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”

Katharina’s Story: Chapter 8 – The Bombing of Königsberg : August 1944

The noise was deafening. I covered my ears with my hands, but they were still ringing. Then I heard it again. The incredibly loud bang seemed to repeat itself again and again, a resounding echo under the bridge, finally fading away. Papa was talking to Mutti, but I could only see their lips moving. IContinue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 8 – The Bombing of Königsberg : August 1944”

Katharina’s Story: Chapter 7 – A Child’s Wartime Christmas

In late 1942, Katharina’s family lived at Luisenallee, in Königsberg, and it was in this year that Walter Podack was conscripted into military service with Hitler’s German Army. Katharina, the eldest child and now nearly eight years old, knows only that Papa has gone to war. It happened matter-of-factly, like another day off to work,Continue reading “Katharina’s Story: Chapter 7 – A Child’s Wartime Christmas”

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”

Katharina: Chapter 2 Königsberg, East Prussia

Founded in the 13th century by Teutonic Knights bringing Christianity to the “pagans,” Prussia was once a dominion reigned by kings. And with access to the Baltic Sea through the Frisches Haff, the ice-free port of Königsberg was important to the shipping trade of the region. It also held cultural significance as a town ofContinue reading “Katharina: Chapter 2 Königsberg, East Prussia”