Family History - Paul & Marianne
Of my grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side I know very little. Paul and Marianne almost never talked about the war. Paul was drafted into the Wehrmacht. He served on the Eastern Front. He was eventually taken prisoner by the Russians but was released shortly after the war ended. Paul never spoke of the war or his time as a POW. For some reason, that makes me all the more uneasy and sad. I can only imagine what he saw, maybe did, and likely endured as a result.
The only tale I ever heard from my grandmother, Marianne, was of when the Russians came. They entered her small village and looted everything, killing the male inhabitants at random. One of the women in her town spoke Russian and she thought that this would be helpful in negotiating for their lives. It had the complete opposite effect.
The Russians were convinced that, because she spoke fluent Russian, she must have been a spy during the war. They lined her up against the wall and, just as they were about to shoot her, her Jack Russell terrier ran to her. The Russians burst out laughing. When they left the lady was asked what they had said and why they had changed their minds.
Clutching the dog to her breast, the lady said, “they were laughing and saying that no spy would ever possess such a stupid little dog.”