74 Years ago they fled to forchheim

Klaus-dieter lange and his wife dora belong to a generation that "had to leave everything behind". As a 13-year-old he fled with his family from lower silesia to upper franconia. Within a few hours, the team had set off. Assuming that after four weeks we will be back again.

This drastic experience could be a reason, suspects lange, that he developed a tendency to collect. He is fascinated by historical documents. There are rows and rows of monthly issues of the "gartenlaube" on the shelves, he has let himself be bound. Newspaper articles tell of the arrival of the americans in forchheim in april 1945. Leaflets remind us of the dark days: klaus-dieter lange shows an allied drop leaflet – a "message from the commander in chief of the british fighter planes to the german people. Or a flyer from september 1945, addressed to the "male population of forchheim" turns. "Attraction" is the headline: however, for a long time klaus-dieter was not one of those who had to be present in the city forest for the clearing of stump wood at the heinlein monument. First of all, only men between 16 and 60 years of age were invited to participate. Moreover, klaus-dieter, who was 14 years old at the time, still lived in thurn and only came to forchheim occasionally.

For example, when the mayor, in whose house he lived, sent him off with the cow team. Klaus-dieter lange describes how he drove by with the team in the direction of the town hall square in forchheim, which was full of american jeeps. The return journey "with a fully loaded hay cart" – then led him past the sattlertorturm again, where the americans had erected a tank barrier. Also of it a newspaper report kept for a long time.

In the same train

"He collects stop", says his wife dora lange. The 88-year-old and her 87-year-old husband have now lived in their new home for 74 years. In addition to their two sons, the two are linked by a story that is as unusual as it is moving. For dora lange fled from lower silesia at the same time as her later husband. However, in a three-week fubmarsch that ended in hof.

Later, like klaus-dieter lange, she came to forchheim on the refugee train. The two got off the same train in march 1945 in forchheim; they met much later – and married in 1955.

Food stamps are one of klaus-dieter lange's central collectibles. They trigger intense memories for him and his wife. He never suffered from hunger, says klaus-dieter lange. Not even when the refugee train got stuck in dresden. "When I was 13 years old, I worked in a sugar factory in a hitler uniform. The ruben were cooked and transported to the train station as meals in the ladder truck." Meat was available in hulle and fulle, tells lange. Because after the air raids all kuhlhauser were bombed and the meat had to go away.

Dora, too, saw the bombing of dresden at the age of 14. On the run hunger had prevailed. She once took potatoes from the pigs in a barn in a time of need. "I sometimes wonder what we have actually been able to cope with", says dora lange: "we have experienced times that today's youth can't even imagine."

Looking at the food stamps, the 88-year-old recalls images of long fubmarsches, which also took place after the war: "when there was bread in baiersdorf, we started walking. Along the old canal. And when there was nothing left in baiersdorf, on to erlangen."

Beer for the occupation troops

The shortage of beer was also an issue, says klaus-dieter lange, reaching into his collection of papers and reading from an announcement: "in order to ensure the supply of beer for the occupying forces, the distribution of bottled beer to private individuals will be discontinued as of today until further notice."

In the early years, the trained textile merchant lange eked out a living as a decorator. Later he opened with his wife in the sattlertorstrabe the "stuck horse", a store for handicraft supplies. The 87-year-old is convinced that such a thing would no longer be possible today: "back then, people were even more eager to make something out of nothing."

In the attic of the company house, he found many of the flyers and newspapers that he has kept until today. But that should be the end of it. With his wife dora, klaus-dieter lange moves into a senior citizens' housing complex. "I leave the broadsheets and newspapers to the city archives." What remains are the stories that the couple keeps exchanging, even with friends. "We remember that time very often", says Dora Lange.

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