Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family – Chapter 5 Part 2

Papa is Coming Home

Any part written in the first person singular has been contributed by my wife Gertrud (Biene) née Panknin

Great was Elisabeth’s joy when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly arrived at their home at Gotha. Papa could finally embrace his beloved wife, hug his stepdaughter Elsbeth, and hold the baby twins Walter and Gertrud in his arms. He had not seen them for over half a year.

Mutti Panknin with One of her twins

Unfortunately, several flies in the proverbial ointment all too quickly disturbed the family bliss. The house owner had covered up his illegal black market dealings by having a high-ranking police force officer renting the ground-floor apartment in his house. As many essential items were getting scarce during the war, he used Captain Panknin’s status to deflect suspicion from his shady activities. Now that the war was over, the landlord found him no longer useful and tried to get rid of his tenants. Perhaps he knew some well-to-do people able to pay a much higher rent. With so many destroyed cities, Germany experienced one of the worst housing crises in history.

Oma Panknin with her Twin Grandchildren

Being without a job and having no regular income turned out to be a more significant problem. Papa got by for a while, trading in the plum brandy for things they were lacking. Indeed, his foresight and the effort of collecting and bringing home the liquid gold are remarkable.


  1. Amy · 22 Days Ago

    Great photos, Peter. I can’t imagine missing six months of my children’s babyhoods.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Papa coming home was for sure a bliss, yet he had to encounter another challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ann Coleman · 21 Days Ago

    I imagine that was a joyous homecoming, despite the troubles. And I wonder how he found the courage to face the challenges in post-war Germany!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · 20 Days Ago

      The challenges were even greater for the people like Papa Panknin who lived in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. kopfundgestalt · 21 Days Ago

    Plum Brandy…
    It surely has been a burden to come home and to carry for the family without proper income..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve Schwartzman · 19 Days Ago

    That plum brandy turned out to be quite a plum (i.e. ‘something superior or very desirable’).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ankur Mithal · 7 Days Ago

    His motivation and reserves of energy during such challenging times were admirable.

    Liked by 1 person

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