V. Monarchy, war and inflation

German East Africa, Königsberg, 1913 to 1921

For one year, Fritz and Gertrud Radok wander through German East Africa. Fritz shoots an elephant and many other wild animals, trophies which will decorate his home in later years. Gertrud adopts the monkey August. Gertrud returns to Germany in the Spring of 1914 when she expects her first child Christoph. Fritz follows later. The outbreak of war in August 1914 finishes their dreams of an existence overseas.

Fritz Radok's war service documents

Like many other German men, Fritz volunteers for war service with burning national enthusiasm and serves for several months in Poland at the Russian front. A relapse of dysentery which he originally contracted in Russia leads to his discharge from the army. In the meantime, Gertrud and her son have returned to her parents' home at Gross Thierbach. After von Hindenburg's victory over the Russian army at Tannenberg in August 1914, vagabonds and deserters roam through the country side. Isolated farms are in danger; their owners are always on an alert. Hans Vageler almost shoots his son in law Fritz as he climbs in uniform, unshaven and unwashed, over the back fence to surprise Gertrud.

The monkey August provides the farm with lively entertainment through her original ideas and misdeeds. One day, she climbs the roof of the farm house with Marie's knitting basket and lets one ball of wool after another descend while holding on to the thread. When she starts to bite people, there remains no other choice for her but the zoo in Königsberg, where she soon dies from boredom and longing for her accustomed company.

The family also moves to Königsberg, where Fritz starts late in 1915 his life's work in the Railway Stock Building Company Steinfurt. At first, they live in an apartment at the corner of Schrötter Strasze and Hammerweg, then in a maisonnette on the Körte Boulevard in Amalienau. After Christoph, the first born, athlete and engineer, four more children arrive: in 1916, Uwe, the book-worm and scientist, in 1917, Jobst, the practical business man, in 1920, Rainer, the teller of this story, and in 1921 the long awaited daughter Gundula, mother of dolls and children. In this sequence, I become a contemporay on l8th February 1920. Some years later, I qualify to add my own experiences and opinions to what I have heard, seen, understood or read about. Fritz and Gertrud now become father and mother.

The difficult years of the war are followed by the confusion of the revolution and inflation. It appears that never again life will assume the free and easy style of the prewar years. Father is proud of his four sons, demonstrates his adherence to the imperial monarchy by displaying on national holidays from the loft of his mansion the imperial flag side by side with that of the Republic..He follows in his father's footsteps by assuming responsibilties in communal affairs. The citizen of the suburb of Amalienau form a civil guard which he joins immediately.One night, all the shös of the family disappear from the maisonnette's back steps. In father's eyes and in those of some others, he represents an old Königsberg family with all the duties and rights this fact implies. He believes in the importance of army service for maturing males and, may be, envisages already his sons as defenders of the fatherland and in the service of the revision of the for Germany and the world catastrophic Treaty of Versaille, which in the opinion of so many Germans can only occur through military means. Murders by rightist and paramilitary terrorists of Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Walter Rathenau, and many other more or less important individuals, a few of them Jews, are signals of the times to come which not many can or want to understand. The national sense is a blinker.