Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch7 Part 7

A Man of the Old Guard

Papa Panknin was a man of the old guard. Born in 1898 in Kalthof, a small village in what was once called Royal Prussia. He grew up in Imperial Germany, absorbed the social values of his time, and, imbued with love for his country, fulfilled his duties as a civil servant in an honourable manner. Above all, he dearly loved his wife, his stepdaughter Elsbeth, and the twins Walter and Gertrud.
Captain Panknin survived two world wars and experienced runaway inflation, the Great Depression, the Nazi era, and the post-war stress in East and West Germany. The cliches about the typical German describe him almost perfectly, a hardworking, intelligent, reliable individual. However, in today’s world, with its emphasis on gender equity and its rainbow-coloured trendiness, he would have had a tough time fitting in.

200,000,000 Reichsmark Worth next to Nothing

As I alluded to earlier, his view as a civil servant (Beamter) of the police force was that the relationship between the state and its employees is a two-way street. This contract promises financial security in return for honourable services rendered. During the years of the Weimar Republic and National Socialism, he adhered to the prevailing code of conduct that did not allow a reputable civil servant to have his wife go out and have a job. In his opinion, the wife has a vital role at home and needs to take care of and nurture the children in a safe and loving environment. I share many of his views and thus, to some degree and without apology, have become a living relic of the past. Where I disagree with Papa will be the topic of the next post.

11 thoughts on “Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch7 Part 7

  1. Some social changes are for the better, like the abolition of slavery and the giving of the vote to all adults. As you point out, other changes (or proposed changes) are fads. Some of them are frivolous but some are downright dangerous, for instance the denial of biological reality. Living relics can set a worthy example by upholding views and traditions that deserve to be maintained.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is certainly good for children to have a parent at home. However, in my eyes that does not have to be the mother after they are three years old. There are men who prefer to stay home and women who prefer to go to work. Let them do it, as long as everybody is satisfied.
    Unfortunately it is nowadays nearly impossible to live on one salary in many countries of Western Europe, that is one of the main reasons why usually both parents are working, at least in Denmark..

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  3. I can’t agree with your views on women staying home to care for the children or for what appears to be your dismissal of sexual and gender identity issues as being “trends.” Having a non-binary grandchild and a gay brother (as well as many gay friends) opened my eyes to those issues; they are not merely a “fad.” I worked throughout my children’s lives not only to help support the family, but also because it was important for me to have the intellectual and social benefits of having a career. Why should women sacrifice their own identity while men go out and get all the benefits of pursuing both family and career?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, the comment that was sent was unfinished. One word in the sentence was ’embedded’ in the send button. On the status of women, you will see in my next post that you will mostly agree with my opinion. What I am trying to do in my blog is to present my father-in-law’s character, as revealed by his massive correspondence with friends and family. Thank you for your comment indicating a high degree of tolerance, Amy!


      • Hi Peter, I look forward to reading your next post. I think what triggered my reaction the most was the phrase “rainbow-colored trendiness.” That just stings, and it made me ache for those I love whose identities don’t fall into the old traditional categories.


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