My Dear Susanne,

So now I’m going to give it a shot.
Because you want me to.

First, let me introduce our family:

My parents are Gertrud, born Braun, and Willy.

Father had three brothers

Willy and Gertrud :

Ilse born February 10. 1924


Klaus born January 31, 1932












Julia – died January 6, 1973 at 2 years old

Max and Erna:

Horst born July 3, 1927


3 children


Uschi born March 2, 1937

Stefanie born December 11, 1966

Erich and Frieda:

Gitte born July 25, 1928


2 Sons

Johanna – died as a child

Karl and Lotte:

No children

From my father’s side nobody is alive anymore other than my mother Gertrud.
And also from her side – she had 7 siblings – she is the last survivor. At this time she is 92 years and 3 months. Nearly a biblical age.

Of mother’s siblings I only know three.

First, my aunt Hedwig, my godmother. Seamstress with an unstoppable humor. She used to laugh so hard tears were running down her face. Her husband, sickly and often unemployed had his customary place at the kitchen table. She called him her “Portrait in Oil”.

Their daughter Erna you named “The Jingle Horse”. She died 4 years ago.

Aunt Hedwig always gifted me fabric for all birthdays and other holidays. Mother then made dresses for me when needed. The rest was saved. And since we did not get bombed out we had a nice stash after 1945. Mother used it to make dresses for the Russian officer wives and house coats for a Farmer’s wife and her daughter. That brought us milk, condensed milk (with sugar!), bread, butter, syrup and potatoes. Important survival food. Especially since mother had to get back on her feet (she was down to 90 pounds in 1945), and Klaus was still growing and needed to learn. And I applied for a teaching job. and had been accepted. I taught in the morning, and studied in the afternoon. But all three of us made it.

I also know uncle Franz. My favorite uncle from Merseburg. I did not see him often but always liked him. I’m still in steady contact via letters with his daughter Erika – husband Rolf. I send her coffee and other western goods, and she sends me in good books. She has a remarkable source. Klaus says you can’t buy these kind of books in a regular store.

One of mother’s sisters used to live in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Aunt Erna. I liked her too. She did not have an easy live but still was willing to laugh. In the cemetery at Ruhleben there is a family plot for the Hegermanns with this aunt, her husband and a bother-in-law. When I am in West Berlin and I have thr time I go visit that grave. I have an inner need to go there. I never once have been to the cemetery at Heerstrasse where Kurt and Erna are buried. No desire.

So, this was the beginning. And I wrote this spontaneously all at once.

Now I have to take a break and think about how I will pull the whole thing off.

Everything nicely in sequence starting from the beginning or like a kaleidoscope, colors from life.

We will see how it comes to me.


NEXT: 1924 – 1932

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