July 24th 2018
Traveled to Hoyerswerda which is in the former East Germany. Getting there on the Autobahn was different – going 90 MPH in the slow lane and a BMW zooms by like I was standing still. Becky’s contact was a distant cousin who grew up during WW2 in a town that was right on the east-west border. His story was very interesting. Not that I could talk to him. I speak no German and he speaks no English. It was a good thing that Becky had 4 years of German in High School. He remembers things such as his mother telling him growing up that Hitler was good for Germany before they went to war. While Becky’s contact now lives in Hoyerswerda, he grew up in a small town just 12 miles from Coburg. Because Coburg was on the Western side of the border and his town was in the Eastern side the result was that he was cut off from relatives. In the 50’s Hoyerswerda had a population of about 7,000 in the 70’s and 80s’ it grew to 70,000 as there was local coal mining. As the mines have moved farther away the the population has dropped to 30,000. While Hoyerswerda is an old town, most of the building are all from the 1950’s or newer as everything was destroyed during WW2. Street names are listed in both German and Polish. We visited the old town and learned that most of the population is located in the new town area, high rise apartment blocks built during the Soviet era. There had been some sort of local celebration which was the reason for umbrella hung between the buildings in the central area of the old town.