Walter Panknin (1898-1977) and His Family Ch6 Part7

This Old House

Biene wrote this post.

The driver jumped out of the cab, opened the truck ramp, and started unloading the luggage and helping us jump out.   Dazed and bewildered, numb from the cold and very hungry, we all stood speechless for a moment.  “Take your belongings and follow me,” the driver told us.

When the Panknin family had moved into this dingy, rundown place in 1954, the single ‘THIS OLE HOUSE” had just been released in the US and became very popular in Germany with the version in German. The song provided some joy despite the depressing living quarters.

He led us around the extremely long building to a courtyard with a row of several outhouses.  “You can go there in a minute,” he told us, “but let me show you your quarters first. This old building used to be a pub and a bowling alley,” he continued,  “now it has been converted into an emergency shelter for people like you.  I’ll introduce you to the manager of this establishment.” He laughed and pointed to a man who had just stepped out of the entrance to receive us.

THIS OLE HOUSE IN GERMANPapa Panknin liked this song as it gave a fitting description of the refugee camp they now had to live in until they had found an apartment.

We were the first ones to be led to our room.  We had to go through a long hall with several big sinks, laundry tubs and a wash line with a few rags drying.  There were brooms, mops, pails, garbage cans and other equipment stored along the walls.  The evening light coming in through oversized windows could hardly soften the drabness of this dingy hall.

8 Replies to “Walter Panknin (1898-1977) and His Family Ch6 Part7”

  1. I remember this song (the English version) when we first came to Canada. As a child, I thought it was a funny song but there is a lot of truth to it with regard to what many immigrants faced when they got started in this country.

    Liked by 2 people

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