Saturday, 9 February 2008

Beatings and Family Trees

During my childhood, I remember Mum telling us stories about how she and Dad ended up in England because of World War 2. Some of the stuff they went through is horrific...truly.  Mum is the last link we have to those times as all our relatives back in the homeland are dead.  And, of course, Dad's in heaven, too.  No-one else left.

She wants me to write the stories down so everyone in our family knows as much as they can about their "roots", 'cos all details of our heritage, everything was wiped out by either the Russians or Germans.  She doesn't want our history lost, so I guess I'll be busy recording all her tales and memories:O)    We don't have much of a family tree...especially when you think of people like Matthew Pinsent...his family got traced right back to God!!  lol

Anyway, we were talking today and the conversation got onto greed and selfishness.  She told me this story, crying as she revealed what happened during a certain time during her wartime childhood.  She's worried about the state of the world nowadays and doesn't want her kids and grandkids to go through the horrors of war.

She and my Gran were shipped out of Ukraine by the Germans to work as war slaves.  She said the concentration camps were hell.  Anyway, she and Gran ended up working on a farm as servants.  She'd be quite young then..young teen.   Foodwise, they were relatively lucky.  They had a slice of bread and a bowl of soup a day.  They got by because they drank milk from the cows' udders as they milked and ate apples from trees...not known by the farmer of course.  

She was unwell at one point...influenza...but they made her walk miles on an errand.  When she got back the old farmer told her to do another job.  It was something petty..just to humiliate her.  So, tired and ill..she lost her rag and told the old farmer to do it himself.  Well, he went into a rage and beat her on the back with a rake!!  She passed out and woke to find a "doctor" treating her.  She had holes in her back from the beating and whip marks from the handle. She still has the scars to this day...terrible.

The next day, the farmer died...suddenly.  She believes it was God punishing the cruel swine!! 

The farmer's son wasn't nice at all, either.  Mum and Gran were treated like animals..they slept in a barn.  Gran was forced to do the animal chores ..mucking out, feeding, milking, cleaning.  Mum was sent on errands to ferry food to the nearest town, with the help of a horse.  I presume the food was for German people or soldiers.

On-route, Mum would have to pass a prisoner camp where the men were forced to work down a coal mine.  She would go past during a shift change.  She said that the men were in a terrible state..dirty from mining, tired, thin and starving.  The prisoners behind the fencing would reach out through the wiring and beg for food..arms outstretched.  They could see that Mum was transporting food.  

Anyway, she said that she had no real understanding that there was a war on...just that the Germans were horrible people,  airplanes came and dropped bombs and sometimes there was gunfire.  Looking back, she says she should have cottoned on but she was purposely kept uneducated.  She couldn't understand why the prisoners had no, every day she sneaked half a dozen loaves or so into a sack and gave it the prisoners, telling them to share.  She did this for about a fortnight.  The farmer had enough food in his stores to feed thousands, but he wouldn't share.    She was grassed up and the farmer found out.  He wanted to know who she had given the food to but she wouldn't say because those people would have been shot.  She wasn't sorry for what she did.  As far as she was concerned she was sharing food with other people who needed it more than the greedy farmer or her for that matter. 

The farmer and his lot beat my Mum and Gran up as punishment.   It was an extremely violent beating.   Mum was sobbing as she told me this.  She remembers my Gran's face was blue and violet from the beating.  Gran was very beautiful.   She had done nothing wrong and she was screaming because they laced into her with such needless violence and hurt her badly.  Mum says she didn't scream.  She wouldn't give them the satisfaction.  But they beat her up, too....a young child!!

When they were eventually "liberated" the allied soldiers asked her and Gran if they wanted them to shoot the Farmer because of his cruelty.  Gran was all for it, but Mum said no.  Of course, the weazle offered Mum and Gran anything they wanted.  Now he was willing to share, but Mum said she didn't want anything from him..his stuff was tarnished with innocent blood as far as she was concerned..and she and Gran, with only the clothes they stood up in,  just turned round and walked away from the place for good.  

I've blogged this for Junior and her brothers.  


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