My Mutti (mom) was born in Prussia, Germany in 1943 during World War II. Nearly 70 years later, her and her siblings took the month of June to return to Prussia, now Poland, and see what was left of the home town they escaped.
Mutti has always repeated stories of fleeing the Russians. She would tell us how her family hopped a crowded train car heading for the North, her brother Horst surviving a fall off the train and loosing everything they owned in the war.
Though Mutti was only a small baby when she fled Prussia, her older brother and sister can remember stories of fishing with their Dad in lakes about 100 miles south of the Baltic Sea and playing on the steps of their apartment in a little village called Pisz, known as Johannisburg in 1945. The only remaining structure not damaged by bombs was the Town Hall that still stands beautiful today.
Not far from Pisz is the the port city of Danzig – today Gdańsk. Between 1920 and 1939 the city was considered a ‘free city’ or protected under the League of Nations from the powers of Germany, Russia and Poland. That all changed during WWII.
Today, Gdańsk belongs to Poland and is a gorgeous medieval seaside resort city with the largest brick church in the world.