Helga Marsch

* unknown  

  • “Shortly after the war had ended, my dad decided that we would go back to Hopfenbruch. The driving force of this decision was the mother of my father, whose husband – my grandfather – had been buried at a graveyard in Hopfenbruch. My grandmother insisted that she would like to die at home, as well. So we went back home and on the way, we saw quite a few things. The Russians have plundered our car and stolen our things. But the worst thing was that when we finally arrived in Hopfenbruch, our beautiful house was not there anymore as it had been burned down in our absence. We had to stay at the neighbors house all of us in one room. My mother and my older sister had to work and us. We were small kids so we would play anyway.”

  • “Then there came the news that these areas would be ceded to Poland and we were all required to leave. Of, course, this was a pretty swift process and no one cared if we liked it or not. The Polish militia came and told us we would have to be gone within ten minutes. Well, our house had already been gone. So we borrowed a little cart and put the few things we were still able to keep on it. Then, the transport set out. It took weeks before we got on foot to Berlin. In Berlin, we weren’t accommodated so we had to go further to Babelsberg. My dad had some business friends there who had done business with him before and they accommodated us. Before the whole story began, my dad had told us: ‘if we don’t see each other again, we’ll meet in Babelsberg at the Müller family’.”

  • “In 1944, there were already clear signs that Germany would lose the war. The German troops were on the retreat from Russia and Poland and it was evident that Hitler would soon be finished. Therefore, my dad decided to make sure the family is safe. In January 1945, we packed our belongings on a car and left our home. In the meantime, a lot of fugitives have already passed our house – all of them heading westward. So me, my sisters, my mom and my dad (my brother was in the war – he had been conscripted) set out on a journey to the west. We drove via Küstrin to the Elbe River and then to Lanz bei Lenzen. That’s the region of Wittenberge on the Elbe River. That’s how far the Americans have already advanced by then. At that time, we still had our horse and we would let it graze on the meadows of the Elbe. Sometimes, the American soldiers would entertain themselves by shooting in our direction. A lot of German soldiers arrived in Lanz and they wanted to cross the border across the Elbe River into American captivity. The German propaganda was very successful in spreading terrifying rumors about Russian captivity and therefore everybody wanted to the Americans, British or the French. Nobody wanted to end up in Russian prison camps.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Trebnitz, 28.05.2011

    (audio)
    délka: 52:54
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

We walked to Berlin for many weeks.

Helga Marsch
Helga Marsch
zdroj: Charlotte Stromberg

Mrs. Helga Marsch (née Pade) was born on July 7, 1934 in Hopfenbruch an der Warthe, where she spent her childhood (she lived there till 1944). She had one brother and three sisters and her parents were running a store that did some trading with Berlin. The family fled for the first time in January 1945. Shortly after they came back to Hopfenbruch in the summer of 1945, where they had to leave the city for good. After a long and strenuous journey, the family finally found a refuge in Babelsberg. In 1949, Mrs. Marsch began a typist apprenticeship. She married in 1957 and moved to Berlin together with her husband. They had three children but their youngest child died. They got divorced in 1986. Currently Mrs. Marsch is living happily in Berlin.