Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family – Chapter 5 Part 3

Trying to Find Work in Post-War Germany

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

Being without a job and having no regular income turned out to be a more severe problem. Where would he find work in the Soviet occupation zone as a former police officer and a Wehrmacht battalion commander in Croatia? As such, the Russian authorities viewed Walter Panknin with suspicion and kept a close eye on him.

Papa once experienced joblessness after returning home as a young man with the rank of lieutenant at the end of World War I. How fortunate it was that now he could use the skills he had acquired while training to become a dental technician! He had also built up considerable work experience in Gassen in the 1920s. Good or bad times, there will always be a need for skilled people in the field of dentistry. Finally, a job related to these skills provided hope on Walter’s prospects of a steady income after his return from the POW camp at Bad Kreuznach.

Motti Panknin and the Twins

But there was a major hurdle that the Soviet secret service had placed before my father-in-law. The Russians must have received the list of POWs returning from the infamous Rhine Meadows camps. Undoubtedly, they were especially interested in the higher-ranking officers. They aimed to extract valuable information from those with a Nazi background. They also wanted them to rat on former military friends and colleagues.

11 thoughts on “Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family – Chapter 5 Part 3

  1. Es war nach wie vor sehr schwer für Walter, für seine Familie und sich das Leben einigermaßen erträglich zu machen. Die Sowjets werden dafür “gesorgt ” haben,dass er nicht zur Ruhe kommen konnte .In den berüchtigten Rheinwiesenlagetn sind ja auch furchtbare Verbrechen geschehen…Walter hatte eine grosse Verantwortung zu tragen ,denn seiner kleinen Familie sollte nichts geschehen…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vielen Dank, Edda, für deinen lieben Kommentar! Ja, Papa Panknin hat Furchtbares erlebt und noch viele andere Probleme warten auf ihn in der Soviet Zone, in der du und Dieter aufgewachsen seid. Viele liebe Grüße aus Kanada!


    • You need to know that Germany was cut up into four administrative pieces. So all Germans were ruled by foreign governments until at least 1948. From what I learned I can rank the treatment from extremely poor to good in the following order: Soviet, French, British and American.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I honestly didn’t know that, Peter! I really thought that West Germany was self-ruled, and East Germany was ruled by the Soviets. Yet another example of the failure of my country’s educations system, sadly.

        Liked by 1 person

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