Part 33: New Friends

Towards the end of the year, the flow of refugees subsided somewhat, and life began to return to normal.

Then the decision of the Soviet military administration on the implementation of the land reform provided new political fuel. For the time being, the desire for pleasure and conviviality covered the political disputes, which, however, would soon increase in severity and create new social relations.

Around our parents, who were very sociable and above all helpful, a new, interesting circle of friends soon formed. There was Martin with his wife and children from Aussig (Ústí nad Labem) and Joseph with his family and brother from Upper Silesia. Hilde, the dashing Berliner, had come to the village with her two boys because of hunger. The black-haired, racy, single Änne, who did not look like her five children, lived with us in the house and was constantly in distress.

Martin was a musician and had cleaned, repaired and above all tuned the dusty piano on the village hall, which had been neglected during the war. Now it no longer sounded like weird Otto. Father was a natural musical talent and accompanied Martin with the singing saw or with the ‘chair leg contrabass.’ With homebrew and thin beer dyed with essences, everyone sang and danced. At some point one of them had the idea that one could also play theater.

The idea was well received. Accompanied musically by Martin, they first played funny-satirical couplets from the thirties. No scenery was needed for this. A one-act play followed. The play was called ‘The old forester’s house.’ The stage set consisted of a few young spruce trees and a log cabin painted on paper. Father played the old forester, who lost his only beautiful daughter in a very tragic way, so credibly well that even hard-boiled peasants in the half-dark hall furtively wiped tears from their eyes.

After this success, the circle of friends felt called to higher things. Music Master Martin dared to take on the operetta ‘Im weißen Rößl.’ The rehearsals began. My friend Hans and I volunteered to take care of the theater sets. With dedication, we made stage sets and lighting out of strips, wrapping paper, watercolors, flag fabric and brightly painted light bulbs, which everyone admired. Little Mr. Liebetraut, who also wrote home songs and set them to music on the guitar, volunteered to be the director.

The man was a natural. From the dark hall, he critically observed every scene with a wary eye. With his powerful voice, which one would never have expected from the little man, he yelled ‘Stop!’ if he didn’t like something. With well-meant hints, he rehearsed until the scene was right. His consistent direction and the enthusiastic devotion of the amateur actors were ultimately to thank for the play’s subsequent success. 𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

💡 Do you have a Linkedin account? Then you can subscribe to my newsletter „The Bright Side of the Doom“ ✔︎