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Irmgard's Lebenslauf


Her story continues . . .

Part 2 - My Youth.

My Youth

After 7 years at the primary school I was admitted to a grammar school.  It was really a school for boys in our town, but as there was no girl's school, a few girls were permitted to attend. I spent 3 years there, which was a very happy time.  However, we had our worries. 

Our 2nd Mutti gave birth to a little girl, Karola, on the 7th February 1935 followed by Helga (25th February 1938). A sixth daughter was a slight disappointment for my father, as he had always wanted a son who would be able to take over his business. However, it was not to be. We treated them like our dolls, only they were alive! I spent a lot of time in my summer holidays in our town's pool, swimming, diving, reading and sun bathing.

Irmi with Helga and Karola, 1939

Irmi with Helga and Karola, 1939.

IIrmi, Karola and Vera with 2nd Mutti, 1937.

Irmi, Karola and Vera with 2nd Mutti, 1937

Later in 1938, Vera, who loved swimming and diving, complained of a pain in her hip. She was admitted to hospital, later transferred to a larger hospital in Breslau, the capital of Silesia. We visited her often.  She was in great pain and could not be cured.  The doctors were helpless. 


On the 2nd November 1938, my lovely little sister died. I loved her very much.  She was brought back to our house and was laid out in our living room. 

I kept sitting with her and could not bear to be separated from her.  Many, many people were taking part or were watching the funeral procession.  Her coffin was carried by boys who had been friends and wanted to do this last service.  It was a long way, about ¾ of a km.


Like my sister Inge, I had piano lessons.  At first my teacher did not live far from us and I used to go to her house.  Then she married and moved away, but I still went to lessons on my bicycle, it was quite a long way.  When the winter and the bad weather came, my parents did not want me to go that far so a teacher from my school was employed who came to our house.  He was our music teacher and also taught mathematics.  Through him I developed a liking for figures and became a star pupil in maths. But he became amorous and asked me to marry him. I did not accept and told him that I was too young (15 ½) and that I did not know what I wanted to do with my life.  He was later drafted into the army and was killed in France.

My father thought I would be better off in a "girl's" school and in 1940, when I was 16, I went to Hindenburg (a largish town on the border with Poland).  I stayed in a boarding school, which I liked immensely but it was always nice to come home in the holidays. This school cost my father a lot of money.  He was keen that I should go to university and study. I was away from home a lot and very early in my life and thus learned to become independent.  At Easter in 1943 I sat my matriculation which enabled me to go to university. 

In 1933 Hitler came to power but this did not affect me very much.  I joined the Hitler youth (which was similar to cubs and scouts).  I enjoyed the meetings we had, we played games, learned folk dancing and went camping. 

Ten years later, in 1943 and Germany was at war, I was unable to go to university before I had spent a year in the Land Army. I was sent to a camp near the town of Dresden, in Saxony. Here I stayed with 50 to 60 other young women.  After an introduction we were sent to farmers to help on the land.  One day I had to chop wood and when I wrote home about it, my mother said, "Oh, the poor girl, she has never had an axe in her hand in her whole life."

Sunday duties at the Land Army


Sunday duties at the Land Army

The times were very hard. A lot of bombing was going on, mainly in the west of Germany, and many people lost loved ones or their homes. Many soldiers lost their lives in active service, among them my favorite cousin Hubert (below left) and my boyfriend Herbert (below right) who became a Lieutenant in a tank regiment. 

cousin Hubert


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