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To Dresden or Not?

24 Feb

To Dresden or Not

Yesterday while browsing the web I found the Facebook page for the Pfund Mōlkerei (that’s dairy) in Dresden. I’ve been there. The dairy belongs to German relatives of mine, another branch of my mother’s family. In 1971 I made my first grand tour of the continent. Near the end of my six-week journey I visited Dresden, which at the time was under Russian communist rule in East Germany. The reason for my visit was to meet and greet my elderly cousin Leonore Pfund, the 93- year old grand dame of the family. Her fortune had been plundered by the Russians. She lived in a small apartment in what had once been her entire house. Her husband had owned the famous dairy and they had been very prosperous before the war. My St. Louis aunts had sent many care packages to them during the war when provisions were hard to come by. In return Leonore sent gifts of many little wooden German figurines. The connection was made and our families kept the bond. I spoke almost no German at the time, and Leonore spoke no English. We still managed to communicate and she played the piano for me. She had been a well-known composer and pianist. I paid a visit to the dairy, which was very beautiful even under communist rule. I stayed at a hotel which seemed a trifle dilapidated, but which had obviously once been a fine and elegant establishment. They were very kind to me, sent flowers to my room, and I ate each night in the dining room listening to a live string quartet with piano. It seemed I had traveled back in time. Meanwhile going into the heart of the city was heartbreaking, because the bombed out damage from World War II was still very obvious everywhere. This city had once been a jewel on the Elbe and was known as the Florence of Germany because of the omnipresence of art in the city. I did visit The Zwinger Museum which had been partially restored. However, it felt very strange and vulnerable to be a single woman alone in communist East Germany. Leonore and her friends did their best to make me feel at home and welcome. The following year Leonore died. (She was the mother of Peter and grandmother of Hannes in Konstanz from an earlier post). I am so glad I had the honor to meet her. So…here I come to another decision, not immediate, but will I make the journey northward from Munich to see Dresden all dressed up and looking beautiful again? I could visit the famous dairy and possibly hunt up Leonore’s children there. The other reason to go would be to visit my roots, because my great grandparents came to America from their home in Saxony where Dresden is located. Well, I have time to think about it. There is such joy in the planning and the possibilities.

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2 Responses to “To Dresden or Not?”

  1. Karin March 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Hi, Rosemarie, reading your article here brought back not so good memories. I was East Prussian and had to flee the area winter 1944/45. Later on we marched through Dresden, one day after it had been fire-bombed. The ruins still smoked, the streets were hot….. I wrote a book about my ordeals: “Childhood Memories…surviving WWII” by Karin Bartsch. I have a page in my blog you visited, a website with an author page also http://karinbartsch.weebly.com , a facbook page about it and one in Google+

    Thanks for this blog, it is very informative! Karin

    • Rosemarie March 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading about my experiences in Europe. I am returning this summer after 38 years absence, and am so looking forward to this. I like your posts about natural healing and pantheism, both things which I have embraced at this stage of my life. So happy to meet you.

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