Our Escape

The von Wendoff manor in Breitenfelde, Naugard
Our escape on March 3, 1945, and the weeks before in February were exciting. A death sentence had been issued in Naugard for Paula von Wendorff, a Breitenfelde landowner, under very mysterious circumstances. Rumors still ersist, many years later, and have induced the youngest son, Dr. Gunter von Wendorff to ask questions. Here is what is known.
At the end of January 1945, Paula von Wendorff had taken her brother, Karl Buesing, and the child, Herrmann auhofer, across the Oder River on the train. Upon her return she tried to take her daughter in law, Gisela to the ancestral home of the Wendorffs, Naulin in Kreis Pyritz. This attempt failed because the Russian Army had already occupied the village.
Upon her return to Breitenfelde, she was arrested the following morning by a police officer from Daber. She was taken by horse and wagon to Naugard where she was put in prison. The death sentence was not immediately carried out and Paula von Wendorff was transferred to Gollnow. It was rumored that one of her 6 living sons had been killed in Stalingrad. There was a plea for mercy that was denied. There was no son of Paula’s in Pommern at the time. Shortly before the Russian Army invaded Gollnow, an official of the penitentiary helped Paula von Wendorff escape.
Because of her small stature, she fled on a child’s bicycle to the city of Schwerin, where she had been born. She went into hiding and the death sentence was never carried out. The evacuation order had been given about 10:30 a.m. and the Russians had taken Daber by 12:30 p.m. The entire manor personnel fled through the Kannenberger Forest. The farmers decided individually whether to flee Breitenfelde or to stay. About 60% decided to leave and 40% for different reasons, decided to stay. Most of those who fled went to Kreis Dithmarschen in Holstein.
Our family went to an uncle in Neuenkirchen near Greifswald. In the middle of May we returned, but we only went as far as Daber because the Germans in Breitenfelde had been expelled from their homes and were living in the manor granary. On June 26, 1945, our family went to Breitenfelde with people from Daber and Breitenfelde to resettle. In early July, after many things had been taken from us we exchanged horses and returned again to our uncle in euenkirchen near Greifswald. Many of the people from Breitenfelde settled near us. Twenty years would pass before I returned to Hinterpommern again, but that is another story.

By Georg Ehmke - Georg and Gerda Ehmke have resettled in Greifswald during 2006.