Part 20: Moving Again

The most important task now was to equip the empty apartment with the necessities of life. There was a lack of everything.

Bed linen, dishes, towels, and many other necessary utensils were donated by relatives, acquaintances, and many new neighbors. But above all, there was a lack of furniture. The father-in-law of mother’s oldest sister had his own cabinetmaker’s shop in the neighboring town. He was retired and officially no longer worked. At the request of his daughter-in-law, he made four beds, two closets and a few small pieces of pine furniture for us. But how to transport the furniture?

Our Frenchmen helped. Mother went with a driver whose route passed near the carpenter’s shop. At the end of the shift, they loaded bed gables, wall units and small pieces of furniture onto the bus in a night-and-fog operation. In our settlement, the load was hastily unloaded a few corners away so that the driver could still reach the depot in time. A few trustworthy neighbors dragged the furniture to our apartment under the cover of darkness. In this action, everyone involved had put themselves in very great danger, but everything had gone well.

On the care certificate for victims of aerial bombing father had even got hold of a radio, an old model that looked more like a walkie-talkie resembled as a radio, but very robust, with an external speaker. A table, a few chairs, and a display case, all used things, he had also organized. We were already quite well furnished again.
The air raids became increasingly frequent. When the guns in the nearby flak position were not pointing upward, the sky was usually cloudy. It was not flying weather, and we could finally sleep through the night without an alarm. The night raids were especially bad.

When the bomber units were approaching, the reconnaissance planes flying ahead would set their cascades of lights, which looked like lighted Christmas trees, as a large square in the night sky. Although the anti-aircraft light fingers scanned the sky for enemy planes and the flak fired barrages, they never succeeded in repelling an attack. The bombing target was marked, and undeterred, the flying fortresses unloaded their deadly load.

The demolition bombs reduced most of the buildings to rubble. Shortly thereafter, the second wave of bombers dropped thousands of incendiary bombs and phosphorus canisters into the rubble. The city became one burning inferno. Often a third wave followed. Electricity and water supplies collapsed thus roads were impassable. Often the fire departments, the bases of the relief organizations and the hospitals were also destroyed. The chaos was total. In the last months of the year there was almost only air raid alert. Our city was not always attacked, but we could not rest. Debris and chaos everywhere.

At some point during a daytime raid, a bomb crashed so close to our house that the residents in the air raid shelter were thrown from the benches and some vomited. 𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

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