Our trip into Kaliningrad yesterday was not exactly like going home because there are very few traces of Konigsberg intact. Most of the buildings are Soviet-era and are about 50 to 60 years old, all look very much alike and it appears that no one is responsible for their upkeep and maintenance. There are cracks in every foundation and stucco is falling off exterior walls. It is hard to imagine living in apartment buildings like these in downtown Kaliningrad.
We spent several hours exploring what is left of Konigsberg. Our first stop brought us to the neighbourhood where our mother lived and went to school. Her school and her brother's school are still standing and one is still a school and the other we believe is an apartment building.
The small walk up apartment building where her family lived has been replaced by one of the big ugly soviet apartment buildings. We found a couple of large chestnut trees that looked old enough to have been there in the mid-thirties so we gathered a few leaves for our scrap books and shed a lot of tears. Around the corner is a small park which had been a cemetery where our grandfather was buried during the war. He died thinking that our grandmother and mother had already perished; never knowing that they both made it out of east Germany alive. We collected some maple keys to bring back and scatter on our mom's grave.
We visited the Friedland Tor which is one of the few remaining gates that made up the fortress wall that at one time surrounded the city of konigsberg. It is now a museum and we had the luxury of touring around in private until a bus load of German tourists arrived. Hans and Klaus became instant celebrities having been born in konigsberg and they spent several glorious minutes enchanting the Germans.
To be continued. It's time to head out for today's tour to Klein Engelau and to follow part of the escape route.
buildingare soviet era