1960 – A New Country

And then we had the last big party before you started school. We were already packing but you did not know that. Father was told he could not keep his job as Head Bookkeeper unless the joined the Communist Party. He asked for a few weeks to consider this. But only so we could pack the necessities.. Irmchen helped me with a few S-Bahn trips. We took the train separate and took our things to Family Owczarek at the Berlin Botanical Gardens.

We were friends with Rudi and Hilte Owczarek. He died year before last. Their one son is Ophthalmologist in Duesseldorf, the other one is an Ophthalmologist in Philadelphia.

We sold Clodo to a doctor in West Berlin. We told you he had to get get trained for a few weeks.

Grandmother knew our plans, and it pained her greatly. We did not tell Klaus. We wanted that he could honestly say “he did not know”. But he noticed anyways.

We had you start school, but it was only for a short time.

On November 25, 1960 we left Gruenau. Father left first. I followed with you. We met at the Owczarek’s. That is when we told you we would not go home again.

You cried a lot. Leaving Grandmother and Clodo was what hurt. It hurt me too. But then we got distracted by the procedures. We registered at the refugee station in Mariendorf and moved there.

Father went to the Education Department and was told the biggest need for teachers was in Niedersachsen. So that is where we want to go. But that did not work out. The refugee facilities there were full.

We were given airplane tickets to Hannover and train tickets to Rastatt. We had a transport company pack our stuff at the Owczareks’ and store them for us.

Dr. Bock had taken our silver and bedding for us to the West already. He also helped with 500 Mark. Thank God! We were so in need.

Dr. Bock is a cousin of my first husband. Ehrenfried was from Zwickau in Sachsen. Dr. Bock and his sister Ilse Hildebrandt were from Glauchau, Close by.

In Rastatt we were met by a small bus which took us and the other refugees to the refugee facility in the old castle. There they had installed one small room per family with lockable doors. The rooms had a closet, table, chairs and beds. When Mr Gogeissl was there a few years earlier they still had to string blankets between families and sleep on mattresses on the floor.

Father immediately went to the Education Department in Freiburg and found out we had a chance.

After our first week officials came and asked everybody about their professions and desired locations. We didn’t know any towns and had no relatives so all we asked for was to be teachers.

Next morning we were woken up early, and asked to be packed and ready in an hour. We were happy to comply. It sure sounded hopeful.

A small bus took us to Gaggenau in the Grittweg street.

There were two apartments blocks that they had converted to refugee housing. Every family got a room and had to share kitchen and bath. We got there last, so we got the smallest room. But everybody was easy to get along with.

I was short before Christmas. We got a small potted Christmas tree with plastic decorations. Then we waited.


NEXT: 1961 – 1969


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