Mutti Panknin’s Loss of her Fiancé
Biene contributed this post.
Born in the Rhineland region of Germany, my mom incorporated all the positive qualities attributed to a typical Rhineland personality. She was always cheerful and full of vitality. She loved life and, above all, people. Her keen sense of justice and fairness added strength to a tenacious fighting spirit. Her memory was astounding. She could recall events and people of the past in minute detail. She was very resourceful and overcame many insurmountable obstacles. She always fought for freedom in all its forms.
People would gravitate towards her; even strangers would love her almost at first sight. Sometimes my brother and I were a bit embarrassed by the attention strangers gave her when we travelled with her. Her hospitality was famous and all our friends loved to visit our home. She took a genuine interest in other people. She had good advice, and people accepted it with gratitude. She was also beautiful. After leaving the convent school, she found employment as a receptionist for a photo studio and frequently sat as a model for her employer.
My half-sister was born when my mom was 23 years old. My mother never talked about that time, and the identity of my sister’s father has remained a mystery to this day. My nephews are still searching to find out who their grandfather was. Until I was 20 years old, I did not even know that my father had adopted my sister. My parent’s generation kept a lot of secrets. There are some indications that my sister’s father was not acceptable to my mother’s strict catholic guardians. Very likely, he was a Jew. I remember a rare moment when my mother told me that she was once given a beautiful necklace by a Jewish man who loved her very much but died in a motorcycle accident. At that time, I did not know that my sister had a different father. Looking back now, I believe that my mother wanted to force the marriage by her pregnancy. Tragically, her lover died in a fateful accident before my sister was born. This scenario is speculation. I do not know how my mother coped as a single parent and how she eventually met my father. I only can presume that my father must have loved her very much to overcome the social barriers of that time to marry an unwed mother and thus jeopardize his status as a police officer.