Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch 5 Part 17

The Golden West

Biene contributed this post.

To share some of their newly acquired wealth, West German people would send precious items to relatives and friends. We received large gift packages from my mother’s relatives at Christmas time. There were delicious sweets, chocolates, beautiful toys, well-made, stylish clothes and shoes for us. Fragrant “real” coffee beans for my mom and aromatic cigars for my father were some of the desired luxury items you could not get in the East. My brother and I were fortunate that we always had comfortable and well-made shoes because of my mother’s relatives who owned big footwear companies in the West.

Biene and her Twin-brother Walter at School

Books and other printed materials were forbidden because they could contain “propaganda” against the political system. Letters and parcels often were confiscated if they looked “suspicious.” My mom tried to keep a good relationship with the mailman so her letters and packages would not get “lost.”
In my imagination, the Golden West was a fairytale land where all the houses had golden roofs like the castles and palaces I had seen in the movie theatre. My father’s friend owned the “White Wall” movie theatre close to our home. My dad took us on many a Sunday to watch Russian fairytale cartoons and other movies. Since I had no concept of the “Golden West,” I thought it was a beautiful place in fairyland where you lived “happily ever after.”