Uta’s Diary, 2nd of September 2015


A bit over four years ago I published the above post. There are some pictures in it reminding me of Gaby’s birthday and some family visits, when Lucas was 3 and Alexander barely one.

And then I included some pictures of my parents: One of my father with Gaby, when Gaby was just six months old. We lived at the time at my father’s place in Düsseldorf. My father was very fond of the baby and straight away when he came home from his office he would go to pick up Gaby for a while to talk to her.

There is also a picture of my mother with Gaby when Gaby was nearly one year old. We were in Berlin for a visit at the time. The picture was taken at my mum’s balcony. I inserted these two pictures of my parents because I had been thinking how very different from each other my parents had actually been. Reading what I wrote about it some four years ago, did bring back quite a lot of memories for me. These memories are still very strong memories. I find it interesting to reflect on all this and copy here what I wrote in September 2015:

“The older I get the more I seem to reflect on times past. I often felt very much out of place as a young person. Also I tended to be “zurückhaltend”, that is I was usually more the listener and observer and did not show a great deal of affection and emotion. On the other hand, I also remember times when I felt free and communicative and very talkative.

When I think of my parents, the most remarkable memory about them is, how very different they were. Here is a bit of how my father may have influenced me, and then how my mother’s influence was so very different.

My father was the most open minded and tolerant person. He liked to talk to me about a lot of things. He always treated me as though I was trustworthy and mature for my age, able to understand different points of view. Very rarely did I see him being angry with me. He only tended to be somewhat angry when, all of a sudden, I behaved in a very unpredictable way. Despite his open mindedness he was basically a very conservative man. If I showed signs of departing from his view of the world, this would upset him personally. Still, he was loving and forgiving, and eventually he was always able to accept my departure from some of his conservative views.

Now, my mother was in every way the opposite of my father. On the whole she was maybe rather tolerant as far as I was concerned because she loved me. But she made it very clear, that she did not love my father anymore. She showed not the least bit of tolerance towards him, on the contrary, she showed a lot of hatred, for in her opinion he was a “Versager” who did not do anything for his children. She thought it was not up to her to look after him when he had serious health issues. Maybe she thought he was just pretending. Also, she hardly ever talked to me about things that were important to me. She tended to keep very important things from me, for she wanted ‘to protect’ me! At least, this is how I remember it. I knew she loved me very much. Still, I always felt I was not the daughter she imagined I should be. I remember she telling me, I was an “Oppositionsgeist”. So I must have been speaking up about some things that disturbed me a great deal. I felt very bad for opposing her, but I could not help it. Of course, on the outside I tried very hard to go along with what she expected of me, just to keep the peace. Alas, I think I came into inner conflict about it. In short, I often did not feel happy about myself.”

I ask myself now, how come, when I felt very much loved by both parents, I still did not feel very happy in myself a lot of the time? I think I felt torn between my parents . . . .

But ging back to that diary from the 2nd of September 2015 I wrote that we had cake on that Sunday afternoon when we had family visits. One of the cakes was a freshly baked cheesecake. Peter baked it! Here it is still in the oven:


And I wrote: The following Sunday, which is Fathers’ Day here in Australia, we are all going to meet for lunch at a Thai Restaurant. So, this was four years ago!

Fathers Day in Australia is always on the first Sunday of September.

The Hannemann Family in Australia in 1997

Today, I looked at some of my old blogs. I like this picture blog very much. It brings back beautiful memories. This is why I copy it here together with a few other blogs.


In this picture Peter and I are with all our four children. Daughter Caroline stands next to Peter. All five children of daughter Monika are in the picture too! Her very tall twin sons are eighteen, her two little daughters in the front are Natasha and Roxanne. Well, this was more than sixteen years ago!


This picture was taken at the beginning of September 1997,  a few days after our daughter Gaby’s 40th birthday! We all met for a picnic lunch at Central Park in Merrylands near Gaby’s and David’s home. David, Gaby’s carer, stands in the middle of the photo behind Gaby’s wheelchair. Our son Martin (who’s holding onto the wheelchair) lived in Newcastle at the time and had come to Sydney to see us all. Merrylands is a Western Suburb of Sydney. The Central Park there is a very popular recreational place.

Monika holds her five months old baby daughter. Gaby and Martin are in the picture too.
Our daughter Monika holds Krystal, her five months old baby daughter. Gaby and Martin are in the picture too.

In the picture below Troy, who is one of the twins, walks with his girlfriend.

Ryan, the other twin, as well as Caroline, Martin and David presumably walked ahead.

However one of them must have taken this picture, right? Maybe Caroline?


After our picnic lunch we all walked right through the park towards the little waterfall. It looks like at the time there was still quite a bit of water to be seen. Sadly,  after a few years without much rain, there was no water left in this area. When we took a picture there two years ago, everything looked completely dry. Maybe in the meantime the water situation has improved somewhat. We should go there one day and have a look.

Here we are with Monika's daughter Natasha on that day in early September 1997.
Here we are with Monika’s daughter Natasha on that day in early September 1997.


Reflections on Travel

This is a copy of what I wrote in April 29, 2015:

Recently I reflected a lot on our past two overseas travels. One trip to Berlin we did five years ago and another one two and a half years ago. When we travel we always try to economise, meaning we are not out to stay in expensive hotels or visit restaurants that are well above our budget. The greatest extra expense we consider to be the air-travel ticket plus insurance. Since both Peter and I are going to be past eighty when we travel next time the insurance is going to be sky high! We usually book a flight well in advance and look for special offers. The last two times we did fly with Malaysian Airline from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and from there we had connecting flights with KLM. We thought these flights via Kuala Lumpur were pretty good. Soon we want to find out what’s on offer for next year.

2016 is going to be a huge family reunion in Berlin. Our Australian family is already planning for all this.  Some members in our family have never been to Berlin yet and are very keen to get to know a bit about the city and the German family members who live there. Especially Peter’s sister Ilse is very hopeful that a large family meeting can take place next year in Berlin. She and Finn are already thinking about all the arrangements that can be made. One of our grandsons is busy making plans about all the destinations where he and his family intend to travel to. He worked out that a nine day stay in Berlin could be included. They also want to stay for a few days in London and maybe some days in Switzerland, and I think there was also talk about Paris.

When Peter heard that they plan on staying for nine days in Berlin,  he  soon thought about a number of places he could show them in Berlin. Peter knows Berlin very well, partly from personal experience but a lot he knows because he keeps himself always up to date on the internet about what is going on in Berlin. When it come to history, he can tell you a thing or two about Berlin’s history as well. The past few days he published memories about the last days in Berlin before the end of World War Two. You can look it up under:


The memories start already here:


There are diary entries of Peter’s mother which he translated.  Also, Peter’s own comments about these eventful days continue for several days.

It is amazing how much Peter remembers about this time seventy years ago. This was just a few days before he turned ten! He also likes to read up on official records about the last days in Berlin before the end of the war, and he is also always looking for relevant pictures from that time.

Our Overseas Visits



Today I wanted to write about our overseas travels. So I checked what, I had written about it before. Luckily, I was able to find  quite a bit of information under the title ‘Memories from August 2010’. (There is a link at the top of this post!)

Anyone who goes to this post from 2010 is going to find out that even by 2010 we had done already quite a bit of overseas travelling. In the meantime we travelled overseas two more times, namely in 2012 and then in 2016.

Living in Australia and having some family in Germany makes us want to travel overseas as often as possible. So far we had the good fortune of being able to use all this airline travel. On top of it, Airlines do still offer low price airfares!

At least a few people must be aware by now, that air travel is extremely bad for the environment. But how many people do actually try to avoid air travel these days as much as possible?

In 1990 we did do a trip around the world. I wrote about it here:


Our first trip overseas was in 1977. Caroline was born in December 1978. We travelled with Caroline to Berlin in November 1980 and then again in March 1986 when Caroline was seven.


In 1977 Peter and I visited my cousin Renate and her family in Munich. From Munich we did a day trip to visit my uncle Edmund and his wife Flora in Augsburg. Among other things we visited with them the Augsburg Fuggerei. For lunch they invited us to the close by FUGGEREI STUBE.



In 1977 we travelled a bit around Western Germany staying with family and friends. But most of the time in 1977 we spent visiting our family in Berlin.


Pictures from 1987/1988

Half Marathon finishing at Stuart Park, Wollongong, 23-8-1987

Peter is still in full flight after 1hr27:33, which is his best time so far.
Peter is still in full flight after 1hr27:33, which is his best time so far.
Martin goes across the finishing line.
Martin goes across the finishing line.


This is a school portrait of Caroline that she sent to her grandmother in Berlin.
This is a school portrait of Caroline from 1987 that she sent to her grandmother in Berlin.


On a Sunday in 1987 this picture was taken at Albion Park Station by an enthusiastic  passenger: Peter with Caroline and the Twins.
On a Sunday in 1987 this picture was taken at Albion Park Station by an enthusiastic passenger: Peter with Caroline and the Twins.
Tristan is two and a half years old riding his bike at Ashfield, Dec. 1987
Tristan is two and a half years old riding his bike at Ashfield, Dec. 1987
Christmas Eve 1987 at David's Parents Place.
Christmas Eve 1987 at David’s Parents Place.

Caroline tries to take a picture of Tristan playing, Peter looking on. Grandma Uta enjoys watching Tristan.

Peter with Caroline and the twins at Belmore Park in Sydney. Dec.1987
Peter with Caroline and the twins at Belmore Park in Sydney. Dec.1987
This is already May 1988. It is Peter's Birthday!
This is already May 1988.
It is Peter’s Birthday!



We have Lunch at Chinatown in Sydney for Peter's Birthday.
We have Lunch at Chinatown in Sydney for Peter’s Birthday.
Caroline, Tristan and also Troy and Ryan enjoy a ride at Darling Harbour.
Caroline, Tristan and also Troy and Ryan enjoy a ride at Darling Harbour.


Another photo from Peter's Birthday. Tristan is already very tired.
Another photo from Peter’s Birthday. Tristan is already very tired.
Gaby and David go back to Merrylands West in a Wheelchair Taxi.
Gaby and David go back to Merrylands West in a Wheelchair Taxi.



Today I remembered again how we escaped all these bomb raids during World War Two. and how we escaped the bombing of grandmother’s place in Leipzig in April 1945. Here I wrote about it:


Some of my children know a bit about our lucky escape in 1945. In case they want to find out a bit more about it, I am now trying to write down whatever I do remember.

During the last war years we had stayed away from Berlin, living east of Berlin in a desolate country area. With the Russians fast approaching at the beginning of 1945, my mother decided, we would move to grandmother’s place in Leipzig, rather than go back to Berlin to our apartment which we still rented. We children were never allowed to visit Berlin during the years of the bomb raids.

From the beginning of February 1945 my mother, my two brothers and I stayed in Leipzig with grandmother and cousin Renata. As I remember it, there were frequent bomb raids. We were used to the sound of the sirens and having to stay in the cellar for hours at a time.

After Christmas, schools had not opened any more. We played a lot in the surrounding streets with other children. But we were never allowed to stroll very far. In case of an alarm , we had to be within the vicinity of our cellar. For us children this was just part of every day life. My brothers were three and six years, I was ten years old. The winter was very cold, but we still had enough to eat, were dressed warmly. In the kitchen there was always a fire going in the oven for cooking and for hot water. In the bedrooms we had enormous feather-beds to keep us warm.

There was talking about that this bloody war was soon to end. We sure were looking forward to this! I cannot remember ever having been scared or thinking that anything bad could happen to me. Or to my family. To us children it seemed rather entertaining to be sitting in the air-raid shelter. Many people congregating as soon as the sirens went off, was extremely exciting! We did get to know everyone, who lived in that tall five story building. The adults would talk to us children, asking us questions, just being friendly.

And we would listen to the adults talking to each other. I remember that I always found it interesting to listen to adult conversations. And sometimes all of us would sing a few songs. I loved the singing of songs! When we could hear bombs hitting somewhere in the neighbourhood, it never seemed very close to us. This meant we were all right. Often my three year old brother entertained everyone by singing solo. They were cute little children’s songs. People always encouraged him to sing more songs because they loved his singing.

In April there was another bomb-raid. We had a relaxing time with everybody in the cellar. It was a long lasting alarm, went on for hours. Since it was in the middle of the night, mum wanted us to go to sleep. We were able to stretch out a bit on our makeshift beds. But I don’t think we were able to go to sleep that night. My brother Peter was still singing his songs when several bombs hit us. This time there could be no doubt that the bombs had fallen right on top of us since the noise was absolutely deafening! My six year old brother Bodo started crying. I felt so sorry for him. It was terrible seeing him being so horribly scared. I said to him he needn’t be afraid. Soon everything would be over.

I was right. It did not take long at all. All of a sudden, it was very quiet. Then some people started moving, investigating, whether we could still get out. Our main exit was full of debris. Impossible to get out there. There was a bricked-in escape to the cellar of the next door building. To make use of this escape, quite a few bricks would have to be dislodged. Then someone shouted that the window, that led from the cellar to the footpath in one of the adjoining cellar-rooms, was not blocked. It was easy, to get out through there!

A sigh of relief went through the crowd. My brother Bodo was not scared any more either. My brother Peter had never been scared at all. People said, this was because he had still been too little to understand. Later on, we found, that the building had been hit by up to five bombs. Right to the ground-floor,  everything had been torn away. Miraculously, a lot of the ground-floor was still standing. This was my grandmother’s apartment! My grandmother was able to save some of her furniture together with all our belongings. A lucky escape indeed.

I published the above in December 2011 and here are some comments to this post:

  1. What a harrowing experience! I hope people are not so quick to forget. There are no real winners in war. There are only casualties. European countries are wise to tread carefully not to disentangle their alliances. No one wants to Europe ripped apart by some lunatic or some crazy ideology.

    1. There have been a lot of changes since the end of World War II. Has the world become more peaceful? Do we all work for peace? When we say we want peace on earth, do we really mean it?
      Let’s count our blessings and be thankful for what has been given to us. But let’s not forget that a lot of people still suffer enormous hardship.
      Thanks for visiting, dear Mary-Ann. Your comments show that you care a lot. Have a very beautiful Advent Season. Best wishes, Uta.

    1. I cannot remember ever having been very scared as a child. But writing about it now makes me shake a bit. After more than 66 years I find it hard to believe that we could have been so lucky to escape unhurt!
      Thanks for your comment, dear Munira.

  2. Oh my goodness. What a vivid account. I know what you mean about being fascinated by adult conversation. I was the same way as a young child. Perhaps that is part of the reason that you had a bit of an adult-like perspective on the events at the time and yet saw it through the eyes of a child as an adventure of sorts. But my goodness–to have experienced so very much so very young. I am grateful that you and your family survived.

    1. You’re spot on with your comments, dear Kate! As you say as children we could see it as an adventure of sorts. Mum was always quick too to make the best of a given situation. We lived in one of the cellar-rooms for the first few days after our building had been destroyed. It was spring already. During the day we had lovely sunshine. Mum and Renata acually anjoyed sitting in the sunshine on mats on the big heap of rubble in front of what used to be our house. They were happily remarking that they had a lovely time sitting there! I am not sure what day the Americans arrived in Leipzig, but I am certain it was while we still lived in the cellar. I was close to Mum and Renata when we noticed some planes flying above us in the clear sky. It happened to be the 20th of April. Mum as well as Renata very happily joked that the planes might be on their way to Berlin to give Hitler a birthday present!.

    1. After the end of W W II we were under the delusion that wars could be prevented forever. We were so much longing for a peaceful world! We were dreaming that peace could last forever. My family was lucky that now for more than 65 years we could live in peace. I wished everyone had the chance to live in peace like this.

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A Drop in Living Standards?

I ask myself the same questions again that I asked already a few days ago. Here they are:

“A drop in living standards to sustainable levels? It seems to me, hardly anyone is prepared for a drop in their living standards especially if our leaders do not have the guts to insist on it.
What then is most likely to happen in the near future?
Some more far thinking people tell us, something catastrophic may happen, namely the collapse of our natural support systems. . . . The majority of people so far resist believing all this. especially when the leaders give the impression that it is all right to just continue with our way of living the way it is. So, why change anything when we have such a ‘good life’; isn’t this the attitude of most people?”

I say it again, the majority of people so far resist believing that a drop in living standards to sustainable levels is necessary. I would say, in all war situations people generally did accept a drop in their living standards. They had to, right? My own experience in World War Two and the years after the war (in Germany that is) showed me that people could quite well exist with a huge drop in their living standards. Actually, a lot of people seemed to live a healthier life when food was scarce. This of course does not include people who suffered very ill health because of starvation! One might say, there is a actually a great difference between a scarcity of food for a lot of people and some terrible starving because of severe food shortages. . . . Anyhow, I think, excessive food consumption and wastage of food, the way it is being encouraged in our affluent society,  we should better try to avoid.

I think the excessive climate changes could be kept in better check if we tried very hard to avoid all these excesses of our modern way of life. We should act more and more as though we are in a war situation already!

The problem is, that most people in First World countries do not believe as yet that severe climate change is something we should be prepared for. However, all our knowledge about the climate change crisis should tell all of us that a crisis it is, a crisis as great a we face in a great war. And this crisis demands that our governments and big corporations act accordingly so that people in these crisis zones have a chance to survive.

And here now are a few reflections of mine what for instance life in ‘advanced’ countries such as Germany was like in the 1930s and even during the war between 1939 and 1945, as well as in during the difficult post-war years.

What puzzles me is, that I cannot recall that at any time during those years anyone had to live on the streets. Even during the time of bomb raids the survivors of bomb raids, as far as I know, did not have to live in the open but were accomodated in buildings that could still be lived in. A lot of people had to share accommodation with other people, meaning a four room apartment, apart from the original residents, was then shared with several other needy people.

During the time of World War Two some very severe bombing campaigns occured all over the world with severe loss of life. Ten examples can be seen in the following link.