Some Moments from Sister Franziska´s Life. Part 5.


Sister Franziska with friends. Fasching celebration in the DDR

Sister Franziska, ex right. at a Fasching Party in the DDR in the late 1960s.

It’s the 24 June, 1964. Sister Franziska is now thirty two. She is waiting in a queue to cross the border into the DDR. It’s the hottest day of the year. She´s a little afraid of the border, but much more she´s afraid that she will faint before she gets there.

What anyone was allowed to take from West Germany into the old East was strictly controlled and limited. For that reason Sister Franziska and the other Sisters in Münster had thought it would be a good idea today as she set for her new life on the far side of the Wall, for her to wear one nun´s habit over another, and also two blouses, two underskirts, two coats….

“I´m going to die…” she whispered to herself as the queue shuffled forwards.

She tried…

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Some Moments from Sister Franziska`s Life. Part 4.


frances and girlfriends

Frances, second left and friends.

Its the end of the 1950s.

Perhaps she should get married? Maybe that would be a solution? Maybe that could be her future?

The red dress lay on the bed like an accusation, a reproach. Frances was deeply upset and confused. She walked restlessly around her bedroom.

Frances was now twenty six and the terrible years after the war were over. Wilhemina, her mother still needed to take washing in from other families in the village to make ends meet, and over the years all of her father´s carpentry tools had had to be sold, but the family had survived.

Frances has now worked for more than eight years in a hotel. She proved herself to be hardworking and reliable in the kitchen and serving at tables. She had of course learned to cook as a young girl from Wilhemina. But the boss, the daughter…

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Some Moments from Sister Franziska`s Life. Part Three


It was the terrible winter of 1945/46.

Sissy walked through the darkness. It was raining and she was walking through dirty snow that had already lain on the ground for several weeks. Every day for weeks now she had been looking for food, or to find work in exchange for food, from the farmers. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. She was fourteen.

In the first years after the death of her father, the army had tried to help and protect the family. Now there was no german army any more. Of the men who had survived only the old men were not in prison.

The family was only surviving from the food that Sissy could earn or beg. For a while her mother had taken in washing, but now no one in the village had any money, and there was, in any case, nothing to buy in the village shop.


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Some Moments from Sister Franziska´s life. Part Two.



Sister Franziska today in her flat in Berlin. Portrarit Katja Harbi.

Winter 1940

It is now two years since Hildegard did not return from the hospital and Sissy still misses her. But her father, Alois, talked for a long time with her and the other children about her friend and explained that she must now be happy in heaven with Jesus. Hadn´t he said after all,

“Let the children come to me. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to them?”

Whenever she was worried, woken in the night by the sound of the airplanes or when the only game that was played in the schoolyard was war, her father told her that everything would be all right, and because he said it, she believed him.

Although she was always ready to help others, Sissy was always strong willed and was never afraid to put her ideas into action. Whenever the…

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