Charlotte 1922

Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main
Publishing House Worker
Clerical Worker

APRIL 1933: As my parents cannot pay the fees, I have taken a difficult exam to win a free place at the grammar school. But I am expelled because my father is a member of the railwaymen's trade union. My dream of being a teacher is ruined.

MAY 1941: After a two year apprenticeship at a newspaper, conscription into the wartime labour programme brings my career plans to an end. It is very hard work for us women, the men are away at war.

MARCH 1944: Three heavy air attacks destroy Frankfurt and with it our home. My parents lose everything for a second time. They both only survive the war by a few years.

MAY 1945: The war ends. With the Americans a new world arrives. We are free and happy to have survived. The newspaper no longer exists. I find work at Radio Frankfurt, a broadcaster for the military government. I also find my husband there – he’s just as young as I am.

AUGUST 1946: Marriage, despite all the problems – going hungry is easier together than alone.

AUGUST 1947: My son is born. As a nursing mother I get extra coupons and am able to give my two men a little more to eat.

JUNE 1948: We get new money with which we can buy things. Over night the shops are suddenly full of thing. I had no shoes anymore: My first pair are my greatest delight, even though they are green.

JANUARY 1960: My husband becomes a correspondent in Bonn and a beautiful time begins: a flat by the Rhine, weekends off and the chance to watch the workings of parliament from the gallery.

OCTOBER 1987: For three years my husband has been suffering from fatal motor neurone disease. He is still fully alert mentally but completely paralysed physically. It's the week after the stock market crash in New York: My son, who works as a broker in Frankfurt, gets in his car exhausted in the week after the stock market crash in New York. He has a bad accident and becomes permanently disabled.

NOVEMBER 2012: I am run over by a cyclist and have a bad fall. My broken foot has healed, but I am still working on my elbow and shoulder.