Part 45: Restless In The Village

In this daily village monotony, most residents paid no attention to the profound changes currently taking place in postwar Germany. The three western occupation zones carried out the currency reform with the approval of the Allies.

The old German Reichsmark was replaced by the new German Mark. The illegal market collapsed. Overnight, stores filled with every conceivable good that anyone could buy for the new money. Where the goods came from so suddenly remained unexplained. The currency reform paved the way for the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Because of a free market economy, a new, democratic Germany was to develop under capitalist auspices. The young Federal Republic was relieved of its reparation payments. With the help of the American Marshall Plan, it turned into a German economic miracle in the following years. The countries previously occupied by the Nazis, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, observed this upswing with skepticism.

Even France, the victorious power, was concerned about the rapid economic growth of the former Nazi Germany. In the East Zone, leaders reacted to the new political situation in agreement with the Soviets and founded the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Under the leadership of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), the construction of socialism was declared a political program. This burst the desire of most Germans for rapid reunification like a soap bubble.

The refugees in the village followed these social changes closely and critically. The war had taken their homeland away from them, and they hoped for a better future. For many, the question arose in which part of Germany they would find a secure future and a new home. We had come here to the village voluntarily, following the need. Father had a decent job and was confident that he would soon be able to get a new apartment in the city.

The way to free higher education for his children was clear. This fact was important to father because he had been denied the opportunity of a good education in his youth. I myself, at the age of fifteen, did not understand the implications of these social changes, only felt a certain restlessness in the village.

Some refugee families had left for the West overnight. No one knew exactly where to go. They probably did not know themselves and hoped for better living conditions. Our Silesian friends also disappeared overnight, never to be seen again. When I came to the tavern to write letters, the conversations between Sophie and her paralyzed brother fell silent as soon as I entered the sickroom.

The earlier openness had faded, and my services were rarely needed. This was quite all right with me, for it was with an anxious feeling, but also with curiosity, that I awaited my imminent second enrollment in school. ๐“ฃ๐“ธ ๐“‘๐“ฎ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“พ๐“ฎ๐“ญ

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