Surviving in a Totalitarian State

After their failed attempt to flee to the West my freedom loving parents had to survive in a totalitarian state.  Many of their freedoms were curtailed and they were cut off from friends and relatives on the other side of Germany and the rest of the world.

Before the war my dad had been transferred to the police force in Gotha.   Now,  under the communist rule he could no longer keep his position as police officer.

Miraculously,  one of my Dad’s old friends who was a dentist remembered that my father had worked as a dental technician in the past.   He offered him a job to work in his dental laboratory.

Food supplies were very short for several years after the war especially in the East.  I remember my Dad taking us to small villages in the surrounding area.  He would try to trade in his high quality police boots, belts, leather gloves and other valuable clothing in exchange for precious food like flour, butter  eggs and cheese.

I never forget the tasty delight of a freshly baked  heart shaped waffle a kind farmer’s wife handed me on a cool fall day.   It was still warm and tasted heavenly!!  I never had one before.

Our diet consisted  mostly of porridge, root vegetables,  bread, molasses and some butter or other fat.  There were strict government food rations.  Since I was underweight and slightly anemic, a  concerned doctor prescribed extra rations for me.

But I was also a picky eater.  It upset my dad tremendously, when I refused to eat or left something on the plate.   He had experienced extreme hunger as a POW.   My mother ended up feeding us children  separately  to keep him calm.

When we turned four years old, my father started teaching us on weekends.   He had a large world map, which covered a wall in his study.  There he taught us geography,  We had to point to and name all the continents, major countries, capitals, rivers, mountain ranges and oceans.

We had to draw maps and were rewarded with pennies if they were accurate.

He explained the solar system to us and allowed us to color his beautiful pen drawings for his ballads.

At bed time he would read to us books of the great explorers and inventors of the past or other historical events.   I loved cuddling close to my father on the bench of the big tile stove and listen to the great stories of mankind.

I learned to read before I even went to school and from then on have always been a voracious reader.

I was six years old when I read my first novel.  My mom had the book sitting on her night table.   It was a gift from my father who loved historical novels.   Whenever I had the opportunity. I secretly read in this big book which intrigued me.  It introduced me to an exciting  world  far beyond  my years.  To this day it is my favorite novel.  The author is Hervey Allen and the title is “Anthony Adverse”.   It was translated into German.   Many years later, Peter found the original American edition for me at eBay.

Although religious practices were tolerated under the new regime, they were not being encouraged.

My mother had been strictly brought up in the catholic faith by her guardians.   However, my father was protestant.   Shortly after our birth, even before my dad had a chance to meet us, she had us baptized in the protestant faith out of respect for my father.

My mother was always a strong believer in the Christian faith and instilled this faith in me.  For her the differences among the various religious denominations were not of great importance.  She believed in a personal relationship with God and salvation through Jesus Christ.

She would always encourage us to pray, and believe in the power of God’s love.

We were introduced to the word of God by an interdenominational Christian group who read bible stories to preschool children.  They must have sown strong seeds falling on fertile ground.  To this day I have never lost my faith in the goodness and truth of God’s word and the miracle of Christ’s promise of salvation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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