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Sonntag, 9. März 2014

Patrizia Schween interviews her 85 – year – old grandfather

P.:  Where and how did you spend your childhood? Tell us about a normal day.
G.: I grew up in a well-ordered household together with my parents and my two sisters up to the beginning of World War II. We usually had to get up at 6.30 a.m., school started at 8:00 und finished at 1:30 p.m. Then I went home for lunch. Our father arrived later – he was a miner. After the meal, we did our homework. During spring and summer, the children had to help in the garden with orchards and potatoes and then our day was almost over. We sometimes had time to play football in the school yard.
At that time we all thought to have too little leisure time, but today I would say that there was an equilibrium between free time and duties.
P.: Do you have other memories of your childhood?
G.: I have several good and some bad ones. First the good ones: I grew up with parents who appreciated us children und who educated us well. As a bad memory I recall the fact that our house was situated between two schools and that is why I could constantly be supervised.
P.: If you compare your free time as a youth and that of the young today.
G.: Well, TV, which is very important today, did not exist. Our parents had a radio and that was all; radio was the only source of entertainment. Apart from that we played games or we children did sports.
P.: Do you see a difference in the way of children’s education then and now?
G.: It seems to me that nowadays children are educated more freely. We in our childhood would not have noticed this because it was normal for children to obey adults and follow our parents who were in control. We had to fulfil our duties without questioning them. We followed a common pattern and thus never judged our education in a negative way.
P.: Give an example of such ‘duties’ or of your parents’ expectations.
G.: I was expected to hand in good school reports. Our written papers had to be signed by them. Above all, I had to be an applicant scholar. After the first four years at primary school I attended a Grammar school for the following 9 years, from Sexta, Quinta, Quarta to Oberprima and then did my A- Levels, which we call ‘Abitur’.
P.: Did you like school?
G.: I took a great pleasure in attending school. This was, of course, due to my good results.
I assume there was more discipline than there is today, not only at school but in society as a whole. Youth respected their elders – respect was taken for granted. This is an important difference to today.
P.: Was your ‘social status’ at school important?
G.: Yes, I wanted to be accepted by my classmates. So I tried to be good at sports.
P.: What about teachers then and now?
G.: I can only refer to my own experiences: We always had excellent teachers who tried hard to give their best, who helped us in difficult situations and who were fair to each of their students. This was the more important as part of my years at school took part during WW II, a time when learning had become difficult. Air raids often interrupted our school day and at home we often had to seek refuge in sheltered rooms.
P.: Let us approach the topic of gender roles then and do you realize a different role of  men and women?
G.: Yes, the role of the sexes has become different. Nowadays many women have got jobs, which in the past was a rare exception. Women used to be the guardian of the house. They worked in the garden and were responsible for the education of the children. Take, for example, the laundry for a family of five persons. This was hard work as there were no washing machines. The laundry was done every 5 to 6 weeks and by then there were piles of it. Tumble driers did not exist either.
 I remember that it was out of the question to bring a girl-or a boyfriend home, which seems to have become normal today.
P.: Do you think that people were more helpful in your youth than they are today?
G.:  I would answer in a positive way. This was in particular due to the war situation: bombardment of towns, destroyed houses and thus lack of accommodation, difficulties in providing oneself with sufficient food – all this made people more willing to help one another.
P.: What was it like for you to go to war?
G.: In the beginning, we young ones were enthusiastic. It was just like that. As boys we had been drilled in the ‘Hitler Youth’ organization and had been influenced by Nazi ideology.
So we did not think of war as negative. My father’s opinion though was quite the opposite. He as an anti-Nazi was often threatened to be imprisoned.
I can never forget the time of war, especially the bombardments and the hardship we had to endure. Like all other youth of my age, I was drafted in 1943 and had to join an anti aircraft unit. Our school had already been evacuated to a town in the East because of air raids in the industrialized area of the Ruhr. Heavy industry supplied the Reich and the Army with coal, iron or steel. Our battery of 16 –year-old soldiers was first transferred to Upper Silesia and was finally moved to the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. There we realized what had been going on. No one today can imagine the shame and grief we felt.
P.: Which pieces of advice would you now give to us young?
G.: One should reflect about the enormous changes that have happened since the 1950ies.
Today we live in what might be called a ‘consumers’ society’, in a world of abundance and affluence here in the West where most of us possess more than is needed in everyday’s life.
We have sufficient food, often too much so that people waste it or throw it away.  Incredible to those people who have experienced hunger and misery in their youth. I remember the first years after the War when, for example, oranges were first offered on the market: one family of 5 persons could purchase 3 oranges after queuing up for a long time. Nobody today can imagine such a situation any more. Our experiences were quite different from those of the present generation.
 So my advice  to the youth is: be less materialistic and consider more human values, be more thoughtful and never forget how well-off we are and, last of all, do not only criticize each and everything.
P.: Thank you for this interesting interview.

G.: You are welcome.

Britta Bienek interviews her 83 – year – old grandmother

B.: Where and how did you spend your childhood?

G.: I spent my childhood in the country. We lived in the East before the War and had a farm there. We played with all and everything.

B.: Which are your memories?

G.: I have a lot of nice memories about my childhood as I enjoyed great liberties: no fences for us, only for our animals.

B.: Could you tell us about your average school day?

G.: All pupils from year 1 to year 8 sat in one class at our primary school and all had the same teacher.

B.: How many pupils were you then?

G.: From the village and the surrounding farms came about twenty, 7 of my age in the first year. Each year group was given different tasks as the teacher was mainly occupied with the elder ones. I spent four years at primary and then changed into secondary in town with a teacher for each form. So as it is still today.

B.: Tell us about your teachers. Were they different from ours?

G.: They were rather serious, strict and in most cases older than yours today .When the Second World War started, most male teachers had to join the army and women replaced them as substitutes. Teachers were persons who commanded respect and their words counted. We simply obeyed.

B.: Did you learn a lot?

G.: Yes. We were taught the same basic subjects as you today. My favourite subjects were Geography, German or Natural Sciences. I hated History as dates were a dead matter to me.

B.: How would you characterize the main differences of school now and then?

G.: You are taught more subjects and school today is more internationally orientated. School life now seems to have become more hectic and full of stress. The system has undergone too many changes in too short a time and this not always for the best. I am a bit sorry for you today.

B.: Tell us about the relationship of parents to their children.

G.: It was quite good. I had 4 brothers. Our parents did not have much time for us, but the relationship was cordial. We felt like a big clan. My father had 10 siblings and my mum 6. We all – the huge number of cousins included - had great fun.

B.: In how far did the War have an influence on your childhood? What did your parents expect from you?

G.: I survived. The war caused a lit of grave changes for my family and me: we, as refugees, had to leave our village, our farm, all our belongings behind in the East. We had to find a new home in the West, find a place where to settle . At first we were put up in emergency accommodations. School for me was over and we had to find work and enough to eat to survive. You had no expectations then. In such a situation you can only fight for yourself and that is what I did.

B.: Let us talk about gender roles .Was there a clear allocation between men and women?

G.: Yes, there was. Differences between the sexes were much greater. Women today have a lot more liberties. In my youth women were a sort of servants and had to fulfil their duties in the family. Their main aim was marriage. Marriages then were mostly arranged by adults. All this has changed a lot as today you choose your partner yourself which is much nicer.

B.: Let us approach the importance of values. Were good manners in your youth more important than today?

G.: Good manners have always been important but today they seem to be practised less. In my youth, bad manners were regarded as a ‘faux pas’ and caused a bad reputation. Good manners meant: cleanliness, good behaviour, politeness : the young used to greet their elders or offered a seat in the train, bus or tram. Today this sort of behaviour seem to have vanished or has become rare. Ethics and moral standards have immensely changed. After the war, society has changed enormously with the millions of refugees. Later the change was caused by a ‘muddling up’ of all sorts of people such as immigrants, political or economic efugees or asylum seekers. They all arrived with different moral values. Today our society faces a lot of changes . Let us, for example, only mention the fast sequence of electronic inventions which influence us and change our lives. We had no computers and when calculating, we used our brains. I still do so. In the supermarket, I add the prices and then pay to the astonishment of the woman at the cashier the exact amount of money. This is a hobby of mine.

B.: What about the importance of material things?

G.: Yes were important, of course, but less than today where human values are less considered. In my family luxurious things did not count, we only catered for things we needed for everyday life. There were also rich people living in villas; we called them ‘decadent society’. Differences between the rich and the poor have always existed. In my youth in the country, we had no magazines or TV, only the radio was available. So we knew a lot less than people do today.

B.: You lived in different countries. Which differences did you experience?

G.: My vision of the world has changed. My attitude of tolerance has increased. I have no prejudices. This is also due to my education as we grew up in a liberal way and we have always been tolerant to other people.

B.: What about ‘mobbing’?

G.: This word was unknown to us. At school, we integrated all: newcomers, strangers, bombed-out ones and no one was excluded. Only during the last two decades I have noticed a negative development in our society.

B.: What is your advice to young people?

G.: To be more thoughtful. You should understand how good your lives today are and you should not grumble so often about this or that.

B.: Thank you, grandmother, for the interview.

G.: You are welcome.

Pia May interviews her 78 – year – old grandmother

P.: Where did you spend your childhood and which are your memories of that time?
G.: I lived with my parents in Northern Germany. It was very nice at home. We had a river behind our house in which we swam a lot.
P.: Would you describe an average day when you were at my age.
G.: We children had to help a lot at home and on the fields: collecting potatoes, milk the cows or bundle the corn. But we also played a lot: rounders, dodgeball, tennis and we learnt how to play the piano.
P.: If you compare your and my leisure time activities, what would you say?
G.: Our lives were quiet whereas life today has become ever so hectic.
P.: Describe your school life.
G.: In my time teachers were much stricter. Today, I suppose, they are sometimes too lax. I don’t know which way is the better one though.
P.: How were you educated?
G.: In former times education was quite severe, in general. As to my family, however, we lived in a more liberal way. Today children are educated in a free way, too. My parents did not expect me to follow them blindly, and so I enjoyed my personal freedom.
P.: What about gender roles?
G.: At school, I cannot remember any differences between the sexes. In society, men had a greater authority. I was even allowed to bring a male friend home.
Especially shortly after the War, religious denominations - being a Catholic or a Protestant –
played an important role. There were even separate school which now is the exception.
P.: Were people in your youth more socially inclined or more helpful?
G.: No, I don’t think so.
P.: Did or does your family mean a lot to you?
G.: Yes, this is the case. I had a very good relationship with my parents.
P.: How important were material things for you?
G.: Social aspects, values and good manners have always been more important to me than material things.

Mittwoch, 12. Februar 2014

Matilde, my grandmother ate at a soup kitchen and hid in the basement during the bombings, by Nerea Martínez

My name is Nerea and I´m 16 years old. I interviewed my great-grandmother.
Her name is Matilde and she´s  83 years old. She was born in 1930 in La Unión and she spent her childhood there.
She had got a sister and a brother but eleven years ago her sister died and her brother is still alive. Her father was tinsmith and her mother was a housewife.
When she was a child she remembers that  she played with a doll that her father gave to her. This doll was called "pichi".
She left school when she was 8 and she was at school only for two months because she had to work to get some money. She worked at a country house cleaning and picking crops.
she remembers that in the Civil War they went hungry and they hadn´t got any cinemas or any shops and sometimes she and her siblings had to go to a neighbour´s house and stay there to sleep because her mother had to go to the field to work for two days.
During the civil war she ate at a soup kitchen.
her only dream at that time was the war ended because when the bombing started they had to hide in the basement.
She never had the opportunity to travel because her parents didn´t have much money.
She met her husband long after the war and she was married for many years. Her husband worked in the field.
They had good relationships with their neighbours but they had few.
  the best memories that she has is when she married and she had her children

she thinks that there are many differences between  young people nowadays and young people at that time because then there wasn´t so much freedom and so many places to shop.

My grandfather by Sergio Valverde.

1.- How old are you?..... Then, when were you born?
I am 81 years old, so I was born in 1933.
2.- Where did you spend your childhood?
I spent my childhood here, in La Unión.
3.- How many brothers and sisters have you got?
In my family we were six people, my brothers, my sister, my parents and me.
4.- What did your parents do? What was their job?
My father was miner and my mother didn´t work, she did the housework.
5.- What did you play in that period?
In that period we played marbles and we also played skipping.
6.- How old were you when you left school?
I was fourteen years old.
7.- How was the school at that time? Did you have books, notebooks, etc?
We only had got a pencil, a rubber and a notebook…
8.- When did you start working? What was your job?
At the age of 15, I helped  my father in the mine and with the goats.
9.-  What can you remember about the Spanish Civil war?
The church was invaded by the communists.
10.- And about the Post-War period?
A lot of hunger…
11.- What did you dream of at those hard times?
To live in peace.
12.- What did you expect from the future?
I remember I wanted those hard times to go by because it could not be worse, so things would improve.
13.- Did you have the opportunity to travel?
Yes, I travelled to Portugal, France and other Spanish cities.
14.- When did you meet your wife?
In 1952.
15.- How long were you engaged?
Six years.
16.- What was your wife´s job?
Working at home, like every woman in that period.
17.- How was the relationships with your neighbours?
Very good, better than now.
18.- What are the bests memories of that time? And the worst? Did you remember a specially moment that you personally lived?
Seventy years. The Civil-War.
19.- What are the differences between young people then and nowadays?
Then young people were much more polite!

My neighbour Andres´ memories of the Civil Spanish War by Juan Antonio García

Juan Antonio´s interview.
My name is Juan Antonio.  I´m 17 years old.I live in La Unión and I study at Maria Cegarra Secondary School.
 I´ve made an interview to my neighbour Andrés Vidal who told me about his life. He lived during the Civil War and his life is very interesting.
He´s 90 years old and he was born on 1st September 1923 in La Unión.
He spent his childhood between La union and Cartagena.
Andrés had a sister who was 3 years younger than him, but she died very young.
 His father worked in many places, such as, the Peñarroya Mine and Cartagena Port. His mother was a housewife.
Andrés and his friends usually played top, marbles, football with a rag ball in the street…
He went to school until when he was 12 years old.
The school had a blackboard, a desk where five students sat… and a few things more. The school was in Cartagena and there were 50 students more or less. These students were of different ages and they were in the same class. Mr. Carlos was the higher students´ teacher and he had an assistant. Mr Carlos´ wife was Ms. Ramona. She was the youngest´s teacher. The students went to school in the morning and in the afternoon, but they ate at home.
When the Civil War started, Andrés left the school, and his family moved from Cartagena to La Unión, and he started to work in his uncle´s garage.
Five planes bombed Cartagena every day. For this reason, they moved to La Unión and then they moved to El llano. There, they slept in his uncle´s mine because it was safer.
His two uncles went to the Civil War. When the War finished, they worked as truck drivers and they gave Andrés´ family a little bit of food. They survived with that food.
He didn´t have dreams. He could only work to eat.
He didn´t think about his future. He spent his money on food.
His first trip was when he went to Murcia for a funeral. Then, he travelled to Valencia and Zaragoza with the army.
When Andrés was in the army and he was 21 years old, he had a partner who was from La Palma. They were in Valencia and one day Andrés went to his partner´s house. There, he met his wife and they felt in love. Five years after, they got married. Her name is Florentina.
Andrés got along with his neighbours.
He worked very much, occasionally more than 12 hours per day, for this reason, he didn´t have much free time but his best years were when he was with his wife and his daughters.
He didn´t fancy telling me about the new generation. I am sure it is because of the situation in Spain. The life nowadays is completely different from some years ago. Now, we are lucky because we are not living with bombs around us, however, our ancestors feel bad thinking on us, because the politic situation is getting worse and worse and they want us to go through a situation better than ages ago.

The post-war period, Eating banana peels to survive, by Juan Francisco Agüera

 My name is Juan Francisco and I’m 16 years old. I’m going to interview my grandfather. He was born in 1938 in La Union (Murcia) so, he’s 76 years old. He grew up with his 9 brothers and sisters.
His father worked in the mines and his mother was a housewife taking care of their children.
 He used to play marbles and bowling. He went to school until he was10 years old and then, he started to work in the mines with his father.
 He remembers the hunger and that he had to eat bananas peels to survive as it was very difficult to get any food.
 He really wanted to go to school but, at that time, it was a luxury that he couldn’t afford. He dreamed of buying a house, getting married and starting a family.
 He couldn´t make a journey because he didn’t have any money.
He met his wife because she was a good friend of his sister. After 6 years dating they got married and they had 11 children. My mother is their second oldest daughter.
 His wife worked selling fruit.
He thinks that there are a lot of differences between young people in the past and now. When he was young he had to do what his parents wanted him to do (he had to obey)   but now young people have the freedom to do what they want.
 Thank you for the time you have spent answering this interview and telling me the story of your life.