Marta Emma Kaethe Bettermann was born January 27, 1910. This story was written by Marta with commentary by her daughter and compiled for her as a Christmas gift in 1998, four years before she passed away.
My mother, Marta, is an extraordinary woman. She will soon be in her ninetieth year. When I think of adjectives to describe her life I think of faithful, hopeful, and courageous. In her early years in America she answered the call to record her family history. In her book of remembrance there are pages and pages of pedigree charts and family group sheets. In the back of her book are pages of her personal history, written in english, not her native tongue. As I read through this record I remember how hard she worked at improving her english and I am amazed how well she expresses herself.
My parents both born in Silesia, moved to Bavaria after their marriage. When I was eight years old my family moved back to Silesia. It was after World War I. I have two sisters and one brother. We all went to school in Rabishau where my father was born. My childhood was a very happy time. We didn't have the luxury we have today and in our vacation time from school we were very busy. We were gathering wild berries, mushrooms, potatoes, grains and wood. After finishing my school, I liked to learn a lot more things a young teenager should know. Sewing was very easy for me to learn, housekeeping and cooking as well. Later I had the opportunity to decorate women's hats and to create lamp shades.
Marta is a wonderful homemaker with tremendous organizational skill and the energy to finsh what she starts. She earned extra money with her professional sewing and I was especially blessed to have had a seamstress who could sew anything and who had a great sense of style. I remember our fall shopping trips to make new clothes for school. We would go to into the fabric stores and pick out patterns and material and within a few short weeks those clothes would be hanging in my closet.
My mother was a very respectable woman and a good friend who was able to sing and laugh with us. My father taught us to love nature and went with us hiking.
In 1931 we moved to Hirchberg because my father changed his workplace. There I met my future husband. We were two years together before we became married. In this time we enjoyed our life very much. We went dancing, swimming, skiing, ice skating, bike riding and more. On the 15th of April 1933 we became married in the evangelic church. Two years later I delivered my first son. Five years later, my second and one and a half years later my third son. Both were born during World War II. In this time I was very much alone with my three children because my husband was drafted and later in Russia. There he became wounded and landed in a hospital. His knee was shot and when he got released he came home with a stiff knee and walked with a stick. But there was no more need for him to go back to war. Now I wasn't scared so much any more because we were together again. And for this I was very thankful to my Father in Heaven. I must say I wasn't raised without religion because my mother taught us how to pray and we went to church, too.
Now my husband got an easy job to do in the city department. But the time of suffering just started. At the end of the war when the Russian soldiers came to our land, for us the security was gone. We didn't have any right to live. There was no more food enough so my husband had to go out to the country to find something for food, but he was always in danger. My boys could not go outside anymore. There was no school for my first son. We lived a while like prisoners and when the Russian government send the Polish police to our land nothing became better, because they started to throw out the families out of their homes and put some Poland people in. Fourteen days before all the people of Silesia were driven out we went under hard circumstances on our trip to West Germany.