Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch5 Part 20

Escaping to the ‘Golden West’

Biene wrote this post.

Finally, at home, we hastily ate some hot cabbage soup. After supper, my mother made us change into good warm clothes instead of getting us ready for bedtime. Without explanation, she made us kiss our dad goodbye and then, grabbing a big suitcase from a closet in the hallway, whisked us out of the front door. When we stepped out on the snow-covered sidewalk faintly illuminated by occasional street lights, my mother whispered to us that we would have to go on a long walk, but there would be a surprise. We walked silently like in a dream world enveloped by the thickly falling snow. Tired and dazed, we walked for a long time until we finally reached the railway station.

Biene’s Birthplace

Once we were settled in an empty train compartment, my mother told us that she had received permission to visit her sick guardian aunt in the West. My dad had to stay back as a guarantor for our return. If we did not come back, he would be severely punished.
My brother immediately fell asleep in my mother’s arm when the train started rolling. I, however, had my face pressed against the cold dark window. I did not want to miss the “Golden West” first glimpse once we crossed the border.

10 Replies to “Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch5 Part 20”

  1. Yes, that’s how it was … I bet they had an eye on Walther while his wife was gone with the children, and hope that he had already hatched a plan for himself. He had better chances to flee alone, knowing his family safe in the West. What an awful time that was …

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Before the wall was built, people who wanted to escape to the West bought a train ticket to Frankfurt, Oder (not Main). For many places, there was no direct connection to eastern Frankfurt. So they had a stopover in Berlin, where they took the city train to West Berlin. Thousands escaped that way without arousing too much suspicion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I changed words recently with my 92-old neighbour. He joined the army with 15, and some weeks later found hinself in a prisoners Camp. Life Was difficult for him Till 1957.
    No mentioning of a golden West.

    Liked by 2 people

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