Königsberg and Nidden, 1965
At the beginning of 1947, our parents and Gundula come via Panama on a cargo vessel, a few months later Christoph and his son Uwe on an immigrant transporter from Germany to Melbourne. The unexpected has occurred by the entire family being rejoined at one location, much changed by experiences and additions, and with much less coherence
During the ensuing years, I work in Australia, study in England, translate mathematical Russian books and migrate 1955 with Torchie and our daughters Katharine and Stephanie to the USA.. At the beginning of the Sixties, we move on to Vienna, where I attempt on behalf of an American publisher to find manuscripts in the East, In 1963, we return to Australia. I am to teach mathematics at the University of Adelaide
In 1965, I am invited by the President of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Nikolai Ivanovich Muskhelishvili, whose book I tanslated in 1948 into English for three months to his country. Thus, for Torchie and me, the doors to Kaliningrad (Königsberg) and Nida. (Nidden). , which have been sealed since 20 years, are thrown open.
This acme of our visit in Russia comes in November, as already snow falls. Accompanied by my friend Gleb Konstantinovich Mikhailov, we fly to Kaliningrad. About two hours after leaving Moscow the plane glides over the Kurische Haff and lands on a former military airfield near the road to Cranz. Underway into town, standing in a fully loaded bus, I recognize Quednau and then the Oberteich in Maraunenhof. The bus stops in front of the Nordbahnhof with a monument of Lenin .
When we cannot find a taxi, I explain to Gleb that a friend in Moscow had described to me the location of the only hotel and that it is not far away. We walk with our light baggage along the Hufen Boulevard past the familiar auerochs in front of the former Court of Justice to the monument of Schiller in front of the theatre with a Russian style annex in front. Opposite the Hufengymnasium, my former school, and the entrance to the Zoological Garden, where the Gluckstreet and Hufen Boulevard converge, we find the Hotel Moscow in what was formerly a block of flats.
During the next days, we visit the totally destroyed centre of the city with the Island Kneiphof, where only the ruin of the cathedral with the monument of Immanuel Kant and the Stock Exchange, now under reconstruction, survived. Next to the Kant Monument, I discover to my great surprise a plaque, which explains in Russian that the monument was designed by the German architect Friedrich Lahrs, who once upon a time made aquarells of all the children of the Radok family. We then stroll aound the ruin of the castle to the Castle Pond and to the University with the Capitulastion Monument. Next, we pass the ruin of the Loebenicht School, in which I concluded my school education, as a quite familiar tram passed, which possibly was still built by Steinfurt, on the way to the ruin of the Stock Exchange with the lions, which I recognized in the Georgian Film "The Father of the Soldier", which we were shown a few weeks before in Tbilisi. .
Naturally, I am more familiar with the region near the hotel, the suburbs Hufen and Amalienau , where I grew up. From the first floor of my school, I look into the enclosures of the zoo, which still contain deers. We follow the unchanged Hufen Boulevard to the Hammer Lane and the Lawsker Road which seems to be very small and has become a one-way street. I enjoy the much taller trees, which overgrow generously and curingly the general surroundings.
As we reach our Ottokar Street, I see immediately the fence of our garden with its brick pylons. A new house stands on the same foundations and the stable is gone. Only the two lime trees and the American oak are awaiting me. While I take a good look around, Torchie collects acorns.
We continue to walk across the now treeless Körte Boulevard with its horse riding track to the Regenten Street with the Jewish home for the aged to the Twin Ponds with the restaurant Alte Hammerschmiede.
When we come to the Hammer Lane, I see that the apartment buildings reaching to the Hagen Street have been preserved.
At the Fürsten Pond and the aquaduct Landgraben I realize that for me my coming home is more related to Nature than Man's works.
The two hours drive to Nida through Cranz and over the now asphalted Post Road brings at dawn after the village Sarkau a first meeting with the naked dunes. We stop for a few minutes at Rossitten's narrow jetty, which reaches far out into the frozen lagoon and from the end of which I look across to the heath, where formerly was the Gliding School.
As the Sun rises, the brilliantly yellow autumn leaves of the slender, white-stemmed birches radiate in the mixed forest between the dark green firs and already leafless alders.
We leave the car on Nidden's main road and start a forced stroll, in which Torchie and Gleb participate without complaints. We visit the church without windows on its hill, covered by high trees and the church yard with wooden crosses, one of which bears the family name Englien of my friend Nurmi. We walk past the neatlittle house of the photographer Isenfels and descend along the path, which on every Sunday Purwin's well dressed fishermen and their women used, to the almost unchanged Hotel Hermann Blode. and the road leading to Purwin.
Our next goal is the Baltic Sea, which we try to reach via the Blode Path until an armed patrol sends us back. We then climb the elevated Snake Mountain along a narrow path between dwarf firs and enjoy the view along the Nehrung to Schwarzort and to the waves of the Baltic sea
After a brief visit to Nidden's "Italy View" without its solo fir tree and to the Thomas Mann House, the construction of which I watched in 1932, we stroll through the village to the beach of the lagoon with a view at the wandering dunes. Torchie returns to the car and will meet us at the foot of the highest dune, while Gleb and I walk along the lagoon to the dunes. On climbing the first steep dune, we have a last view of Nidden . We descend to the Valley of Silence and then reach the summit of Nidden's High Dune, from which I take a unique photo of a creation of frost, sand and snow and the ice-covered lagoon.