“When you’re standing there naked, you have nowhere to go, nowhere to live, no home and no future, nobody wants you, it’s actually good you don’t have that much time to think about your situation. You have no time because you simply have to make a huge effort to survive. You have to think where you could get some food, something to drink and where you can find somewhere to sleep for the night. That takes a lot of time and so you’re left with only little time to contemplate your situation.”
“We were all about eight, nine, maybe ten years old. It wasn’t fun at all. You were shaking each time the special news came. Once my dad was reported missing. The wife of the local priest came to us every evening praying and crying. No, it wasn’t nice at all in the war.”
“We would just slowly walk down the road, on and on. We were apathetic because we had seen so much misery on the pavements left and right to the road. All around there were dead people on the sidelines of the road who had passed us a just a while ago. It was terrible.”
“Well, it brought us completely out of balance and we never regained that balance again. I had plans, I wanted to study, become a child doctor or, at least, a pharmacist. But what had I become? A little sales person. We all were impeded in our personal and career development by that. Families got torn apaert. Families that liked each other and were friends for maybe decades were suddenly torn apart and never saw each other again. They have never found each other again. I can say with certainty that this was a severe blow for everybody and it was very hard for people to cope with it.”
“The Poles had suffered just as much as we did but we had no clue about it. We didn’t know that at the time and that’s why we were so angry at them. I later learned from an old woman that they had been expelled from the Ukraine just as we were later from Poland. Since I had learned about their suffering, I changed my view of them completely.”
Then we slowly moved on and we saw dead people lying everywhere around on the pavements. They were the same people that had passed us before.
Röschen Schmidt was born on August 2, 1931, in Pyhrene, today‘s Pyrzany, where she spent her childhood. Her father was conscripted in the beginning of the Second World War. In January 1945, the Russian troops arrived in the village. As a consequence of the Polish occupation, the family was forced to leave the village in June 1945. Together with her mother and her sister, Röschen Schmidt got to devastated Berlin first and later to Neuruppin. In 1952, she was transferred to Eisenhüttenstadt where she worked for the Trade Agency of Eastern Germany. She got married in Eisenhüttenstadt and they had three children together. In order to see her mother, who lived in West Berlin, more often, they moved to East Berlin in September 1966, where she then lived till her retirement (by the time, she worked as a sales woman). Today, Mrs. Röschen lives in Berlin-Blankenburg.