Then the Americans Came: A Tribute to the Veterans of the Berlin Airlift

Wolfgan W. E. Samuel
1998 Parameters  
In March 1948, in the English Zone-of-Occupation, I lived with my mother Hedy in a rotting former Wehrmacht barracks, located off the north end of the Fassberg air base runway. I was a boy of 13, a Fluechtling, a refugee from the East. We refugees, still the unwanted human debris of an evil war, had just survived another terrible winter in this windswept part of northern Germany. During those long winter nights, with cold, hunger, and fear of tomorrow our steady companions, there were times
more » ... many of us thought we couldn't survive until spring. At winter's end the three times weekly hot-cocoa-and-peanut breakfasts at school were discontinued. Without this breakfast I went hungry until evening. I got used to it. It didn't hurt anymore. But I felt thankful to whoever provided that wonderful food for us children throughout the past winter. I remembered every cup of hot cocoa, every handful of peanuts. The eternal grayness of March passed. Stirrings of life returned in April, as they did every year, as if to spite the persisting wintry gloom. When the sun emerged from behind the scudding clouds it shone warm and strong. And with its warming rays it stirred something else in our gloomy barracks rooms--a glimmer of hope--maybe, just maybe, in the third spring after the war things would get better for us.
doi:10.55540/0031-1723.1898 fatcat:n7va2oxb7bcirhdzbtu2aj6vj4