It was another beautiful crisp, clear day, in what has always been considered picturesque Überlingen. The village was internationally known for its traditional beauty and was a popular vacation destination long before the war. As usual, there was just a hint of a breeze off the brilliantly blue lake and I could understand why so many Germans would come here for their urlaub or vacation. Having a little money left over from the last check sent by Mina, I found a nice room for the three of us, overlooking the lake at a classy resort hotel. For the next two days we lived quite comfortably in our new surroundings. In fact we even enjoyed a real hot bath, something that I had almost forgotten. As I soaked in the warm, sudsy water I could hear my children laughing and giggling in the next room, and longed for a time when the world would be at peace again. During the day we walked along the shore of the beautiful Bodensee, but in the back of my mind, I knew that this was nothing more than a horrible illusion and couldn’t last; besides I had to find work. In reality, the children and I would have to settle in somewhere so that we could find some sort of stability. It was also important that they enroll in a school again.
That “somewhere” turned out to be a room in a house owned by two old ladies who took in boarders. The old house faced the railroad station and was quaint in the old world style. It fit right into the picture postcard appearance of romantic Überlingen. Erika, the younger of the two ladies, was very kind and helpful to me. There were also two other tenants, Mr. and Mrs. Koestoll. He was German and she seemed to be what could be considered a typical French housewife, who devoted her life to her German husband. Herr Koestoll, was old and feeble and they sustained themselves on a very small pension. In fact it was so bad that he couldn’t even afford shoes. However their happiness didn’t seem to depend on money. I grew very fond of them for the short time that we knew each other.
Photo Caption: Bad Hotel Überlingen
Captain Hank Bracker, who served with the U.S. Military Intelligence Corps, is the author of the multi-award winning book, “The Exciting Story of Cuba” has now written “Suppressed I Rise.” This book is for anyone interested in a very personal human view, of the history of World War II. A mother’s attempt to protect and raise her two young daughters in hostile NAZI Germany challenges her sensibilities and resourcefulness. Both books will be at the NYC Book Exhibit this summer and are available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and many Independent Book Shops.