Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Some Background

My mother in law was born Rosemarie Gertrud Brandt on 8 June 1924, the eldest daughter of Gertrud and Walter Brandt. Her sister Gisela (known as Gisi or Gischen) followed on 13 May 1925.

Walter was an estate manager, running the estate of Isenschnibbe, two miles from the mediaeval town of Gardelegen, 85 miles west of Berlin. Originally he worked for the family Von Blotnitz, then for the Prince of Lippott Detmolt, who bought it for his youngest son Arnim. As the war was on, Arnim never visited the estate, so Walter was the person to whom everyone came, and was responsible for all the estate workers.

Rosemarie and Gisi were brought up in a little house in the estate courtyard, which was big enough to have it's own brewery, and even had a train line, which bought goods into the estate. They went to the Hauptschule aged six, where Rosemarie's first teacher was a Herr Muller, whom she loved dearly. She cried so hard when she moved up to the next class, her mother always laughed he was the first boy she cried about.

Tucked out in the country, away from the political unrest in the towns, Rosemarie's life might have been unremarkable, had it not been for the war and what followed. When the war ended, Gardelegen was taken initially by the Americans, who handed it over to the British, who in turn were forced to hand it over to the Russians following the Yalta Agreement. Fortunately for Rosemarie and Gisi, Walter had earned the respect of all the military personnel he came across and one of them warned him what was to happen, so he was able to get them both to the West and safety...

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