Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch5 Part 6

Mutti Panknin’s Loss of her Fiancé

Biene contributed this post.

Born in the Rhineland region of Germany, my mom incorporated all the positive qualities attributed to a typical Rhineland personality.  She was always cheerful and full of vitality. She loved life and, above all, people. Her keen sense of justice and fairness added strength to a tenacious fighting spirit. Her memory was astounding. She could recall events and people of the past in minute detail. She was very resourceful and overcame many insurmountable obstacles.  She always fought for freedom in all its forms.

Biene’s Maternal Grandparents circa 1900

People would gravitate towards her; even strangers would love her almost at first sight. Sometimes my brother and I were a bit embarrassed by the attention strangers gave her when we travelled with her. Her hospitality was famous and all our friends loved to visit our home. She took a genuine interest in other people.  She had good advice, and people accepted it with gratitude. She was also beautiful. After leaving the convent school, she found employment as a receptionist for a photo studio and frequently sat as a model for her employer.

Biene’s Mother and Half-sister Elsbeth 1924

My half-sister was born when my mom was 23 years old. My mother never talked about that time, and the identity of my sister’s father has remained a mystery to this day.  My nephews are still searching to find out who their grandfather was. Until I was 20 years old, I did not even know that my father had adopted my sister.  My parent’s generation kept a lot of secrets. There are some indications that my sister’s father was not acceptable to my mother’s strict catholic guardians. Very likely, he was a Jew. I remember a rare moment when my mother told me that she was once given a beautiful necklace by a Jewish man who loved her very much but died in a motorcycle accident. At that time, I did not know that my sister had a different father. Looking back now, I believe that my mother wanted to force the marriage by her pregnancy. Tragically, her lover died in a fateful accident before my sister was born. This scenario is speculation. I do not know how my mother coped as a single parent and how she eventually met my father.  I only can presume that my father must have loved her very much to overcome the social barriers of that time to marry an unwed mother and thus jeopardize his status as a police officer.

11 comments

  1. Stella, oh, Stella · December 3

    That must have been hard for Biene’s mother, in spite of her winning personality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Edda · December 4

    Deine Mutter,Biene,wird eine sehr,sehr schwere Zeit durchgemacht haben.
    Sie muss furchtbar verzweifelt gewesen sein, dass ihre erste Liebe so geendet hat, sie ganz alleine mit ihrem Baby zurückgeblieben war..Was immer auch damals passiert ist, es war ein grosser Schicksalsschlag..
    Dann hat sie Deinen Vater kennengelernt und ich kann mir vorstellen, dass sie dadurch wieder Kraft und mehr Zuversicht bekommen hat…Und dann kamen Dein Bruder und Du..
    Und das reicht ja bis in die heutige Zeit Biene!! Ansonsten hätten wir Euch doch gar nicht kennengelernt!!!
    Herzliche Grüße aus Sottmar!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Edda · December 5

      Gibt es diese schöne Halskette von Bienes Mom noch?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 9

      Das hast du wieder mal so wunderbar zum Ausdruck gebracht, liebe Edda. Ich kann noch dazu sagen, dass ich ohne diese tragische Geschichte Biene niemals getroffen hätte. Auch von uns die allerliebsten Weihnachtsgrüße an Dieter und dich!

      Like

  3. Amy · December 4

    That’s an amazing story. Have the nephews tried DNA testing? If their unknown grandfather was Jewish, it would show up on the DNA test that they are 25% Jewish. DNA testing would also help them locate their biological family from the unknown grandfather.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · December 9

      Thank you, Amy! I will pass on your suggestion to my wife’s nephews. Who knows? They may hit on something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · December 10

        I hope so! If they need any guidance, I can steer them to someone who is a real expert at this stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · December 10

        Thank you, Amy!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. kopfundgestalt · December 4

    There were a lot of secrets kept by those families.
    There are at least 2 major secrets i know from those days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann Coleman · December 4

    It’s amazing how many secrets can exist in families, especially families living in those difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

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