Getting on with it

“Women in Berlin just wanted to get life back to some semblance of normality. The most common sight in Berlin became the Trümmerfrauen, the ‘rubble women’, forming human chains with buckets to clear smashed buildings and salvage bricks. Many of the German men left in the city were either in hiding or had collapsed with psychosomatic illnesses as soon as the fighting was over. Like most working parties, the women were paid at first in little more than handfuls of potatoes, yet the Berliner sense of humour did not fail. Every district was renamed. Charlottenburg had become ‘Klamottenberg’, which means ‘heap of rubbish’, Steglitz became ‘steht nichts’—‘nothing is standing’—and Lichterfelde became ‘Trichterfelde’—‘the field of craters’. To a large degree this was an outward courage masking resignation and quiet despair. ‘People were living with their fate,’ remarked one young Berliner.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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