A Copy of an old Blog

Needlework – Handarbeit

I mentioned recently that as a child I didn’t like ‘girly’ things. And in a post that followed I said that in 1944 I was taught some knitting and mending at school. That year I also liked to do  needlework in the presence of Aunty Ilse. I was nine years old then,  going on ten. Come to think of it this must have been about the only year when I did learn a bit about needlework. Any other year I totally shied away from doing anything like sewing or knitting or embroidering. I just wasn’t interested. It is a fact that never again during all my school years was I required to do such work again.

Mum would always sew a lot of things for us children. When she was at her sewing machine she was not to be interrupted. She wanted to be able to concentrate on her work. She would sit all day at her sewing machine until the garment at hand was finished to her satisfaction.

The winter 1943/44 was rather severe especially in the open countryside. We lived there because of air-raid attacks over Berlin. Mum had sewn us warm winter coats and hats to match. In the following picture you can see what we wore to keep out the cold.

2-06-2009 5;00;32 PM

I and my two year old brother with Eva T and  her father looking on.

I and my two year old brother with Eva T in the middle and her father looking on.

Mum did sew the coat I’m wearing, also my little brother’s outfit. Mum also knitted the hats and gloves.

Add New TagWW II (1 of 6)WW IIWinter (2 of 6)WinterSewing for children (3 of 6)Sewing for childrenAir-raids over Berlin (4 of 6)Air-raids over BerlinGirly Things (5 of 6)Girly ThingsLiving in the Country (6 of 6)Living in the Country

8 COMMENTSManage commentsFollow conversation

  1. giselzitrone
  2. Hallo liebe Freundin wünsche dir einen schönen Nachmittag,mein schöner Urlaub ist leider schon wieder vorbei.Es geht alles viel zu schnell die Zeit sie rast.Ich hoffe es geht dir gut und du hattest schöne Pfingstage ich bin ja erst Montag Morgens zurück gekommen und ehe man alles gewaschen und weg geräumt hat brauch auch seine Zeit.Mit der Handarbeit das kenne ich auch noch,habe auch viel gemacht.Wünsche dir eine gute Woche und liebe Grüße von mir.Gislinde
    1. auntyuta
    2. Welcome back, liebe Gislinde, from your beautiful holidays!
      Ja, ich hatte eine Cousine, die hat auch immer sehr schöne Handarbeiten gemacht. Ich konnte da nicht mithalten!
      Meine Mutter, ja die war gut in all solchen Sachen. Sie hat sehr schöne Sachen für uns gestrickt mit sehr schönen Mustern darin.
      Wünsche dir auch eine gute Woche, Gislinde. Liebe Grüsse aus Australien von mir, Uta.
  3. Island Traveler
  4. You have a wonderful mom who made sure her little angels are warm, comfortable and safe. I admire people who make things with their hands and I do know that homemade items are labor of love.
  5. auntyuta
  6. Thanks for this lovely comment, dear IT. Yes, I know our mum loved us very much.
  7. berlioz1935
  8. I know the area and found it rather desolate. The village Lichtenow looked, in 1990, like a WW II film set. The streets were empty and I expected Russian T 36 tanks coming around the corner any minute. Eerie ! But we found a bakery and bought beautiful Berlin doughnuts filled with jam.
  9. auntyuta
  10. Hi Berlioz, I remember these beautiful Berlin doughnuts that are like balls. We did the rounds that day in 1990 in our rental 2CV with my brother Peter and daughter Caroline.
  11. aussieian2011
  12. Those days must have been very hard on you and your family Auntyuta, especially your mother as she would have tried all in her power to protect you and shield you from harm, including the weather.
    1. auntyuta
    2. Maybe I didn’t stress this enough in my writing: We really lived kind of a privileged life out there in the country. I mean we didn’t live in a mansion. Accommodation was very basic. But we were extremely well looked after thanks to millionaire owner/landlord Werner M. All the hard work in this primitive surroundings was done for my Mum by Maria.
      I remember Mum was always cheerful during these days. The danger of going to Berlin once a week she found exciting. And her children were safe in the country being looked after by Maria. Towards the end of the war when we stayed with Grandma in Leipzig, and when the house we lived in was totally destroyed by bombs, I guess life did become very tough then. But as I remember it, Mum still handled everything with good humour.
      The real hard times for us came later on!
      Thank you very much, Ian, for all your comments. I love getting comments! Cheers, Auntyuta.

What Uta wrote in April 2020

Saturday, 25th of April 2020, 5AM

Everyone has by now some idea about the Coronavirus. It definitely has brought a lot of changes to our lives. How will all this end? Nobody knows for sure. We may have some ideas how it might end. However we cannot really know it, not exactly . . .

I think back to World War Two. Eighty years ago at this time of the year we had already eight months of war behind us. I was still only five years old. School started after Easter. But I was not allowed to go. I was considered to be still too young!

Our war in Germany ended on the 8th of May 1945. By then I was a ten year old. I emigrated to Australia in April 1959 with my husband and two daughters who were five months and sixteen months old. I left fourteen postwar years in Germany behind and started a new life in Australia. My dear little family did thrive in Australia. We did not make it to become rich. But we had a life in Australia, a good life. Neither Peter, my husband, nor I ever regretted our move to Australia. Yes, Australia has been very good to us!

Over the years we made a number of visits to our old country. We were amazed how prosperous Germany had become. Still, we were always glad to be going back to Australia. Four years ago, at the beginning of June, Peter and I made our last trip to Germany. Most of the time we stayed in Berlin, our home-town. Our son Martin had come with us and stayed with us, which was good. At the same time our daughter Caroline had come to Berlin with Matthew. They loved to get to know this interesting city. However on short notice they suddenly had to leave: Daughter Caroline had been called to Darwin on a job opportunity.

Towards the end of June daughter Monika had come to Berlin with all her tribe, that is with Natasha who is one of her daughters, and also with her twin sons, Troy and Ryan, as well as Ryan’s Partner Ebony and their sons Lucas and Alexander. They were on a tour from London to Paris to Switzerland to Berlin, where they stayed for nine days only, and then back to London, touring England a bit and then back home to Australia.

Why I mention our stay in Berlin four years ago is because that is where Peter first noticed something wrong with his bladder: Often he could hardly make it to the toilet on time! He always had to run, run, run to the toilet. A few weeks later in Australia a test showed that there was a tumour in his bladder!

For two years Peter received BCG treatment at Wollongong Hospital.

(BCG stands for Bacille Calmette Guerin. BCG is a weakened (attenuated) version of a bacteria called Mycobacterium bovis which is closely related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the agent responsible for tuberculosis. … BCG is also used as an adjuvant to stimulate the immune response and in cancer chemotherapy.)

Peter ended up with a battery of specialists: Urologists, an oncologist, cardiologists, a skin specialist, a dentist, hearing specialists, an optometrist and an ophthalmologist.

About two years ago heart bypass surgery was suggested because of Peter’s blocked arteries to the heart. Because of Peter’s brittle bones and his advanced age Peter decided he did not want any bypass surgery.

Recently Peter ended up in Wollongong Hospital with severe kidney pain. After successful surgery to drain the kidney and the insertion of a stent to the bladder the pain is gone. But Peter gets off and on severe back pain. Sitting in a comfortable easy chair usually helps him to immediately get rid of the pain. Also when he lies down on his side, the pain does go away instantly.  However some Ex-ray revealed now, that Peter has the start of bone-cancer, which means that his bladder cancer has spread further.

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Everyone knew already in March…October 10, 2021In “copy”

Living at Home versus Life in a HostelAugust 28, 2021In “copy”

Diary, End of February 2021February 22, 2021In “Diary”Posted byauntyutaPosted incopyDiaryLife in AustraliaMemoryOld AgeTags:BCG TreatmentBerlin TripsBladder CancerBone CancerBypass SurgeryCoronavirusEmigration to AustraliaEnd of WW II ln GermanyFamily Visit to Berlin in June 2016What Uta wrote in April 2020

When I think of my Parents . . . . . . .(a Copy)

I found it interesting to look again at this blog about my childhood. Hopefully some of my followers might want to have a look at it too?

auntyutaChildhood MemoriesCopyOld Age  September 28, 2019 3 Minutes

I wrote the following in my diary from the 2nd September 2015:

“When I think of my parents, the most remarkable memory about them is, how very different they were. Here is a bit of how my father may have influenced me, and then how my mother’s influence was so very different.

My father was the most open minded and tolerant person. He liked to talk to me about a lot of things. He always treated me as though I was trustworthy and mature for my age, able to understand different points of view. Very rarely did I see him being angry with me. He only tended to be somewhat angry when, all of a sudden, I behaved in a very unpredictable way. Despite his open mindedness he was basically a very conservative man. If I showed signs of departing from his view of the world, this would upset him personally. Still, he was loving and forgiving, and eventually he was always able to accept my departure from some of his conservative views.

Now, my mother was in every way the opposite of my father. On the whole she was maybe rather tolerant as far as I was concerned because she loved me. But she made it very clear, that she did not love my father anymore. She showed not the least bit of tolerance towards him, on the contrary, she showed a lot of hatred, for in her opinion he was a “Versager” who did not do anything for his children. She thought it was not up to her to look after him when he had serious health issues. Maybe she thought he was just pretending. Also, she hardly ever talked to me about things that were important to me. She tended to keep very important things from me, for she wanted ‘to protect’ me! At least, this is how I remember it. I knew she loved me very much. Still, I always felt I was not the daughter she imagined I should be. I remember she telling me, I was an “Oppositionsgeist”. So I must have been speaking up about some things that disturbed me a great deal. I felt very bad for opposing her, but I could not help it. Of course, on the outside I tried very hard to go along with what she expected of me, just to keep the peace. Alas, I think I came into inner conflict about it. In short, I often did not feel happy about myself.

I ask myself now, how come, when I felt very much loved by both parents, I still did not feel very happy in myself a lot of the time? I think I felt torn between my parents . . . . ”

Further on I republish a few items and pictures from an earlier post:

“Mum kept a big photo album with pictures of me. Growing up, I always liked to look at all these pictures. However, I remember distinctly that the following pictures annoyed me quite a bit. I felt awful that the pictures showed me being so very plump! When I was told I looked ‘cute’ I tended not to believe it. I was self conscious at an early age and mostly didn’t feel ‘cute’ at all. I still often don’t like my picture taken because I think I might look awful! The adults in the pictures are my Mum, Tante Ilse and Onkel Addi. I wonder who took the pictures with all three adults in it. Was it perhaps my father? Pussi was Tante Ilse’s dog. Apparently I loved carrying this dog.

Alexander ca 1916
Leipzig ca. 1925
Edmund ca 1925
Alexander und Edmund am Voelkerschlachts Denkmal after 1925

My father, Alexander Spickermann, was born in Lodz on the 13th of May 1904. The following picture of him was taken in about 1916. This is the earliest picture I have of him. Alexander’s brother Edmund Spickermann, was born in 1902. Both brothers studied in Leipzig, Germany. The following pictures are from 1925 in the city of Leipzig. There is first Alexander and then Edmund. Both brothers are in their student outfits. And then there is a picture of both of them in front of the Völkerschlacht-Denkmal in Leipzig.
Alexander and Charlotte are my parents. They were married on the 25th of September 1930. Earlier that year, that is in 1930, Alexander promoted to Dr. phil and Edmund to Dr. rer.pol. The above picture is from 1925 when Alexander and Edmund first met Charlotte and Ilse. Charlotte was only fourteen years old at the time. Her sister Ilse was eighteen. Below is my parents’ wedding photo from the 25th of September 1930. (Charlotte was born on the 23rd of March 1911 and Ilse on the 27th of February 1907).”


My parents’ weddig photo: 25th September 1930

My parents lived apart a lot of the time during and after World War II and then divorced after having lived apart for many years.

Mum and her sister Ilse in June 1940

Mum with me and my brothers Bodo and Peter Uwe in 1947

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Uta’s Diary, 2nd of September 2015September 2, 2015In “Diary”

What did I worry about during my growing up Years?December 17, 2019In “Memories”

What I wrote two Years agoSeptember 8, 2013In “Childhood Memories”

Edit”When I think of my Parents . . . . . . .(a Copy)”

Published by auntyuta

Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Wife of German Descent I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, is publishing some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View all posts by auntyutaPublishedSeptember 28, 2019

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4 thoughts on “When I think of my Parents . . . . . . .(a Copy)”

  1. rangewriter EditThese photos are so wonderful! You mom and Aunt Ilse were very beautiful young women, but then again, so was your father and his brother.
    I can so relate to what you say about not liking yourself from an early age, especially not liking photos of yourself then or now. I’m the same way. I’ve never figured out from whom or when I decided I was the ugliest girl in the world, but it happened around 3rd or 4th grade and stuck like super glue.
    It seems we both grew into being solid, and reasonably confident adults. That is also interesting.
    And that dog you are holding looks the spitting image of my sister’s dog when we first moved to Wyoming. Her name was Ebony and she gave birth to several litters of pups, one of which pups I got to keep.Reply
  2. auntyuta EditThanks so much for commenting, Linda. That little dog’s name was ‘Pussy’. Aunt Ilse was in a way like a mother to me. Mayby this was because she never had any children of her own. I always loved to have her around! 
    After the war my mother was full of hatred towards my father. This disturbed me a lot. A lot of times she actually said not very nice things about my father’s family. And I liked them all so very much! I learned from an early age that serious quarrels among parents can have a very detrimental effect on children.Reply
  3. doesitevenmatter3 EditYour photos are priceless and precious, Uta!!!
    I love the photo of you with the doggie! You were a beautiful little girl and you are a beautiful woman today!
    When we look at the vintage photos they take us right back to our childhood! All the memories flood over us.
    1. auntyuta EditThanks, Carolyn! 
      HUGS, Uta 

To fly or not to fly

To fly or not to fly one more time, this is the question that concerns us now. Daniel Mittler, political director of environmental NGO Greenpeace, says that “the first step is to reduce the amount we fly.”

So I ask myself, didn’t we have already more than our share of flying?

Peter and I took our first trip from Australia to Germany in 1977. I believe at that time air-travel was still fairly expensive. However, over the years it became much less costly. This is why we thought nothing of it, travelling from Sydney to Berlin more and more frequently. Little did we think of the environmental cost. And now, towards the end of our lives, we still think, it would be nice if we could travel like this one more time. These are our emotions talking. However, when we think rationally, we must say, we really should leave it to others now, to take these overseas trips. Didn’t we have more than our share?

So really, who does need to be a frequent flyer all the time? How difficult would it be for people to become less frequent flyers? How difficult would it be for the aviation industry to reduce flights rather than increase them all the time? How many people depend for their jobs on the aviation industry? What other jobs can people do if there are less jobs for them in the aviation industry?

Today our politicians went on and on about it how disastrous the number of jobless people because of the Coronavirus has become, and that they want to do their utmost to get people into jobs again. I ask myself, where should these jobs come from? Do our politicians want to achieve that all aviation jobs and all hospitality jobs that depended on aviation, be restored? Do they want an economy the same as it was before the virus appeared? Do they actually have any environmental considerations? Do they just think of the economy and that people need jobs?

What sort of jobs does our society need at this point? I can think of many, many. To my mind it is absolutely possible for everybody to do some kind of work. In some jobs there is even a desparate shortage of workers. So, why is there so much fear of unemployment rising in the future? Can somebody please explain this to me?

Just yesterday I published a copy of an article by DW about the cost of air-travel. For your perusal I selected here a few extractions about this subject:

“A few years ago, environmental group Germanwatch estimated that a single person taking one roundtrip flight from Germany to the Caribbean produces the same amount of damaging emissions as 80 average residents of Tanzania do in an entire year: around four metric tons of CO2.”

“On an individual level, there is no other human activity that emits as much over such a short period of time as aviation, because it is so energy-intensive,” Gössling explains.

“Daniel Mittler, political director of environmental NGO Greenpeace, agrees that fossil fuels need to be more expensive. “The first step is to end all fossil fuel subsidies, including those going to aviation and to properly tax the aviation industry,” he told DW.

“For Mittler, it comes down to individual choice as much as anything else and he believes that while efficiency gains are vital, the first step is to reduce the amount we fly.”

“We need to move towards a more sharing and caring way of living on this planet,” he says, adding that doing without the weekend shop in New York might be one of the least painful ways of contributing to that.”

“We need a prosperity that is based on community and based on real wealth of collective vision, rather than one that is based on relentless consumption. Aviation is a symbol of the kind of consumption that we need to leave behind.”

Silent Spring Movie

Silent Spring of Rachel Carson tells the awe-inspiring journey of the 50 year old Rachel Carson: an extremely-introverted, intensely-private Biologist, renowned writer of Sea books, Nature lover and mother to an adopted 4 year old grandnephew. From the beginnings of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson knew the multi-billion dollar Chemical Industry would attack her, that the life she loved would be changed forever. But she bravely began her research and writing because “Everything I loved was threatened, there would be no peace for me if I keep silent.”

Fifth World Holocaust Forum commemorated in Jerusalem – TV7 Israel News Jan 23, 2020

Today’s top stories 23.01.20; 1) Dozens of world leaders attended a commemoration ceremony of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum today, at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, during which Israel’s leaders called on their counterparts to join a collective global battle against anti-Semitism. 2) The Islamist Hamas organization condemned Israel for killing the three-armed Palestinians that infiltrated Israel’s territory from the Gaza Strip, calling the defensive Israeli measure – “an ugly crime.” 3) IDF forces defused an explosive charge – which was concealed in a soccer-ball that was tied to a bundle of balloons – near an Israeli border-community, within the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council.

Saša Stanišić : Herkunft


What role does chance play in life? Saša Stanišić addresses this question in his biography. A wise and poetic book that deals with the loss of homeland, and the start of a new life.


Saša Stanišić (born 7 March 1978) is a Bosnian-German writer.[1] He was born in VišegradBosnia and Herzegovina, and moved to Germany as a refugee of the Bosnian War when he was 14 years old.

He has written an acclaimed novel in German which was published in English under the title How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone. The book won a host of prizes in Germany and abroad, and has been translated into several European languages. The English translation was done by Anthea Bell and won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. It was also adapted for the stage by the Stadtschauspielhaus Graz, where Stanišić was the city’s writer-in-residence.

He has also written the novel Before the Feast (2016), published in English translation by Anthea Bell (Tin House Books).

In 2019 he won the German Book Prize for his novel Herkunft.[2]


  1. ^ Schröder, Christoph (April 2014). “Writing against disappearance – Saša Stanišić”Goethe-Institut. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  2. ^ “Saša Stanišić erhält den Deutschen Buchpreis 2019 für „Herkunft [Saša Stanišić wins 2019 German Book Prize for Herkunft]. Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (in German). 14 October 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.


Sasa Stanisic wins German Book Prize, criticizes Nobel winner Peter Handke

Reacting to the win, the Bosnian-German author has criticized the decision to award the Nobel Prize in literature to Austrian Peter Handke. Stanisic’s work describes his escape from the former Yugoslavia.

Bosnian-German author Sasa Stanisic has won the annual German Book Prize for best German-language novel for his novel Herkunft (Origin).

But the win did not come without controversy. Responding to the accolade on Monday, Stanisic took a thinly veiled swipe at recently anointed Nobel laureate, Peter Handke.

Sasa Stanisic's Herkunft book coverIn “Herkunft,” Stanisic speaks of his family’s escape to Germany from war-torn Yugoslavia

Stanisic, who was born in Visegrad in 1978 and fled to Germany with his parents in 1992, said : “I had the good fortune to escape what Peter Handke fails to describe in his texts.”

He added that it is “weird that you put the reality in such a way that it consists only of lies,” and that it was remiss of Handke not to talk of crimes against humanity.

Handke’s win on Thursday sparked criticism in many Balkan countries over the Austrian author’s open support for the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who led his country during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre have called for Handke’s Nobel Prize to be revoked, saying it was “shameful” to recognize a man who has denied the killings happened.

In 1999, Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie awarded Handke the runner-up spot for “International moron of the year” in British daily the Guardian, for his “series of impassioned apologias for the genocidal regime of Slobodan Milosevic.” The winner was actor Charlton Heston, for his support of guns.

Read more: Olga Tokarczuk: ‘Literature is meant to provoke thought’  

Motivated by memories

The Frankfurt-based panel, which consisted of seven judges, was effusive about the imagination and humor in Stanisic’s book.

“Under each sentence of this novel waits the elusive origin, which simultaneously drives the story.”

Listen to audio14:47

Inspired Minds: Sasa Stanisic (18.10.2006)

In Herkunft, Stanisic writes about his grandmother as she gradually loses her memory, as well about as his family’s escape during the conflict in Yugoslavia, the subsequent collapse of the region and what role one’s origins play in the first place.

The conclusion to the book has readers being invited to play a game: they can decide how the story should proceed. The writer shows great imagination and rejects “chronology, realism and the definite,” the book panel said.

Members of the jury selected Stanisic’s novel from more than 200 titles published in the last year. The winner receives €25,000 ($27,500), while the five remaining authors who made the shortlist are each awarded €2,500 ($2,750).

Read more: Artists After the Escape: Finding home in a foreign land

Speaking to DW about Herkunft, Stanisic described how one’s origin is merely a matter of circumstance, yet it has a massive effect on how you are perceived.

“Every home is a happenstance. You’re born somewhere, driven out from there, donate your kidney to science over here. Your origins are down to luck, and this has an enormous influence on you.”