Dear, “What’s Up Yukon”

I had read with great enthusiasm in the Feb 6th addition of the upcoming contest “TAKE ME TO FRANKFURT”, who I would take and why. The person I would definitely take to Europe would be my mother.

During a recent trip to Southern Ontario, I had, for the first time, a chance to talk to my mom about her childhood in Berlin, Germany. You see, my mother could never talk to me about her childhood, as it was clearly much too painful for her. But as we drove along, she started to open up.

I didn’t know very much about the war in Berlin, nor the enormous impact it had on her. The fatigue and the unspeakable horror of war.

My mother was only 8 years of age when she, her younger brother, mother and grandmother left Berlin for the safety of Horst, Germany, now Poland.

While the family stayed in Horst, their father was taken into the British Army. My mother tells me how much she loved being with her mother in Horst, playing and swimming in the Baltic Sea, unaware that the worst was yet to come. Their happy times in Horst were over, the Russian Bolschewicks were coming to invade.

My mother remembers the very long trek back to what was left of her city, Berlin. With an ailing mother, grandmother and younger brother in tow, they travelled back. The trek back was by train or wagon and mostly by foot. This trip back was overwhelming for her ailing mother and she succumbed to illness. My mother was 10 years old at the time of her death. While her father was taken by the British Army to an Internment Camp, the children were sent to a farming community in West Germany for several years. This was a very emotional time for my mother, as they had to leave their grandmother behind, knowing it could be the last time they would see her.

My mother had told me during my visit that she would like to go back to the place she calls “Her happy times” the time she spent with her family in Horst, that seaside village at the Baltic Sea. By entering this contest it would give us an emotional yet rewarding trip.

By the way, her father remarried after the war and was reunited with his children. My oma is turning 100 years old this June.

I thank you for this journey and with my mother’s permission, I have enclosed a picture to be used for the contest.

Sincerely Nancy Maides, Carcross