The Diary

And now I am all alone

Dedicated to my beloved daughter Lotte and written starting from the day of my son Walter’s call up on 10 December 1940

10 December 1940

And now I am all alone. For today they have taken Walter away as well. In spite of the fact that over and over again they reassured him, “You are the Second Reserve. You will not be needed”. But after six months war and a second medical Walter became First Reserve, that was supposed to be a long way away from call up as well. Nevertheless I feared the day would come. The boys answered my unspoken fears. “No mother, it will be ages before we are called up”, said Röbi. “I would be the first and only yesterday I reported to the Wehrmacht and they told me I still would have time, you can start your new semester, we do not need you now. So relax mother, until we will get called up, the war is over and Walter will not be called up ever.”

And so they both continued with their studies, Walter at the University and Röbi at the Academy of Art. Walter began to study law in Cologne, for Bonn got shut down after the war started. Röbi was Professor Junghans’ youngest and brightest pupil and everyone who has seen his work considers him to have a great future. If only the war, this unhappy war were over. Darling, when should this be happening? God alone knows the answer and he has given man a free will. Soon the holidays came, August came again and already we had had a year of war.

It was almost  a year since you and I had said goodbye to one another, so bitter and hard for me to bear and how often have I asked myself the question: When will I see my beloved daughter again, if ever? Sometimes things seem so bitter and black that one sometimes imagines it can never get better, that these two peoples may never again love and respect one another. But what then? What would happen to us, will I ever see Lotte, my beloved child, again. At the moment of our parting all love of life left me and in the months that followed only Röbi’s sense of humour and Walter’s undiminished optimism and spirit and my sense of duty kept me going.

Nevertheless in spite of their best efforts I could not be happy. Duties filled up most of my time and gradually the small and large restrictions to our lives increased and now one can only get things with coupons, even clothing coupons. There are no shoes and my sons usually have only one pair of shoes thanks to the meanness of the “old man” who never considered these things important and even before these crazy times started I always had a terrible battle to get things for you and the boys.

There are substitutes for everything, even toilet soap. It is dreadful stuff and it has to be used for washing clothes as well. There is no coffee and little butter. There is too little to live on, but too much to die. Fat and meat are becoming scarcer. And so on, and so on. We had not stored potatoes as we had been assured that there were plenty, then came a severe frost and all the potatoes that had not gone rotten went to the military.

What could one do? Very little really and potatoes are so important to be able to feel full. So I had to think about how I could get some. There was nothing in the city. Not for nothing had I spent years walking in the countryside and I had made friends there. They had to help me and so I often went from door to door to beg them to sell me what they could spare. Sometimes I failed. Sometimes I succeeded. Usually I paid with money but sometimes I had to trade.

And so I searched through my things and took the farmers gifts and then I got eggs, potatoes, fruit and sometimes poultry. One week after another I walked into the Bergische Land to lonely farms getting what I could and slowly the winter passed. I often got enough to give to others who were suffering. Mostly I helped the Reinemanns. Bully often went with me and we carried the potatoes in our rucksacks. Bully, her mother and I have formed a close friendship and during the week I often went to visit them. We opened our hearts to one another and shared our sorrows and so we were able to comfort one another.

In spring there were more eggs and so I bought all I could. I preserved any left over. I never did believe what they always said, “The war will soon be over. After our stunning victories the Tommies will soon give in.” No, I have never believed that and sadly I was right. Suddenly it was different and they said, “The war is going to last longer after all”. And so it was and then it was summer. I went into the woods and found comfort in the solitude. I usually went alone. Röbi went once in a while. His enchantment with the woodland soon evaporated! Walter was keener and came with me sometimes, but then I was alone again.

Then it was harvest time and I picked blueberries and bottled them for the winter. How often as I walked through our deep, glorious German woodland and thought and thought more about how wonderful it would all be if people wanted it. But we do not want it and it will never be perfect as long as man exists. I was able to help my friends with my blueberries and soon it was autumn. One day followed another and no news from you. In the evenings we waited for our friends from the other side of the Channel, and so it went on. During the holidays Walter worked in a holiday job and Röbi was mostly at home studying. He painted some lovely pictures of me and I was happy to have both boys with me.

Biba has been gone for ages but calls to see us when he is on leave. He is a dear boy. Karl Floeck has been in the thick of it since the war began. He was already a soldier before the war began. Herr Forschbach has been a soldier for some time. All my friends from the walking group have been called up, have suffered a lot and all want the same thing. That is that it will all be over soon.

Liesel got a position with the army and then Bully had to leave too. Our evenings and afternoons spent together with her mother when we shared joy and sorrow, did our embroidery, exchanged news and discussions about the evil times all passed, but not the war. Autumn was passing and it was time to prepare for winter and we did everything in our power to get ready for it.

Then came what I had feared most. Röbi was called up. He got orders to be ready on October the fifth. That was almost unbearable for me. I would have borne anything else and I asked myself over and over again, “Why? Why must this be?” I thought back to my own dear mother who asked the same questions and said to me, “You will never have the pain I have suffered because after the Great War, they said Never ever war!” And we all believed it.

And now? I cannot bear to think about it. If I had ever thought that this sorrow would come to mankind again I would never have allowed you to go to England and even though you have met your dear husband there I would have done my best to prevent it. It is too hard to bear this uncertainty, to think of my beloved child over there with exactly the same worries as we have here. Not to know if we will ever see one another again. Dearest Lotte, it is terrible.

Now back to Röbi. Before he went he had had several commissions and had earned himself quite a lot of money and could have earned more. Life never works out as I would choose it and Röbi was torn from his work. He had to go. We bought him everything he needed from his money. Vests, socks, briefcase and a very nice watch. Then came his departure.

It was very very hard. Walter took him. I could not accept it and it was a long time before I did. Röbi went into a cavalry division and it was not long before he had an accident. During a drill he fell and damaged his knee cap and had to go to hospital. After he was better he had to return to duty and soon he had another accident. He fell off his horse and was dragged with his foot in the stirrup. The conclusion was that he went to hospital again where he remained for some time with both legs in plaster having dislocated both knee caps!

He cannot go on active service anymore and I hoped they would let him come home. I soon had that idea knocked on the head. Röbi was hardly released from hospital when he was declared unfit for active service but capable for garrison duties. That was it.

Then came another blow, Walter’s call up papers. In spite of everything, like many mothers who had clung on to their sons I had no choice. And so on the tenth of December Walter had to go as well. Dearest child what can I say. It was very hard and I had to accept that as well. I often think of the days with you in England when I said that if war came it would be worst of all for mothers. You thought differently. “No. It will be harder for me.”

Well darling, I can only say with absolute certainty now that it must be terribly difficult for you living in a foreign country, to worry about your loved ones at home, not to be able to say anything, to hear nothing from home. But, Lotte, my beloved child, when one’s children are taken one after another to different corners of the earth knowing and yet not knowing what is happening and always wondering, will I ever see them again. I think this is much much harder to bear especially when there is no end in sight. Nevertheless I try with all my strength to cling to the hope that there will soon be an end and that we shall all be reunited.

My darling it is hard for everyone. Now that I am alone I have taken up English lessons once more. I have two English teachers. Two young people, one an Englishman about your age. I tell him my troubles and he tells me his. He was dying to get home to his parents, praying that it will soon be over so he can come back. The other teacher is an American engineer, studies here and lives in South Africa. He is the youngest son and has heard nothing from his beloved parents for over a year. You see, everyone has troubles and everyone hopes this terrible time will soon be over.

So now darling I have brought you up to date, painting with a broad brush to give you a picture of our lives. One cannot put all the detail on paper and I do not want to. I only want you to be clear when you read this letter of how we have lived and how we have thought of you daily, often hourly, and how often we fear for you. It could be that we may never see you again and this person or that may bring these words to you one day.

And so on the tenth of December 1940 I have begun to write all this down on the day Walter was taken away, in the hope that one day we can relate it all to one another together. If not, darling, it will not have been my choice but God’s will which we have no choice but to obey.

Notes by Clare Westmacott: Biba was Röbi’s best friend. Karl Floeck was a neighbour’s son. Liesel and Bully were friends of my mother Lotte. See also „People and Places“ in the Introducktion

12 December 1940

Today I got a letter from Röbi and a card from Walter. Walter wrote that he thinks of me a lot and will send a long letter. Röbi wrote that he will probably be able to come home on Sunday. He is so homesick and longing to spend a few hours to see everything again. I am longing to having him here again even if only for a few hours. Next Sunday he will go to visit his brother who is still on basic training. I am sitting all alone at home. But now I hear  the siren has started howling so I will stop. Good night Lotte, my beloved child.

14 December 1940

A couple of things I must tell you, and go back to  August. We had one air raid after another and praise God we had withstood them. But there was one attack, which was very painful for me: There is an air raid, late at night and Röbi was not yet home. I am very anxious, but I knew for his preference, so he would be with Schuster, a Russian émigré where the conversation is always very interesting. And so it was.

This attack was particularly close to us and the bombs were falling and the flak intense. Eventually it was all over, everything was quiet and soon your little brother arrived.  He was very excited because very close to where he had been at Schusters a bomb had landed on the home of Fräulein Jäckel. A direct hit. The house was destroyed. I went to see it the following day. My darling if only it were all over. And the same story repeated itself regularly around us.

All the time I thought of you. How often have I tried to get news of you. I have written to the Red Cross and the Foreign Office, and every time the reply is the same: “No news.” I had given up and left it in God’s hands because I thought it might be making things difficult for you, when one day in October, after my beloved Röbi’s call up and I was feeling so lonely and abandoned, what lay in the letter box? A letter. Good God from Lotte. I went hot and cold. I was on my way to your father and I could not open the letter for fear of what it might contain. When I got to his studio in the Schildergasse then I opened the letter and read it over and over.

How I thanked God for news of you at last. I could not stand it for long at your father‘s and then I went as fast as I could to Bully to tell her about the fate of her dear friend in the North. I was very happy and encouraged once more. There was so much news in your letter, above all that you, darling, have become a mother. My darling. And to think that I could not be with you. Yes, Lotte, my beloved child, life is so cruel sometimes.   

Well, one day not long before Walter’s call up, the Reinemann’s maid came to invite Walter and me for afternoon coffee. We should come early she said, they had such wonderful news. The news could only be from Lotte. We set off promptly and when we arrived the coffee table was beautifully laid.   Frau Reinemann had baked a fruit cake and both Frau Reinemann and Bully approached us and congratulated us. What for?  It is not our birthday or saint’s day. No. The congratulations were that we have become a grandmother and uncle!

How did this make me feel, child? Lotte, my beloved child, I thought back to twenty eight years ago when I had lain lonely and alone and had my little girl. And then you lay alone far from home in a foreign country, no-one with you who speaks your language and gave birth to your little girl, my granddaughter.  They could not understand why I was not happy. My darling, you little mother, why was fate so cruel that I could not be with you. Why does life repeat itself. I do not know and often say to myself  “It must be so.” How often had my dear mother longed to see me and you and I did not go. Certainly I do not deserve better. I will hope then that we will see one another soon and until then, all good luck for you and your child. Frau Reinemann and Walter did their best to cheer me up and the evening passed and we went home.

A few days later Walter went. He went off bravely so that my heart should not be heavy. He went to Lippe-Detmold, not far from Röbi who is on duty in Paderborn after his accident, and Röbi can visit him often and that is good because Walter will find it very difficult. Röbi is a good dear soul and I never have the feeling that he is our youngest. He always does everything for me and regards it as axiomatic that he should.   

And so my darling my diary will really begin now, in which I hope to share with you everything; our sorrows and our joys in this difficult time. It could be that it will soon be over, but it may also last a long time, but I hope this will not happen.Yes, and should it happen that I will not live to see the end, I will see that if God keeps you well and you will one day see your beloved homeland again, you can get this book and get a picture of how your people have suffered.

Note by Clare Westmacott: The Reinemann family were neighbours and friends of my grandmother and Bully was their daughter. See also „People and Places“ in the Introducktion

24 December 1940

The next few days have been filled with running around and preparing for Christmas for today is the twenty fourth of December. After I have decorated the Christmas tree I will have finished with the work and can write to the boys, for Walter a very long letter to keep his homesickness at bay. Röbi has told me that Walter is having a very hard time. Poor Walter. And Röbi, although he is the little one I can depend on him for everything. He simply is a really good boy. So he is getting a letter, too.

Then your father arrived. Throughout he has remained the same. He is still working. Work is his reason for living. He is quite alone now that his best friends Peter Rust and Dr Schulte are dead. And now that Röbi is no longer here he really has no-one. Apart from me. And you know our relationship well. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I look after his bodily well-being but he grumbles incessantly about how much everything costs more than ever now. Earlier because of his children, now because of the taxes and, of course, me. I have said to him over and over again that if it is so bad we should sell the house and that I would take a couple of rooms in the country until the war is over. But he never does anything about it and prefers to grumble.  It is hard for me because I sit here all alone day and night and if I did not have my friends I would go crazy.

I have side-tracked myself again.  Where was I? Oh yes Christmas Eve. A couple of days ago I was already full of sorrow and then your dear compatriots from the North paid us a call in Cologne, especially in Braunsfeld.  The block where the Reinemanns live was very damaged. Next day after the raid Bully came to tell me. Poor thing she has gone through so much lately. When I went there in the evening I saw how dreadful it looked compared with how it had looked the day before when I had left and everything was nearly ready for Christmas. Now it is all damaged. Not a room is intact. It is a miracle that no-one was killed.

And I asked myself once again “How is this going to end? Can it all come right? What is the point of it?” I mulled all of this over in my mind on Christmas Eve, the first Christmas without my children. My boys would be all alone. Darling, even though you will have had longing in your heart you will not have been alone. Father was very nice although he grumbled about Walter who had not written to him. However the evening was quite nice particularly as the nightly visitors did not come and from that point of view we could forget the war for a few hours. I have done a very small tree and we sat and talked and so Christmas Eve passed.

Note by Clare Westmacott: When the second world war broke out the Rhine-Ruhr area became immediately the main focus in British plans for the strategic war in the air against Germany and Cologne was one of the principal targets. Running in parallel with the bombing attacks was the psychological battle to attempt to persuade the civilian population to rise up against their evil regime, mainly by dropping leaflets and broadcasting to the German people.

25 December 1940

We got up very late and had a long breakfast. Walter had sent us a Christmas telegram which pleased me very much. We did not eat until the afternoon, because we went to the Escher See, it was awesome. When it began to get dark father went back to his studio and wants to come back for New Year. Now I am once more alone.

2 January 1941

Then came the New Year. New Years Eve. How terrible that was when I think back. Alone with your father. I had dreaded that he would come and he did but I must say that he was very pleasant and with my best wishes in my heart for you three children so far from me, together we passed from 1940 into 1941. What will it bring? Peace?  Oh God, let it be so. Everyday life returned with all its problems and stress. Röbi wrote that he was going to get some leave on the eleventh of January.   Something to look forward to once more.

The days come and go. Bully came when she could in the afternoons and we did our embroidery together and in the evenings we went to her mother‘s. Nightly the siren sounds, for our friends from the North come regularly and have done a lot of damage. Many people have been killed. Because we have no protection in the house, no cellars or air raid shelter and your father will not part with his money to provide anything I have to go out in the open to the communal air raid shelter.

I am really looking forward to Röbi coming. I do hope he does come and then we can sit and talk about everything under the sun, especially about you, Lotte, my beloved child, your husband and child. When Walter talks about his niece one could believe he was the father, he speaks so tenderly. He is racking his brain trying to think what the child might be called. He says the child will definitely be named after me and when I say he may be wrong he is offended!

Eventually we agree that it does not matter what the child may be called and the debates are brought to an end. But quietly he continues to speculate. What is it going to be called? Yes, yes.   Walter dearest, you tender uncle. The poor lad suffers dreadfully from homesickness, he has had a very difficult time and his letters are full of longing for home. I wonder how long he will have to be away and how events may develop. Oh God. If I have to sit here alone and think about the possibilities I could go crazy.

3 January  1941

Today a letter came from Walter. Walter’s letters really are books. This one however is happy. His Captain has become aware of him and after his training wants to call him as an Arabic interpreter. That would be good. Röbi’s letters are always warm and loving. I am looking forward to him coming.

8 January 1941

Last night we had a terrible attack. We were fortunate once again. Just before Christmas they destroyed everything at Reinemanns‘. That beautiful house. The poor people. How will it end? Everything is fate and I will accept it. Röbi cannot come after all. How terrible. Every pleasure is taken away from me. I could hardly believe what he wrote. “Leave cancelled”. We both have to cope with it. And once again I am alone. I will go to the Reinemanns tonight. And then maybe we will get some sleep. Maybe not.

Note by Clare Westmacott: By January 1943 when the range of the Allied bombers had increased and radar and modern target finding methods introduced, the British and American airforces agreed on a combined bombing offensive in which Cologne and the cities of the Ruhr, and later the cities of eastern Germany including Berlin were bombed night and day; at night by the British and during the day by the Americans. At the end of the war Cologne was a heap of rubble with thousands of the civilian population dead and the survivors left with almost nothing.

19 February 1941

I have not written for a long time. There was not much to write about. Everyday the same misery.   During the day the struggle for our daily bread and at night very often air raids and the most appalling misery descends on our poor people. Many cities, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hannover, Wilhelmshaven have been attacked. Many dead. So much misery. Up to now the beloved Lord has spared your parents and brothers. But for how much longer? Thy will be done.

Röbi and Walter are still in the country thank God. Röbi comes often on a Sunday to visit me. That is the most joyful event in my loneliness. Because, my darling, your father lives his life in the city and leaves me all alone here in the house. But really throughout our marriage I have always been alone and left to bear the burdens alone. Perhaps he simply does not recognise his egoism. I have nothing here. No air raid protection, no gas mask, nothing. Nevertheless I believe that God will do as He wills with me. If God wills it darling we shall see one another again, otherwise not.

Walter is a poor boy who suffers a great deal and I hope he will be able to come home soon because the doctor has declared him unfit for active service. It was an excellent examination for him.

I went to see your father in the studio. There had been a bad night once again and a bomb had fallen in the Schildergasse two minutes walk from the studio. Thank God nothing had happened to him. Yesterday I went to see Frau Nanzig who had invited me to visit her. She had had a letter from her daughter dated 15 November 1940, another dated 24 November 1940 and also one dated 15 December 1940. Three letters. The old lady was so happy and I had to think how long it was since I had heard anything from you. I could not stop myself from thinking, “Why does my daughter never write? She can live freely and cannot send her mother a note. She has a child herself now, since the fifteenth of October, is a mother herself and does not send her mother a word of comfort.”

Käthe Herz wrote in one of her letters, “I have not heard a word from Lotte since I was interned”. What can I say? I do not know what to think. I hope to God it is not out of self-interest, and I cannot really believe that, because that kind of egoism would separate us forever.

But why no sign of life? Lotte, the Lord God has a price for everything even here on earth. I could have made life better for my dear mother. So you see, the payback and if you do anything my child that hurts your mother which is your own fault God will punish you here on earth. I do not deserve this punishment after all I have done for you. Nevertheless I do not doubt you yet. Who knows, when one is alone in a foreign country, how one may be persuaded to behave. Let us hope that soon all will become clear.

20 February 1941

Today I went once again to see Frau Colonel Coleman. Her husband is in his homeland America. He is very concerned about his wife and child. He has put a lot of money for him on deposit with the Deutsche Bank until 1942 and stocked up with comestibles so that as Americans they might be protected against  the privations. I wonder if America will enter the war. Let us hope not. Let us pray to God that this murder of the people is soon at an end. It is late again and I am ready to go to bed. Will we have a quiet night? Well, Lotte, my beloved child, in my imagination I can see you with your little daughter telling her about your loved ones at home. Goodnight.

22 February 1941

I have been looking forward for so long to Röbi coming on Sunday for a couple of hours. Today the postman came and brought a letter from the military hospital. He is in sick bay with influenza and is really not well. Always disappointment. Then came a second disappointment. In the newspaper it said that there is now a ban on all correspondence with enemy countries. So now all hope has gone of hearing from you Lotte, my beloved child. Dear God, why am I haunted like this, why is every possibility of contact with my loved ones being taken away from me?

14 March 1941

It is four in the morning. I am in bed and cannot sleep. I have been through a lot of crazy air raids. Night after night the suffering increases. Whole streets have been destroyed. What is a human life worth. Everything is going to the dogs. And what for? For megalomania. The blood of our young is being spilt once again. Last night we were spared and then we heard today that Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen had suffered big attacks. No-one wants to live in the city anymore, a real mass exodus has started and anyone who can afford it leaves. In the last attack the inner city was badly hit and during the attack our Archbishop Dr. Schulte had a heart attack when a bomb fell close to his palace. Röbi is still ill and in sick bay. And so it all goes on as though on a conveyor belt. I will have to stop writing now, I can hear firing outside and soon the alarm will go off.

19 March 1941

Today I went shopping and when I looked in the letterbox there was a letter with a curious stamp.   A letter from America? Well I opened it, it was from my cousin Janko. I started to read it, he informed me that everything is all right with you and that your daughter is going to be called Clare. Poor child. Why? Should she have as much darkness in her life as her grandmother? They say here that a child who shares her name with a relative will have the same experiences in life. Although I am pleased by her name I would have preferred it if she had been called Roberta after your father because she would without doubt know how to look after herself, indeed with total self-confidence. If she also inherited your father’s artistic talent I would have no fears for my dear little grand daughter.

Anyway I wish little Klaerchen all the best in the world, first of all good understanding parents so she will have all she needs for a start, then a happy youth because that is what sustains one throughout life. However I am content, because my little grand daughter has good parents. In my mind’s eye I can see Jack’s happy face leaning above his child and I can see Lotte, my beloved child, as a happy mother who will do everything, but everything she can for her child.

Therefore in this respect I have no worries, the child is fortunate and I pray to my beloved Lord God that soon there will be joy for all our people again and with that the possibility of us making contact and as soon as possible a reunion. May God grant my wish that these cruelties will soon be at an end and that people may carry out His purpose on earth – to be happy and content.

We have endured once again a lot of air raids. They have brought once more sorrow and suffering to our poor people. Many children have become orphans,  just as many parents have lost their children and brothers and sisters. It could happen to us any night. How long will God protect us? Röbi has been ill for a long time, in sick bay with fever, a head influenza.  As he says his head feels like a soft pear.  Well I am pleased he is on the mend now. Hopefully I will see him again.

Note by Clare Westmacott: My grandmother mostly calls me Klaerchen in her diary, „little Clare“.

27 March 1941

We have had a terrible air raid, this time the districts Deutz and Kalk were hit and the residential colony of Humboldt has suffered greatly. Many hundreds of people are without homes. The day before yesterday I got a summons from the Gestapo and this morning I went. A young man from the SS asked me if I had dealings with enemy countries. I was astonished at first and denied it, he then became coarse and crude but I protested my innocence and didn’t give in. As things became clearer I realised it was a letter from you which had made me a suspect. I wanted to have the letter and there followed quite an argument.

Yes my darling, if you had thought for an instant of how I might have found myself you would not have had any peace. But in the end it was all right and I departed with my letter. Naturally I was forbidden to tell anyone what had happened. We have gone so far here that we cannot get the most harmless news from our loved ones without suspicion. Anyway I left and when I got on to the tram I read your letter. I was so happy that you are all well. I read it twenty times and went straight to Bully who was thrilled about the letter as well. Then when we knew it off by heart I sent it to Röbi so he could also have some pleasure. He will send it back to me.

In the meantime the war goes on and I have been trying to think of a way to get our news to you. I will have to ask Bully. Poor girl, she cannot even write to her friend. Frau Nanzig does not get any news anymore either. The poor old lady. When your letter gets back from Röbi I will take it and read it to her and she will be very pleased. I always have to comfort her and life goes on. It is hard, very hard.

Walter is on study leave. He has registered at the University and the misery with the old man has begun again. He had to pay the fees and his meanness is getting worse and worse. One would have nothing if one did not practically use force with him. How things will proceed with the house I just do not know. There is still no shelter, no gas mask. Not a single room to be safe in. We will have to leave it in God’s hands and hope for the best.

Easter, 13 April 1941

Nothing much has changed here. Röbi writes rarely, Walter is getting ready for his new term. There have not been many air raids either, some forecast for the foreseeable future. We shall just have to wait and see. Your father is getting more and more difficult. He has been threatening Walter again. He has been trying to persuade Walter to give up his studies and has used a lawyer, Herr P., whom he has bribed with gifts to try to threaten Walter that he will not pay the fees.

One day I had a long talk with Kurt who advised me to take great care to protect my rights, which are becoming increasingly vital for my well being. I must do something about my health. I go to Frau Schuhmann my cardiologist for weekly consultations. My heart does not work properly anymore, it has already been damaged and she says if I do not do something about it I will never see my daughter again. Up to now I have paid her out of my few pennies but I cannot go on doing it particularly as I have to support Walter. The old man does not give me a penny for him. You three have got a magnificent father have you not?

Kurt has told me that I should insist on having sight of our financial position. Frau Schuhmann expects to be paid for my care and Walter has taken up his idle way of life again. I wish I could get away from here for good. Clear off. An end to all this misery and all your father’s nagging. I could live for very little money deep in Westphalia and peacefully and safely await the end of the war. A friendly family has invited me but I would have Walter hanging around my neck and my finances would not stretch to that and I could not leave Walter sitting here.

I will have to leave it to fate and time and hope that perhaps there are good things in store for me. When will the war be at an end? The hatred gets worse and worse and now it has started in the Balkans. How will it all end? Will we ever see one another again? I often say to myself, “if only this had not started.” Yes, when I think about it.

When I think back to how much sorrow your father has caused through his loveless ways. If only he had shown some understanding then all our unhappiness would not have started. You would have stayed here. Then again I think that God moves in mysterious ways. He holds the reins and He knows where we are going. It is my only comfort to believe that God wants it thus.

I do not get to see the Reinemanns very much anymore. After their misfortune with the house Frau Reinemann does not like to sleep there anymore, so every evening they go to sleep in Odenthal and have to leave here early in the afternoon. Frau Floeck is mostly in Bonn with her sister as she does not want to be alone here.

So really I have no-one apart from Walter who only causes me to worry. I do not know what will become of him. Time will tell. I cannot change him. He is twenty four years old and still not fit to be independent. Röbi has not been home on holiday for ages. He was in sick bay for a long time with flu.   I wanted to visit him but he did not want that. Anyway he is better now and I expect one of these days he will turn up if only for a couple of hours.   

And so I am sitting here and wondering how my Lotte will be spending Easter. I think only of you, then of your husband and child. I think of you and see you before me. I am so pleased and thank God that you are a mother and have something fulfilling in your life, that you love, for which you will put many things aside, who will make a lot of work for you, but who will help to distract you from this terrible time.

I pray to God to keep your child healthy and that He will help you to bring the child up to be a decent person who will not make life too difficult for you. And I thank God that you have a husband who supports you in everything and to whom you can go and open your heart when things become too difficult to bear. Now I will finish for today. I could not sleep and I am here alone in the night, or more accurately, morning. It is exactly five twenty a.m. What will happen today?

Note by Clare Westmacott: Kurt Korsing was a friend of the family, part of their social circle and had once been engaged to my mother. He was a lawyer.

19 May 1941

I have not written for a long time. Yesterday was Mother’s Day and this year darling is the first time you are a mother on Mother’s Day. Röbi did not write even though he could have done. In my disappointment I automatically thought of you, Lotte, my beloved child, who always remembered these days and often prepared a surprise for me. Will we ever have these days together again? Will we ever see one another again.

After the latest raid I doubt we will. It was dreadful and all around us there was destruction. After the attack my nerves were finished and I could not stop crying. Then, it was half past three in the morning and I went with Walter to see what damage there had been. From the Voigtelstraße I could see in Ehrenfeld nothing but fires, flames shot up to the sky. A rubber factory was burning and nearby a petrol tank exploded. We made sure we were safe and saw three other big fires.

We crossed the Oskar-Jäger-Straße and from the Kitschburgerstraße nothing was left standing. We went on and saw that the Rheinische Savings Bank had been damaged. Kurt was in his flat clearing up his damage. And near us by the church all the houses have been damaged. The worst thing is that this unhappy quarter is where I do my shopping and now we will not even get what we are entitled to.

Downtown the Hohestraße, the townhall, Mülheim, eighteen people killed in a shelter. There has been a lot of damage again in Deutz but we were able to get through. The case of Rudolf Heß is over now, they say. Will it really be over? Only the future will tell. I had hoped a sudden change might come and I have prayed for it but up to now nothing has changed. Every evening brings fear of the night and every morning we are thankful to have survived. But for how much longer?

Käthe Harz wrote to me again and I will reply and send a letter through her to you I hope. The longing to see you and the hope of seeing you is the only thing that helps me to endure this misery. Your letter made me so happy in spite of the fact that I had to go to the Gestapo. I will not think about that anymore even though it would be worth writing it all down. I will not think about the Gestapo as God has offered me another way to write to you through Käthe.

Note by Clare Westmacott:  My grandmother is referring here to the flight which Rudolf Hess took to Scotland where he hoped that the Duke of Hamilton might be able to broker a peace deal. He was in fact arrested and was imprisoned in Britain until the end of the war, whereupon he was returned to Germany to be charged at the  Nuremburg Trials. He was sent to Spandau and committed suicide there in 1987 at the age of 93.

28 May 1941

“Mother today we will have ignition,” said Walter, “why don’t you lie down with your clothes on if you are tired? I feel sure we are going to have an attack.” I cannot do that. I need to take my things off if I am to sleep. So I stayed up. But tiredness overwhelmed me and so I undressed and went to bed with the thought that maybe they would not come today, but hardly half an hour later Walter woke me. Even today in spite of everything I still have the ability to sleep deeply. I do not hear the sirens and if I am alone in the house I do not wake up until the Tommies’ wonderful music sounds overhead and by then it is too late to go to the communal shelter. So usually I abandon myself to fate and stay here.

Well, Walter woke me and we nearly had a row because it took me too long to get dressed. Then the most terrible concert from hell started overhead, and downstairs Walter was shouting and I went quite cold. I went downstairs and through the house. The earth, the house shook. I cried out. All hell had broken loose. We stood together downstairs clinging to one another. My whole body was shaking and I thought that this really was the end.

Then it was quiet. I was still alive, Walter was alive. It was peaceful and we were still alive. And then it started again. Walter and I stood together arms around one another in expectation of what might come. Nothing came and soon the all clear sounded. Yes darling it all passed. I went upstairs and looked out of the window. All of Lindenthal seemed to be burning. Walter thought it was the University but I thought it was more to the right. We could not sleep and I wanted to go out.

Walter and I went through the Stadtwald park, above us glorious stars but we could take no pleasure in it. We could smell burning and went towards the fire. Everywhere the fire brigade were busy their sirens sounding. We came to the Dürenerstraße. My God it was dreadful. A mass of flames. The Corso-Cinema was on fire and nearby a chemical factory, the entire block, Hitlerstraße, Lortzingplatz, Turnerstraße, Dürenerstraße were all in flames.

We went to the Reinartz’ house. You cannot imagine what it looks like. It had been hit by an  incendiary bomb. They were sitting in the cellar and the bedrooms were on fire. Their children’s few worldly possessions, shoes, documents, money, clothes, everything had gone. They had saved up to go on holiday and have lost everything. We left silently each with our thoughts and set off for home. We had to try to get a bit of sleep. Walter had to go to work early and it was five o’clock before we got home.

28 May 1941

“Mother today we will have ignition,” said Walter, “why don’t you lie down with your clothes on if you are tired? I feel sure we are going to have an attack.” I cannot do that. I need to take my things off if I am to sleep. So I stayed up. But tiredness overwhelmed me and so I undressed and went to bed with the thought that maybe they would not come today, but hardly half an hour later Walter woke me. Even today in spite of everything I still have the ability to sleep deeply. I do not hear the sirens and if I am alone in the house I do not wake up until the Tommies’ wonderful music sounds overhead and by then it is too late to go to the communal shelter. So usually I abandon myself to fate and stay here.

Well, Walter woke me and we nearly had a row because it took me too long to get dressed. Then the most terrible concert from hell started overhead, and downstairs Walter was shouting and I went quite cold. I went downstairs and through the house. The earth, the house shook. I cried out. All hell had broken loose. We stood together downstairs clinging to one another. My whole body was shaking and I thought that this really was the end.

Then it was quiet. I was still alive, Walter was alive. It was peaceful and we were still alive. And then it started again. Walter and I stood together arms around one another in expectation of what might come. Nothing came and soon the all clear sounded. Yes darling it all passed. I went upstairs and looked out of the window. All of Lindenthal seemed to be burning. Walter thought it was the University but I thought it was more to the right. We could not sleep and I wanted to go out.

Walter and I went through the Stadtwald park, above us glorious stars but we could take no pleasure in it. We could smell burning and went towards the fire. Everywhere the fire brigade were busy their sirens sounding. We came to the Dürenerstraße. My God it was dreadful. A mass of flames. The Corso-Cinema was on fire and nearby a chemical factory, the entire block, Hitlerstraße, Lortzingplatz, Turnerstraße, Dürenerstraße were all in flames.

We went to the Reinartz’ house. You cannot imagine what it looks like. It had been hit by an  incendiary bomb. They were sitting in the cellar and the bedrooms were on fire. Their children’s few worldly possessions, shoes, documents, money, clothes, everything had gone. They had saved up to go on holiday and have lost everything. We left silently each with our thoughts and set off for home. We had to try to get a bit of sleep. Walter had to go to work early and it was five o’clock before we got home.

29 May 1941

Today after lunch I went to Lindenthal. I went through the Stadtwald park, through the Wüllnerstraße, the damage from the previous raid had not been cleared. Dr. Paas’ family home had been damaged. Further on to the Lortzingplatz where there were a lot of bomb craters and the left hand side had been completely destroyed. I came to the Dürener Straße as far as Geibelstraße, Schallstraße and then to the University which was badly damaged. Then I went to Bachemer Straße and came to the school at the Lindenburg – all destroyed.

Well what should I say or write? I went on to the parish church. It was a heap of junk and stones, only the tower remained standing in the middle of all this desolation, looking like a finger pointed at the sky when taking an oath. I went on to the Dürener Straße towards the Rein house but could not get through. I was overwhelmed by the sights I saw, quietly accepting the unchangeable is beyond me, I am filled by the spirit of revolt, I cannot understand resignation. So I went back through the Stadtwald park to our house.

It stood there silent and complete. I went through every room. I went into the garden. All quiet an full of peace. Involuntarily I cast my mind back over the past fifteen years. A lot of trouble but also a great deal of pleasure. I could see you three children, small and later growing up. You brought all your joys and your sorrows to me here in this house.  And now this madness, this mass murder has come to my house just as though it was on the Front and no end in sight before it is all destroyed. And after that? Yes you wise men and Fuhrer what then? Dear God in Heaven have you no insight, no mercy?

1 June 1941, Whitsuntide

It is all quiet. Presumably it is too foggy for them to come. I am in the process of moving. On Tuesday I am taking the best things I have in linen and clothing into the Bergische Land. I have rented two rooms. At least for a short time I shall be secure. Walter has to work and cannot go with me. I shall commute between Cologne and the country and wish I could stay there.

Röbi wrote to tell me that he is having a lot of success with his work. He draws and paints his superiors and I wish he could spend all of his time like this until it is all over. Oh Lotte, my beloved child, when will it be over? When will we see one another again? Will we see one another again? When I think about it, I try not to think about it, otherwise I would lose confidence. God will not allow that we won’t see each other again, will he? But nevertheless I can see no end.

Your little daughter is now eight months old and I may never ever see her. Fate is hard. I must go to see Frau Nanzig again very soon. She is like me, all alone. Frau Floeck hears very little from her son. I see the Reinemanns seldom. They are mostly in Odenthal.  So tomorrow I am off to beyond Marialinden. It is glorious there and I wish I could stay there for ever. Your father lives for himself and makes sure that he is well looked after and won’t let us look at his cards. That is the way he is and he will remain a stranger to me as long as he lives. Yes my child fate is hard and cruel.

10 June 1941

I am sitting on a bench at the station in Vilkerath in the Bergische Land waiting for a train to Cologne. Since the eighth of June I have been in my summer residence. During the night I heard an attack on Cologne. I cannot relax anymore and have to go and see how things are. As Walter is busy with a student job I can only leave for a few days.

During the couple of days I have been here I have been collecting things to eat, eggs, some butter, even a bit of bacon, sausage and various bits of food that cannot be had in the city. The black market thrives just as it did in the Great War. Coffee is thirty marks a pound. Fat and butter cost a fortune and yet those who can afford it can have everything.

Last week I went to my greengrocer to see if he had any asparagus, for years we had not eaten any. He said, “If you want asparagus you will have to pay ten marks extra to get a small basket.” I was offended. He laughed and observed, “Rich people do it all the time.” Yes darling that is how it is with us. Soon I will not be able to get anything in the country either because things are beginning to get difficult there as well.

I walked for hours yesterday to all the isolated farmhouses and from most of them I got nothing. It was time for me to get my train to go home but I missed the train and so I had to stay here an extra night and set off early this morning. I wonder how Walter managed without his source of food. The poor fellow, he is constantly hungry and has to work all day. I could do nothing about it and had to stay the night in the country and walk the one and a half hours from the station back to my room.   And I was so tired.

And this morning I walked back again to the station. And now I am back in Cologne and a great chaos greeted me. Why are people so untidy? I think if they had to clear it up themselves they would soon learn to be more careful. There was no post. Röbi writes seldom even though I sent him a parcel which was so difficult for me.

And from you, Lotte, my beloved child, when will I hear from you? I beg God daily to let me get a letter from you even if I have to face the danger from the Gestapo again. But nothing. And now some good news. Biba sent his mother some good news. He is safe and well. We thought that something had happened to him during the occupation of Crete. Thank God he is all right. I have to go and see his mother and find out about him again. We have had no damage from the air raids. Thank God.

14 June 1941

Night after night there are air raids. It is very hard for Walter, he has to be up at five in the morning and regularly gets no sleep at all. And then all the suffering. Yesterday they hit the main railway station and badly damaged it. We thought the cathedral would  have been hit but it escaped. The east side has had some damage but thank God the beautiful windows had been removed to safety in good time. Deutz and Kalk and many suburbs have once again been demolished. Last night they were in Braunsfeld on the Eupener Straße. Well we are all in God’s hands and we can only hope that it will soon be over.

Unexpectedly yesterday evening Röbi arrived home once again. It is always a great joy. The good boy brought me forty marks. Instead of me giving him money he gives it to me. He is a good boy. I hope God will protect him and return him to me. The night of the thirteenth to the fourteenth was appalling. During this terrible raid Frau Linz had a severe heart attack and died on this dreadful night.   Well she is at peace now but it is very hard for her family.

Next day when I was returning from shopping I met the two daughters and asked if they knew where the attack the previous night had been. They cried and I asked what was the matter and they said “Our mother is dead.” I was very shocked. I had only met Frau Linz the day before and had chatted with her. Yes, Lotte, my beloved child, one can only say, “Lord, Thy will be done.

19 June 1941

Night after night we have endured the vilest of terrors. Seven nights in a row there have been air raids. They drop leaflets and saying they are going to raze Cologne to the ground. There is nothing I can do about that. It is not my fault and if God accepts it, then why should I not? But I am very sorry for Röbi who just happened to be home for eight days leave and gets no peace at night because every time we get a warning I race to his bedside and tell him to get up. But he wants his night’s sleep and can sleep peacefully even though all hell breaks loose above us.

Next day he asks if the English have been whilst he was asleep. That is my dear boy for you. There will never be another like him. Today he left. I watched him go as far as the corner, my beloved boy in his cavalry uniform and his dear face. May God protect him for me.   

And my darling, in the last few days I have had such a longing for you. I see you everywhere, I cannot accept this and tell myself it has to end one day, but when? And with all common sense I cannot supress this longing. Not for Jack or even your child, only for you.

It is evening now and we are going to go to bed for a while before the raids start. I hope Röbi arrives safely in barracks before Tommy arrives. His route north through the Ruhr is very dangerous. But God will protect my good dear boy.

21 June 1941

I was lying in my quiet room in Niederhof and in the night I suddenly heard the thunder of the flak from Cologne. It sounded terrible. I got up and from my tiny window I could watch. It is the second night I have seen this drama take place. Walter is in Cologne. I have begged him to come up here but he does not want to. He says he is too tired and on Saturdays he just wants to sleep so he goes to the communal shelter and so I am slightly relieved. But who has had to die? How many lives has this war already destroyed. Has Röbi arrived safely?

23 June 1941

I have just got back to my room. It is very hot and I feel exhausted from all the trailing round the isolated farms for a couple of eggs, or often trailing round to get no eggs at all. But this time I got fifteen. It happened like this. A farmer’s wife who was about to deliver her baby gave me the job of restoring her battered old pram. And my darling, I, who in these matters am so impatient and lacking in the skills of restoration let alone of panel beating, managed to do the job to the satisfaction of the farmer’s wife. It took me a whole morning in dreadful heat and for that I earned fifteen eggs. I have divided them into five for your father, five for the Reinemanns who are so good to me, and five for me.

By the time you read this, all this will be behind us one way or another. Perhaps I will be sitting with you and if not Bully will explain to you how often we have sat together talking about all these things.   We have now had thirteen nights of raids and Tommy will honour the West with his visits more often.

Today I came down from the Bergische Land and saw the destruction at the station and then heard on the radio,  “The enemy flew with few planes and did little damage.” Little damage usually means seventeen heavy bombs on a factory in Leverkusen with at least forty to fifty dead, or an air torpedo wipes out half a dozen houses with of course many dead, either torn to pieces or with their lungs having burst. And then one hears a broadcast like this. Oh German people, your glorious Führer said himself in his book Mein Kampf, “The German people are just one large flock of sheep.” How much longer?

10 July 1941

Once again quite a time has passed. Often, in fact nearly every day, the enemy was here and always did a lot of damage, but never as terrible as it was now. It was such a terrible night, it just didn’t end. Finally dead tired we fell into our beds and next day I had to go into town. One could only go as far as the Opera house on the tram. I needed to go to Mulheim and beyond. I got as far as the Neumarkt.   What a sight! The whole of the Neumarkt was a bomb crater. The Citizen Hospital was still burning and the Lords house a pile of stones. Zeppelinstrasse likewise.

I went to the Heumarkt. The same sight. The old Gurzenich was completely destroyed. And further.   The station. From behind the station as far as the Eigelstein the sight was indescribable. I decided I would not get to Hohenberg and gave up. I turned back. On the Apostelnstrasse houses were on fire, and on the Friesenstrasse and Christophstrasse everything was burning. The fire brigade did not have enough water to put out the fires.   

What should I do? Leave? Go into the Bergische Land? I have so often begged your father to let me have some money for emergencies so I would not have to stand here penniless. But no. I learnt about his selfishness many years ago. At the moment I do not know what to do. I stand here so alone. If only Röbi were here. He is the only person I can rely on. Walter is his father one hundred per cent. When I see how this young man can detach himself from all normal feelings and allow things to wash over him with a total disregard for the feelings of others I am reminded of the days when your father behaved in just the same way. Walter is his father through and through.

11. July 1941

Yesterday I went through Cologne which was in flames. It had been burning the whole night. The sights in the city are appalling. You see little children barefoot wearing only a vest, who are running aimlessly about having lost their parents, or playing, thank God, totally unaware of what has befallen them. Walter comes home. During the night seventeen bombs hit the factory where he is working as a student and so there is now no work for him. In one night three thousand six hundred people were made homeless and how many killed. People are not told the truth and the radio lies constantly. As always. They said twenty four people had been killed that night. If you add a zero you still have not accounted for those killed in one night

13 July 1941

Today Sunday is my dearest Lotte’s birthday. You will be twenty nine years old my darling. I cannot believe how time can pass so quickly.  But then how long are twenty nine years. How much happiness and how much sorrow are contained within those  years for you? For us both? How long will it be before we can celebrate our birthdays together again. Maybe not for a long time. Who knows? I went to church today and offered a mass for my only daughter. For a long time I have not been able to pray so earnestly as I can in this little village church and if everything I have prayed for is fulfilled we will be happy once again.

14 July 1941

Early in the morning I had to go down into Cologne into the daily grind and misery that the war has brought to our beautiful city. Röbi wrote from Münster that Münster is in a gruesome state. A soldier reported that Münster looks like Lille after the storming and all the women and children have been evacuated.

Note by Clare Westmacott: Lille, in Northern France, has suffered a number of sieges in the course of its history, but it is almost certain that it is the siege during World War I to which the soldier is referring. Lille was stormed by German troops and massive damage inflicted on the city during the siege in October 1914.

26 July 1941

Today I am fifty two years old and after a terrible night it looks dreadful in close proximity. This time it was very near. Bombs dropped behind our house and seven deep bomb craters in Friedrich- Schmidt-Straße show the night’s results. The houses have been destroyed and our roof and all the windows have been damaged. It is a miracle we got away. Quietly I think to myself, “What has fate in store for us?”

1. August 1941

Now there has been peace and quiet for days. We are filled with anxiety and expectation. Walter said, “Mother I dread what lies in front of us. What will tomorrow bring?” It is an eerie quiet and I cannot tell you anything other than that we experience the suffering and misery all around us. When I go into the city I have to weep. The work atmosphere is feverish and when I see it all I have to ask,  “What is it for?” Dear God. What have we done to deserve this suffering. Soon it will be winter again and what then? We have already in summer no potatoes, no fat, everything is either difficult or impossible to get. What will the winter bring? There is hardly any point in writing because nothing changes, just the same misery.

Bully has been here, I was out and did not see her. She climbed over the garden gate and put everything, some flowers and wine from her mother for my birthday, on the table for me. Yes, Lotte, all windows are broken and good Bully has free access. She has been here three times, but did not find me. I have to visit them. It is a blessing that there are still some good people. Even if only a few. Röbi wants to come for a few hours on Friday evening. I wonder what news he will bring. I must go and see Frau Nanzig again. I have not heard from her for weeks. Apparently Käthe is no longer on the Isle of Man.

7 August 1941

I have not put anything in the diary for a time. What for? The daily or rather nightly visit from Olde England brings more and more misery. Once more my birthday did not bring what I most wished for.   Röbi did not write. Walter gave me two English books. I was very pleased that he had remembered.   Then he came and brought me a lovely powder compact. Then a few days later Röbi appeared for two days and we were really happy.

But to my great sorrow he told me that the doctor had decided that he was fit for active service in tropical zones. So I am not even to be spared this. Röbi is pleased to get away from the monotony of the barracks. I took him to the train and as we made our farewells our tears flowed.

I am sitting here writing and I am frozen even though it is August. I must say I have never known it as cold as this in August. And on top of everything Tommy has broken all my windows, the roof is damaged and the ceiling in the bathroom has fallen down. It was a dreadful night and we thank God that He spared us. So much sorrow and anguish descends every night onto Cologne. I do not want to think about it. It is too much.

12 August 1941

Mine and my little granddaughter’s Saint day. My darling, your daughter’s first Saint day. I had imagined it differently. But one thing I am sure of, it will not be the pattern of her life. I wished hard that the Saints’ days of my little granddaughter and godchild will get better and better. For my part I wish that the coming year will bring rest and peace. May God fulfil my heartfelt wishes and bring me together with my children again soon. My Saint day was not very pleasant. No one had remembered it and I had to think Lotte, my beloved child, of how you always planned weeks ahead for such occasions. If you had been here how different it would have been. I have a lot of problems with the house, the roof is open, the windows are broken, it rains in and the draught is terrible. One cannot get anything done. What will happen in winter? I dread it.

12 August 1941

Mine and my little granddaughter’s Saint day. My darling, your daughter’s first Saint day. I had imagined it differently. But one thing I am sure of, it will not be the pattern of her life. I wished hard that the Saints’ days of my little granddaughter and godchild will get better and better. For my part I wish that the coming year will bring rest and peace. May God fulfil my heartfelt wishes and bring me together with my children again soon. My Saint day was not very pleasant. No one had remembered it and I had to think Lotte, my beloved child, of how you always planned weeks ahead for such occasions. If you had been here how different it would have been. I have a lot of problems with the house, the roof is open, the windows are broken, it rains in and the draught is terrible. One cannot get anything done. What will happen in winter? I dread it.

23 August 1941

At the moment your compatriots are giving us a rest and we can sleep. Actually they came last night but were soon gone. Walter and I have got it to a fine art now knowing whether we need to get up or not. There is so much pain and sorrow here. Many of our best have fallen and so many have been killed during the air raids. I could not begin to write of all the misery we endure here but if God spares us I will be able to tell you everything. At the moment there have been no potatoes for weeks, no eggs, no meat, nothing, nothing except the black market. The big shots have everything and the poor people have nothing and have to work day and night.

Your father has gone once again to the Black Forest, his second visit this year. He reckons that our house needs to be kept heated and therefore I should hold out here. That is if I can last out. I spend my time gathering potatoes, meat, milk, eggs and coffee and the doctor has said I absolutely must get some rest. Yes, well next spring if I am still alive, I will do something for myself. Maybe by then my dearest wish will have been granted and I will see you again and then I will soon be well.

1 September 1941

It has been a long time since I had a written conversation with Lotte, my beloved child. I do not get any letters anymore at all. The Red Cross? No hope. How often have I written there. I have even thought of going to the distinguished Gestapo to ask if anything has come from you for I am sure you will have written. I will go and ask them.

Yesterday Biba’s leave was over. He is a parachutist and stationed in Crete. Röbi had eight days leave and has to go this evening. It will be hard for both of them to leave. When will we be allowed to be all together again and live in peace and happiness. Last night there was a dreadful raid, we do not know where. We are just thankful that nothing has happened to us. Tomorrow I will have to find food for us because Röbi and Biba have eaten me out of house and home.

They say that it is a criminal offence to hoard food. Well all sorts was forbidden in the Holy Roman Empire and even more in the Third Reich so I shall go to get potatoes, eggs, milk and anything else I can get hold of. Your father is still protecting his expensive skin in the Black Forest. I have got the builders repairing the damage in the house. These are all worries I have to handle without help. I have just heard that last night the tax office was hit. I am sure a lot of Cologne people will be sorry about that!