Part 14: A Cozy Luxury Apartment

Of course, the relatives were curious about the new apartment. Aunt Emmie came, looked at everything and said to my mother with admiration in her voice: ‘Lotte, you live like a princess.’

Grandma only had eyes for the kitchen. No more carrying fresh water, and the wash water goes straight down the sink. In the summer, the stove is not heated, because the two-burner gas stove is enough for lunch. Additional to all that luxury, there is a large, bright kitchen window. For Grandma, it was all a bit unreal. Only Grandpa felt strange and uncomfortable in the new surroundings.

He was creeping around the apartment in a depressed mood and made an unhappy impression. When asked if he was missing anything, he replied that he had to go to the toilet. He didn’t say toilet or lavatory, he said privy. My mother showed him the toilet in the toilet. Grandpa said, ‘I can’t do that, I can’t take a shit in your apartment!’ It took a lot of persuasion to get Grandpa to go to the toilet.

The war was getting harder and more inhumane. The naval blockade of the British Isles by German submarines had failed. With the use of the new radio detection system – radar – the submarine hunters had become the hunted. The U-boats could no longer hide from the British destroyers and planes and suffered huge losses in men and material. The bombardment of London and other English cities had to be stopped because of too high losses. Instead, the British retaliated and in turn bombed the Ruhr and the first major German cities.

In the Pacific, Fascist Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a night-and-fog action. The American losses were enormous. Now the Americans fought against Japan and went to war against fascist Germany. On the Eastern Front, the advance of German troops finally came to a halt due to the stubborn resistance of the Red Army. The war had turned into a world conflagration. The death notices of German soldiers in the newspapers, ‘Fallen for Führer and Fatherland,’ became longer every day and the monthly food rations shorter and shorter.

The only way to cover daily needs was through food, clothing and even smoking cards. Everything essential to life was rationed. For example, a clothing card had 100 points per year. For this, a suit could be bought, if there was still one to buy. However, all the points were then used up, and buying a pair of stockings or a shirt became impossible. The non-smokers had an advantage; they exchanged their cigarette points for food points. This is just one example of how the war, in its brutality and totality, took hold of every human sphere of life. 𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

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