About My Grandmothers - Part 2 - Martha

Martha K.
born in April 1899 and passed away in March 2000. She almost made it to 101 which is no surprise because she was a tough cookie. She did not talk much about her past. I only know that she was one of 16 children and her father was a captain on a freight ship, running on rivers between Berlin and other cities, mostly Hamburg. She mentioned that she did not have a happy childhood.
Her husband Paul was so much the opposite of her, always a clown, never serious. We kids loved him, but my grandmother had a hard time keeping him in line.

Martha & Paul in their garden

Paul was enlisted a second time during WWII and Martha was left alone with her son (my dad was 12 at that time) for several years. She survived the war on a garden settlement (Lauben-Kolonie) in Berlin-Lichterfelde. They had plenty of fruit and vegetables and a goat on their double-lot. During bomb-alarms, she and her son hid in a little cellar which was storage for preservative and beer.
She was a seamstress and specialized in sewing coats. She always supported the family as Paul was often between jobs. She was a great cook and baker. She was very quiet, however, she lightened up a bit after Paul passed away and then liked to entertain her sisters and girlfriends.

Martha (4th from left) at her 80th birthday

I found a shopping list that she had handwritten and it said, 5 pounds potatoes, 1 bottle Martini Vermouth, 1 bottle Cognac, 1 bottle Rum. I guess she was getting ready for a party.


She was strong and stubborn and lived by herself into her late 90s, refusing outside help, carrying her coal bricks up from the cellar every day, cleaning and cooking for herself. All her friends and sisters had passed away and she told me that she was tired of life when she was 95. She was a trooper.

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