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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 17, 2007

Gertrud Paulowitz

Filed under UCG-Germany

Today I visited Mrs. Gertrud Paulowitz, who lives in Düsseldorf in a neighborhood near where the original WCG office was established in 1962.

I have known Mrs. Paulowitz for over 30 years, Gertrud Paulowitz and Monica and I first visited her in the mid-1970s when she and her husband worked at the Düsseldorf theater. Today’s visit was out of concern for her left eye. She has an artificial lens from a lens replacement procedure some years ago, and the lens is becoming detached, giving her eye doctor concern that she might lose the sight in her left eye. Since she has poor eyesight in her right eye, that would be a big loss. Yesterday she had just heard the news and was all worked up, but today she seemed more settled. Mrs. Paulowitz is one of those people who might have reason to complain if she wanted to, but instead rarely does. Instead, she accepts the setbacks she has experienced in life, strengthened by her faith. Like most Germans her age, her life was largely influenced by World War II and its aftermath.

Originally from a part of Germany Gertrud Paulowitz that is now southwestern Poland, she fled her home as a pregnant mother in early 1945 as Soviet troops were approaching. Her husband was in the German army (wedding photo at the right from 1944), and she learned only about one year later that he had been killed in action near the end of the war. Her husband never saw his son. Mrs. Paulowitz bounced around in the months after the war, living a time in Magdeburg, the Black Forest area and in the north of Germany, before finally settling in Düsseldorf where part of her family had found work. She remarried and had another three children. Her second husband became disabled in his later years, and she worked two jobs at times to help provide for her family. She has now lived 20 years in a retirement home for the elderly. She rarely misses a church service, even though she is dependent on public transport to get to services and sometimes has to ask for help to purchase her ticket at a ticket machine. She is one of the people I think about when the phrase comes to mind: "So you think you had a bad day?"

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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