Blogs by Edeltraud F. Fellendorf
WWII -- A CHILD ALONE IN BERLIN
1/13/2010 4:00:27 PM
Can you imagine having to leave your 12-year-old child alone during war? Thatís exactly what happened to Mom. It was 1942. Right smack dab in the middle of the war. Momís Mother received word to return to Silesia. It was urgent; her mother was dying. The trip back to Silesia from Berlin was too dangerous for Mom, yet leaving her uncared for in a place that was constantly under attack by air seemed horrendous. Nevertheless, Mom could not miss school, and her Mother didnít know when sheíd return so the decision was made. Mom had to stay alone in Berlin; there was no family to care for her.
In Momís own words:
ď Muttie left for the train station a few days later. By this time transportation was scarce. The bombings were taking a toll. Muttie was forced to ride on top of the train the entire time since it was completely overloaded with people desperate to reach various destinations. The train ran out of coal several times and sometimes shut down completely to avoid being attacked by enemy planes. What was normally a pleasant eight-hour ride turned into a three-day nightmare.
In the meantime, I had to fend for myself. Muttie left ration cards and money to buy food, which I cooked myself. I tried to go about my business as usual, but the air raids were terribly frightening. Asleep in my bed one night, I didnít hear the sirens go off. When I awoke, bombs were already falling. I quickly ran into the basement where I sat and shivered by myself; everyone else had already gone to the more secure shelter in the apartment across the street.
While I was in the basement, a bomb hit near by. The apartment house shuttered. Plaster fell everywhere. When it was over, I returned to my apartment to find a window shattered and its frame knocked out of place. There were large cracks in the wall and feathers were everywhere. Shards of glass, like shrapnel, had reached the feather blanket draped on the bed. We had moved the bed to the middle of the room and away from the windows for more protection.
I set about cleaning the place and sewed the feather blanket back together as best I could. The next day, I stood in line with the grownups to report the damage. Several adults pushed me out of the way, getting ahead of me. Angry and frustrated, I screamed bloody murder the next time someone shoved me. This got everyoneís attention and I was quickly moved to the front of the line.
After reporting the damage, I received a bag of nails to repair the window frame. The frame was too heavy for me to hold and nail so I enlisted the help of my best friend Friedel. While Friedel struggled to hold the frame in place, I hammered in the nails. Surveying my work, I felt very proud of myself. I felt like I had already grown up. Workers came by the next day to install a solid mesh green screen to replace the window. There was no glass to be had.
I had no idea if Muttie had even made it to Silesia. I often scared myself to death thinking she wouldn't return at all. I wound up fending for myself for six weeks. An eternity.Ē
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