Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch7 Part 8

The Turning Point

In late 1960, shortly before Christmas, a letter from the highest state court arrived at the Panknin residence with the long-awaited good news. Their request for Papa’s pension and the refugee status associated with all the rights and privileges had been granted. However, having battled for seven years with the various government agencies, they had paid a high price. Frau Panknin had been travelling by bus and train to talk to the officials in person. At the same time, Papa Panknin did the massive paperwork to make requests and provide written proof to the authorities. One day, Elisabeth Panknin collapsed from juggling the nerve-wracking travels and her housekeeping chores at home. Papa had to write the Christmas letters to all their relatives and friends, as his wife was too weak to do so. Fortunately, Mutti recovered just in time to prepare the Christmas dinner for the family. After over ten years, they could finally sit down on Christmas Eve and enjoy feasting on a sumptuous goose dinner with all the trimmings.

From left to right: Elisabeth, Gertrud (Biene), Walter Junior, and Walter Panknin 1960


The celebration of their victorious battle with the West German bureaucracy marked the end of their financial woes. It also turned out to be the end of their workload’s fair and equitable sharing. Up to this point, the couple had performed their domestic and professional duties along traditional lines. Papa, as a police officer, worked under highly stressful conditions under the Nazi regime, while his wife, in charge of their beautiful home, lovingly took care of the children. In those days, it was rare in most societies to have the predefined roles of husband and wife reversed. Today, it is very common, especially in Western societies, for a wife with higher qualifications to go out to work and leave the nurturing of the children to the father. Unfortunately, the basic things of life, such as shelter, food, and transportation, have become so expensive that both need to provide an income to make ends meet. They have to entrust their children to others all too often at an exorbitant price.
Coming back to my father-in-law, I believe that he was so deeply rooted in the culture of a bygone era that he, without any qualms, left the entire burden of the household to his wife while he was experiencing to the fullest extent the joys of early retirement.

More details in the next post …

18 Replies to “Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch7 Part 8”

  1. What a wonderful photograph. And I am glad he prevailed. I am glad attitudes about men and women’s roles have evolved from that era. My husband and I have always shared household and child care responsibilities, some more mine, some more his, but shared always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Biene and I have followed a path like yours. When I retired in 2000, Biene went out to work as a teacher’s aide to pursue her dream of working with young children. During that time, I was even doing the cooking.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So ein wertvolles Foto. Ein Juwel. Was für eine Lebensgeschichte! So viele Lebensgeschichten. Millionen. Immer wieder,doch jede einzelne einmalig. Jeder versucht das Beste aus seinem Leben zu machen,so wie er eben kann,seinen Traditionen entsprechend. Danke für den Einblick. Liebe Grüße und alles Gute.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stress takes a huge toll on one when it is not shaken off. I am glade Biene’s mother recovered. It sounds like she had the household chores and did not retire. So good that the pension was granted. I am sure it made things so much easier to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Endlich,nach so vielen Jahren, bekamen die beiden Panknins ihre Rechte und die verdiente Rente zugesprochen .Was war das für ein harter, langer Kampf!! In dieser Zeit ging es Tausenden so. Bienes Eltern haben wirklich allen Respekt verdient! Schon, daßsie solange miteinander das alles ausgestanden haben, verdient alle Achtung. Wie schnell gehen heutzutage viele Ehen aus geringfügigen Gründen auseinander…
    Das Foto finde ich wunderschön!
    Herzliche Grüße von uns.
    Edda

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meine Mutter bekam eine mini- mini- Rente.
    Ich denke, daß trug zu Unrecht dazu bei, dass sie sich wertlos fühlte. Mein Vater musste zudem auch noch darum kämpfen, dass sie die paar Mark bekam.

    Like

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