But back to Nakel. At break time I was introduced to the other teachers. Most smiles were friendly to tolerant. But it helped me. Some teachers asked if I already knew where to eat lunch. I had no idea. They told me of a restaurant run by a brother sister team, he at the front at the counter, she back in the kitchen. In the backroom was a big round table where all the single teachers from all the schools ate.
I was accompanied at lunch time to the restaurant. After introductions I was looking for a place to sit when a gentleman got up and came around the table to help me get seated. After lunch he made sure to get rid of everybody so he could walk me home alone.
And so it started. Ehrenfried Haubold, teacher at the local secondary school, had fallen in love with me at first sight. It took me a little longer. After all he was 16 years my senior and High School teacher in Latin, English and German, for me an authority figure.
But I got over that. Not the respect, but my shyness and insecurity. I learned to love him. By May we were engaged, beginning of November we were married. 1942
Mother and Klaus came to the wedding. Mother was not thrilled, I was too young, Ehrenfried too old.
By that time my time of service was over. Ehrenfried had an apartment – without kitchen – and I move in.
Christmas we visited Berlin. And in Koepenick, we had a church wedding in the same church were I was christianed, even the by same priest. All my relatives came. We celebrated in Gruenau, and Ehrenfried had the opportunity to meet everybody.
Beginning January we went back to Nakel. Ehrenfried had to go back to teaching. I sat around. Without a kitchen there was not much to do. But soon the principal of Ehrenfried’s school asked if I would be interested in teching Sexta. Already so many teacher had been called up to war. Ehrenfried also got one order after another but since he was the only one who could teach Latin he was deferred every time. We lived from day to day.
But I believe we lived more aware and intensive.
The request to teach was a shock. But Ehrenfried thought it would be helpful to me. He went over all the school books with me, and wouldn’t you know, I got it. So I taught Sexta. Again friendly, interested and positive reactions. And my fear was gone. The other teachers were touchingly kind to me.
Ehrenfried and I only had a few month after getting married. But I can say we enjoyed and used our time thoroughly. Many walks, and talks, Tennis and swimming. Evenings we like to play cards.
I have to add two things. Toward the end of our engagement there was a time where Ehrenfried became very quiet. I didn’t know what to make of it. Then one day he told me everything.
In Sachsen, where he was born, studied and became a teacher he had had a bit too much to drink one evening and said “one should whip the Nazis out of this country”. He was ratted out and was transferred to Nakel as punishment. Fearful his career would be stuck forever he joined the party, even the SA. Shortly after that he was tenured. From that day on he worked toward his dismissal from the party and SA. Not a dishonorable dismissal since he did not want to jeopardize his career. I don’t know his tactic, but it worked. He encouraged me to leave the Bund Deutscher Maedels. I wrote to them explaining that I was now a long ways from Berlin, and they sent me my exit documents.
After that Ehrenfried was more relaxed. He was dead certain that Germany was going to lose the war. Being barely 20 I could not even imagine that scenario but I believed him. And that turned out to be a life saver.
What I still wanted to tell you: one vacation we spent in Berlin. And since it was warm we got an invitation to Berlin-Hoppegarten from my Godmother. Aunt Hedwig had a double lot there. On one of them was the small summer house and a lovely sitting area. A big wooden table directly under the kitchen window. Warm meals got passed outdoors quickly that way. Next to the table were wooden benches. Room enough for the whole family. And all around massive Lilac bushes. Nobody could watch us there. The rest was lawn. On the second lot were fruit trees, berry bushes and vegetables and strawberries. There was always something ripe to eat. Sweet peas. Or a afresh carrot from the ground, quickly rinsed.
A weekend in Hoppegarten always was a very homey affair. Everybody was relaxes and happy. At the head of the table Aunt Hedwig – the Laughing Machine.
Ehrenfried loved it there.
Gruenau was the meeting place for the Huhndorf sons and families. Hoppegarten was the meeting place for the Braun Daughters with their men and children.
Actually I was the only child. Erna and her brother Max were 2 and 15 years older than I.
Once more back to Nakel.
After Ehrenfried got called up and I ended up totally alone, there was a colleague of his who started to look after me. Her husband had been called up also, and she was house bound with her two small children. She invited me often, and Fridays we went to the movies. They still made good movies back then. We got along well.
After 1945 she fled with her kids to Bavaria. Her husband also died in the war. In Bavaria she was interned by the Americans. She had to be denazified first. Meanwhile friends watched her children, and one of the boys got hit in the head by a horse hoof and died. When she was freed she only had one son left. A terrible fate. We wrote for many more years. That is how I know this.
After Ehrenfried got called up we got a new apartment assigned. Two bedrooms, kitchen and bath in a new housing track. He never got to see the place.
Ehrenfried’s skeptical outlook of German politics and the future of Germany made me sensitive to the situation. So I spent every vacation in Berlin with mother and took a few important things home every time. (Officially were were not allowed to pack)
So I was home after Christmas 1944. On January 17th school was supposed to resume. And the Russians were before Bromberg. I gave it a shot and sent a telegram to the director of my school. And I got an answer from Dr. Rubens, a Hitler supporter but otherwise decent human. “Stay in Berlin and wait.”
I probably would have stayed home anyways but now I could do so in good faith. Maybe he even saved my life because on January 17, 1945 the Russian arrived in Nakel.
That ended that part of my life.