I was recently contacted by Günter Waschke, whose family received my great-grandparents home in Berlitt, Germany following World War II. It means so much to me that so many people have reached out to me after completing my dad’s documentary. Here’s part of my interview with him from overseas.
(Tammy Rose) “What can you tell me about my great-grandparents Helene & Richard Pein?
(Günter Waschke) “I was 4 years old, so I do not remember much. Helene loved me as little Günter because her son Günther was killed in the war.”
“From Richard, I have no rememberings other than he was the Mayor of Berlitt and was regarded as a bad Nazi by the upcoming Communists. They forced him to move to Granzow on his second farm. Pein’s farm in Berlitt was expropriated and divided into small farms distributed to refugees from East Germany like my mother and me. The same process was conducted with the big farm of Earl/Graf Königsmark who had committed suicide before the Russians invaded. His castle was used as a school following the war and is located across the street from the Pein home near the Church of Berlitt.”
(Tammy Rose) “Thanks so much for the information. Why did your parents leave the farm? My dad thought our old farm was purchased by a polish couple who worked for my great-grandparents.”
(Günter Waschke)”No polish workers bought the farm. It was expropriated and the farm was divided into small pieces which were given to German refugees. The political idea was “Junkerland in Bauernhand”. If there were polish workers as prisoners of the Nazis they moved back to Poland after the end of the war.”
(Tammy Rose) “What else can you tell me about that time period and our old house?”
(Günter Waschke) “My mother and I fled from our original home near Poznan, Poland in January 1945 by foot and took only what we could carry. I cried because I forgot my doll called Ria. We lived after the war in the right part of Pein’s house, seen from the street side, until 1950. Then my mother and I left Berlitt because my father who was a prisoner of war was set free and we moved to West Germany. Additionally, it was better to go to the west because Berlitt had become part of the communist German Democratic Republic under the goodwill of Stalin. Last year, I have been in Berlitt visiting my cousin who lives still there.”