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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Bonnie has made her home with me upstairs. Well, as I guessed before, I think the boys must have encouraged her to come upstairs, and now she follows me around whereever I go in the house. I'm so glad I've made 'my' area upstairs. I think the main point was that Nafees is forever hogging the TV downstairs. Even though I can only get the 5 national channels upstairs, I don't mind. And I told him, my christmas wish is a new satellite dish so that I can receive German TV upstairs. I've looked it up online, it will be about £275 including installation. That would be just wonderful.

I have now seriously started to write on my autobiography. I've got a great book which helps me to outline the chapters and do research. My main aim is to write for my children, tell them about my ancestors, and how/where I grew up. I don't want to do indepth geneology, but just go 2 generations back, talk about my grandparens (they have all passed away, so my children will never meet them), talk about my parents and how it was for me growing up in East Germany. I will try to avoid 'Ostalgie'. , which is a term used in Germany for nostalgic feeling for life in East Germany. I just want to try to tell my children and possible future grandchildren, or, indeed, anyone who would like to know how life was for me and my family. Obviously, this country (East Germany) does not exist any more now, so I just want to write my experiences.

I have come up with so far 11 different chapters and brainstorm on each of them before I can put subheadings onto each chapter,:
1. Family
2. school/ early childhood
3. Teenager
4. apprenticeship/1st job
5. Berlin / Bautransporte
6. Wall came down / Bauer
7. move to England / met Nafees
8. Danial / Imran / markets
9. back to Germany / Ruby
10. back to England / Walthamstow / Elmec
11. Met. Police / Dartford

And while brainstorming some facts about my maternal grandparents, I have already discovered some amazing stuff. My maternal grandma Helene was born in Poland in 1912, and came to Germany with her parents aged 1. They were parts of the so-called 'Schnitter' (= 'cutter') from Poland. These were seasonal workers from Poland who came to the German countryside every summer. The background is that in 1820, serfdom was ablished in Germany, and thus over the next few decades, agricultural workers bonded to the landowners were now free and moved away; big scale landowners suffered serious shortage of workers. Around 1870-1880, seasonal workers from Poland came to work on the fields, coming every year from spring to autumn. Some of those workers decided to stay in Germany, but apparently, it was not that easy and they were 'state-less'. The only possiblity of obtaining German nationality was to marry a fellow German. Again, this was not easy, and permission had to be obtained which was a long process, and often not granted. Now, this is were it gets interesting. Apparently, my grandmother was very secretive about her wedding date. And my mother eventually found out why: because my grandma officially married 2 days before my aunt Elfi was born. Well, having a child out of wedlock in 1931 was obviously very much frowned upon. But as my litle research into the polish 'Schnitter' shows, in her case it was due to the difficulties with the Polish paperwork and licence to get married to a German man.

4 comments:

Sigi said...

Hi Peggy, very interesting project you are 'breeding' over ;-)) And a very special future gift to your children.

As I know you, you'll really 'pull it through' and I wish you lots of patience on your way to the finished book.

Hugs to you from good old Germany

Sigi

too_busy_to_stitch said...

Good luck with your research - my aunt got our family tree back a few generations, then came to a halt.

I've tagged you too - see my blog for details!

Mare said...

This was so interesting & what a thoughtful lovely gift for your family. I also have a German background but know so little about that side of my family. I wish you much luck with your literary adventure.

The Pegster said...

thanks everyone for their lovely comments. I hope that I can really pull it through. By writing about it regularly in my blog I hope to keep myself motivated enough. I was browsing websites last night which lists every thing about a particular year (www.jahr1968.de)- politics, music, TV etc. Sooo interesting and full of memories.

 

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