Learning How to Walk

Mother’s Day 1925 – I, Hermann Max Gerhard, entered this world just two days before Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, second President of the Weimar Republic, was sworn into office. I was the fourth child born to my parents Ida and Max, and my sisters, Hilde, Hanni, and Gretel, got a baby brother to love and to spoil.

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Mother’s Day 1925 – I, Hermann Max Gerhard, entered this world just two days before Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, second President of the Weimar Republic, was sworn into office. I was the fourth child born to my parents Ida and Max, and my sisters, Hilde, Hanni, and Gretel, got a baby brother to love and to spoil. Germany was locked in the throes of depression, unemployment and political unrest, and it must have been very difficult for my parents to have another mouth to feed. It must have been equally hard on them to lose a child so soon after a new one was born, for my sister Gretel died of pneumonia the day before Christmas, 1926. I do not even remember her. Tragedy and hardship came quickly. I had not yet reached the age of five when my mother passed away in April 1930. I can almost remember that far back. I recollect the ‘fun ride’ in a coach drawn by black horses and my sisters sitting next to me holding hands. Another coach ahead of us carried my mother’s casket to the cemetery of Paunsdorf, a suburb of the city of Leipzig, Saxony. I do not think that I was even aware that I would never see her again nor feel her warm embrace.