prescribed. In about six weeks I’ll go for another check-up to find out whether the detoxing of the various metals in my blood has been successful.

Most days I feel that walking for thirty minutes or so is no problem. I usually don’t get pains anymore and I hardly ever seem to run out of breath while walking. Besides, I used to wobble a bit to one side quite frequently. This seems to be better now. Come to think of it, I have been keeping quite well over the last few months. Didn’t I undertake an exhausting overseas trip from the end of May to the beginning of July this year, and didn’t I cope with the stress of travelling remarkably well? Who would have thought that I was capable of travelling for so long without a problem?

The last time I had travelled overseas had been in 1994. That year I had gone with Peter and daughter Caroline to Berlin. In 1997 and 2004 Peter travelled to Berlin by himself. So I had not been to Berlin for a long time. I felt very much like a stranger there during our recent visit in contrast to Peter who straight away felt at home again. He’s extremely familiar with this city. I think the biggest difference, compared to my previous visits, was the experience of feeling so much more elderly. I was for instance always grateful when younger people offered me their seat on the underground train or on the bus. Being elderly gave me the feeling that I could go slowly. I did not have to hurry as the younger people did. Whenever I felt a bit tired I could sit down and rest for a while.

We arrived in Berlin on the 31st of May. We had expected warm weather, but it was still very, very chilly and often extremely windy. Consequently I soon developed a terrible cold. However with adequate rest I quickly recovered from this attack of flu. When it had become a bit warmer, Peter and I enjoyed what nature had to offer, especially further up north in Mecklenburg/Vorpommern where we stayed for ten days with my brother Peter and his wife Astrid.

Mecklenburg/Vorpommern has forests and many, many lakes as well as canals connecting these lakes. The small towns in the area all cater for tourists. Very old houses have been lovingly restored. Some new developments include expensive marinas. Peter and Astrid showed us historical sites and castles where previously kings and queens liked to relax with their families, away from the hussle and bussle of Berlin.

The last few days of our stay in Germany we were back in Berlin. Day-temperatures had risen to well above thirty degrees by then. It did not cool down very much during the nights either. Daylight lasted till about ten at night. At four in the morning it was quite light again. Sometimes it seemed to be a bit light the whole night through!

Peter’s sister, who lives in Berlin, went on a lot of outings with us. Sometimes we were driven around in a car by friends or family members. However most of the time we used public transport – and very efficient transport at that. When you want to catch an underground train, you hardly ever have to wait for more than five minutes for the train to arrive!

Most people probably do not know that Berlin has many lakes, rivers and canals with hundreds of bridges. I do not know the exact number of bridges, however, I was told Berlin has more bridges than Venice! We saw quite a few of these Berlin waterways. Once we were taken on a boat- excursion that took us right through the city centre! On the boat we were served beer. frankfurts and potato salad. A few times we went on ‘book hunting’ excursions. Visiting friends and family in different parts of the city kept us busy as well.

On Friday, 2nd of July, was departure day. We left from Tegel Airport . This Airport is rather small and totally inadequate for a city like Berlin. Because of a lack of space very few big machines can fly in or out of Berlin. However, a much larger airport is to be opened in Berlin in about two years. If all goes well, Peter and I may then be able to go on a direct flight from Sydney to Berlin which would probably cut travelling time by a few hours.

We had a return flight from Sydney to Berlin via Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam. We travelled KLM. To our great relief our luggage could be booked through to Berlin and later back to Sydney.

I was a bit apprehensive about our return flight since the schedule included a five hour stay at Kuala Lumpur. To my surprise I rather liked this stay at Kuala Lumpur Airport. The airport is huge. Internet connections are provided without charge. There is also no charge for drinking water! In the midst of the airport is a rainforest enclosure for travellers to enjoy. And of course there are shops, shops, shops! Also facilities for showers, massages, reflexology treatments and more. In the sitting area you can find stretch-out seats for tired travellers!

We did not want to go for dinner at one of the restaurants. We rightly assumed we would get dinner on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney. However we decided to go for coffee and cake at the Airport’s Deli France. And we enjoyed this! For a little while I also made use of one of the stretch-out seats. Why doesn’t every airport have those seats for sleepy travellers?

https://auntyuta.com/2012/02/19/mecklenburg-vorpommern-2010/

On the 19th of February 2012 I published the following:

Peter and I are looking forward to visit Mecklenburg-Vorpommern again this year. Last time we were there in 2010 we took lots of pictures. It is an area a bit north of Berlin and stretches right to the Baltic Sea. Not many people live there. There’s a lot of wooded area, lakes, creeks and canals. On these waterways you can travel to Berlin or up north to the open sea.

My brother lives in this area with his wife. So during our trip later in the year we’re going to visit them again. I’m sure we going to love it the same as last time. Most of the time we’ll be staying in Berlin though. I’m sure I’ll be able to blog many interesting pictures from Berlin as well.

Today I just want to blog a few of our landscape pictures.

a lake in the country

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On the Pfaueninsel, Berlin, 2010

What did I worry about during my growing up Years?

I turned 10 in 1944. My father returned from the war already in 1945, namely as soon as the war had ended. We stayed at grandmother’s place in Leipzig at the time. The time in Leipzig was for us children a good time with mum, dad and also grandmother and a cousin of ours.

However mum wanted to return to Berlin as soon as possible. So she left us just before I turned 11 and went to Berlin on her own to look after our apartment where she had only one room to herself. All the other rooms where occupied by people who had no where else to live.

April 1946 was the time when we children and dad moved to Berlin to stay with mum. By that time we had the apartment to ourselves. All the other lodgers had left. I had hopes then, April 1946 would be the start of a new family life for all of us. But this was not what was eventuating. My mother insisted that my father had to move away from Berlin. It was just not the right place for him, so she said. He moved to West Germany and wanted all of us to move too. But my mother refused to leave Berlin. She refused to give up the Berlin apartment. I did not like it at all that my parents separated.

The next few years I hardly ever saw my father. My father corresponded with me. However there was always tension, for my mother did not like my father to write to me. Father was seriously sick a lot of the time. For many years he was not able to get proper employment. His extended family supported him as much as possible. They had a hard time themselves, for they were refugees and living in extremely cramped conditions.

I think I still felt socially fairly content up to age 13 since everybody else had to catch up too after the war. I did not feel inferior to my friends. We were all in the same boat. Come to think of it, all this changed during my later teen years. They were not exactly happy ones. I think I missed some sort of family life. My thoughts were, I just had to put up with it until I was old enough to leave home, which only happened when I was 21!
My parents never lived together again. When I was 16, mum did get a divorce from Dad. I think for a long time during my growing up years I worried about both my parents.

I remember distinctly, that I believed at the time that World War Two had been the war to end all wars. That there would never be another war, this was a strong belief in me and made me look hopefully into the future. Except then came the ‘Cold War’. This, together with the nuclear threat, made me feel pretty concerned about the future. And this concern has multiplied now with increasing climate change . . .

Berlioz, my husband, published today a blog about what children worry about and especially what he experienced between the ages of 10 to 13. His blog prompted me to publish a bit about my growing up years after World War Two. Here is the link to the blog of Berlioz:

https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2019/12/17/what-children-worry-about-most/