My Berlin--Its People From Hitler to Present (Soft cover)
by Detlev Kirchgatter « View this author's BIO
Had it not been for the nascent German police and its chief, they would never have been able to escape. He had become chief because of his 'record'. Under Hitler, spending time in a concentration camp qualified him as such. The printer had helped to ease his lot. It was this chief who advised his father to leave. A charge was pending, so was an arrest that night, from which he would not return. The charge, spreading false propaganda. A printing order, even if it were just lines, as in a school note book, had to be allowed by the local commandantura. In this case, election posters for the S. E. D. Party. This had been approved, also the quantity. With shortages of paper and no particular preference for the party, he only printed one half the quantity, stating that was all that had been permitted. Admittedly a silly mistake. But if had not been this matter, one would have found any other cause for disowning him. As it turned out, the party checked with the commandant to find approval of the full quantity, interpreting such action as an attempt to discredit the Russian army.
The usual routine for arresting anybody, whether in fascist or communist times, is in the early morning hours. The time when people are still sleep drugged.
The author escaped from Soviet occupied East Germany in 1947 at fourteen years of age. This left him an unwanted citizen in West Germany. Having to survive, he ended up in North Sea dike construction and a spell of coal mining in the Ruhr District.
By 1952 he was able to emigrate to Canada and followed the proverbial career of an immigrant; dishwasher, miner, carpenter, eventual university graduation, setting type in a newspaper, work in oceanography, farming and teaching.
Being a trained geographer, and as part of his job pursuits he managed to travel extensively (some of it in his own sailing vessel), in North American, Europe and East Africa. The book is not a travelogue, but rather an examination of the people, their ways of life, encountered in this eventful experience.
If one had to sum up this volume, it is probably best described as a contemporary history as experienced by one man.