Katharina’s Story: Chapter 17 – Growing Pains

Altenstadt. Being a small village there was little offered in the way of entertainment; there was sort of an improvised movie house, upstairs in an older building, with rows of plain chairs. Once a year there was the Kerb, short for Kirmis in the Hessian dialect. The Kerb had initially been, as I had beenContinue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 17 – Growing Pains”

Katharina’s Story: Chapter 16 – Wanderings

I have always been curious about the world around me. Rarely was I intimidated, and if I was, I forged ahead anyway, just to see what might happen. I was eager to learn about anything and everything. I tried to take charge of my environment; succeeding I think, but at the time of the challenge,Continue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 16 – Wanderings”

Katharina’s Story – Chapter 15: High School Years

Now that I have my bicycle I can start riding to school, the fourteen kilometers to Büdingen, during the warmer Spring and Summer months, instead of having to take the train and getting up before six in the morning. From Altenstadt, my route takes me through Lindheim, Düdelsheim, Büches then Büdingen; the beautiful, quaint villagesContinue reading “Katharina’s Story – Chapter 15: High School Years”

Katharina’s Story: Chapter 14-First Kiss

1948 brought an important change: the Währungsreform, the currency reform. The Reichsmark, which had been the currency during Hitler’s time until now was declared valueless and replaced with the Bundesmark, or the Deutsche Mark. This meant that any cash one had was worthless, savings accounts were inaccessible, and this money might (at some unknown time inContinue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 14-First Kiss”

Katharina’s Story: Chapter 12 – A Refugee Family Settles in

Our aunt Dori — my Mutti’s (Nora’s) sister — took us in for the first few days. She lived on a farm; actually, it was more an estate, a complex with buildings and walls all around a large courtyard, and a tall solid gate like a fortress. There was a large garden; there were milkContinue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 12 – A Refugee Family Settles in”

Katharina’s Story – Chapter 11: The Allied Occupation

The fact that the Podack family had arrived intact in Austria after leaving our comfortable life at Opa’s farm in Kalthof, arrests my attention to this very day. The credit for our survival goes largely to my mother, Nora Podack, who was brave enough and tenacious enough to take the risks necessary for our survival.Continue reading “Katharina’s Story – Chapter 11: The Allied Occupation”

Katharina’s Story – Chapter 10: Becoming Refugees

In that winter of 1944, an awareness began to steal over me that soon we would have to leave Opa’s farm in Kalthof. Yes, we could hear the grumbling of the Front, and at night, we could see the sky lit up by artillery fire over the horizon. The community was abuzz with talk ofContinue reading “Katharina’s Story – Chapter 10: Becoming Refugees”

Katharina’s Story: Chapter 9 – After the Air Raids – Summer’s End

I did not know at the time how dangerous it was to listen to the BBC… Kalthof. We are back, having moved in with Opa and Oma – August and Hedwig – after our apartment in Königsberg was destroyed. I am in fourth grade, again attending Falkschule as I did in the second grade whileContinue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 9 – After the Air Raids – Summer’s End”

Chapter 4 — Mutti and Papa’s Early Years

Nora and Walter Nora’s plan was to become a teacher, instructing girls at a Lyceum (girls’ high school) in mathematics and physical education. She had already earned her teaching certificate at Albertus University in Königsberg but turned down an offer for a position in favor of accepting Walter’s marriage proposal. *** Katharina sits at herContinue reading “Chapter 4 — Mutti and Papa’s Early Years”

Chapter 3 – The Podack Women in Conflict

…Nora became familiar with her mother-in-law’s shape; sort of a hollowed back, wide hips, sloping shoulders and the forever corseted middle… Hedwig Clara Hedwig Packhäuser was born early in 1890, on a farm in Pravten, a rural village to the North and East of Königsberg, that capital of East Prussia. She was probably the second-bornContinue reading “Chapter 3 – The Podack Women in Conflict”