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On this webpage I bring notes to the escape diary.
20.01.1945 The day before the beginning of the escape
21.01.1945 The escape started on Sunday
21.01.1945 (2) Peter Goreci
22.01.1945 (2) Wiesenthal
22.01.1945 (3) 6 sleighs
23.01.1945 brightest moonshine
24.01.1945 put on the train
25.01.1945 alcoholic drinks
25.01.1945 (2) Baldau
20.02.1945 Bombs on Bütow
20.02.1945 (2) NSV
21.02.1945 (2) 14 persons
23.02.1945 A one-off mountain
28.02.1945 Everything is in order
28.02.1945 (2) Ortsbauernführer
28.02.1945 (3) Löpen grandmother
04.03.1945 The crossing of the Oder River
05.03.1945 Mass accommodation
07.03.1945 Marching orders
11.03.1945 Neustadt, West Prussia
12.03.1945 Aunt Gertrud
15.03.1945 (2) Leather-arm chairs
15.03.1945 (3) their Frenchmen
19.03.1945 Kreisleitung and Kreisleiter
21.03.1945 Now we are in England
22.03.1945 general staff map
26.03.1945 Ortsbauernführer and Kreisleiter from Mohrungen
28.03.1945 Reichsstraße No. 1
29.03.1945 From Farmsen to Bad Salzdetfurth
31.03.1945 Ms Strewe
10.04.1945 Jochen Kühne
13.04.1945 (2) RM
19.04.1945 Ortsbauernführer Meier
25.04.1945 Marlies Schneider
12.05.1945 Ernst Höfel
13.05.1945 Mr Sterner
09.10.1945 Under Russian occupation
24.10.1945 Encircled area Danzig-Marienburg
01.02.1946 (2) Reinhold
10.11.1946 Sunday school
Note to 20.01.1945 The day before the beginning of the escape
First I bring a document.
My mother writes on 01.02.1946:
Eduard Klautke and Albert Grünhagel from Kranthau were taken away by the Russians; fetched in the car, with the car in the Reichau area already driven against a house or tee; with repeated broken bones broken down. Reinhold has not seen this himself, but others, who have seen it, have reported it to him.
The signature on the document is Klautke. And this Klautke is also the one about whom my mother writes. And this agreement also agrees with my memory.
The stamp with the swastika, next to the signature, was therefore probably one of the last sovereign activities of this man.
When I now want to find out, at what time of the day this signature was made, I could fall back upon another document, which is an "Abmeldung" (cancellation of one’s registration) and has obviously the same stamp, where the swastika is even still better recognizable, but not signed by Klautke, but by "I.A. Bruno Mattern" and that is my uncle, the youngest brother of my mother. And the date is also there the 20. January 1945.
The second paper also has a completely different handwriting.
How now my uncle got hold of this stamp, I can only suspect and speculate about it. He indeed came from Kranthau, but lived in Potsdam, and was a soldier, and was certainly good in organizing.
The listed persons are the same; only that with the second document also Irene Preuß is listed and the document also gives that these persons "verziehen nach Potsdam, York-Str. 11" (move to Potsdam, 11 York Str.).
That my sister Irene appears on the one document, but not on the other, could be connected with the fact that she was scheduled in the Mohrungen hospital for an appendix operation. I have once, so about half a century after that, asked Irene, what then happened to her appendix after that, and she then said something like that the appendix then was no longer a problem. Perhaps the urgency caused the worry about the appendix to disappear.
This move to Potsdam, via railway, has probably been planned. The grandmother and the children were to be brought to safety. But the military situation worsened so much that new plans had to be made.
And the second paper was perhaps to ensure that everything happened legally. My mother could not appear on the paper, because that was forbidden, not so much the writing, but the giving up of every square metre of German soil. This ban was revoked one day later, one day after the 21. January 1945, on the 22., or rather, replaced through a new command, a command to escape. But by then we had already left.
To send Grandmother and the children to Potsdam, had of course the disadvantage, that the family was divided up. When the worsening of the military situation brought the decision that all escaped immediately, one remained together.
Georg Neumann writes that Bruno Mattern on Friday, the 19.01.1945, visited him and his mother in Marienburg. He came from Kranthau and wanted farther to Potsdam. There in Marienburg he received information about the critical situation at the front in southern East Prussia, listened to the next news broadcast and decided not to go to Potsdam, but back to Kranthau and to organize the immediate escape. Georg accompanied him.
"In the evening Uncle Bruno and I went to Horn with a scheduled train (according to timetable reprint of 1941 it could have been 19:45 o’clock) and walked to Kranthau through deep snow. The train was overcrowded with military and travelled completely blacked out."
On Saturday, the 20.01.1945 early in the morning Uncle Bruno had a horse given to him and rode to Reichau. This was therefore the day on which the two documents were written. Uncle Bruno has then probably immediately ridden back from Reichau to Kranthau and used the rest of the day for all kind of activities.
The railway system therefore still worked quite normally on the 19.01.1945. And the same way also on the 20.01.1945. Only in the course of the 21th of January the problems started and we, including the mother, could have simply got onto a train on the 20th and would have arrived in Bad Salzdfetfurth in a few hours and would not have to go through all the weeklong efforts and dangers.
A map Ostbahn (east railway) follows:
Why was this not done?
Was the reason the unwillingness having to part with many material things?
Georg Neumann describes the situation regarding traveling controls so in the report about the last part of his escape - from aunt Elly Mattern's flat in Potsdam to Bad Salzdetfurth:
On Friday, the 09.02.1945, approximately at 3 o'clock in the morning we travelled with the S-bahn into Berlin. Our train was to depart from the Potsdamer Bahnhof in Berlin. Since there had been air raids in the hours before, one could not be quite sure whether it would work out all right, and in fact we had to walk through smoking ruins on the last stretch to the station. The train departed according to plan in the early morning hours. Our worry was now directed to the personal checks through the NSDAP organs, because based on the legal situation being in force aunt Elly with Monika would not have been allowed to leave the area Berlin. It was already a matter of luck that she had gotten a railway ticket at all. But no controls took place.
Therefore the family was partly prepared for the escape, but was exposed to the given circumstances, and so it is when one gets into a dictatorship and does not dissociate oneself immediately from the beginning, the best distances oneself from it, to somewhere else.
One does not do business with the devil, on the contrary, one resists him. One resists him.
Why did my parents get into a dictatorship?
When my grandfather died, my mother took over the business and with it much responsibility, also for example with regard to her mother and her other 9 children. Her mother had at that time still children who went to school. The three youngest children were of school age. The youngest sister of my mother was only 8 years old. The feeling of responsibility towards the family and the family business was certainly the driving power and to load oneself down with debts probably played a less important role.
But the essential part was that she got herself landed with debts towards these persons. She became a slave. The borrower is servant to the lender, Proverbs 22:7. And Romans 13:8: Let no debt remain outstanding.
Deuteronomy 28:44: He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
When my father married my mother, he then also loaded himself down with debt as a result. He indeed brought money into the marriage, but the debt was not paid with it, or not all debt.
My father could have simply returned to America 1933 - or after that; he did not even require a visa, since he had an American passport. But now he was bound, through marriage and through debt. And then he also needed the agreement of his wife, and that were then certainly also not the only obstacles.
My parents could also have sold the property and so liberate themselves from all debt.
It was that, what was sometimes clearly lacking in my family, a direct knowledge of the holy word and its practical application. And that was also still fully supported by their sect to which they belonged, the Protestant Church, because these denominations are pure worldly organizations, who pretend to represent religion, but always represent the god of this world and his principles, and whose leaders themselves violate the principles of the word of God most and live a pure worldly life.
A real Christian would avoid under all circumstances to burden himself with debt, because it is a clear sign that he is after matter. Only a thief is still in a worse way, whom the craving for physical things makes him a criminal.
But still in a worse way is a robber, and absolutely bad are the very great robbers like Stalin and Hitler, who want to get everything under their control.
For all these people it is matter what they strive for, and the more they do it, the farther they go away from the real aim, to get away from matter and to strive for spiritual values and abilities only.
And so it is also understandable that my parents, after the war, burdened themselves again with debt, completely unnecessarily, which were allegedly so favourable, and bought a piece of land and built a "Nebenerwerbssiedlung" (second job estate house) on it. They probably thought that they then no longer needed to live in rented accommodation and be freer, but just became slaves as a result. After the currency reform Germany started to develop to the richest country in the world, and my parents, instead of making full use of this upturn, wasted part of their energy in this building project.
When the house was completed, the oldest daughter was already 17 years old and the children started to leave the house, and the older the parents got the more the house became a burden and when mother was then alone, she had to move out. The large family did no longer exist since the escape, because the farm did no longer exist, which at least kept one child at home.
But there is something more important and that is the maturing of the soul. And that what my parents, and particularly I myself, have experienced in this time, is much more valuable and has contributed much more to grow spiritually and to strengthen the will to resistance, than to live in freedom and prosperity. Particularly this again and again being rescued out of greatest danger is an experience that remains in one’s memory and prepares for the future.
This report of my mother of the 1. February 1946 is certainly a simplification. I can remember much more, crueller, details.
When there is the story that a politically active person lost his life as a result of a car accident, then one can also assume that this car accident is also a story or a fairy tale, as with Erwin Rommel.
And about George Patton there are also a number of rumours.
In comparison I now bring two passages from the work of my sister Ellinor, "Dokumentation über Kranthau im Kreis Mohrungen/Ostpr.," 1985.
On page 139: Klautke, Eduard, x 14.12.1904 i.Kranthau, No.8), Farmer, Mayor 1931-1945, + 2.1945 i.Reichau, died through Russian tank
On page 150: Wehran: The last mayor of Kranthau was Eduard Klautke. Eduard Klautke and Albert Grünhagel were, on their escape, overrun by a tank near Reichau.
Note to 21.01.1945 The escape began on Sunday
Here my mother reports the following:
The escape began on Sunday, the 21. January 1945 at 10 o’clock in the morning from our home village Kranthau, Post Horn, district Mohrungen/East Prussia.
A working cart with roof from canopies, loaded with only what is absolutely necessary articles of clothing, food and beds, wool blankets, furs and very plentiful oats and clover hay for the 3 horses.
Since at this occasion there was no photographer available and photographed the memorable situation, I bring here a photo which makes it possible to imagine the situation.
Wilhelmine Mattern, née Weiß
Lina Preuß, née Mattern
First I bring that, what is different on this photo: It is the year 1941 and not the year 1945. It is a coach, and not a working cart with roof from canopies. The father is on the picture; he was not in the year 1945. The clothes of the persons is probably not that of the year 1945.
But that was it also already.
From left to right: Ellinor, grandmother, father, Irene, mother, Frank-Leopold, Lora.
Lora was therefore also 1945 again with it, Putti and Pierrot as well.
Behind Lora is one of the stables and behind us the barn and between both buildings the way to Steckel’s field, which was not taken 1941, but the one diagonally opposite, over the village Kranthau, on a proper way. The way over Steckel’s field was also used by pedestrians, who, for instance, came from Horn railway station.
The liquid manure barrel, which lay at an angle before the barn on a heap of sand or gravel, was Frank-Leopold’s personal property. He had received it at his birth, two years before the photo, from his father as birthday gift. My father loved such practical gifts, which he then could use himself quite well. But I was the proud owner.
When my father was not yet married, he bought chocolate or something similar and then visited my, future, mother. But the problem was that at his arrival there was not much left of the gift, because, as already said, my father liked to give gifts, which he also could use himself very well.
The liquid manure barrel was therefore, as one can see, relatively new, only two years old, exactly as I myself, two years old.
But I cannot remember that my father has ever asked me whether he could lend the liquid manure barrel from me.
I have inherited this peculiarity from my father. I also like to give what I can use myself very well – the word of God.
On the 21. January 1945 it was then not much different. 1941 it was probably also a Sunday.
This situation, 1945, I remember well. And that I was worried that my mother, as we already wanted to depart, once again went down from the waggon, walked into the house to still fetch something. I thought we should be away as soon as possible.
And then there was also Peter and, according to the reports of Georg Neumann, also Georg Neumann.
Ready for departure were also the two refugee families quartered with us, and Uncle Bruno Mattern, on Pierrot.
The white cap of my father also appears on another family photo, dated 2.7.1939, therefore in best peace times, as he, and several other persons, stood behind his then carriage, a black Mercedes 170 with the number plate IC-12098?, at a staff outing to Kahlberg, on the Frische Nehrung (Fresh Sand Bar), in Cadinen.
The staff outing happened with three families and their allowance families and in Cadinen was probably a stop to take photos and to Tolkmit the trip was done with 3 cars and then they carried on with steamer to Kahlberg on the sand bar. I was, I believe, not with it, remained probably at home with grandmother.
Our allowance family was Kijewski. I can well remember this family. The youngest daughter Christel was my best girlfriend. We have visited her mother and her in Bremen after the war.
This Mercedes of my father was then soon after the beginning of the war called up to the war, to conquer the world, and so the carriage was again used, which still stood in barn.
I have then, in memory of the good old times, also bought a Mercedes 170 as my first car, also of course black, only that mine, in contrast the one of my father, was not new, but very old.
The Mercedes of my father was his second car. The first one was a Ford, in America, in the state of New York, probably also very old. Also of this car there existed a photo in the family album.
To compare the economic situation in America to that in Germany, my father said in Germany he has earned so much money as farm administrator that he could afford the resoling of his boots at the shoemaker and as farmworker in America he has earned so much that he could a afford a car after a few months.
This thing with conquering the world is actually just a test. I find it interesting to imagine systems, which give an entity the opportunity to romp about, to be tested. It can for instance behave like a world conqueror and oppress all others, therefore want to be first, or it can behave so like a good neighbour, who shows others neighbourly love. Our system here on this planet earth is dominated by the two conditions of space and time. One can be on one part of the earth and then no-one else can be on that piece of the surface of the earth – space, and he can only do this, when the other is no longer there – time. Unless he is the first, is therefore something that Stalin and Hitler wanted to become; then everyone has to move, spatially and with regard to time. And the test is then simply: what will the entity now do? Will it understand for what purpose it is here and pass the test, and therefore get liberated from matter, or will it fail, and therefore not pass the test, and not only not get liberated from matter, but itself get imprisoned in hardest matter for eternities?
Another system is for example the hypnagogic state. There another entity can come towards me and must not stop, when it has reached me, but goes right through me. Or the system that is experience when in an out of body state. There the entity can go through a wall and does not have to navigate planet earth by travelling on the surface of it, but can go right through it, like a neutrino.
If this sounds too esoteric, then take electromagnetic waves, something mankind now knows to handle for a couple of decades. There one has all kinds of things occupying the same space. The space around us is filled with electromagnetic waves coming from radio stations, television stations, mobile telephone operators, remote controls, police radio, Bluetooth, wireless keyboards, wireless mice, and gadgets of all kind.
And all these electromagnetic waves are in the same space, at the same time; therefore do not take away each other’s space.
Stalin has now won this dispute wanting to be first - where I moved around directly among their armies - with the help of his friends Roosevelt and Truman, and then there existed with the friends Kennedy and Johnson even a culmination for this atheistic system, but with such people like Clinton and Obama the actual culmination will come, until then, shortly before the Endsieg, everything ends in the abyss.
And that is then the time that, again but worse, in addition to the collateral conditions of time and space, also the collateral conditions of a dictatorship are added. And under such hard conditions one can really find out, what is inside a person. The Bible calls it separation of the sheep from the goats, Matthew 24:31-34.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Note to 21.01.1945 (2) Peter Goreci
See special Webpage Peter Goreci
Note to 22.01.1945 18.2.1918
The date 18.2.1918 as birthday of my uncle Bruno Mattern is not correct. He was born 2 years earlier, on the 18.2.1916. He was the second youngest child of my grandparents. The youngest child Edith was born in the year 1918, on the 9.7.1918.
Note to 22.01.1945 (2) Wiesenthal
Here my mother reports the following: Later they have dropped the same off somewhere, I believe in Wiesenthal.
I can remember Wiesenthal.
I believe we lived in a furnished flat of an absent captain and I played with and around the furniture and that was not any good use for me, since the drawers were locked.
I went to "school". I do not know what that was. I drew a coffee pot and the painting was very good. I could judge that, because I had created it myself.
In Wiesenthal there was therefore some kind of breather after the shock of the sudden start of the escape.
Here some details about the participants:
|Name of trek||Place of the escape start||Name||Birth date||Age in years||Date of arrival in Bad Salzdet-furth|
|Weiß||Reichau||Emma Weiß, née Mattern||23.03.1905||39||29.03.1945|
|Preuß||Kranthau||Wilhelmine Mattern, née Weiß||01.02.1872||72|
|Lina Preuß, née Mattern||21.04.1900||44|
|Gehrmann||Löpen||Richard Gehrmann||19.05.1889||55||after the 09.10.1945, in October 1945|
|Grete Gehrmann, née Mattern||03.01.1899||46|
|Dorothea Gehrmann||13.05.1926||18||07.10.1945: see 09.10.1945|
|Löpen grandmother||see 28.02.1945 (3)|
|Mrs Hedwig Janzen, Richard's sister, with children||see 22.01.1945|
|Gehrmann's cottager woman Kunkel||see 24.01.1945|
Of the three treks the two from Reichau and Kranthau stayed together; the one from Löpen remained behind on the 02.03.1945 in Düssin, shortly before the Oder River, east of the Oder, since Gehrmann's second mare had foaled.
On the 10.03.1945 the three treks met again, "by chance", in Wesenberg, in Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
On the 17.03.1945 the Löpen gelding is sick and for that reason Gehrmanns once again remain behind, and that is in Wredenhagen, in Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
On the 09.10.1945 there is information about that Waltraut, Dorothee and Rudi arrived in Bad Salzdetfurth on the 07.10.1945 and that Grete, Richard and Fredi still remained in the district Seehausen.
That is therefore the place where we were on the 21.03.1945 and on the 22.03.1945.
And that is already to the west of the Elbe River, in Prussia, in the province Sachsen.
On the 12.03.1945 the information is there that on Friday, 09.03.1945, Edith with daughter Helga and Traute have travelled from Potsdam to Salzdetfurth.
Now comes an extract from a report by Waltraud Hilke, née Gehrmann, of the 25.05.1988. Traute was born on the 29.05.1923 and was therefore 21 years old at the time of the escape.
As from March stood in for Aunt Trude Pelz as manager in Wargels near Stuhm, so that she could cure 8 weeks. Next job Thierbach near Preußisch Holland. In autumn changed to Limbsee, near Freistadt. From there hitched to Potsdam; Aunt Elly and Uncle Bruno‘s flat was already occupied by Breslauer and the next day Aunt Edith Wasgindt arrived with Helga. Fed up child; buried granny Wasgindt. Once again to Sanssouci in the park, at the castle the windows were boarded up.
Then travelled by train to Bad Salzdetfurth in Lower Saxony. There the families Weiß and Preuß had arrived, i.e. the aunts, grandmamma and the children.
One of the days Dorothee appeared there and fetched me to the Altmark, where the parents had broken down with horse and cart and the grandmother had remained in Wittstock an der Dosse in the old age home.
Quartered in forester’s house Warthe I saw the parents again – March 1945; the brothers somewhere - Manfred in Ludwigslust at a cavalry unit; Dora and I visited him still shortly before Easter there. Still no news from Rudi; he had become air force helper.
Time between the fronts – from the west the Yanks; from the east the Russians, in-between the German army. Fire-fights, artillery bombardment also from the own – that was not always to distinguish.
Yanks came first; in the forester’s house only women and children; the forester had disappeared, Ortsgruppenleiter. Yanks sought him and rummaged repeatedly through the forester’s house – sought also women and we move all into the forest into a simple hut on straw bed.
Father worked in the village Lindenberg on a farm, where the last two horses are kept. He also drives the trek wagon to us into the forest, so that it does not yet get looted. So we live 14 days, get often visited by American soldiers, who shoot at all living creatures in the forest: but also show the father the broken open roe-deer, of which he then brings the livers, which we then fry at the open fire. Have found a stock of cans and wine, unfortunately only cherries and apple purée, but that tastes good with the pancakes, which we bake in the forest.
Armistice on the 9. April 1945. We move into the village Lindenberg on to Benecke‘s farm and start to manage there.
The Yanks withdraw; the English come and in July the area is handed over to the Russians. Russian bakery on the farm.
Mother gets sicker and we plan to go westwards before the winter. Still celebrate the silver wedding of the parents on the 21. September, all neighbours give us food and congratulate. Mother still must help with the birth of a refugee child in the neighbour house.
Then Dora, Rudi and I travel one day with light baggage by train to the zone boundary near Helmstedt; wander with other crowds of refugees at daybreak through the forest to the Russian guarded barrier; overrun it when it is shorty opened and run like hares, till we are on English guarded area. There are picked up and driven with lorries to a camp in an old brickworks, fed, deloused and asked, where to!
We tell, our parents are in the West and we want to them. Get tickets for the railway and seats in overcrowded slow trains, until we get off at night in Lehrte. Next day to Hildesheim, on foot to the domain Marienburg. There is Aunt Trudchen manager; receives us; we are allowed to bath, get food and travel with Tommie to Bad Salzdetfurth!
First to Marie Luise Schneider, née Kienscherf (M-L. was apprentice at home in Löpen). The parents with Fredy follow in October.
The village Lindenberg lies south of Pritzwalk, east of Perleberg, north east of Wittenberge and can be found on map 5.
I do not know whether Gehrmanns came with horse and wagon to Bad Salzdetfurth.
In the above mentioned table the arrival of Dora on the 09.10.1945 is therefore already the second arrival of Dora in Bad Salzdetfurth. The first arrival of Dora was therefore already in March 1945 and was probably even before our arrival on the 29.03.1945, on Maundy Thursday: "shortly before Easter". And that again could be a reason, why this arrival was not recorded in the escape diary, because there we had not yet arrived at all in Bad Salzdetfurth.
But this report of Traute very nicely describes the difference of the experiences. We had trekked to Bad Salzdetfurth purposefully; had then crossed the intersection of our journey with the future Iron Curtain between Mellin and Voize on the 25.03.1945 and therefore reached future West Germany. But they were still caught up by the Soviet forces and had to also still experience the dictatorship of Stalin.
And their two daughters, Traute and Dora, had even already arrived in the free West, but returned then back to the area, which then became Soviet Germany, and then still had the experience of a second dictatorship.
Instead of being glad that one daughter had been successful with the escape, she was fetched back.
Note to 22.01.1945 (3) 6 sleighs
There it says: "Gehrmanns drove as well two heavily laden working carts drawn by two horses, one Richard steered, the other Dorothee."
That was probably the situation as it was planned before the snowfall, after the transferring there were then 6 sleighs: "From Löpen therefore 6 sleighs were on our family trek: Preuß, Weiß, Schober each one and three Gehrmann."
The transferring on to sleighs already reduced the amount of possessions, which one wanted to take along: "We were nowhere near finished with the transferring, there we heard already gun fire from nearby. Now in addition to food also valuable furs and other warm things were left."
And then 2 days later, on the 24.1.1945, it says then: "In Kalthof we simply broke down; with sleighs it did not go on."
And then: "Two wagons, unfortunately much smaller than ours from Kranthau." At this occasion the seize of the vehicles was therefore reduced.
It gives the impression as if the giving up of the addiction for material possessions was promoted.
Gehrmanns had 3 sleighs, and also this amount of vehicles was then still less and reduced itself then probably completely to zero.
But the lessons which were given, did not bring much, or nothing, because after the escape material possessions were striven for again with all eagerness.
I have observes this with interest, but did not take part in it.
And these lessons of the loss of material things during the escape were actually stiil only small in comparison with the loss of the farm and all the many acres of land possession.
Note to 23.01.1945 brightest moonshine
This description "brightest moonshine" agrees with historical data. According to them the First Quarter was on the 20th of January 1945, waxing half-moon, and on the 28th of January 1945 was full moon.
Note to 24.01.1945 put on the train
There is the sentence: "Gehrmann's cottager woman Kunkel from Löpen was put on the train in Marienburg and one sleigh of Gehrmanns uncoupled."
This possibility, to put someone on the train, did not just exist in Marienburg. Probably all participants of the trek could have been put on the train in Marienburg, whether this then would have really worked, is another question, but for example also in Wiesenthal one could have put everything on a train at the railway station Schöneck.
The problem always seem to have been the willingness, or the unwillingness, to detach oneself from material goods.
When Mrs Kunkel succeeded there in Marienburg in escaping, then she has saved herself a lot of trouble. And what was the reason? She had little luggage; she needed to separate from no possessions.
The train connection from Marienburg to the west probably existed until the beginning of March 1945. The Nogat bridges were blown up on the 09.03.1945. But the map The conquest of Germany 1945, 1 March 1945 indicates that the area west of Dirschau was still not red on the 1st of March 1945. Life in Marienburg was certainly hell from the 24.01.1945, since it was besieged.
But with the beginning of the besieging also the influx of refugees came to an end, and consequently also an end to the overstretching of railway traffic from Marienburg to the west.
The besieging of Marienburg only happened from the east; from the west Marienburg still had access and exit.
Marienburg was actually a bridgehead, from which the Wehrmacht could have launched an attack.
The railway station Marienburg may not have been part of the bridgehead. "At the end of February 1945 there was once again a report from Marienburg. A static fight took place there since the 27.01., which was to prevent the Soviet army to cross Nogat and Weichsel. The bridgehead included the area around the castle, the three Nogat bridges and the market place. In this way the access from the west was possible."
Note to 25.01.1945 alcoholic drinks
There is the sentence: Still another incident is not to remain unmentioned: At sister Edith’s wedding some bottles of alcoholic drinks were left over; we took them along.
The participants of this wedding were to a quite great extent also those people, whose names appear the escape diary, see Edith's wedding - a picture of the wedding guests. The wedding had been 1941. That was therefore more than 3 years ago. And these bottle were still there, had therefore not been used up. At home, after the escape, alcohol was only offered and drunk at such occasion as a wedding, and now I see from the escape diary that already in East Prussia it was not usual at home to drink alcohol. And now I also remember that I was negatively impressed, when with some relatives of us I was offered alcohol when I visited them. And when I then compare these two lifelong habits, the one basicall without alcohol and the other with, then one very simply realizes that a life with alcohol is harmful and leads to negative life experiences.
Having bad experiences should be avoided, but it is good to learn from bad experiences that other people have. Exactly with relatives one can nicely observe something like this, because one knows them over perhaps more than half a dozen decades.
Note to 25.01.1945 Baldau
I had difficulties finding Baldau on maps and the reason being that Baldau is mentioned before Dirschau in the escape diary. I knew where Dirschau is; that place was quite known to me and also where it was, but not Baldau. I therefore assumed that Baldau is east of Dirschau, therefore on the right hand side of the River Weichsel, and therefore also looked for it there. Only after I then found Baldau, west of the River Weichsel and south of Dirschau, I actually understood what is described in the diary. We therefore must have, after we had crossed the River Weichsel, driven through Dirschau, and then to Baldau, towards the south, and then back to Dirschau and then further on to the west. Between Dirschau and Wiesenthal no names of places are mentioned, but the Danziger Höhe. After Dirschau we probably travelled towards the west and not towards the north. This is also confirmed through a statement on the 27.01.1945, where is says, "At last a constable. Richard asked him and immediately turned right. It went to Wiesenthal near Lemberg over Praust, Danzig Land." We therefore travelled to the west and then turned to the north. And I went to some expense to find Baldau on maps, exactly for that reason, because I did not understand the sequence of the events described in the diary. This is an example, why I also deal with maps on this website, another example is the position of the place Reichbach. It was the crossing point of the treks towards the west from Löpen via Reichenbach to Markushof, and the tanks towards the north from Miswalde via Reichenbach to Hirschfeld. Only after I recognized the connection of the details at the building of this website, I became aware of the importance of this place Reichenbach in my life.
Note to 20.02.1945 Bombs on Bütow
I have the following memory of this matter:
We were on the market place and busy to unhitch everything and stop for a rest. Then my mother suddenly issued the motto, everything again hitching up, we carry on travelling, and came across much protest, but as usually it was not easy to deal with my mother, and so the others fell in line under protest. After some time we were overtaken by a cyclist, who reported to us that Bütow had been attacked, with everything the opponent had, tanks, cannons, planes. And particularly the market place, where we had stayed, had become a place of horror, covered with dead men and animals.
For me this story is always an example how one is led by the spirit of truth, and how my mother reacted the right way and was rescued, and everyone with her.
Note to 20.02.1945 (2) NSV
NSV = NS-Volkswohlfahrt = National Sozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (Natioal Socialist People Welfare Services).
Note to 21.02.1945 Hilde
The escape diary says: Grandmamma and Hilde sleep on wagon as guard.
When I read the escape diary for the first time, this Hilde was the only person on our trek, which I could not remember and who was also not known to me. I asked my cousin Waltraud whether she knows who that is. In her letter dated 27. May 2005 she wrote to me:
Regarding the girl Hilde on the escape, she was an apprentice of my mother in Löpen and accompanied the trek to the Altmark; then she tried to find relatives; later she got in touch in Salzdetf. and asked for her diary from the apprenticeship, which mother took along.
Our grandmother Hernriette Gehrmann or Kahrau, remained in Wittstock in a nursing home; two of her grandchildren were close by; she died there on the 9.4.1945 and was buried in the presence of both woman, still before the invasion of the Russians.
This just shortly noted; I put more together for you; I was very bound to your mother Lina, she was my godmother. With Grandmamma I still had good conversations in Salzdetfurth; she was there at our wedding, on the 20.4.1948; gave us a hand bound broom from horse hair; one does not forget that; it is the simple things often, which please. I was also at her death bed.
In my report of 1988 the events on the 5-week escape in ice and snow are left aside; I have only written it down recently, since my diary of then was stolen. A sequence about the "Kranthauer Weddings" I have already often read in women groups.
My cousin Waltraud Gehrmann was not there on our trek, only her somewhat younger sister Dorothea Gehrmann.
Note to 21.02.1945 (2) 14 persons
The last sentence there is: Wehrmacht was lying there; I sent Irene with big grey can for pea soup for dinner; tasted very good and was enough for all 14 persons.
These 14 persons were, at that stage, 3 from trek Weiß: Emma and Charlotte and Regina. Then 6 from trek Preuß: Wilhelmine Mattern, Lina, Ellinor, Irene and Frank-Leopold Preuß and Peter Goreci. And then 5 from trek Gehrmann: Richard, Grete and Dora Gehrmann, and "Löpen grandmother", see 28.02.1945, and Hilde.
Note to 22.02.1945 (2) Lora
Lora was our best known and most popular horse. She is a mare and is seen in full size at the note 21.01.1945 and there on can also see her long, wide, white stripe on her forehead. I believe this was called blaze. Lora also appears on several other family photos.
Lora had many foals. The mare Putti was one of them, the gelding Pierrot another. She had the last foal in Bad Salzdetfurth and since my father then worked much in the forest and transported wood, he probably gave the name Waldmeister - forest master - to this foal.
In the escape diary Lora is mentioned 8 times, Putti 4 times and Pierrot 14 times.
Waldmeister was one of the last two horses, which my father had. The other was the mare Lady. She is mentioned in the escape diary on the 10.11.1946 (2).
Waldmeister and Lady, Waldmeister was a light brown horse and Lady a dark brown horse, played then a quite big role in my life, since I had much to do with them.
There were horses to keep watch over - in the forest; the stable had to be mucked out; the horses had to be fed and to be watered; there was work in the field, like ploughing or earthing up potato fields. I can remember that my father towed tree trunks out of the woods to the forest track with one horse and I with the other.
The horses were so to speak the centre of the family business, which consisted of agriculture and haulage business. Their well-being was observed the same way as that of men. As a little boy I once got a hiding from my father, when he came home and realized that I had not watered the horses.
And carrying such a bucket of water, perhaps 20 l, was heavy work. And when I see today, that child labour is forbidden and that it is forbidden to spank a child, then I think of Proverbs 13:24:
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
I can remember the day when Lora retired from working life and was fetched. Every member of the family said goodbye personally to this beloved horse.
That must have been 1949 or later, because there exists a photo with us 3 children sitting on our 3 horses, that is dated 1949. I sit on Waldmeister, Ellinor on Lady and Irene on Lora, and our parents standing next to us.
Lora had served us 10 weeks during the escape and pulled us right across Germany and already before served loyally many years and also again after that.
I now bring something about the spiritual side of animals; it is something what Bertha Dudde received from God:
B.D. NR. 4759 Vegetarian food? Killing of animals.
A difference must be made between an act, which merely aims at destruction out of evil will, and such a one, which is to fulfil a purpose appearing good to man. Further a difference has to be made of man and animal insofar as that man is never allowed to take the life of another man, because on earth there is no further embodiment anymore for him, because earth life means the last station for the maturation of the spiritual, while the spiritual in the animal has not yet reached the last form, therefore a transition into a new form in the bound state or into man is the result of the killing and can therefore be called a progress. Further the fact is decisive, in which way the life of the animal is taken. It must be an act of love insofar, as that the animal is spared pain and agony, because the divine creature must always be seen in it, which possesses my love and therefore already for that reason must be treated with care, so that the spiritual in it feels love on the part of men and is prepared to sacrifice its life for the well-being of men. Since it now serves men in truth, it fulfils its earth task and wins a higher degree of maturity, which secures it the embodiment as man or also a higher level of development in another living being. The killing of an animal out of devilment is a sin, because it prematurely cuts short a stage of development. But the same act can never be seen as sin, when its motive is a help for fellowman. How far now this help is in accordance with my will, is also to be explained.
I never liked it to ride our horses, because I thought they had it hard enough to do all the work.
Before the war there were already a number of farmers, who had cars, but with the start of the war that came to a sudden end. The handling of horses was also long after the end of the war a matter of course, also in urban areas, and people had understanding for a world with horses. That one can notice in the escape diary, where always, when a mare had foaled, this was acknowledged as a special situation, including with people, who had some public functions.
Animal keeping was in general customary in towns still many years after the war, this even still more than before the war, because many people now provided food for themselves, which was otherwise difficult to get hold of. The keeping of rabbits was for example quite popular.
Note to 23.02.1945 One-off mountain
Here my mother reports the following: "From Zannow to Köslin a one-off mountain, constantly equally rises to Köslin."
On different passages mother writes notes about mountains and gradients, for example also on 27.01.1945: "now always uphill, because the Danzig Hill came."
Now come two maps, which show the situation after Zanow and before Köslin. But the first map Shows the whole distance from Kranthau to Köslin with the ground elevations.
My mother did not like mountains and hills, but preferred to live where it is flat. She liked to live in a house, where all rooms are on the same level. She did not like stairs. She did not like corners in rooms, since they are difficult to clean. Spiritual writings also recommend rooms without corners. Her ideal of a home was a house on a turntable, where she could turn the house so, that the room in which she was could be directed towards the sun and would then turn with the sun.
Note to 28.02.1945 Everything is in order
Here my mother reports the following: "In Stresow our trek with Ortsbauernführer (local farmers leader) Ziemer at 17 o’clock — only 4 farmers in the village. Farm c. 300 acres in size. Mrs Ziemer is teaching woman for apprentices; house everything in order, piped water, water-closet etc.. "
Mother writes, that "everything is in order" there with Ziemers.
That was on the 28.02.1945. And when one then looks as the historic maps, for example The Russian Drive to the Oder, January-April 1945, then the coastal area of Pomerania east of the Oder River was not in the hand of the Russians on the 4. February 1945, but already on the 7 April.
And the other historic map, The conquest of Germany 1945, shows that this area as not yet conquered on the 1. March 1945, but already on the 15. March 1945, therefore at least 15 days later.
The trek from Reichertswalde crossed the Oder on the Autobahn south of Stettin on the 20. February 1945. We did this from the 03.03.1945 to the 06.03.1945, over the islands Wollin and Usedom, in the delta of the Order, therefore almost 14 days later. At the time the rout over Stettin had probably already become too risky for us.
But the interesting thing about the Ziemers is indeed the behaviour; they stood directly before the obvious acquisition by conquest and carried on living as usually. The refugees fled in front past their eyes and they acted as if there was no danger. They behaved like the people at the rapture, the god-fearing people already rise up, see Rapture, where Reinhardt Gschwend saw, what happens to those who were not raptured from this world and not from the god of this world:
Then I saw other men, which were also drawn up by the magnetic power of the crown, but because their feet were detained in the morass they could not come free. But at the same time their hands were bound and tied up to certain treasures and riches, from which they also could not be liberated.
Then a powerful fire occurred and roared over the earth. It was the fire of judgement. But it also seized those whose feet were still tied up in the muddy morass despite the fact that they were pulled by the Lord.
My mother has indeed often written down reports about those who had been conquered.
And the real reports, which we got to listen to, were indeed written down by my mother in a strongly toned down form, but we heard all the details, what happened to those people, and they were horrible. And I can very well remember these details. The word Vierteilen (quartering) was for instance bad enough, but there were worse things.
But alone already to get conquered was terrible. And then they still lost all their property, got expropriated, deprived of the rights and driven out.
But all that can still be seen as relatively harmless, but when somebody was Ortsbauernführer, then one can also assume that he belonged to the party, and such people were hated by the victors.
At this occasion one must of course not forget that this war had its cause in the atrocities of this party and particularly also that the hate of the attackers came from atrocities, which were committed by this party in the country of the attacker.
This prophecy by Reinhardt Gschwend is considered by me as very credible, because I have known the prophet myself, and he appeared as extremely credible. The prophet and his international work have impressed me and he is one of the few Christians who have convinced me to be real Christians.
The great problem is that men cannot separate from material things. Georg Neumann writes:
Mother had most of the luggage left standing in Dirschau on the railway station and rescued only two hand suitcases and one bag. The most important piece of luggage was my old school satchel, which she had packed full of family and business papers.
This old school satchel also played a role, as so many things of Georg, in my life. I now bring the first document, which came into my possession:
On my seventh birthday I received therefore from Georg Neumann his old school satchel as gift; shortly before me starting school. I only started school with seven years, because the school was still used as military hospital during the year before. The most important object was then the slate, and the wet sponge hanging out of the bag. I can imagine that today some things are different.
Georg therefore had access to a typewriter in the year 1946. It was probably Lucke’s, a very helpful couple, where Neumanns lived.
The size, or rather the smallness, of the document gives an impression of the scarcity, which was predominant everywhere.
I just now had a break and looked out of the window and looked at the crescent moon and how also that part the moon was somehow illuminated, which is not shone upon by the sun, and then thought of Georg, who told me that it was the illumination from earth, the earth shine.
When Georg was busy becoming doctor and professor of physics, I have once made the mistake and asked him, with which scientific work he is busy with, and he has explained that to me very willingly, but that was all too high for me.
Note to 28.02.1945 (2) Ortsbauernführer
"Ortsbauernführer, OBF, (local farmers leader) was in the time of National Socialism the leader of the smallest or lowest unit in the building up of the Reichsnährstand (Empire Feeding Group). He consequently represented the "Ortsbauernschaft" (Local Farmers), as a rule one village or one community, in which he was resident himself. He did not have an own administration apparatus, but had to concern himself with the local leaders like mayor and Ortsgruppenleiter of the NSDAP. Only extremely rarely the OBF was state and party bearer of sovereignty in personal union. Several Ortsbauernschaften were put together to a Kreisbauernschaft (1938 about 52000). An OBF was not to be a member of the NSDAP, in fact a part of less than half is probably rather to be taken as a starting point."
Note to 28.02.1945 (3) Löpen grandmother
There exists this entry: "But we upstairs dark room with straw; only Löpen grandmother downstairs in study on couch."
The Löpen grandmother is also mentioned in the note to the 21.02.1945 (2), that she is one of the 14 persons, which was part of the trek at that time.
Then there is information from Waltraud Hilke dated 25.05.1988:
"One of the days Dorothee appeared there and fetched me to the Altmark, where the parents had broken down with horse and cart and the grandmother had remained in Wittstock an der Dosse in the old age home.
This is part of this webpage, of the note to 22.01.1945 (2).
Still another information from Waltraud Hilke, dated 23.1.2006:
The grandmother story is broadened under the subject: "Two grandmothers from Himmelforth", the first draft I sent to Ellinor. The mother of my father also came from Himmelforth, but was a few years older than Wilhelmine.
This is also part of this webbpage, of note to 07.08.1945.
A further information from Waltraud Hilke, dated 27.05.2005:
Our grandmother Hernriette Gehrmann or Kahrau, remained in Wittstock in a nursing home; two of her grandchildren were close by; she died there on the 9.4.1945 and was buried in the presence of both woman, still before the invasion of the Russians.
This is also part of this webpage, of note to 21.02.1945.
Note to 01.03.1945 Iffland
The escape diary has this entry: "In Cammin met businessman Saath from Mohrungen. He been in Mohrungen till Monday, 22. January, evening and much still told from there, evening 8 o’clock the Russian in Mohrungen inside. Saath wanted to know that Oskar Fischer, Scheffler, Herrndörffler and Günther are away. Iffland evening 23.01. also still not away, still hung around at station etc.."
About Iffland Ellinor's Dokumentation about Kranthau has a short information on page 145: "Ernst Lingner had visited the agricultural school - Director Iffland, Mohrungen."
Note to 04.03.1945 The crossing of the Oder River
We crossed the Oder River very much at its mouth into the Baltic, therefore between the islands Usedom and Wollin. The two islands are connected to the mainland through bridges, but between the two islands one has to use a street ferry. I probably would have slept through the crossing, but my two sisters woke me up and showed me ships and I was very impressed seeing these gigantic steel monsters moving so slowly on the water, something that still fascinates me today. I am grateful towards the sisters for it; then I was rather ungrateful, since they had woken me up. So I can therefore well remember this crossing.
The actual crossing was obviously only on the 5. March 1945 very early in the morning.
On the 3. March we had, coming from the mainland, from Hagen, driven on to the island Wollin over a bridge, to the town Wollin. It was my birthday. I turned 6 years old and in the early morning my birthday was celebrated, quite splendidly; I got a stick of peppermint pastilles. Birthday celebrations were not my strong side, also not today.
From the island Usedom on to the main land we also drove over a bridge. I had a look at the bridge, a lever drawbridge, once again, when I visited the island of Usedom a second time, in autumn 1996, therefore half a century after that. The island was quite busy with visitors, and I imagined how it would be in high season. The last small, eastern, part of Usedom belongs today to Poland.
Note to 05.03.1945 Mass accommodation
There are two passages in the escape diary where the term mass accommodation appears. Once in 24.02.1945 and then in 05.03.1945.
I remember that we moved into such a mass accommodation and liked it there. Suddenly everything was all right. The state was completely on our side, not like today, where refugees do not seem to be welcomed at all in Europe. We did not need to run; had a roof over our head, food, warmth etc. Everything was taken care of. Hostility against refugees, if it would be displayed openly, would have been dealt with by the state, by the dictatorship, with all severity.
In the middle of this nice situation my mother had to, once again, turn everything around. Suddenly she issued the motto: We set of immediately and move on. Protesting did not help. The nice time was gone, just because my mother had heart one word in the mass accommodation: Lice.
That was her method to protect us from a delousing action.
Note to 07.03.1945 Marching orders
There it says: In Anklam received from NSV marching orders to Mecklenburg-Saxony.
This seems to indicate that the state or the party made efforts to also bring the gigantic flow of refugees under control.
Anklam was west of the Oder River, in the then Prussian province Pomerania. Mecklenburg was a land of Germany; it did not belong to Prussia, but was like Prussia a land in Germany, whereas Saxony was again a province of Prussia. Between Mecklenburg and Saxony was then still the Prussian province Brandenburg.
When one today thinks of Saxony then one has the area around Dresden and Leipzig in mind, but the Saxony then was probably the Prussian Saxony, therefore more today's Sachsen-Anhalt.
Note to 11.03.1945 Neustadt, West Prussia
Here my mother writes this: " Here at Mrs Kruse received new address of my husband Walter: Volkssturmmann Walter Preuß, Feldged. Kaserne Block 11, Stube 2, 5a Neustadt, West Prussia! "
This information was probably already kept there at Mrs Kruse for some time.
Neustadt is north west of Danzig and exactly west of the town Hela, on the peninsular Hela. The town Hela is directly at the end of the peninsular Hela. The end of the peninsular Hela is at the south east end of the peninsular. From the Town Hela to Neustadt it is about not quite 40 km and on this line it is 20 km from Neustadt to the coast.
Neustadt can be seen on the map OSTSEE-KÜSTE KOLBERG-DANZIG.
On the map Complete escape route the town is also shown. There it has the name Weiherowo.
The town is also called Neustadt on the Rheda River.
I remember that my father Walter Preuß came out of West Prussia by him travelling via ship from Hela to Schleswig-Holstein. There his unit was handed over to the western allied forces, which then handed over his unit to the eastern victorious power.
But my father decided before this handover not to take part in it; he organized civilian clothes and started on his way to Bad Salzdetfurth.
This was one of the many decisions, which were made by my father, and also by my mother, and which resulted in survival, and which could be made because my parents did not let the system of the then dictatorship hypnotize them, treated it with hostility, and did not obey it in decisive moments, but did exactly the opposite of that what they were told.
And that is exactly the reason why I work on this website. It is to help people to recognize systems, which belong to the system of the god of this world, and to resist them. James 4:7: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
And all that is easy, when one lives according to Job 42:2 and agrees with Job and says and believes: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
All technical prerequisites are now already given to install a perfect dictatorship. Already today one can completely cut off someone from access to food. One just has to deactivate his account and already there is nothing anymore to eat. The last step is to just abolish cash and that they are very busy with. And when one now believes that God can do all things, can also keep one alive without him getting anything to eat, then such decisions are relatively easy.
So when they tell us to worship the dictator, then we resist the devil.
When I look at the map of Eisenhower, The Russian Drive to the Oder, January-April 1945 , then Neustadt fell to the Soviets between the 4. February 1945 and the 7. April 1945.
And the map The conquest of Germany 1945, 1 March 1945, shows that the area around Neustadt was still white on the 1. March 1945, but on the 15. March 1945, on the map The conquest of Germany 1945, 15. March 1945, already red.
My father therefore came out there before the 15. March 1945.
On the 1. May 1945 Schleswig-Holstein was still white. It could therefore be that it was also still white on the 8. May 1945, the day of the capitulation, therefore was not conquered by the winning powers, but fell to them through the capitulation. And that would agree with what I remember.
And this resisting affects many decisions and also many relationships, often to people who are closest to us.
And that is the reason why I deal on this website with personal relationships within the family in detail. Use this website to learn from examples, particularly from negative examples.
Note to 12.03.1945 Aunt Gertrud
Here my mother writes the following: "Sister Ida, Georg and sister Trudel are already in Salzdetfurth."
Gertrud Janowski, widowed Pelz, née Mattern, 22.03.1913-06.03.2003, was the second youngest sister of my mother.
I have many memories of her. I have known her until she lived to a great age.
I want to report here something of which she spoke when we were once talking, at the end of the last century, about the year 1945.
She said at this occasion: "And in the next morning I then went back to work."
I was surprised and asked: "You went back to work? Why didn’t you beat it?"
She said: "The reason is very simple. Not going to work was punished by death."
Note to 14.03.1945 Mother-in-law
Here my mother writes the following: "It just occurred to me that today is the birthday of my mother-in-law, where may she be?"
The family data say the following: Wilhelmine Preuß, née Lemke, born on 14.03.1866 and died January 1945 escape / tank fire.
From narration I remember the following:
My grandmother Wilhelmine Preuß, née Lemke, was on the escape with her daughter, my Aunt Lina Gehrmann, née Preuß, 07.09.1899-07.02.1962, and they stayed in a house. My grandmother in one room and my aunt in another.
Behind the house was a German tank. And before the house, some distance away, was a Russian tank and wanted to eliminate the German tank.
The house was now in the way, because it was between the German and the Russian tank and did not allow the Russian tank to shoot down the German tank.
The Russian tank therefore first fired one shot at the house, to remove the obstacle.
The shot killed my grandmother. My aunt remained unhurt – to report what had happened.
I have met my aunt after the war. Perhaps I heard this story there.
I do not believe that I ever met my grandmother. I also do not believe that I have met my aunt before the end of the war. In any case, I cannot remember something like this.
My mother always made an effort to keep in contact with all relatives. This applies more to the time after the war. During the war and before the war this was restricted. With the relatives in America, in the USA with father’s relatives, and in Canada with her relatives, this was probably also the case, because the countries were regarded as hostile. With the relatives in Germany the contact depended on how far they were Nazis, therefore graded. Proper and official Nazis were regarded as non-existing.
I have heard the story that my father was walking in the street in Mohrungen, and people watched him when he met his brother-in-law, the husband of my Aunt Lina Gehrmann, née Preuß, and my father very well saw his brother-in-law, and his brother-in-law also saw my father, but that my father completely ignored his brother-in-law, the mayor of the town, and did not greet him.
In Ellinor's documentation about Kranthau the following sentence is on page 195: "Father belonged 1915 to the guard in Berlin (4. Garde-Grenadier-Reg. "Augusta"); his brother Richard was guard cuirassier, died 1918 in military hospital; my father's sister Lina was married to G. Gehrmann, mayor in Mohrungen; the youngest brother Ernst could 1983 celebrate golden wedding anniversary."
My grandmother lived with her daughter and consequently with the brother-in-law of my father and that probably caused that the relationship was bad or not existing.
I assume that my mother had invited my aunt to visit us. My aunt lived after the war in Central Germany, and in the years shortly after the war the border between Soviet Germany and Federal Republic of Germany was still permeable to a certain degree. The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall were only sealed almost completely on the 13.08.1961.
My father tolerated such visits, because he simply gave my mother a completely free hand. But his behaviour towards his sister did not really show enthusiasm.
According to family documentation my Aunt Lina died on 7.2.1962. I remember the day when the news of her death arrived at our place. My mother cried and my father seemed to remain untouched.
At that time of the Nazis it was about life and death. The Nazis told my father that they will eliminate him, but only after they have conquered the world, because for that purpose they still needed him – as effective food producer.
Something like this goes right through families.
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
That is Luke 12:52-53.
I always followed these family relationships with interest.
But I have also observed the different living conditions and circumstances of the relatives.
There existed a clear tendency. The more a relative lived a life turned away from God, the more problems he had in life.
The life of my aunt is an example. She and four of her five children lived in the Soviet-Zone after the war, therefore, again, in a dictatorship.
And the life of her mother is still more blatant.
Now comes something about the spiritual background of this.
Requital - atonement. Eternal order. Forgiveness through Christ.
14. February 1950. B.D. NR. 4837.
There is a requital for all acts, good ones and evil ones, on this earth, and you cannot sin unpunished, as you also do not do good unpaid, but the fear of punishment or the prospect of reward is not to induce you to refrain from evil or to do good things. Out of pure love to the neighbour you are to not harm him, but help him, therefore be willing to serve; you are to do the good for the sake of the good and detest evil, because it is evil. So it is my will and is according to my order from eternity; it is the law of the spiritual and consequently also of the earthly kingdom, to live in my eternal order, therefore to be happy, and who reverses this law of order, he is in an unhappy state and is judged accordingly. i.e. joined to the spiritual, which stands in the will opposed to me, therefore likewise does not respect my order. And there it will be able to realize the wrong, when it wants, and also have the possibility to make it good. But this requires an extreme strong will, as soon as the being has departed from earth, while on earth it can come easier both to the cognition as well as to the atoning for its wrong. But according to divine justice every wrong must be atoned for, and that it is, what you men should consider, as long as dwell on earth. For that reason love is constantly preached to you; for that reason the Gospel, the love teaching of Christ, is made accessible to you, so that you remember, recognize your wrong and make an effort to atone for it through good acts; so that you make an effort to live in love, which is and remains the law of my eternal order until all eternity. There is a requital, and happy are you to be called, when you are already allowed to atone for on earth, because in the hereafter it is extremely difficult to get rid of your guilt, so difficult, that you need ages, while on earth you are allowed to resort to him, who has died for your sins. But the cognition of your sin always belongs to it and the will to get rid of it through a just atonement or help of Jesus Christ, on whom you must call for the forgiveness of your sin, what however necessitates that you yourselves detest it and are of the strong will to mend your ways and enter into the law of my eternal order – to live in love, as it is my will. Amen. B.D. NR. 4837.
When therefore my mother made her entry into the escape diary, her mother-in-law was already no longer alive.
One had to rely on hints, to find out whether a person was a Nazi. I once talked to my Aunt Edith, 09.07.1918-10.04.1996, the youngest of the six sisters, half a century after the end of the war about the end of the war and she told me that then the order to escape came, it had been a telephone call. And then she added that they had then a telephone because her husband had been Ortsbauernführer. She said this because at that time it was not normal to have a telephone. But so I heard that Uncle Karl had been Ortsbauernführer, only that does not say whether he was also a member of the party.
A telephone is an excellent help for a dictator. One can nicely control with a telephone. Just think about what one hears when someone receives a call on a mobile phone; the person called tells, with the sense of duty, where he is at that moment. I have once received such a call and told the caller exactly where I am. I told him that I was directly here next to the telephone.
To free himself from the telephone can be an important step to extricate himself from the regiment of Antichrist.
My parents had of course then much more information about their relatives; only during their lifetime I did not ask something like this. I actually also did not try then later to find out; it came to light by itself.
I also once spoke to my cousin Rudi Gehrmann more than half a century after the collapse, who had lived a short time with his parents in Central Germany. And he told me that he had again and again been asked by the Russians whether his father was a Nazi and his father had given him the advice to always very clearly answer such questions in the negative. That now was obviously the opportunity for me to ask him what he then really had been, but I did not do it. Rudi, he was born 1927, has still been a soldier, and he told me that his unit was very badly organized; his superiors were only good in ordering somebody around, but then got dissolved and then came together again in the west, and also there it had again been very good with the ordering around, but not with the organizing. I then thought about this situation and came to the result that this probably contributed to the fact that Hiroshima did not happen in Germany.
Note to 15.03.1945 Röbel
My mother mentions here Röbel, and Röbel is on the Müritz. The Müritz is a lake. This lake is the largest lake in Germany, which is completely surrounded by Germany; which therefore does not partly border other countries. I have visited this lake in the year 1997 and that was at the beginning of the year. It was very cold and the lake had a big layer of ice and I walked on the lake, on the ice. There were several ice yachtsmen, men, who sailed on the ice with their ice sailing sledge. That is a very fast way to move on frozen water. It reminded me of East Prussia, of the Narien-See, Narien Lake, on which this sport was also practised. Above all it was talked about that and it was therefore a known activity for me.
Note to 15.03.1945 (2) Leather-arm chairs
Here in Röbel my mother mentions "A study opposite is allocated to us with sofa, couch and leather-arm chairs. Emmi is to sleep in the bed; the Löpeners receive another room."
Two leather-arm chairs were moved together for me that they formed a child’s bed. That was probably the rare case that I had an own bed on the escape. I therefore felt important. But I felt important by virtue of the fact that it were leather-arm chairs, because important people sit in them.
Note to 15.03.1945 (3) their Frenchmen
In the escape diary is this: "We sat here in the inn "Zur Linde" in Röbel, there just come in Elimar Hopp and wife from Eckersdorf — they drive on with a pleasure coach. They have lost their Frenchmen with rack-waggon before Marienburg."
It was probably just the same with these Frenchmen as it was with the Pole Peter Goreci, also they saw themselves exposed to a liberation through the friends of Roosevelt, but did everything to escape from this liberation and save their life.
Notes to 17.03.1945 Mecklenburg
Here my mother writes "Here is the border of Mecklenburg and Brandenburg."
This place is south of Wredenhagen and north of Wittstock. Wredenhagen is in Mecklenburg, and Wittstock is in Brandenburg, or as the escape diary says Wittstock, Mark Brandenburg.
Only that strictly speaking the statement "Here is the border of Mecklenburg and Brandenburg" is not correct. This can be compared with a trip from Salzburg towards the west, and the statement "Here is the border of Austria and Bavaria." Austria is a country and Bavaria is only a part of another country, a part of Germany, and therefore it should be said "Here is the border of Austria and Germany."
And so the escape diary should actually say, "Here is the border of Mecklenburg and Prussia."
Mecklenburg and Prussia were then lands in the German Empire, and Brandenburg was a province of the land Prussia. Mecklenburg was therefore in the hierarchy on the same level as Prussia, and on a higher level than Brandenburg. Only that then the land Prussia in the use of the German language, when it was about the parts of Germany, and a part was used to define a location, was playing an almost non-existing role, because it was simply too big for this purpose.
And when one has a look at historic maps of that time, then Prussia often simply does not appear there, but only the provinces of Prussia are given. There the English maps, for example, are more consequent and depict the situation more correctly.
When we then arrived in Bad Salzdetfurth and after that lived there, we were actually again, as in Kranthau, in the German land Prussia, only that we did not really become aware of this, exactly because of this linguistic usage.
Note to 18.03.1945 Ortsgruppenleiter (OGL)
"The Ortsgruppenleiter, called "Goldfasan" [Gold Pheasant]
The National Socialist Ortsgruppenleiter was the head of the institution of a village/town group of the NSDAP. He belonged to the "corps of political leaders" and was on the side office holder of the party. The Ortsgruppenleiter stood on the third level from below in the pyramid shaped leader structure of the NSDAP, above the Zellenleiter [cell leader] and the Blockward/Blockleiter standing below that. Above the Ortsgruppenleiter followed the Kreisleiter (district leader), the 32 Gauleiter, the 18 Reichsleiter, as well as the "Führer" and his deputy.
To the Ortsgruppenleiter were subordinated not only the NSDAP party members (at least 50 and at most 500), but also all households (at least 150 and at most 1,500) in the village/town group. The Zellenleiter and Blockleiter were also subordinated to the Ortsgruppenleiter. He himself was responsible to the Kreisleiter of the party and was proposed by him to the Gauleiter for appointment. As deputy the Ortsgruppenleiter had an adjutant, the Stützpunktleiter, whose office was dissolved 1939. The Ortsgruppe consisted in most cases of eight cells and was to not exceed the borders of a community if possible; nevertheless in rural communities the NSDAP Ortsgruppe could quite include several communities.
The party legal function of the Ortsgruppenleiter actually corresponded to that of a chairman of party structure of today on the level of a community; however actually the particular Ortsgruppenleiter even controlled the mayor or senior mayor and was allowed to claim for himself with regard to him instruction authority under disregard of right and law. With it the jurisdictions between the state organization and the party structure were not at all clearly separated. The function bearers – on the one side the mayor and on the other side the Ortsgruppenleiter – frequently pursued different goals and acted in part with each other, in part against each other. The lacking contouring of the jurisdictions led now and then to chaotic situations, which promoted the feeling of insecurity of the population. The enforcement of radical aims was so made easier, as also today in states with parallel structures of state organizations and party apparatus."
The escape diary is actually quite a nice documentation, which describes the role of the Ortsbauernführer and that of the Ortsgruppenleiter in different situations and how it proved to be in different personalities.
To find out today, who these persons were, is not so easy, since most of the documents, which were written after the war, carefully avoid to mention it, once to not rake up old enmities and on the other hand to maintain peace in organizations like those of refugees and expulsion. Then still has to be added here, that those persons, who held such Nazi positions, or who are relatives of such people, and who now write reports about the old time, most carefully avoid such belongings.
Note to 19.03.1945 Kreisleitung and Kreisleiter
"The Gaus [regions] were once again subdivided and that is in Kreise [districts] with Kreisleitung [district leadership] and Kreisleiter [district leader]; below that in Ortsgruppen [village/town groups] with Ortsgruppenleitung [village/town leadership] and Ortsgruppenleiter. These were again subdivided in eight cells [Zellen] with a cell leader [Zellenleiter]. Below that there was as smallest unit four to eight so-called Blocks [blocks] (about 40 to 60 households) each with own leader, which was mostly called Blockward [block attendant] in the vernacular. When one takes into account that the NS-Volkswohlfahrt [NS peoples welfare] orientated itself at the party organization, it becomes clear at the known structure of the NS-Volkswohlfahrt, how extensively the party was organized: 40 gaus, 813 districts, 26,138 villag/town administrations, 97,161 cells and 511,689 blocks (middle of 1939)."
"The Kreisleiter of the NSDAP stood at the top of an own office ("Kreisleitung") with a staff of co-workers. He received his orders from the Gauleiter and held therefore – seen from the geographic administration – the fourth highest position in the NSDAP after the Gauleiter, the Stellvertreter [deputy] and the Führer."
"The Kreisleiter was to organize help measures for the party after air raids, by providing food and emergency accommodations and took care of the guarantee of the household goods of the bombing victims. During the course of the bombing war the Kreisleiter in the large cities became more and more the central control place for the fighting of the air war results. He so put up task forces of the party, which collaborated on the extinguishing of fires after air raids. "Gefallenenehrungsfeiern" [ceremonies to the honouring of soldiers killed in action] of the NSDAP belonged to the further assignments of the Kreisleiter. Aim of this measure was to move the population to hold out."
So that is what my mother does with a Kreisleiter, she gets him to do the telephone calls for her.
Note to 21.03.1945 Now we are in England
Here my mother writes the following: " ½ 12 o’clock near Wittenberge driven over the Elbe over a very long railway bridge. I went with the three children on foot over it. Immediately behind Wittenberge in the inn met again Mr Pöllner with wife and sister-in-law; said to her: "Now we are in England". They hitched up their cart to our wagon as far as Seehausen; then we parted."
It was this spiritual attitude to go the way of this freedom having become possible now, and that quite consciously and purposefully, and not, again, only to end up in another, still worse, dictatorship. How many people, and also quite a large part of my relatives, did not have this conscious purposefulness, and ended as a result, some perhaps only temporarily, others for ever, to live the rest of their life in bondage. And their children then grew up in it and lived until their old age in slavery. And after 1989 - The ninth of November, a day to remember – I got to know some of them and everything was with them as with us. They looked like us, spoke our common language, had the same manners and customs, were dressed like us, had partly the same surnames, or those of the common grandparents. But when it then came to subjects of Weltanschauung, to political or Christian subjects, then there was immediately a wall between us. Their whole spiritual attitude was that of slavery.
Also here one could clearly recognize that the attitude of the parents towards National Socialism had an effect, that they and their children got what they had sown. And that pretty well in the gradation how they had bowed to the dictate of the dictator. Those, who had officially been Nazis, had to make the most terrible experiences.
And so it will be in the time of the end; the more men bow to the dictate of the god of this world, the more they will approach the destiny, which Antichrist has, the abyss.
If those who directly after the war were in the Soviet Zone had been spiritually orientated in such a way that they longed for freedom, then they had the relatively simple possibility to cross over into the three western zones, because then, before the building of Berlin Wall, this zone border was still permeable. Some of my relatives have done it. The escape diary testifies to it.
The escape diary is therefore a document, which describes the correctness of the promises of the word of God in a very beautiful and nice way and proves them therefore.
And that is the reason why I am dealing with this escape diary.
Now follows a message coming to us from God and which Bertha Dudde has received and written down:
Sins of the fathers avenge themselves with the children.
19. April 1949. B.D. NR. 4618.
Throughout generations the sin of the fathers will have an effect on the children. So you have been taught, and often you have got into contradiction with the teaching in one God of love and mercy, who forgives the sinner and remits his punishment, if he seriously repents. You cannot comprehend it that men must suffer, who themselves have nothing to be blamed for and are consequently the victims of those who sin against God. But still also there the wisdom and love of God is at work, even so in a way not really comprehensible to you, as the nature of the soul before the embodiment still has a say here, which chose itself a sinful man to its engendering into the flesh. These souls are particularly carnal; despite their endless long course of development, despite manifold and agonizing workings they are still in an extremely inadequate state; they have their instinctiveness still not given up and now strive instinctively towards a human soul similar to them, where they hope for the opportunity of giving full expression to their instinctiveness. They are not rarely filled by the same desire, which let men become sinful, as they also often suggest to do it, as soon as they have taken residence in a body (womb) and then the sin has of course strongest influence on a newly born child, why one now speaks of disposition and heredity of bad aptitudes. No soul comes into such body, which has already reached a certain degree of maturity, because its course of development is not be endangered, as soon as it has itself before already announced its will to strive towards God. But also such a burdened soul can very well free itself on earth from its aptitudes; it can recognize its own mistakes and instincts through an apparent earth fate which was not its fault, and seek to free itself from it and will then also be able to receive in every way favour, therefore help, from above, to carry out its will. But mostly such souls enjoy life to the full and increase the sin of the fathers, but always in a certain freedom of will, because compulsion is not imposed on them. But they themselves believe standing themselves under compulsion and so seek to reject every responsibility; they do not wage the faintest fight with themselves, therefore succumb every temptation, but which they could resist, just do not want. But the will is inclined to evil from the beginning of the embodiment, and this will has chosen itself the form, which was to become bearer of the soul, what however never excludes that the soul now as man can let the will become active and can free itself from the sin – that therefore then a link of the chain is broken and also the sin guilt of the fathers can be wiped out for the sake of such a child. Because the will of an instinctive man is actually strong, just wrongly directed. But if it is directed in the right direction, then it can also gain a victory over everything and consequently become a rescuer of its forefather and decrease the suffering and the trouble in the hereafter for him. Amen. B.D. NR. 4618.
My mother writes, "near Wittenberge driven over the Elbe over a very long railway bridge."
When I have a look at the map, then it seems to be a bridge, which is both, railway and road bridge. And the reason why the bridge is very long seems to be, because it spans two rivers, the Elbe and still one tributary of the Elbe.
This bridge is therefore for us a kind of symbol of freedom; it leads to the place of liberty; and the time of freedom started when the Americans with their arrival made an end to the Third Reich.
The decisive crossing was then however only that four days later. On the 25.03.1945 we crossed the border between the province Saxony in Prussia and the province Hanover in Prussia. And that was between the places Mellin and Voize. And that was the border, which then probably became the zonal border between the Soviet Zone and the British Zone, the Iron Curtain.
This statement of my mother, "Now we are in England", was actually a prophetic statement.
There is then also the fact that the area west of the Elbe River then really became England, and indeed as a result that it became the English Occupational Zone. And we lived then in this area, which was an English territory.
Note to 22.03.1945 general staff map
On the 22.02.1945: "With soldiers in Seehausen I have looked at a general staff map; wrote down all places to Bad Salzdetfurth; checked and established that it is still 200 km; therefore from here still 177 km."
My mother has therefore made genral staff work.
She could handle maps. She could read maps.
And this provided her also with a geographic overview; the political she also had.
And she had her own maps with her. At least two; probably more.
Two maps, first the map "Locken", see Kranthau and then the Home Map of District Mohrungen, which we brought along from East Prussia and is still today in existence.
Note to 26.03.1945 Ortsbauernführer and Kreisleiter Mohrungen
Here my mother writes the following: "Met a soldier from Allenstein/East Prussia here in the place and talked to. He reported that the Ortsbauernführer and Kreisleiter from Mohrungen escaped as the first out of his place. Later he meets the treks out of his place, goes there and wants to greet them – at that moment he was shot dead by his trek people!"
That was in Westerbeck, district Gifhorn, where my mother met this soldier. I can imagine the report of this soldier contained several details, which my mother has deliberately not entered into her diary.
Above all I can imagine that the name of the Ortsbauernführer and Kreisleiter from Mohrungen was mentioned, or at least both, the soldier as well as my mother, knew exactly who that person was, that was talked about in the report.
Perhaps this was one of the people who had threatened my father to kill him, and now my mother received, through divine providence, information who really got killed.
I can also not exclude that it was there about a relative of my mother.
This thing reminds me that there are actually several stories which I remember, but which do not appear in the escape diary.
There is the story of our Ortsbauernführer, on which my father wanted to take revenge, but my mother advised him against it by pointing out to him that God says, To me belongeth vengeance. The story how this man died was a particularly dreadful matter.
To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
That is Deuteronomy 32:35.
There is, to mention a further example, the story how my mother was sentenced to death by a summary court of justice, because she had fled at a time, when it was forbidden, and how the court, after the court had announced the verdict, drew in its horns, retracted the decision, because my mother started to attack the gentlemen of the court and accused them not having sentenced all the other people who were standing around and had committed the same crime, and that they therefore had no idea about the law and in addition they should not harass civilians, but fight the enemy. These gentlemen were then probably afraid that the people perhaps hanged them on the rope, which was already hanging from the tree.
This was by the way the only court proceedings which I ever attended. My mother therefore showed me how one behaves at court proceedings.
My father was once brought before court, because his opponents had found a false witness, and after that my mother went to the top guy of the system to complain, and to demand the cancellation of the judgement. Before she went to Berlin, she told no-one about her project, only her oldest sister that the family then knows, where she has gotten to, if she does not return out of the lion’s den. In the Reichskanzlei [Reich chancellery] in Wilhelmstraße she was then received by a polite civil servant who assured her that the Führer has no time, because he is very busy conquering the world.
One may just imagine what today a person would do, if he imagines living then in that system, and to consider daring to go near such a man who has no reservations attacking an empire as that of the Soviet Union, who has no reservations declaring war to a country like the USA, and who has no reservations killing thousands of people.
Regarding this declaration of war my mother said that my father had then said that if the Germans had an idea what potential the Americans had to produce tanks on the assembly line, as they produce cars in Detroit, then they would probably reconsider to declare war to such a country.
That was therefore after Pearl Harbour, after the attack of the Japanese, on the 7. December 1941.
A Kreisleiter was a relative high animal then, came directly under the Gauleiter, and above the Gauleiter came then the top of the hierarchy. One of the best known Gauleiters was the East Prussian. It was Erich Koch. This name I heard often and was therefore familiar to me. Remarks about him were of cynical kind; instead of defending the province or to do something for the fleeing masses, he beat it. Per ship he fled to Schleswig-Holstein, and prepared himself during the trip for a new identity and then went underground there. His face however he could not prepare for a new identity. He even felt then so safe there that he started again to get politically active. But was then recognized and nabbed and the Americans then asked their eastern allies if they want him. The Poles responded first and got him.
Note to 28.03.1945 Reichsstraße Nr. 1
After Bortfeld we drove before Vechelde on to Reichstraße Nr. 1. And then further over Groß Lafferde and Hoheneggelsen and Garbolzum to Schellerten. In Schellerten we turned off from Reichstraße Nr. 1 and went to Farmsen.
We were therefore again on Reichstraße Nr. 1 as in West Prussia, from Marienburg, over the Nogat, over the Weichsel, to Dirschau.
Note to 29.03.1945 From Farmsen to Bad Salzdetfurth
I believe we travelled over a hill after Wendhausen. For me it was actually a mountain. And I also think that it was a zigzag mountain road, perhaps once up and on the other side down. My map does not show a zigzag road; perhaps the road has been straightened when the Autobahn was built there at the beginning of the sixtieth.
In the village directly before Bad Salzdetfurth, in Detfurth, one saw the beginning of the mountains. They were covered with forests. In Detfurth I saw, near the church, which was on the left, a house on the right, which was a little bit higher, where therefore the mountains started, and before the house there was a retaining wall out of white natural quarry stones, not high, but for me something unusual.
I have passed then this place quite often, and it reminded me of the first time.
I can also remember the rain, which my mother mentions.
What my mother does not mention here is the fact, that immediately on the first day in Bad Salzdetfurth she was asked, if she could do a load for someone. That then also happened, and so right on the first day my mother had opened her transport business. I can remember that on the 29th of March 1955 the ten years business jubilee was celebrated.
Right from the first day on my mother kept an open house and we often had visitors. Sometimes, when other refugees came into the house, it perhaps happened that the loss of their home and of the possessions and who knows what else was bewailed by them. Such wailing was actually not criticized by my parents, but towards us children no secret was made of by my parents after that, that they do not approve of such lamenting.
Note to 31.03.1945 Ms Strewe
Here my mother writes the following: "In the catering kitchen at Ms Strewe eaten lunch."
When I now dealt with the escape diary of my mother in more detail, I was surprised to come across this name.
Next to the Hotel Kaiserhof stood the house of senior forest warden Strewe and there lived his two daughters. One did the house-keeping and the other, Erika Strewe, was a teacher.
When I was about 11 years old and the new school year began, the timetable was announced and there appeared the subject German. That surprised me and I thought they make a mistake. I was German, have spoken German all my life, could understand German, write it and read it, and now they want to teach me German. It would have been more appropriate to teach me French; that language sounded quite good. I was therefore of the view that the grownups once again make a mistake and do not really know what is reasonable. I had the wrong attitude to the whole thing. I took quite some time until I realized this.
They then started to teach English, and since I liked that, it worked quite well. My father spoke English, or rather American; and I always wanted to go to America, and consequently English was very welcome. The English teacher was Ms Böhme, and that was fun and I got good marks.
But my scepticism towards the competence to judge of the grownups was actually not completely unjustified. In the parental business I was completely roped in with heavy bodily work and when I now went to school then that was also a kind of redemption from it. But now they had things like gymnastics and sport on the timetable, and not just on the timetable, but really, and there I was of the opinion, there is something wrong with them.
I was now actually lucky that from home the stupidity and the dangerousness of the Nazis was known to me, but one now has to imagine, when children have academically educated parents, and they themselves already believe such stupid things that man come from monkeys or that belief in God is something for simple people and have blind faith in science, how such children are getting into shape from their childhood to go the way of Antichrist towards the abyss.
I have met many people in my life who speak several languages, and when I then asked, which language they speak, then they mentioned some, but in the course of the conversation they remembered then that they actually still speak more languages, and mentioned them. If I now would have asked them, how they then learned the grammar of these languages, then they would have asked me, what then this grammar is.
But also an academically highly trained man like Lyall Watson has, even still before he learned his mother tongue, without grammar, first learned the language of his nanny and the language of his playmates, Zulu, and that certainly also without grammar.
I only learned English better when I went among people who could not speak German and we therefore had to converse in English, often one of many languages, which they spoke. And there I have repeated the words like a parrot, which they spoke, and that is the method to learn languages. Also the German language I have learned so. Almost a whole decade I got by without grammar.
Genuine language instruction should get the learner to repeat words and expressions and sentences like a parrot.
The next year I had Erika Strewe as English teacher. And she made a thorough thing out of it. And that also involved such things like grammar and as this stuff is all called. It was only so, that I had gotten all this stuff only partly, because I was present, but it did not really interest me; I thought, it was more something for girls when one becomes a secretary.
Now it emerged that this stuff was actually quite useful to learn English. But I did not have it, at least partly. And then still a second thing had to be added. Learning by heart I considered as something for unintelligent people.
I learned something by heart when I heard it often. My father was at the time of the emperor in his Guards and I learned the text of the Präsentiermarsch (present march): Present to the king, twenty and five pfennig are too little, one and twenty and five we do not get, and for twenty and five pfennig we do not present.
They were singing there about the king, that counted – with the Prussians.
When I was to learn a poem by heart, then I ignored that, and when I was called up to recite it, then I said the first line and then acted as if I could not remember the rest.
Now I was supposed to learn English vocabulary, and that now really helped to spoil the English learning to me. All that was no fun.
So at school I was not exactly impressive.
We then had Mr Fritsche as teacher. I believe, he had been de-Nazified, but that was only formally, not really. He obviously did not want to give the impression as if he wanted to make a secret out of his love for the Nazis. And he taught, also, mathematics.
In arithmetic I was also not exactly brilliant and that had again something to do with learning by heart. Teacher Grosser played with us "The last are eaten by the dogs" and there everyone had to get up and then the teacher said for example: "Eleven times nine." And who now shouted the right answer as the first one, he could sit down. That was also something for the unintelligent ones, I thought. Why the haste?
This teacher Fritsche now, who started to teach us mathematics, made the mathematic classes interesting and caused us to think and particularly to think logically and that was something for me; there I joint in.
But he was only my mathematics teacher for about one year, perhaps he got promoted, to a higher school, I do not know.
After that Erika Strewe was my mathematics teacher. And she made that thoroughly, very thoroughly. There I fully joined in, because first I was already interested, and because I also noticed the interest of the teacher to teach us really – thoroughly, and do a proper job of it.
This subject saved my day out of a more or less bad or mediocre position.
I still know when French was offered as a voluntary subject, that I wanted to join in there fully and I volunteered for that. The reaction after that was, You are a dead loss in English and now you also want to become a dead loss in French – No!
Ms Strewe was also thorough in another respect and that was with correcting. Everything that was wrong had to be made once again, and that so long, until there was no mistake anymore. One therefore received his homework or his written work so long back, until everything was okay.
Because of this I learned, compulsorily, to do my work right at the first time.
That helped me much later in my studies. Even when I perhaps did not now all the answers, then I at least calculated that properly, what I calculated, and I passed the examination. And in my profession it was exactly the same; the calculations were okay.
So I like to think of Ms Strewe and am grateful that she was thorough and has taught me something.
I do not know now who that person was in the catering kitchen. Perhaps the schools were closed and she worked something else. I in any case only started school 1946, before that the school was used as a military hospital.
I once talked to an Englishman and asked him how it comes that he speaks German so well. He told me that he already lives in Germany for a long time, his wife is German, at home they speak German, also with the children, and so he just lives like a German. I then said to him, when one does not learn a language as a child thoroughly, then it is quite difficult to speak it properly and that particularly in German with the endings; how he manages that then. He told me after that, that he simply slurs the endings.
And so it is with my grammar. I look up a word in a dictionary, but cannot really understand the grammatical expressions there and therefore just slur them.
There was another thing, which caused me to come to the conviction, that there is something wrong with all grownups. We had geography classes and there was also talk about Africa and of all that, what they told us, I received the impression, that it was warm there. If the grownups now would be all right and when there would not be something wrong with them, then they should pack their suitcases and move there. But they did not do this and stayed here and were cold. And for that reason I also had to live in that cold, just because of the grownups. That causes that I am still today of the opinion that there is something wrong with them, with many of the adults.
Because of the escape only a small improvement had occurred. We left the 54th parallel and arrived at the 52th parallel. But why did we not after that, later, continue in that direction and trekked twenty or thirty parallels more in southern direction?
And there is also, among several others, still another reason for my scepticism. Almost all men around me, also most of the Christians, are after matter. But when one now has found out that our main task here on the planet earth is to liberate oneself from the imprisonment in matter, here in this last stage as man, equipped with the intellect and a free will, and, after an infinitely long time to return again to the stage as god, and sees that almost no-one strives towards this, indeed not even tries to find out, what it is actually all about here, then one cannot actually think differently at all, than to think, that there is something wrong with them.
And when one now makes the effort to draw the attention of these materialists to their strange behaviour, then one has again the impression, when one has a look at their reaction, that there is something wrong with them.
For my poor results in English I therefore only had myself to blame. And for the zero results in French as well. The results in Mathematics were good. Geography was also not too bad.
But with history it already started. The whole tendency was that the history of mankind develops from the bottom to the top, from the Stone Age man to the highly developed man of the present time, who can excellently organize world wars, can kill men in large quantities, and produce atheistic dictatorships in super format. That it is exactly the other way round, that the degeneration of men advances in gigantic steps, of that they had no idea.
The best example for this was their complete hushing up of the youngest history. That was just too embarrassing. With this engineering they indeed had all taken part. And if someone would have inquired about it, then as reason would have probably been given, that for something like this no history books existed.
In the years before school started for me I had by that time received so much history instructions that it was actually already enough for the rest of my life.
In physics the influence of consciousness in quantum physics was also not brought. That would have disturbed the nice picture of materialism. That there is actually nothing like matter, but that everything is just energy whirling around, was also not really understood.
In religious instructions it was exactly the same. The word of God was not taught, but church history of that church, which was directly the invention of Antichrist. Atheism was therefore the real subject.
Biology was of course a complete disaster. There was just materialism. What life is and where it comes from, what psyche is, not to mention the soul, or perhaps even what spirit is, there was complete ignorance.
When they served us up with evolution I just had the thoughts that there is no such thing like a being between ape and man, and that also never anybody had claimed that something like this exists or had ever existed. That was exactly such nonsense like the story of Santa Claus, of the Easter hare and of the stork, only with evolution the grown ups really believed that it was reality.
Atheism had then completely command of the whole training system, and today still much more, and having a non-atheist in an office, which would have any influence on pedagogic planning, was then exactly as unthinkable as it is today.
The school system was and is an absolute disaster. This alone is already a reason to remain an unmarried person, because to just think of it, that the children will be exposed to such a system, is completely enough to be healed from the idea of getting married.
Who has problems with this opinion to him I recommend to read the seventh chapter of the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians. And when this still does not help, then my stated view about it may perhaps help: Getting Married?
So when I today look back at my school time where my parents were told in writing that I did not really take part in the activities of the school, then I am quite proud of this, because it shows that I unconsciously resisted this system. The first half of my life I have been told lies, they all deceived me, from all sides I was hypnotized into atheistic beliefs, and now in the second half of my life I have to get rid of all this deceptions and untruths.
Now as I am writing these lines we have in Germany a government where the head of government is a woman who is a member of a party who claims to be a Christian party and even has the name of Christ inside the name of that party and she is not just a member there, but also the head of that party. And the minister responsible for science also belongs to that party. And in that country the education system is completely in the hands of the atheists and they completely and utterly dominate everything in that system and every attempt to break up that ring of evil would find no support from the side of these two ladies. That is the situation in the heart of the Christian Occident and is the model for the rest of the world.
Note to 10.04.1945 Jochen Kühne
Here my mother writes the following: "In the afternoon with my horses and Meier’s waggon fetched out the same wood with Peter, still 5 sacks spruce-cones anew gathered in addition; my three children and Emmi’s two and Jochen Kühne helped. "
I believe Joachim Kühne was in my age. Perhaps we even were in one class, later. I belief he then went to a higher school, perhaps studied philology and became a teacher, like his grandfather, Headmaster Kienscherf.
Note to 13.04.1945 Roosevelt
The escape diary writes here the following: "Today the news got through that Roosevelt has died. The Americans stand 120 km before Berlin. Here in Bad Salzdetfurth everything has gradually calmed down."
Roosevelt died on the 12.04.1945 and Truman followed after him.
The map The conquest of Germany 1945 - 1. April 1945 shows that the Americans were still about 200 km away from Berlin, so stood about at the Weser River.
The map The conquest of Germany 1945 - 15. April 1945 shows that the Americans were still about 50 km from Berlin, stood at the Elbe River.
The maps therefore agree with the escape diary.
The Americans moved on purpose slowly, on the grounds that they wanted to avoid too many losses, and leave this rather to the Soviets.
The real reason however was that Roosevelt wanted to help his friend Stalin to build up his empire.
And Truman aimed at the same direction. When Patton wanted to carry on and after the dictator Hitler also immediately defeat the dictator and atheist Stalin, they let him allegedly have a car accident.
And in Korea Truman did the same. When Douglas MacArthur wanted to defeat the communists, he was thrown out by Truman and so the communists are still there today and the problems, which they create, seem to become rather bigger than smaller.
Those, Roosevelt and Truman, are Democrats. And the Democrat Clinton made as a young man a pilgrimage to Moscow to worship there those who were his real models and still are. And the Democrat Obama had then made his own country to the headquarters of communism and is now the real heir and successor of Stalin.
Note to 13.04.1945 (2) RM
In the escape diary is found the following: "Today I have received the clearance family maintenance for April and indeed 215 RM."
RM means Reichsmark.
When I see today pictures of coins from the time of the Reichsmark, then I can remember such coins, because they were still lying around for a long time.
I can remember when we got used to the new money, 1948, to the Deutsche Mark. I walked along the western sidewalk of the Unterstraße in Bad Salzdetfurth, so between the Kronprinz and the Gildehaus, and saw banknote lying on the pavement, a blue one. I put my foot on it and looked around, whether I was observed, whether someone missed it, and then picked up the note. The banknote was very small, perhaps 7 cm long. I had a value of 0.10 DM, therefore 10 Pfennig. Suddenly I was a capitalist. With that, one could buy something like one ice-cream in an ice cream cone.
This payment to my mother was therefore 5 days after the end of the Third Reich – after the end of the Third Reich in Bad Salzdetfurth. And this payment was probably an institution of the Third Reich and shows that something like this payment just went on, so as just many other things.
What was new was the curfew in the evening and the new rulers, but who hardly caused difficulties to the normal civilian.
When one considers all the reports in the escape diary, which report the changes in that area, which was conquered by the Soviets, then there was a gigantic difference. And that automatically caused in me that I considered dictatorships like that of Hitler and that of Stalin as something absolutely negative, exactly the same as war, and was of the opinion, that I must fight something like this. And when it then, after the introduction of the new money, the DM, came to a situation where prosperity broke out, there I thought that something like that was very much better than dictatorship and war, and as then soon students started, in West Germany, propagating the dictatorship of Stalin, there I thought, something had to be done against that.
And as I then was busy to do something against such people, who propagated Stalin and Mao, I realized that they were Nazis, or children of people who had been Nazis, and now wanted to get rid of their feelings of guilt, by now doing that, what was now, in their opinion, opposed to National Socialism. In reality there had been no changes; the ideas of Hitler, of Stalin and of Mao, and their actions, were all the spawns of hell, and instead of, out of bad experience, turn towards God, and to leave hell behind them, they were again taken for a ride by the god of this world, and now just supported another of his systems.
The epitome was Günter Graß, an SS man from the beginning to the end.
My Encyclopedia says: "GRASS, Günter Wilhelm (1927- ), German novelist and playwright. His works, deeply affected by the post-WWII sense of national guilt, ...".
He and they were deeply affected by the post-WWII sense of national guilt.
He was a servant of Satan when he was young, and that also did not change until his end.
And when You now have children, then Your children are forced in school to study the works of such an SS man.
And that again gives you a picture in which state our society is.
At several places the escape diary gives information, what one paid then for things and services:
Got 12 pounds apple à -,30 RM, milk generously; bought 30 eggs.
Horse exchanged in four year old black gelding and Richard still got 500 Mark and 2 centner oats added to it.
Supper for 9 persons; paid 10 Mark, each room 5 Mark and for making coffee 1.00 Mark.
In Hoheneggelsen got fish = sole to buy. Emmi for 6.00, I for 11.00 Mark, I perhaps 11 pound.
Today both horses and Peter to Hildeheim for a Mrs Gehse, who lived at Rasches: flat wagon full of things and brought Mrs Gehse to Hildesheim. I got 30.- Mark for it and Peter 4 boxes of matches and 10.- Mark tip.
For it gone eating to the Kaiserhof: 4 x food á 95 pfennig and 1 lemon sparkling mineral water, paid in total 4.60 Mark. In the Ratskeller paid 4 x food 1.80 Mark. For grown-ups per head 50 pfennig; children under 10 years 40 pfennig. On Sunday 10 pfennig per person more.
Monday in the afternoon and Tuesday cut 4 heaps wood on the sports field with band-saw; paid 58.00 Mark for Ida, Edith, Elly and Trude.
I also was at the ophthalmologist Dr. Spengler, Städtisches Krankenhaus (municipal hospital), Am Weinberg; I have paid 10.- Mark for the test and got glasses prescribed.
Every afternoon from ½ 4 to 7 o’clock Ellinor looks after the small child Harriet, daughter of Baroness van der Hoop; receives each time 50 pfennig; she is therefore our big earner.
Brought with 2 centner carrots á 10.- and 2 centner potatoes á 3.50 from on the way. Yesterday Walter was in Hildesheim and has purchased from Ochtersum 40 pounds pears for 8.- Mark.
On the 23. August we also bought from Tostmann for 1,140 RM our cow "Wanda".
|food in Kaiserhof||0.95|
|lemon sparkling mineral water||0.80|
|food in Ratskeller||0.50|
|food in Ratskeller, child under 10||0.40|
|food in Ratskeller, Sunday extra charge||0.10|
|4 heaps wood cut||58.00|
|looking after small child in afternoon||0.50|
I have experienced three different currencies in Germany. At the time of this writing they have one called Euro. And one Euro seems to be less worth than a RM.
Note to 19.04.1945 Ortsbauernführer Meier
Here my mother writes the following: "Everyone, except Elly and Trude, gone on garden-plot; 7 families = 30 square perches, therefore pro head 2 received from Ortsbauernführer Meier; I therefore 8 m2, but very bad soil!"
I do not know who this Ortsbauernführer Meier was. It does seem to have been the Meier, who is otherwise mentioned. On the 24.05.1945 the name Meier is also written this way: Meyer. That was with Mrs Meyer. But on the 30.03.1945 Mrs Martha Meier. On the 20.05.1945 it says Martha Meyer, and that she has lost her husband last year, died, and that the son Ernst is a soldier in South France. It could have been the Friedrich Meier, who is mentioned on the 24.05.1945.
Also on the 28.04.1945 the OBF Meyer emerges.
But it is interesting that the title OBF, Ortsbauernführer, is still in use. Perhaps out of habit, perhaps also simply because the title and the office had not yet been abolished.
And perhaps the OBF Meyer was a person, who was suitable, and not incriminated as Nazi.
Perhaps the most urgent things were then dealt with first. Perhaps also the abolition of the street signs of the Adolf-Hitler-Straße were not of highest priority.
Note to 25.04.1945 Marlies Schneider
Here my mother writes the following: "It is Mrs Marlies Schneider’s birthday. . . . . In the evening congratulated Mrs Schneider to birthday."
And on the 29.03.1945, the day of our arrival in Bad Salzdetfurth she writes:
Mrs Schneider, our link address, was unfortunately just not at home; she has gone to Hildesheim to fetch things. Therefore it takes a little bit until we all know where to with us. As she is at home, then of course everything works out all right.
My cousin Waltraud Hilke, née Gehrmann, writes on the 20.6.2006:
On the 25. April Marieluise Heimsoth-Kienscherf was 90 year old. She now lives in a small flat in the middle of Salzdetfurth, in that residential establishment, which Klaus Peter Stoffregen has built up around an inner court of several small flats; they are very popular and desired. There we had a rare beautiful sunny day and could celebrate Marieluise in the inner court; her only daughter had come from Canada with husband and children and daughter-in-law. She has already asked me once to please write something for her about the life of her mother, which she had then had in East Prussia among other things; I just must get it printed once again; I had brought it already to paper. She came before the war to us to Löpen to learn a little bit household management, before she married the Fritze Schneider and bought the farm in the neighbouring village; fortunately she still could dispose of it during the war and move back with her children to Salzdetfurth; the husband has indeed never again emerged. But for all of us she was the mediation address and finally the collection point of the clan. Her oldest son with family lives in Australia; one has already died and one she has in Hannover und with summer residence in Spain; in spring she was still there with him and his wife.
I can remember family Schneider very well. Mrs Schneider’s father was Headmaster Kienscherf, the headmaster of the school in Bad Salzdetfurth. Mrs Schneider‘s daughter was Edda and the sons were Frank and Gerd and Lutz. We lived behind the church and they lived next to the church, between town hall and Ratskeller.
My mother writes on the 30.03.1945: Mrs Schneider is an absolute good person; Mrs Kühne also. Mrs and Mr Kienscherf just as much!
Note to 12.05.1945 Ernst Höfel
See special Webpage Ernst Höfel
Note to 13.05.1945 Mr Sterner
Here my mother writes the following: "In the morning ½ 8 o’clock Emmi, Leopold, I and Mr Sterner brought Emmi‘s two horses to Detfurth to innkeeper wife."
I can remember Mr Sterner (Headmaster retd Rolf Sterner, 5.12.1926-27.10.2015). He was a nice, young teacher when I went to school.
I do not know whether I had him as teacher.
I believe he had something to do with my examination for a secondary school. That was so about the year 1950.
In the year 1945 the school was still a military hospital and the teachers were probably doing something else. When the school then started 1946, the number of students then had probably built up through the lost year and through refugees and the bombed-out and my class was quite large.
Note to 07.08.1945 Wrisbergholzen
Here my mother writes the following: "On Monday, 30.07. grandmamma moved to Wrisbergholzen to Bruno and Elly and Monika."
And on the 17.01.1946 she writes: "Walter and Ida have fetched grandmamma today from Wrisbergholzen, who moved to there on 30.7.1945, has therefore been there 5 ½ months. "
My mother told this story that her mother had asked her son-in-law, my father, since he ran a haulage business, to move her to Wrisbergholzen to her son. But after that, in the next year, she asked him to fetch her back again.
My mother used this story to show what a good relationship existed between her husband and his mother-in-law.
My grandmother had 6 daughters and 4 sons. She got along well with the daughters; with the sons partly not.
The oldest three sons seem to have opposed their mother, when it was about the continuation of the family business, after the sudden death of my grandfather. The youngest son still went to school then.
My grandmother then probably withdrew from a relationship with them. Two of these three sons did not then come back from the Second World War.
With the youngest son she then had good contact and this then probably also let to the situation that she moved to him.
But this close contact then had probably also shown her that there were too great differences in the life view and she therefore moved again away from him. But I do not believe that it came to a break between her and her youngest son. On Friday, 1. February 1946, he came to congratulate his mother to her birthday.
The oldest granddaughter of my grandmother, Waltraud Hilke, née Gehrmann, writes in detail about the own family and the families of her aunts, but when it then comes to the families of her uncles, she writes: "the children of the uncles we saw rarely."
And this was exactly one of the important differences between my grandmother and my mother. My grandmother only cultivated contact with people, who were upright and who were god-fearing, and my mother tried to get along well with everybody, and to remain in contact with all family members. And my grandmother lived in peace and my mother exactly not, because she partly even let the closest relatives besiege her.
My grandmother did not let her children besiege her – in contrast to her daughter. My grandmother accepted no impertinences from her children – in contrast to her daughter.
And the second important difference was that my grandmother had no sickness mentality.
My mother writes on the 21. January 1945: "My mother died on the 11.11.1948 in Bad Salzdetfurth of heart failure. She also had never been much ill. "
The godchild of my mother, her niece Waltraut Hilke, née Gehrmann, describes this difference very nicely: "Grandmamma and daughter Lina, outwardly already very different, and so reserved grandmamma was, so open and approachable was Aunt Lina, for me. She often has encouraged me, also sometimes criticised, but always in the positive. Many visits and conversations with her, in the house in Salzdetfurth, when she was alone."
A worldly person describes a person that does not take part in worldly conversations, as reserved.
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.
That is 1 Timothy 6:20-21.
Another translation says this:
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.
They talk about the present circumstances, about their "knowledge", about that what they know, what they perceive, and profess it, and with it they create it, again and again, and create the circumstances of their life, their problems, their sicknesses.
And when I then now explain to them their situation, because I want to help them to get healthy, then they are annoyed with me, because I want to take their sickness away from them, because I want to take that away from them, about what they like to talk about so much, and what they so much like to call by its name. I want to take from them the talking about present facts, and they do not want that, because then they would indeed be reserved.
And the granddaughter of my grandmother writes on the 28. July 2005:
Up to now I have written nothing to you about Georg and his quick end. I miss his calls very much; we rarely met each other, but have telephoned much. On the other hand his end came quickly, has spared him much agony.
There the granddaughter has much telephoned with the grandson, talked much about present circumstances, and what was the result? Much agony.
And they document all this very nicely, for the descendants, and genealogical tables are kept, but no-one really reads them, and draws his teachings from them – and to live without much agony.
That is the main purpose of a genealogical record, that the spiritual result of a life is recorded. When we study the Bible, then that is the purpose of our effort, to learn from it and to follow a good example and to not follow a bad example.
And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God. 2 Chronicles 31:20. We are to read the reports about the men of the Bible and act accordingly, do that what is good and do not do that what is bad.
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. 1 Kings 16:30.
Georg was professor at a training institution of the Post Office, and telephoning was probably a kind of allowance, which did not cost him much or nothing – he thought.
In reality it cost him everything. Telephoning is one of the worst habits. Instead of communicating with God, telepathically, men reach for the drug called telephone. When one goes through the streets, one sees men who are busy with their smartphone, and the houses are fitted with receiver dishes on the roof, so that they can receive television broadcasts. It is only about one thing, to undertake everything to not have contact with God.
Now follows a quote from "How to Measure Your Beliefs" and there from 7.2 We keep our tongues from evil words."
We want to have a closer look at this Scripture from 1 Timothy 6:20-21. Not only do these two verses fit in with our subject, but they also formulate a faith principle. Paul explains here to Timothy that some have wandered from the faith because of godless chatter and because of opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed. This is a clear statement that wrong words lead people away from faith. And wrong words are defined as godless chatter and as professing "knowledge" – or science.
Today we might call the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge the teachings of this world in opposition to the teaching of the Bible. The teaching of the world is rightly called opposing ideas, because the ideas of worldly people oppose each other and we should stay away from them; we should not profess them.
But this Scripture can also mean something else. When we look, then we perceive, and what we perceive becomes knowledge; a knowledge obtained by sight, by the use of our senses. The result is that we walk by sight; we fix our eyes on what is seen; we are guided by present circumstances. And we start saying what we see, and this is what Paul called godless chatter, because it is based on a false knowledge, not on a knowledge coming from spiritual insight. The more we become involved in godless chatter and the more we profess the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, the more we wander away from faith. Worldly talk is bad for our faith. Professing momentary circumstances is speaking evil words.
To refrain from wrong and evil words is the key to right speaking.
Waltraud Hilke writes on 23.1.2006:
The grandmother story is broadened under the subject: "Two grandmothers from Himmelforth", the first draft I sent to Ellinor. The mother of my father also came from Himmelforth, but was a few years older than Wilhelmine. Aunt Lina was like having fallen silent in the last years of her life; her lively earlier eloquence was no longer there, but she had forgotten nothing, only she no longer spoke about it and that had with my feeling to do with Aunt Gertrud and her accusations.
That was Traute’s feeling, but not reality.
But that is correct, that my mother had forgotten nothing.
And also that my mother was like having fallen silent, is correct. And also that she no longer spoke about it.
My mother had learned something. She had learned from her experience. And from the experience of her mother, my grandmother. She had stopped talking about her present circumstances.
And that also brought her partly peace. And also health.
Her goddaughter, Traute, has therefore perceived these changes of her godmother, but if she herself has also learned something out of the story, that is another thing.
In her letters expressions emerge again and again, in which she mentions her health and her financial problems. I send her teaching material, which shows her that it is wrong to take such things into the mouth and to write them on to paper, but that does not help. And when I then mention something directly, like the speaking and writing about present facts, she apparently gets angry.
Note to 09.10.1945 Under Russian occupation
Here my mother writes the following: "On Sunday, the 7. October, Waltraut, Dorothee and Rudi arrived here. They set off on Thursday from the district Seehausen, under Russian occupation, with hand luggage and arrived well here on Sunday. Grete, Richard and Fredi have still remained there."
This was therefore the second arrival of Waltraut in Bad Salzdetfurth. The first was reported in the escape diary on the 12.03.1945 and therefore Traute travelled on the 09.03.1945 from Potsdam to Bad Salzdetfurth, together with Edith and her daughter Helga.
And according to Traute's report she again travelled in direction East shortly before Easter and came there under Russian occupation. And that is also the reason, why the escape diary does not mention Traute the whole time from the 29.03.1945 until the 09.10.1945.
And according to Trautes own report, also Dora was shortly before Easter the first time in Bad Salzdetfurth.
This was already discussed in the note 22.01.1945.
Note to 24.10.1945 Encircled area Danzig-Marienburg
Here my mother writes this: "Bruno Neumann arrived here this evening. He has been in deployment in the encircled area Danzig Marienburg and has been wounded there at the arm. All his things, like letters, coat, shoes etc. have burned. On the 9. May he came into Russian imprisonment."
This number of soldiers gives already an impression of the size of the armies, which were then facing each other. And then one still has to take into account that the Soviet army was much larger than the army if Hitler.
We were therefore then in a situation where probably the biggest Armies fought each other, which ever existed in the history of men. And we were right in the middle of it.
Bruno Neumann, 21.03.1892-07.10.1977, was the husband of the oldest sister of my mother. Their family was that family in the relatives, with which we had the closest contact, already in East Prussia and also then in Bad Salzdetfurth.
Both, Bruno Neumann and also his wife Ida Neumann, née Mattern, 21.12.1897-27.09.1984, were people very ready to help and very co-operative and I have many good memories of both.
I hardly remember Uncle Bruno from the time in East Prussia, but very much more from the time in Bad Salzdetfurth.
His son Georg Neumann, 09.08.1929-26.02.2005, writes, "The bridgehead Marienburg has been vacated on the 09.03.1945 late in the evening. Directly after that the bridges were blown up."
So the Red Army was prevented to advance over the Nogat. But it crossed over the Weichsel River further upstream and came then from the west towards the Weichsel delta.
For the Wehrmacht it was now relatively easy to defend the Weichsel delta; it just needed to blow up the rest of bridges towards the area.
The following map gives perspective.
The map of Eisenhower, The Russian Drive to the Oder, January-April 1945, shows that the Weichsel delta was a "German held pocket".
The map The conquest of Germany 1945 - 1. February 1945 shows that the Soviets were attacked from the delta, and that is also confirmed by the escape diary that reports troop movements in direction of the east. Up to the blowing up of the Nogat bridges in Marienburg on the 9th of March 1945 attacks from Marienburg could still be undertaken in direction east.
The map The conquest of Germany 1945 - 1. March 1945 shows that from the area west of the delta German attacks were directed towards the south, and that of course also helped to keep the escape routes towards the west free.
The map The conquest of Germany 1945 - 15. March 1945 shows then that the delta was encircled, the whole area between Order River and Weichsel River had become red.
The map The conquest of Germany 1945 - 1. May 1945 shows then that the delta is partly still white. Only the map of the 15. May 1945 then shows also the rest as red. It can therefore be that at the capitulation this rest, on the 8. May 1945 still was white and consequently received the order to capitulate and Uncle Bruno got into imprisonment.
To come back to Uncle Bruno. The most contact I had with him, when the job was given to him by my mother to test my vocabulary. Her son was so bad in English that something had to be done there. And she now believed that the learning of vocabulary is the solution. To learn something by heart was not accepted by me, but that of course I kept to myself and let the procedure wash over me. The grownups are strange beings. The whole school system appeared to me quite false, with all the cheating and vanities and wanting to be something.
And all the lies which were served up there. In religious instructions they did not teach the word of God, but for years talked about the history of a church, which was the exact opposite of the true church. The church they talked about was that, which Antichrist had invented, and which persecuted the true Christians. And in history teaching they talked about men of antiquity as if they had been primitive Stone Age men; in reality these teachers themselves were primitive Stone Age men, and the Old Ones had been highly spiritual and highly educated beings, which had a culture, which was far superior to ours. And in biology they wanted to make us believe man came from monkeys.
The last year at school I even started to get bored and decided to learn, for a change, something reasonable. Since I had the liberation from the school operation before my eyes, my wish awakened to learn something that was right, but so that I would decide what I would learn.
My mother had a typewriter with which she made the writing stuff and wrote invoices and my sisters had received typewriting instructions in the course of their training and the textbooks were still there.
So I went and taught myself typewriting, and indeed thoroughly, exactly so as the books set to do. For hours finger practice. I was then able to write blind with ten fingers. That was quite helpful in the profession. My first book I wrote directly into the typewriter, and indeed so well that I made no mistakes if possible, because with every mistake one had to over paint the mistake with white paint – or overtype with special paper – and then wait until that was hard, and then take care the whole time that the carriage with the platen did not move, and then try to hammer the correct letter in the right place.
When I then had a computer, this ability was quite useful, only the writing with 10 fingers blind soon got lost, and the effort, to write correct, because to correct a mistake was now simple.
Note to 17.01.1946 Butter
There is the entry Butter in the escape diary, butter to which my grandmother was entitled to:
Her food stamps for the period from 7.1. until 3.2.: 400 g meat, 325 g butter, 200 g fat, 500 g processed foodstuff, 500 g jam, 500 g sugar, 125 g coffee ersatz, bread indeed generously, but meat only just so much as we normal consumers are entitled to, therefore 150 g each for the coming 2 weeks, for this half week 100 g meat, although grandmamma is entitled until the 3.2. to the self-supply rate of 500 g per week. Well, yes -.
The period from 7.1. to 3.2. are 28 days and in these days my grandmother was entitled to 325 gram butter. That is 11.6 gram butter per day.
I have thought about my butter consumption, how it might be. I then had a look at it and came to 21.0 gram per day.
With fat, jam, sugar and coffee ersatz I am at zero. With meat hardly above zero. With processed foodstuff I do not know what that was, probably a collective term.
There are reports in the escape diary about the purchase of vegetables and fruit. Whether one could buy that without food stamps, I do not know. Grain is fruit, grain corns are fruit, and consequently bread consists of fruit, but bread was apparently only available on stamps.
God has given us fruit for food, Genesis 1:29. Vegetables God has given to animals for food, Genesis 1:30. I therefore eat fruit, hardly vegetables. And I eat bread, a product from fruit. And nuts, and they are also fruit. Three almonds a day. Rice is a fruit.
And then I drink milk, so about 0.7 litres a day. And I eat honey, what is perhaps still finer than fruit, so about 65 gram per day. I therefore live in the land flowing with milk and honey.
The time I spend organizing food for the body is little, compared with the time I spend organizing food for the soul, for me and for others. And this time, in which I feed souls, I still often also use to also supply good things for the body. So as with a real evening meal, supper, communion - it is there to provide the soul with the word of God. We eat the body of the Lord and it is the word of God, which was made flesh, 1 John 1:14.
The above mentioned period of 28 days seems to have been the official "Zuteilungsperiode" (sharing out period). At the very top of this webpage a document is shown, on which is seen: "b *) vom 4.2.45. auf unbestimmmte Zeit aus der Versorgung mit Lebensmittelkarten abgemeldet." (b *) notified that from 4.2.45. someone is moving from an address for undetermined time out of the supply with food stamps). From 4.2.45 to 3.2.46 are 364 days and that are 13 times 28 days. So these two details of information agree with each other.
Note to 01.02.1946 Seubersdorf
There is the entry Seubersdorf im escape diary:
Farmstead and smithy of Walter’s Uncle Preuß in Seubersdorf has burned down. He himself and his wife live; the uncle forges. His daughter-in-law Grete Preuß, née Bahr from Berling, was taken away by the Russians.
This uncle of my father was Rudolf Preuß. Seubersdorf is the neighbouring village of Reichau, to the right of Reichau and to the right of the Nariensee, Narien Lake, still in the district Mohrungen.
My grandfather Gottfried Preuß had three brothers and two sisters. The two sisters lived with him. Gottfried was the second son of my great grandparents. He was a master wheelwright and then owner of an estate. The third son, Eduard, was senior bailiff in Bomnau. The first son, Gustav, was master smith in Neuendorf, district Pr. Holland, and the fourth son Rudolf was master smith in Seubersdorf, district Mohrungen. My grandfather died 10 years before I was born. Uncle Rudolf was born 13 years after my grandfather and died when he was 90 years old. He was actually the only one whom I have got to know from that generation, except my grandmother on the mother’s side.
After the war he lived with his wife Minchen and his son Kurt, and his wife Grete und their daughter Brunhilde in Sarstedt, south of Hannover. I have known them all. Uncle Kurt was driving instructor and had a driving school, and sometimes they came with his Mercedes to visit us in Bad Salzdetfurth. I remember well how this Uncle Rudolf, strongly built, like a real master smith, sat in a dark, three-piece suit at the skat table and played skat and smoked a cigar and how he let the ash of the cigar fall on his waistcoat and did not care about it. An impressive sight. Uncle Rudolf died on the 13.03.1966, and after his death I have still visited with my mother his widow, Aunt Minchen, in the old people’s home.
Uncle Rudolf’s daughter-in-law, Grete, I therefore also knew, and she has therefore returned from Russia. She was one year in Siberia.
Now follows a picture with uncle Rudolf Preuß.
Rudolf Preuss 1959 in Bad Salzdetfurth
1 Walter Preuß 2 Rudolf Preuß 3 Minchen Preuß 4 Lina Preuß
Note to 01.02.1946 (2) Reinhold
There are several details, which come from Reinhold Weiß. My Uncle Reinhold came from Reichau and Reichau lay east from the Nariensee. The places, which he mentions there, are all places, which are east and north east and south east of the Nariensee.
But none of the places is east of the Passarge River. The Passarge River was probably something like a cultural divide. East of the Passarge River was the Ermland, and that came to Prussia at a late stage and probably remained as a somewhat distant area.
On the 01.02.1946 Grete Preuß is mentioned and that she was born Bahr from Berling. There is on the map a Bergling, north east of Reichau and north of Seubersdorf. I assume that we are dealing here with the same place.
On the 9.02.1946 the word Bergling appears in the escape diary, written with a g.
The escape diary says on the 29.01.1946 that Reinhold Weiß arrived on the 28.01.1946 in Wrisbergholzen. And on the 1.02.1946 it says that the son of Ms Lange from Klein Luzainen came out with on the 3.11. This infers that Reinhold Weiß also came out on the 3.11.
On the 13.01.1946 the escape diary reports that those from Sonnenborn departed from Sonnenborn on the 7. November, were expelled, thrown out by the Poles, and those from Winkenhagen 3 days before.
The expulsion in these cases was therefore in the beginning of November 1945.
And that again indicates that the expulsion of the Poles themselves, out of the east of Poland into the east of Germany, had taken place already before.
The escape diary has on the 9.02.1946: "The Poles came in the middle of July to Reichau!"
The reports of Uncle Reinhold gave many details and they were partly so horrible that the escape diary portrays them nowhere near it.
So the 1st of February 1946 was the day when my father heard from his brother-in-law what happened to people on whom he wanted to take revenge, but did not do so.
And the most important history lessons of my life I received before even starting school.
What a day.
There was my grandmother; 74 years old, on the dot. Her youngest daughter, with the complete family, all three of them. Her oldest daughter, with her complete family, all three of them. Her second daughter with three of her four children. Her third daughter with her complete family, all five of them. Her youngest son. The husband of her fourth daughter, with one of his two daughters. Her fifth daughter.
And now life was reviewed. They had survived. Most of them unharmed.
And the life of her enemies was reviewed. A tragedy.
Note to 10.11.1946 Sunday school
There is the entry Sunday school in the escape diary:
As every Sunday, so also today, Walter, Ellinor and I to church. Irene and Frank-Leopold at 2 o’clock to Sunday school.
This Sunday school was highly interesting.
There, for a change, something really interesting was brought.
They spoke about spiritual things; about things, about which otherwise no-one talked.
Even in church they did not really talk about spiritual things, but actually only in these services for children.
Also the ladies, who had a say there, seemed to be the only ones, who were spiritual alive.
But I had theologically a problem. They said that God does not allow other gods next to him, but then they talked about Jesus Christ as if he was something like God. That seemed to contradict itself.
And instead of explaining and enlightening this apparent contradiction, they told us, at least the preacher and the so-called creed, something about Trinity of God.
They even had there a third one, the Lord, the Holy Ghost.
I then gave up this, theology; those who had studied theology, all seemed to be spiritually dead; and a not small part of them actually could only propagate communism.
So I saw no way to progress spiritually, and since I did not like war, and wanted to do something against it, I only saw the way of politics.
It took quite a long time until I again had interest in spiritual things, and that happened when I found out that thousands of years ago prophets had predicted the reestablishment of Israel, and that had then really happened and even in my life time, after for about two thousand years nothing like this had happened.
So access to spiritual things was created by the Bible, and not by these so-called theologians, they had no idea.
So the Bible was the access. To study God was the access, not study of theology.
There I have first really investigated the thing.
One of the many things, which I got myself, was a complete concordance. That was an English one, that from Strong. And since it was complete, one could in a simple way find out with it, whether a word was in the Bible at all.
And this word of the theologians, the word trinity, was not in there. So they had once again, as so many grownups, lied to me.
And then after a long time I came across the messages from Bertha Dudde, and they explained all of that quite simply: God descended in the man Jesus to earth, B.D. NR. 3252. But that, these theologians had not told me, that God speaks to us men all the time. So it transpired that these so-called theologians simply were the exact opposite of that what they pretend to be. They and their self-knitted churches are the invention of Antichrist, to keep us, with much theology and distortions, away from God.
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