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Erika Maertens married into Neuhof on the Baltic Sea island Poel in 1936. After WWII the hamlet was disseized and the family must flee. Erika Maertens lived as a farmer in West Germany in the following years and reared six children. The wall then smashed her hopes of returning to Neuhof and she emigrated with her husband and their two youngest children to Brazil, where they ran a small farm. Erika Maertens' husband died as she was 76. After the German reunification her son-in-law repurchased parts of the old settlement. 81 year old Erika Maertens now returns to Poel.


list of dialogs

0 00 00 Photos
0 00 00 Comment
0 00 44 Title: Grandma Maertens
0 02 01 Flat
0 02 03 Grandma Maertens (Off):
Then I had the..I was more acquainted with plants, my spouse knew more about birds and here I watch and try to find out what sorts I see. That is a guaba, it's been gnawed at, hasn't it? I think it has. Guaba is a marvellous fruit but it is always full of critters ; as we say in Germany "there is no thornless rose" Brazilians say "there is no gaba without bichas", that is, without the little critters in it, I mean the worm, that's what we call'em, worm. Then come the birds, some birds eat the bichas and some eat the guaba, each gets what they need.

And were you afraid of going away?
0 02 59 Grandma Maertens :
0 03 00 Frage :
To Brazil?
0 03 02 Grandma Maertens :
I wasn't afraid of going to Brazil but going back here was out of the question as we'd certainly never have arrived alive. Who would have allowed us back, we'd been deported.
Some of the children were here, some there.
0 04 27 Field
0 04 27 Grandma Maertens :
…and we were with the youngest kids, after we had been torn apart we did not come together again as we were here on Neuhof, then we went over with the two, the others had already married here for a part, the first and the others were still at school and that's how we got apart and so are we today still, some remain there, some stayed here and I shall live and stay here again and will certainly not move over again.
0 07 10 Grandma Maertens :
There is always something on earth you haven't seen, even on Poel island.
0 07 49 Question:
Sorry, what was it like, I mean how long did you live here and when did you go away?

0 07 54 Grandma Maertens:
I came here in 1931 and we had to leave in 1945 at the end of october, then they chased us along with all the others who were living on the big farms. We started managing a farm in West Germany that had previously been a tree nursery and when the wall was built my husband said "so, he said, it now looks like we can give up any hopes of finding some means to get home." So over we went as far away as we could so that we wouldn't have to keep stuck in it and everything would remind us of it all the time. That's why we…, I lived over there for 26 years, such a long, long time.
0 08 58 the fields and the sea

0 09 13 Grandma Maertens:
Look, there is a bobeleta, a butterfly, a cabbage white. They ain't much good, go into cabbage. There used to be or still is cabbage at Poel tastes so good as they say, Poel girls and Poel cabbage are just as good, that's what they used to say. Of course people will tell all sorts of stories but this is such good soil that cabbage grew that large, you know.
0 10 25 Wolff-Jürgen:
0 10 26 Grandma Maertens:
Is it facelia?
0 10 28 Wolff-Jürgen :
Over here, is it?

0 10 30 Grandma Maertens :
Never seen it.
0 10 32 Wolff-Jürgen :
No, it is a novelty, undersown crops.
0 10 35 Grandma Maertens :
Undersown crops, do they plow'em in?
0 10 37 Wolff-Jürgen :
Yes, tis chaffed before it sows, you know.
0 10 39 Grandma Maertens :
Bevor es aussamt noch? Mmh.
Before it even sows? Hugh
0 10 45 Wolff-Jürgen:
That is for the set-aside land lest...
0 10 48 Grandma Maertens :
Awright, Ina needs it for the bees, don't she?
0 10 52 Wolff-Jürgen:
Yes, the bees like it, then colza is ready then this comes, that's good for the bees.
0 10 56 Grandma Maertens :
Aha, till now I had only heard the name of it, facelia they say, undersown crops, yeah and then it gets plowed in, nice as it is, it's a pity, isn't it? But if they have to do so… So I know at last what that is.
0 11 55 Garden
0 11 56 Grandma Maertens:
Wonder what our indoor riding hall will look like when tis completed, There'll be a big celebration, I take it. The whole island'll celebrate. Awright. But I 'm staying here now, I don't wanna go over again. Praps I'll get homesick and I'll stay over there, who knows? Anything may happen, who knows. But here if I can keep in good touch with the kids over there and with them it'll be fine, they can give a ring, they can give a ring.
0 12 50 Sea
0 12 53 Grandma Maertens :
As I was here in winter, there always were a couple of swans came each afternoon and when I was here they sailed up here without haste, you can't hear'em when they come gliding and then they come ashore over that quite shallow bank.