Tag: family

Good Girl Anni

This morning Anni from next door felt the need to make some points clear. First of all she stated that it was a really bad fancy to get up so early (“Ich will in mein Bett !” / I want in my bed !), and that getting dressed to go out into the cold darkness was also not the brightest idea this morning (“Ich will mich nicht anziehen !” / I do not want to get dressed !). Also the impending visit to the kindergarten was not to her taste (“Ich will nicht in den Kindergarten !” / I do not want to go to the kindergarten !).
Apropos taste, what her father had presented her with for breakfast was seemingly not what her mother would usually put on the table (“Ich will das nicht essen !” / I do not eat this !).
Her father is a physicist at the uni labs here, he is slim and looks healthy, perhaps he gave her a carrot or something, surely not chocolate-coated-sugar-bombs – not that she needed additional energy, all natural and already taking off.
Ahja her mother, (“Ich will Mamma !” / I want my mother !), she’s with Anni’s younger brother away on some family gathering or such, just a few days.
When her father called from another room to get ready and dress (he seldom raises his voice), because it was time to leave, she switched to a fake crying that was not convincing. She clearly felt no bodily payne, and her father, despite his carrot-obsession, never hits his children – the “crying” really needs a bit of effort & training from her.
Anni was simply terribly infuriated (“echt angefressen” – I guess one could translate this with “seriously pissed off”).
She did not only tell her father, me – the next door neighbour -, the people on our floor, but I guess the inhabitants of the whole village what she felt about this early morning situation. She kept on her stark communication while I heard either the table or a chair being dragged over the floor – she seemingly clung to a table leg despite her father’s repeated requests to release it (“Lass’ endlich los !” / Take yer hands off now !) – and she kept her protest up until the elevator doors shut (“Ich will net!” / I do not want !), incorruptible.
I like Anni. She has character (& good lungs) and gets her priorities right. It’s better to stay in the warm bed until daylight than being dragged into the kindergarten through cold drizzle in the damn-dark-morning, the last extension of a long, cold night. And I like that a five-year-old clearly says what she wants and what not.
It is sad to know that Anni has no chance to break this stupid rule that kindergarten, pre-school. school and work has to start at eight o’clock in the morning, and that there is no chance to switch to a civilised time, at least one hour later would help. I really sympathise with her, because I hated to sit in the classroom at 07:55, the first two hours were mostly lost. I think this rule is a leftover from the times of the Kaiser. I wished her the best, and slept until 10:30.

Nothing Special … bah …

Sorry. Sometimes one wants to run away. Just so. For no “special” reason, just “so”.
Like, things became a bit heavier than usual, or something else popped up, opening another front line.  The causes may vary as the appraisals do, the impulse stays.
Ideas … throw anything (what ?) in a car and drive off. Walk out – simply as that: Turn around, walk away. Very Americaine – in German it’s the picture of the man who “just goes for cigarettes” (“Ich geh’ mal Zigaretten holen!”). He never comes back.
Others may fake their death, orchestrate their demise – vanishing is (not that) easy. People who deal with this professionally, mostly detectives, say that things are not that easy: The important thing is not what you do before you “die”, but afterwards. It needs and means a total rupture – few are ready to make that.
And of course there are things you can not run away from.
Your own body. Or relations you can not cut off, that run to deep in your personality, your own being; they will not change or end when you just go to another place, change your name – change something else of this outer persona. I very much like the word and idea of “per-sona~”, the “sounding through” – the thing one holds before the real face and sounds through, the mask if you will, that what is shown, and sound.
Exactly what we do here on the interwebs, as Donnn once called it.
My ideas of running away are totally conform and traditional. It’s less about going to another place, travelling away and in such hiding – it’s more about throwing all in the faces of those who want something; more a kind of stuffing things down the throats of people or personified circumstances; to finally get rid of  obligations, to finally reach  a feeling, a state of being un-bonded, un-obligated, un-obliged [ all words contain the Latin ligare, what means nothing else but verbinden, to connect: So I finally want to be un-connected ]. And of course the usual images come up, like cars, horses, running … I hate to run. I like horses, in as much as I like other large animals like cows or Hirsche, but I feel not connected to them in a special way. Wolves are different.
What’s it all about – running away ? Getting rid of ?
And I can’t.
My father took care for his dying wife, my beloved mother, for years, and we did not run away. Maybe it’s “protestant”; or simply “grown up”; you do not back out, run away, ignore – especially when death is in your living room.
So, where does this blab lead to ? Nowhere of course, it’s just Gelapper. I am tired. I feel fear. And from a certain age onwards you realize that wine does not “solve problems” – don’t be silly, gettin’ hammered solves nothing and never did – but from one point in time onward it even does not “make things light”, lighter, simpler, more bearable; simply because death, cancer and slipping into the big nothing are not tolerable, acceptable or “light” – at least from my actual point of view.
It comes nearer. Is life from a certain point onward only an exercise in dying ? Learning to embrace the bone man ?
I hate to see people die from cancer, suffer from cancer, I hate cancer. I have to look at it, and I do. And Silvaner does not help anymore. The more you see, the more it hurts, the more you die with them.

There IS no place to run to, nowhere to hide …



Fritz – All I Do Not Know

My father was born 1930 in Breslau (Ger., Eng.). His father was named Wilhelm in 1896, his mother Emma, I do not know her year of birth, she was a bit younger than her husband. They married maybe 1928.
Wilhelm and Emma were born in villages somewhere in Silesia (Oels?), I do not know when and how they came to the main city, where and when they met. Wilhelm miraculously survived WWI serving in the front line, at Verdun (Ger., Eng.) and somewhere near the chemin des dames (Ger., Eng.). I think there is a gap of some years in his biography, it may be a total imagination, but the family lore only starts sometime in the mid-Twenties, when he started to work self-employed in his business as tailor. The family of his wife always looked a bit down on him, because Emma came from a more bourgeoise staple, her brothers and sisters (as I recall it) were better off; I think to remember that one or two of them were members of the Stadtrat of Breslau, but I may be wrong. At least I remember that she told me about the fine and vornehm habitations her siblings lived in. The rented flat in the suburb Wilhelm could provide was not genügend.
Fritz was the only child. His childhood and youth were seemingly easy. He always remembered the summers and the Freibad, swimming was his favourite, and table tennis. He was a member of some swimming club, I do not know the details, but they trained swimming, diving, jumping and so on. He spent the summer either in the open-air bath or in the river. For some time Emma was working in the Freibad, I have no idea what she did there – but he got free entrance.
Wilhelm was busily working on his sewing machine. He was Meister, a master craftsman,, so he could employ Gehilfen and train Gesellen. His business consisted mostly in changing standard clothes to individual fitting (Änderungsschneiderei) and he worked on contract basis for the large clothing sellers. They would sell a suit and if the customer needed changes, Wilhelm would do it. He bought special equipment, notably a machine that could stitch leather – even when I learned to know him as a child (he died in the late sixties when I was not yet in school!) – he mentioned that machine that it made him stand out and get better jobs.
The NS? Wilhelm was initially  not averse to the whole thing, but it changed a lot when he was badly beaten by SA, for looking not aryan enough – he was a small dark-haired man. Emma was not very fond of the Fuehrer, she simply rejected the pseudo-religious features of “the movement”; she was deeply rooted in her christian believe, worked a lot for the church, the protestant of course – later, after the war, she was very dedicated to the small Lutheran parish she found in the middle of the deep catholic Bavarian Forrest.
At the start of WWII Wilhelm was drafted into the air force (!); for some time nothing happened and he was in the barracks, where his wife visited him with their son. He was then sent to Peenemünde (Ger., Eng.) to guard the missile developing centre (Ger., Eng.). But after a short time, maybe 1941 (or early 1942), he was 45 then, they sent him home. He reached the age, the Reich was winning everywhere, you’ve done your duty. Breslau was for a long time a peaceful place, I do not think that there were bombing raids.
Fritz went to school. They sent him to a Realgymnasium (Ger. only), and he was in the last class of this school: I am not sure, but I think the whole thing called Realgymnasium was abandoned then. The war came nearer (Ger., Eng.), and Breslau was “evacuated” – a damn crime, I do not want to go into details. Fritz was sent together with his class to a place in the Eulengebirge (Ger., Eng.), South of Breslau: No worries, you’ll be back at Christmas. Yeah. They were taught the regular curriculum, as possible, and additionally such nice things like putting together a machine gun and using a Panzerfaust (Ger., Eng.). This must have happened winter 1944/45.
Wilhelm was reactivated and had to serve in the Volkssturm (Ger., Eng.). He became a Meldeläufer or Meldegänger, dispatch runner,  in the Festung Breslau. Emma was arbeitsdienstverpflichted (Ger., Eng.), and worked in a can factory. I have no clue what they canned there. And I do not know how she escaped from this place. They were separated. Wilhelm made it later into British captivity, he was found in Plön (Ger., Eng.) – no clue how he made it. He was in Breslau after the fall of the “fortress”, and when he came to the destroyed house he once lived in, he was nearly beaten to death by Poles for plundering: He wanted to rescue his sewing machines.
Emma was somehow evacuated and came to the above mentioned Bavarian Forrest. They heard of each other simply by accident, via a former co-tenant, who accidentally ran into Emma on a station, she had met Wilhelm earlier on her travel through the mess.
Fritz? Was on his own. The class should become formally members of the HJ (Ger., Eng.) to Fuehrers Geburtstag 1945 (Ger. only). But they came to the ceremony in unsuitable clothes and were not marching – my father did not know, even after forty years, whether the officer in charge (he remembered it to be Wehrmachtsoffizier, no party-honcho) was simply fed up with this unmilitary class, or whether he used their appearance as an excuse to spare them this nonsense. Anyway – the teachers one by one dropped off, and the bunch was on their own. They cheated death one time when they were earmarked to go to Dresden, their train did not come. They could watch Dresden going to hell in one night of February 1945 – and went back to their Baude (Ger. only) in the mountains.
I do not know whether he went there in a group or alone, but he went to Colditz, the safest place in the rest of the Reich (Ger., Eng.). I do not know how long he was there. Some day the Russians arrived and the war was over. He had no idea where (or if) his parents were alive, so he worked as farm hand, Pferdeknecht.
I do not know how or when he decided to go, but as I recall it was his own decision. So he went away to the West over the “grüne Grenze”. When he was in the West the Red Cross could give him the whereabouts of his mother, Emma had earlier arrived in the woods. This must have happened 1947 or early in 1948. So he went to his mother and started to learn a profession. First of all he had to go to school again, because he had no  formal Schulabschluss – he once showed me the house where he had to attend classes.
After that he learned the profession of a Kaufmann, merchant. Daily commute of more than one hour in one direction with the train through the green nothingness, we did this travel on some occasions together years later. 1948 Wilhelm surfaced, and the family was together again.
Sometime in the early fifties (1951, at 21) Fritz finally decided to join the Zoll (Ger., Eng.). I have no idea why. He hated weapons and I never (not even as child!) saw him in a uniform. Maybe the idea of a safe income, the promise of stability was overwhelming. They sent him to the North of Bavaria to the inner German border. Their first “office” in a village called Fornbach was a former pigsty. He served at this damn line through the fifties, met my mother, they married.
I stop this waffle here. Too long. Maybe I will continue later.

Still Untitled

The 24th of December. In the coming night, as tradition wants it, Jesus Christ is said to be born, the 25th being his birthday. Lets hope that Mary has not to suffer, any mother giving birth should not. Maybe there lies a secret of  faith, in the repetition, in the understanding that a divine act happened once and is always repeated, by any man to come, by any woman who brings another Erlöser on this world. Maybe this is what theologians mean when they speak about the presence of the ransom. On the other hand, Wolfdietrich SCHNURRE (1920-1989) (Ger., Eng.) once said that redemption is a promise not honoured (ein Versprechen, das nicht eingelöst wird)*.
I came back from my trip through the War, visited places I never had heard of, and finally met my fate in the form of a Russian hand grenade on the banks of the river Düna (Ger., Eng.). Must be a very nice scenery, at least according to the pictures I found on the web. I wish I had time and money to travel, the Baltic states, and the region from the Ostsee to the Black Sea would be one of my favourite areas, roughly the East End of Europe. I would especially like to visit the Krim (Ger., Eng.) and Charkow (Ger., Eng.).
Today pictures of the letters must be taken – I tried and failed this afternoon, and do not know why. I am used to photograph originals out of churchbooks under challenging circumstances, but I have no idea why it did not work today, in a heated room with natural light. I was tense and knotted, sweating heavily, as if I’d do heavy labour. After a first glance at the pictures I thought that only some “Ausreißer”, some runaways, had gone wrong. But there were too much of them, and the pictures are deleted now. Tomorrow a professional will take care of this. My only job left is to carefully put the original letters into archival maps (“Archivmappen”) and write the correct date on them. Put it carefully in an archival box and burn a CD with the transcriptions, a register and a kind of explaining text or history.
I love my profession, and I did this job  with dedication, but I am glad that it is over.

I wish You All a happy Christmas, or a happy Holiday Season, whatever you prefer. I am not in a festive mood, I am just glad that this year is over. I am happily looking forward to the week zwischen den Jahren – I don’t know whether there is an English equivalent or translation for this. It means just the normally quiet week between Christmas an New Year. Today I found an Aldi leaflet in my letter box offering fireworks, something called “Vienna”, “Lisbon”, “Bristol” etc. … oh yeah, just bomb it, honey … Nowadays they do not just offer some rockets on a stick, but up to three crates of explosives mounted on one base – nur einmal Anzünden.  Maybe this is world economy at its finest: People somewhere in the world produce explosives, that are shipped around the world only to be sold to and blown up by other people. Absolutely useless. Well, at least it’s meant to do no harm. But basically it remains nonsensical.
Anyway, bomb or don’t, I don’t care.
Here’s some festive music.
I prefer Bells over bombs. By William BYRD (ca. 1543-1623) (Ger., Eng.). Performed by Michael Maxwell STEER.
Hope you enjoy it.

Happy Christmas. Peace, love, and understanding.



* Der Schattenfotograf, 1978. Recommended.