August 5, 2019
Herford. Joy of my youth
My name is Gudrun, after the daughter of RFSS Heinrich Himmler. Grandma and Grandpa Aschoff live with Aunt Emmi on Hämelingerstrasse. 6, in one "Lumpenbau", how grandpa described the apartment to the house owner Carl Titgemeyer in winter 1939/40. But I’m not there yet, I’ll be in Lebensborn in May 1942 "resin" , born in Wernigerode [Photo: Brockenweg 1]. This is an SS maternity home. Why I was born there and then to the home "upland", Another SS Lebensborn home being postponed is another story that I have only known and worked up since November 2011. In any case, my mother gives me up to her parents when I’m not yet a year old and disappears towards Munich, where she is employed at the headquarters of Lebensborn e.V. Your superior is SS standard leader Max Sollmann.
Officially she returned to Herford in November 1943 and also lives in Hämelingerstrasse 6. I know that from the Herford registration cards, of which the Herford city archivist Christoph Laue thankfully provided me with copies.
In fact, she worked for the club until spring 1944 and only then came to Herford.
This is about my life before moving into the half-timbered house on Tribenstr. 20. Apart from the few events at the farmer Westerhold, I don’t remember anything until the end of the war. I also have some memories of the nursery school in Neustädter Kirchengemeinde and its director Aunt Marie, that I liked it there and how the damp sand in the sandpit smells.
In April 1946 we moved to Tribenstr together with grandma, grandpa and aunt Emmi. 20. I don’t know my father. He is at war and then in captivity, I am told. At the time when we were in Tribenstr. 20 pull, he comes back from captivity. But he doesn’t live with us, but somewhere else. Mom and I visit him sometimes. Then he tells how he had to clean the toilet at Tommie’s. To prove that this is outrageous, he shows small black and white photos, in which he can be seen in various uniforms, with white or dark uniform jackets. He looks very handsome, he hates the English and warns me of them: "Never accept anything from them!"
In August 1946 my parents got them wedding after, which could not have been celebrated properly in 1941 because my father would only have had a vacation from Paris at the time of the war. There he worked in the German military administration until August 1944. I wear the yellow taffeta dress smocked with blue threads, tailored by Aunt Erika Schulze, made of fabric, guaranteed pre-war goods. My father’s family members from East Frisia and Hamburg come to the wedding, Aunt Anita, Aunt Lisa, Uncle Karl, and everyone is happy about how big I have grown.
Now I have a father too. I should call him dad.
In winter 1946 or 1947 it is dark outside, I am sitting in my grandparents’ living room when there is a knock on the window. I pull back the curtain and a terrible sight presents itself to me. There is a dirty bloated man dressed in rags. He looks at me with big black eyes and calls: "Open up!" I run to Grandma screaming, she goes to the window and screams too, but differently, namely for joy: "It’s max!" My uncle returned from Russian captivity. Once in the room, he collapses from exhaustion and cries.
Life in Tribenstr. 20 [Photo] is the absolute horror from a living point of view. We live in caves, Grandma and Grandpa below, Aunt Emmi, my parents and I upstairs. There is also a floor above, and below is a storage cellar for potatoes, apples and preserves. I’m not four years old when we move in. I was eleven years old when we moved to Brucknerstrasse in August 1953. 16 move to the Stiftberg, and so during the seven years I’ve been living there I have no idea of the tiny size of the house on Tribenstrasse. Today I can reconstruct the dimensions based on the fact that a bed is 1.90-2.00 meters long.
When you come in the front door, there is a brown hall wardrobe with a mirror on the right. To the left, descending one step, from a hallway covered with red-gray bricks into the living room, two steps down the hallway, you come to the open kitchen. From the kitchen with stove, table and cupboard as well as the large earthenware washbasin with the copper tap, the only water point in the house, a sliding door leads to my grandparents’ bedroom on the left.
In the hallway you come to the right, above the hall wardrobe, on a wooden staircase with creaking, worn steps to the upper floor. The room in which my aunt Emmi lives is on the right of the small hallway. In 1946 she was 18 years old. Opposite the staircase is the door to the kitchen, which is almost 3 x 3 meters. In the eat-in kitchen there is a coal stove, a kitchen table, kitchen cupboard, three chairs and the second bedside table, which has no space in the bedroom. The bedroom has a maximum size of 3 x 2.5 meters and, like the eat-in kitchen, is no higher than 1.80 meters. There the beds are not next to each other, but at right angles to each other, one in front of the other, one on the wall with the window, in front of which a dark green snap roller blind hangs. It is still from wartime, for the darkening during Allied air raids. I have to sleep in a bed with mom until I am eleven years old. Opposite this bed is the wardrobe, bed, cupboard and bedside tables, everything guarantees pre-war makoré goods, African pearwood, organized by Mutti at the beginning of the war, when there was still something to buy. She stored it at the Vehmeyer forwarding agency. It looks like furnishing a marriage bedroom, I would say today, but I cannot assess that at the time.
The wooden floorboards creak in the hall and apartment on the first floor. I have to wash myself at a washstand in the hallway, and before going to bed in the loo, across the yard. On a bucket at night, but not if possible: "Go ahead!" Mommy says sternly. On the ground floor you come to the brick-paved courtyard with a shed in which grandma fattened a goose for Christmas. Sometimes rabbits are fed in it. Otherwise there is coal and wood for firing. Next to the shed is an open crate with galvanized rubbish bins from Streuber&Lohmann, SULO [the photo is only similar!]. The way to the shed is roofed, and so, safe from rain, the wooden handcart and all kinds of other things are stored there.
There is an old pear tree in the yard, it bears small fruits that never soften. Sometimes I run around the tree and consider how fast I have to run to pat myself on the back. I think and give up much faster than I will ever be able to run.
At the back, next to the shed and the shed, an iron staircase leads down to the laundry room, behind which there is a small storage room for storing food. In the middle of the summer and winter damp laundry room there is a wooden Miele washing machine with manual operation, a stove in the corner, on which the laundry with the washing powder is placed, "Persil remains Persil", cooked in an aluminum kettle. Then it is poured into the machine, the lid is closed, and the rocking of the laundry with the handle starts.
When I help Grandma swing and grab my handle, I fly back and forth and we both laugh: "Just Miele, Miele, said Aunt, who knew all the washing machines!"
In the yard is the outhouse with water flushing. The free press of grandma and grandpa or the Herford circular newspaper, subscribed to by dad and mom, called cheese leaf, serve as toilet paper. At the end of the courtyard is a large door leading to the Oskar Hentschel smithy.
There are fires burning and wrought iron grids are made on the anvil. Under no circumstances can I go in there, my mom and grandmother forbade me to do so, but Mr. Waling does not look when I take the shortcut to Mittelstrasse to get small bread from a baker. I sometimes nibble on it on the way home, on my little knot. Grandma doesn’t think that’s okay, but she doesn’t say anything, just looks at me reproachfully from her big brown eyes.
It smells strange in the smithy, I can not describe it, at least differently than anywhere else in the world. Probably it comes from the carbide, which in the middle of the street in a sink lowered into the floor, is whitish and mushy and open to the smithy and is used for welding. If you never step in there, Grandma warns me, otherwise your foot will fall off, understand? Roger that!
The workers take a break across the courtyard to our neighboring house, where the follow-up room is located. The workers are the followers of their employer, they have to follow, like me grandma and my parents.
The Steinmann family, father, mother, Liselotte, called Löttken, and Günter live in the neighboring house. The neighbors on the other side of our house are two unmarried middle-aged sisters, (Riepe?). You are always very kind to me. Then there is another half-timbered house in which my playmate Peter Meier lives. In the house on the corner of Hügelstraße sits a fat woman with a white-blonde topknot at the hot lack. Opposite, next to the business Twachtmann is a tailoring of father and son, one has white and the other black hair. They sit cross-legged on the table and sew suits. The Heinzelmann milk shop is where the ironing street flows into Tribenstrasse. I have to get milk every day with a tin milk can. The jug has a wooden handle that I sometimes swing the jug around. The milk stays in the jug for some unknown reason, but you have to be careful that you turn it fast enough and that the handle doesn’t tear off. When that happens, it’s best not to go home.
Next to the milk shop is a narrow vegetable garden, and then comes Schlachter Berger, whose son Kalle is older than me and much stronger. He wrestles with smaller and weaker opponents, he doesn’t dare to bigger ones like Rolf Kleine. Rolf has an older brother Heinrich, who is already an apprentice in the bakery. Kalle has no chance against him. He pulls a tuft of hair from my head once so that I bleed like a pig. Grandma claps her hands over her head: "Don’t let your mother see that! Come on, let’s wash it out and stop crying!" I come under the tap, in the stoneware sink. When I’m reasonably clean, she holds me close and mumbles: "Oh pummel, oh pummel!"
I am called Chubby with her, although a line in the landscape because I am from Lebensborn "upland" came to Herford as a well-fed child, as a pummel.
A narrow path leads to the Gehrenberg next to the butcher. The Lenger family lives on the corner. Ms. Lenger, a small old woman with gray hair tied up in a bun, holds chickens, and Mummy sometimes buys eggs from her. Behind Lenger’s house is an urban building made of red bricks. In the side entrance of the house, on the right, is the kindergarten that I go to in the morning. The leader is Aunt Berta, like my beloved Aunt Marie from kindergarten, behind the Neustädter church, she is also a deaconess. Aunt Berta is not warm at all, but bossy. We sing there every lunchtime:
It struck twelve o’clock, the season is over,
we all go home very happy.
The father, the mother, they are waiting for me,
and when I was nice, they are happy.
After the end of kindergarten dad doesn’t wait for me, he works as an employee with his old PG Hänschen Beuermann, with Wendt Groll, in Radewig, Mutti doesn’t wait either, she is an accountant in the Schrader hardware store&Matthes, in Lübberstrasse. My grandma, who is always there for me, is waiting for me. Sometimes I pick up mom from work, then I cross an arm of the Bowerre. There, in the middle of the stream, lives in a dirty half-timbered house, a cobbler. At his window, which is blind from dirt, stands "Missing shoe repairs". I do not understand that; because I see some pairs of shoes behind the window and the cobbler is always busy. When I ask mom, she answers: "Didn’t you see the big ‘F’? Pay close attention to everything soon, nothing is missing, missing is his name, and don’t always spin around!"
My name is Gudrun Traumann. Easter 1948 I come to the elementary school Wilhelmsplatz, to the teacher Arthur Scholz, and for this Mutti provides me with a school bag [photo], in which she puts three homemade oatmeal cookies. I don’t like sweet cookies anyway, and so the school bag and cookies go to my cousin Ulla Aschoff in the afternoon, who lives in Cherry Garden 5 and starts school at the Falckstraße school.
Ever, Easter! Every year my grandmother paints Easter eggs for me and hides them in small nests, always in the same places. She doesn’t hide chocolate eggs because she knows I don’t like them. She keeps them for Ulla and Siegfried when she visits the Aschoff family in Kirschengarten 5, or when they come to us at Tribenstrasse 20.
Grandma is more excited about the egg hiding places than I am, because I know where the eggs are the second time: under the wooden stairs to the upper floor, behind the hall wardrobe, under the sink in the kitchen, in the yard, behind the handcart. I’m looking but I can’t find the eggs, run past them. Grandma is happy when I finally find the nests, and Mutti says that I have been past them several times: "You just don’t find anything, you only dream all day!"
Almost the entire Tribenstrasse, from the Old Market to Johannisstrasse, consists of half-timbered houses. Where the middle street meets the Tribenstrasse is a fence behind which there are debris from a bombed out house. Every Saturday, the house residents have to sweep and wipe the cobblestones up to the middle of the street and the gutter in front of their house. Sometimes I am entrusted with the work. Then I stand in front of the gutter and ponder how to get into it, having heard that Heide Clapier will end up in the gutter. Heide is the daughter of the fishmonger in Rennstrasse, next to Walter Fouquet’s wallpaper shop. Heide is a few years older than me and a very lovable person who often takes care of me.
On the other side of the street, next to Lenger, the Storck family lives on the upper floor. She has a fox terrier. One day, the Wach family moves into the house next door, also on the upper floor, the father of the family is a musician in the Northwest German Philharmonic, the daughter’s name is Sieglinde, who wears lace panties sewn by her mother. I can’t get out of amazement. We call them in the street "Buxenknirps". She only plays with girls, so that I remain the only girl in the gang of our street. It’s lucky!
Sieglinde is lovingly called Püppi by her mother. Mummy thinks this is silly, if only because she is angry that Grandma is me "roly-poly" may call, but not me "Putti". What a disgusting nickname that doesn’t suit me at all! "But chubby what?" My grandma could call me what she wanted, it would always be a nice name.
One day there’s a scene at Wach. Sieglinde comes home and calls from below: "mummy!" The mother whispers: "Sweet!" And then there is beating and crying in the apartment. Sieglinde has been called by my parents since then "Mummy sweetness patsch!"
I play with boys and one day we make circus with my friend Ernemann. Ernemann alias serious Witte is dancing on the rope and I am the one "upright sitting turtle". Entry 10 pfennigs! You can read about it in the Blöke from sheep, about childhood experiences in Herford.
The Kersting family lives on our side of the street after Mittelstraße, at number 16. The young Mr. Kersting runs a small pet shop. Sometimes I can look at the ornamental fish. An aquarium would be out of the question for me, it would be too expensive and we already have Pussi, my grandmother’s cat. Pussi comes into the house, I’m not at school yet. Pussi is my cat! At night she often lies on a chair in the kitchen-cum-living room with the warm stove. Pussi can meow in many ways, I always know what she wants to express. Only when she dreams and shrugs her paws I don’t understand what she wants. Maybe she’ll catch a mouse in a dream. Mice have become rare since Pussi has been in the house. Before that, they raged on the floor at night, but Pussi puts an end to it. If she does catch one, she doesn’t kill her right away, but takes her to Grandma and puts it in front of her. When Grandma has praised her enough, Pussi eats the mouse, or else she plays with the half-dead animal beforehand. Then Grandma says and hides my head in her lap: "Come here, pummel, this is not for you!"
One day Pussi climbs the pear tree again. From there she jumps onto the roof of Tribenstrasse. 20. There she sits and cannot go down. The fire department comes to rescue them. Great excitement all over the street! As Pussi grows up, she gives birth to boys every year. To do this, it crawls somewhere in the shed or in a corner of the room. When Grandma notices that Pussi is pregnant, she asks family, friends and acquaintances who wants a little cat. For those who want one, Grandma looks them firmly in the eye and says: "But then you also take one, that’s clear?!" Before Pussi gives birth to her babies, Grandma calls me: "Pummel, you go up now, this is not for you!" If there are more young than interested people want a small cat, Grandma fetches a water bucket and drowns the surplus mues (pronounced: mueschen).
Pussi lives with grandma and grandpa until grandma dies on April 7, 1957. I would like to have Pussi on Brucknerstrasse. 16, but Pussi is suddenly gone. Mom, who doesn’t want any animals in the apartment, has her killed by the veterinarian: "Now and then!" she comments that.
The Schröder family lives in the back of Tribenstrasse, on the same side of the street as we are, near the Martinsgang. Their grandfather dies, and it is common for the neighbors to condolate from the street. Neither grandma nor mom feel like it, and they send me there with a bouquet of flowers. I am at most five or six years old: "Hand it in and come back soon!" It opens the weeping widow, takes the bouquet, I want to go again, then she grabs me by the hand and pulls me into the living room, where the body is laid out: "You wanted to see Oppa Schröder again, didn’t you?" Dear widow, not just once, afterwards I saw him for nights.
Opposite the Martinsgang is an open area with a huge old beech tree. I am looking for beech nuts in autumn [photo] that taste very good. Unfortunately, in many beechwood shells there is only air, which you don’t always see from the outside, but only when you open the shells. Sometimes I find none with content, so it’s not a nice autumn.
The Hotel Haus Twachtmann is on the corner of Hügelstraße and Tribenstraße. There, "At Twachtmann", I have to get beer for Dad, sometimes for Grandpa. I get a glass jar with a cap in my hand and let’s go. Dad and grandpa like to wash each other, but mostly not together because they are not green to each other. This is because one is red and the other is brown: "I am a social democrat and I remain a social democrat!" Grandpa explains sometimes, and then it gets quiet in the living room. Dad, on the other hand, is a leftover Nazi.
I love my grandpa. Until 1949 he worked as a galvanizer at Streuber and Lohmann, at SULO. Garbage cans, jugs, metal buckets are galvanized by him. Sometimes I have to bring Grandpa the Henkelmann with the freshly cooked lunch at noon, then I see him holding a long stick in his hand behind a glass pane. He pulls the pieces to be galvanized, which are continuously guided on a rope over the liquid zinc and dips them one by one. "Chubby, stay away here," calls he, "that is toxic and dangerous!" He turns off the conveyor belt, comes out and grabs the Henkelmann.
Grandpa works from Monday to Saturday. He doesn’t make much. The wages are paid on Fridays. Then Grandma stands at the factory gate and takes the money from him. He gets 50 pfennigs, which is just enough for two schnapps.
Dad sometimes goes out to peck you, as Mommy calls it. He drives to Pütten Meier, on the corner of Hügel- / Rennstraße, next to Bäcker Kleine. You have to climb two or three steps to get into the bar. Pütten Meier is an old funny bald man. His motto is above the bar:
Have sorrow with yours,
go to pastels, have a drink!
Then the grief is over,
Opposite Pütten Meier is Renn- / Ecke Hügelstraße, next to the tailoring, a cleared rubble lot. Someone was growing tobacco plants there before the currency reform. Since I love my grandmother very much and know that she likes flowers, I pick some of the flowers of the tobacco plants and bring them home radiant. My grandma is horrified. It costs them half a pound of coffee to compensate the smoker. I am implored to never take anything from a piece of rubble again, especially not to pick flowers. I almost always stick to it, or rather rarely, which once earned me a beating because of a single rose. Well, basically because of my lie, because for fear of punishment I say that my playmate Klaus picked the rose and gave it to me. Kläuschen is next to me, and I think if I say it cheekily, Daddy believes it. He asks and Kläuschen replies: "No, Uncle Traumann, Gudrun picked the rose." I have to run home in front of dad, up the stairs to the apartment, dad pulls down the dark green snap roller blind in the bedroom, it’s pitch black in the room, and then dad thrashes me. He hits everywhere, especially with his bare hands in the face. I cry loudly, Grandma calls from below: "If you don’t stop, I’ll come up!" Dad answers: "Then you will get them right away!"
After the currency reform, Renn- / Ecke Hügelstraße is a sausage stall, in which a tall man with a black mustache and his blond, tender wife, Thuringian, have grilled sausages with mustard, with or without rolls. They cost one mark each, the roll ten pfennigs, which is a lot of money. At the time, Mutti moaned that the rolls at Bäcker Kleine no longer cost five but six pfennigs. Sometimes dad and mom go out to eat sausages with me. It’s a festive day for me, because unlike grandma, mom can’t cook. Her salt and scattered pepper serve as spices. Everything always tastes bland.
My parents smoke like chimneys, they smoke, as we call it. Cigarettes are sold across the street from the sausage stall in Rennstrasse, in a tobacco shop with betting shop, where there are lottery tickets. There are ten cigarettes in the boxes. You can also buy them individually, and there are even packs of three cigarettes. Collie, Navy Cut and Gold Dollar are the brands that come to mind. Later there are Roth Händle, harvest 23, Lord Extra, Lux, Overstolz, Peter Suyvesant and HB. The list is certainly not complete. On Fridays I sometimes have to hand in the completed lottery ticket and buy cigarettes. In addition to the totolade, the milk dealer Heinzelmann opens a new shop one day in Rennstraße 40, where the Martinelli ice cream parlor is today. The little one in the ironing street no longer exists.
The exchange center is located at Alten Markt 5, where Hettlage will later be. it is mentioned in the chronicle of the city of Herford in 1944. You can bring things there and exchange them for other things. When there is a high position, there is a sensation. In the shop window there is a figure painted chalk white on the face, which makes jerky movements with the head and arms and does not otherwise move: "Man or machine"? The Herford can vote, and prizes will be distributed among those who guessed correctly. I think that it could only be a human being to make such a machine would be far too expensive. I still don’t win a prize.
Grandma buys in consumption (pronounced Kónsumm), on the old market, on the corner of Rennstrasse. Not everyone can buy there, only members of the cooperative of the same name. It is a social democratic institution, or at least is close to the SPD, and for that reason alone, my parents are not members and do not buy there. Dad and mom always wanted to be something better, says Grandma. I do not understand what.
Dad first worked for his old party friend Hans Beuermann, Wendt Groll, and Mutti also worked there as an accountant, but then Dad became an employee at "Housing Herford", in the city Hall. When he talks about his tasks, it is believed that he owns the entire town hall, that all the employees there are under his authority, the head of the city, Fritz Meister, the city treasurer, and Daddy thinks that they are Social Democrats who have no idea about anything Dad. Christa, the daughter of the Oberstadtdirektor, is much less intelligent than his daughter Gudrun. She wants to be a butterfly catcher in the Amazon, and Dad asks in the town hall whether girls are suitable. "Yes," knows dad in the evening, "but only if they bring the best certificates home. So, learn! Where are your homework?" Dad has a lot to complain about and I have to correct and improve another hour.
Dad is in the German party, he despises grandpa because he is only a worker and has learned nothing from the lost war. Since June 18, 1950, Daddy has been a member of the city council of the German Party. I am allowed to stick election posters with him and I am very proud. While I usually have to go to bed at 7 p.m., we stick posters until midnight.
About my spiritual, two braids, the "rat tails", braiding hair at the party convention in Goslar, October 1952, Heinrich Hellwege, Hans-Joachim von Meerkatz and Hans-Christoph Seebohm: "As long as there are girls like Gudrun, we are not worried about Germany!" The party friends teach me all the stanzas of the Deutschlandlied, the Horst Wessel Lied and the Poland girl.
One day Dad comes home smirking from a city council meeting. An SPD city council has actually declared: "We build apartments with everything in conformity!" Dad doesn’t get a laugh: "designed in conformity!" The tears roll down his cheeks. Seldom is Dad in such a good mood, because he has stomach ulcers. On the other hand, he does roller cures, takes licorice and raw salt.
I have already mentioned the wooden handcart. There is no family in the street without. Grandpa and Grandma also have one. It helps us to get coal from the Scharfe coal store in the Johannis / Wiesestrasse corner. When you come to the yard there are large piles of hard coal, coke, briquette, and in the first years after the World War II, mud coal also soups away. "Mud coal accumulates during the washing of coal and is led with the water into settling tanks, where it collects on the bottom." Heating with it is a feat.
Grandma and Grandpa have an allotment on the Werre, near the Melchior Bridge. It is only for pedestrians. The handcart is also used to transport garden tools and harvest from the garden, and for potatoes intended for cellaring.
In the first post-war years, however, the handcart at Christmas got its own value. Grandpa drives him up Stuckenberg in the dark and organizes two firs, one for my grandparents and one for us, on the first floor. Sometimes my uncle Heinz helps him.
I never thought about the size of the trees, but now I do the math and come to the conclusion that the tree that stood on our nightstand in the corner of the room could not have been more than a meter tall. For me it is huge and very wonderful, with silver tinsel, silver balls and real white candles. After the tree has been looted, the tinsel is smoothed out and kept for the next Christmas, the balls anyway. The wax is scraped out of the candle holders, melted, and provided with a new wick, it becomes candles for the next party. The same procedure is used with wrapping paper and the red and green bows, they are smoothed out or ironed and come in the Christmas box to balls, candle holders and tinsel. My favorite paper is white ground and decorated with small green and gold fir branches.
We are singing Christmas songs. Grandpa, who used to work as a tiller in the Recklinghausen colliery, from where he has his coal dust lung, brings the funny version of O Tannenbaum every year at my request; he sings with a croak at the end when it is no longer so solemn:
O fir tree, o fir tree,
Kaiser Wilhelm hacked into a sack.
Then he buys a Henkelmann
and starts at Krupp in Essen.
Now he has to spin grenades,
Auguste must go to hamsters.
New Year’s Eve comes to visit us regularly and unannounced, the couple Walter and Gertrud Opitz, they are from East Prussia. Walter is a motorist at Wendt Groll, dad’s colleague, later his former colleague; since he works in the drug delivery. My parents, who otherwise get upset about everything and everything, avoid everyone and everyone, who isolate themselves and me, seem to be at the mercy of the couple. It snows in with us whenever he feels like it. Then I have to go to Twachtmann for beer, and Mutti prepares snacks. It is like never before with us. Walter determines everything. On New Year’s Eve he comes with a brand new Grundig radio and says: "Otherwise it is too boring for you until midnight!" My parents have to pay for the device in installments. It is not a free gift, but Walter bought it cheaply.
I don’t miss a radio with us; because my grandparents own one from before the war [not to be found on the Internet], which has two loudspeakers covered with light cotton cloth. In the middle is a vertical glass pane on which the transmitters are indicated. You turn a knob to set it. The other button controls the volume. Behind the glass pane is a small room in front of which I sometimes sit and wait to see if there are people walking along who sing and speak so beautifully. Then Grandma asks: "Pummel, what are you doing, do you want to crawl on the radio?"
For me, my grandparents’ radio is the window to the courtyard. The NWDR was founded on January 1, 1948, and I learned the most beautiful songs from Richard Tauber, Joseph Schmidt, composers such as Sigmund Romberg and Werner Richard Heymann, from many singers and composers. There are operetta sounds by Emmerich Kálmán and Robert Stolz. "Music banned by Hitler," says Grandma. She doesn’t say why she was banned. After school and completing my schoolwork, I often spend the whole afternoon with grandma and grandpa and listen to the music there. I never missed a radio upstairs. Now I can listen to the bickering on January 1st, why dad would not have simply given the radio back to Walter, and how that should be paid now.
In the evening at 7pm when I have to go to bed there is news. Usually Dad then scolds everything that is said, and he comments: Adenauer traitor, Ollenhauer anyway, and only Herbert Wehner! The only ones who find mercy are his party friends from the German Party.
It gets bad with our radio every Christmas Eve every year. From 1953, since we already live at Brucknerstrasse 16, the NWDR, and from Christmas Eve 1956 the NDR, sends one to the German ships that sail the oceans "Greetings on board". The relatives of the seafarers sit in the studio in Hamburg, they are connected to the ship on which their sailor is sailing. Little Dieter shouts into the microphone: "Daddy. Daddy, can you hear me??" The father grunts something from afar, and Dieter replies: "Here is Mammi, too, who wants to say something to you!" Mommy: "We miss you so, Daddy, come back healthy, we are waiting for you!" Three or four times in a row, always to different ships. Dad sits, ear very close to the speaker, and cries with emotion. Dad calls sweet and sour, that’s what I call it. Mom and I are logged out, and it takes a while for Dad to get his feet back on the land.
For me, dad and mom are like from another world. The best thing they can do about other people is to smoke, scold, yell at and beat me up. For everything you do me good, I have to be thankful and express it: "Thank you mum! Thank you, dad!"
I play with Kalle, Peter, Klaus, Rolf and other boys in the rubble. Ms. Lenger and her chickens as well as past the kindergarten to the partially bombed-out Klingenthal textile department store, the former property, until 1938, of the Herzfeld family, at Gehrenberg 15. I don’t know anything about the ownership at the time. A reader of the Neue Westfälische and the Klingenthal company know nothing of it to this day. "The Klingenthal House was founded in Herford in 1938 [sic]." A reader reports that the Herzfeld department store is "later taken over by Klingenthal" and someone writes how it really was: "Finally, the stately textile department store of the Jewish Herzfeld family, whose company was forced to auction in 1938 and taken over by businessman Franz Klingenthal, who rebuilt it in the 1950s after the severe bomb damage in March 1945."
Tim Elsner, from the project "Places of Jewish life" The high school graduates of the Wilhelm Normann vocational college in 2002 researched the fate of the Herzfeld family: "In 1965, Helmut Herzfeld retrospectively described the buyer Franz Kingenthal as a "decent" who burdened his conscience when he paid us the limited price. , After the end of the war there was no reimbursement of the property or business as it was a regular sale. The Klingenthal and Herzfeld families, however, regulated reparation privately."
Klingenthal believes that placing a memorial plaque is damaging to business.
The city tour of the history of Jewish life in Herford provides factual information about this place of business, which has been in Jewish ownership since the 18th century. What story the current owner Ferdinand Klingenthal, on June 16, 2011, told the students of the Enger secondary school about the purchase, the purchase price and above all about the name change of the "stately textile department store" you can read on their website: Franz Klingenthal wanted the "Customize the name of the products in his shop. since the previous department store probably offered everyday products in the low price sector, [sic]."
But where a child also plays in the post-war period!
Next to the Klingenthal department store is a ruin, in which we gymnastics and play robbers and shame: Hands up! Pa-pa-PAAA! You are dead, you are dead! No, I’m just shot. Hobble, hobble – and gone! Klingenthal employees dispose of the wood wool that they no longer need in the basement of this bombed-out house. We boldly jump in there, but one after the other and only one at a time, because those who stayed above have to pull him out due to the lack of stairs. Suddenly a smoldering fire suddenly breaks out in the damp wood wool, and we just manage to get the boy sitting in there with full force. I’m black all over. Grandma claps her hands over her head: "Don’t let your mother see that!" I have to go to the stoneware basin in the kitchen, under the cold tap. Even if I come home with my knees, one "Building Site", as it is said, grandma immediately does everything so that mom can no longer see anything when she comes home from work in the evening.
Mommy fully delegates responsibility for my actions during the day to grandma, and if things don’t go well with me, grandma gets the blame. Since dad’s been there, both of them have been shouting at grandma besides me, and she answers: "Come on, pummel, we’re going!" When dad wasn’t there, mom never dared to yell at her mother.
Chubby is my name > Thick feeding to Bad Laasphe, in the Sauerland. I stay there for six weeks. I have no homesickness for a day, finally out of the clutches of my parents, out of the narrow bed with mom. Only I miss my grandma and grandpa very much. This is repeated in 1952, when I am ten years old, and I go to Norderney for six weeks. I am gaining eight pounds to my family’s delight!
When I am about eight years old, I can also go to the cinema if there are fairy tale films in the Wittekind or in the Capitol. There is a cinema in the Capitol on Sunday mornings, that is matinee. Entry costs 50 pff. The Martinelli * ice cream parlor * opened in the passage of the Wittekind cinema in 1950; which sells the best ice cream ever eaten. A ball costs 10 pfennigs, a cup costs 50 pfennigs. A crispy waffle is available from three balls, one or two is available in a pale yellow bag that is made of similarly sticky stuff to the edible one "blotting paper", if anyone knows that, wafer-like mass and available in all pastel colors. The Martinelli family comes from Italy, and everyone goes home in winter. The Italians will "Spaghetti" called, but this is not meant badly, but teasingly. We love our Italians, we love their ice cream, and in spring we eagerly wait for the Martinelli family to come back. Martinelli still sells ice cream in Herford, but on Rennstrasse, where the milk dealer Heinzelmann used to be. The owner has been Roberto Garau since 2012.
* A reader of the Remensnider corrected: The first Italians were Lazzarini. Martinelli came after that.
Next to Klingenthal, in Brüderstraße, is baker Krömker, so we sometimes steal baked goods when the back door to the bakery is open. In Gehrenberg, diagonally opposite Krömker is the Hansen bakery, the family lives privately in Hämelingerstrasse, opposite the church, two houses next to the one we used to live in. Daughter Ulla Hansen is very idiosyncratic to stubborn. Really refreshing, I envy your courage.
So much for the joys of my childhood in Herford.
The last anecdote concerns my name. One day I’m with Aunt Hilde, a cousin of my mother. Her daughter Erika is the seamstress who sews me the beautiful pre-war clothes. I remember vividly the most beautiful clothes, their dressmaker’s doll and the fabrics. Aunt Hilde suddenly asks: "Are you actually called Aschoff or Traumann?" – "My name is Traumann." – "Then you were rewritten then." – "Yes, rewritten." I don’t know the word. One day I will know more. Only that much:
I combine four surnames and none correctly: Huchzermeier – Aschoff – Traumann – Eußner. Why this is so, and why I have only known this since November 2011, I tell in another story that has already been written.
Dr. Gudrun Eussner
October 5, 2015. Updated and expanded on August 5, 2019
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