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Dear Mrs. Toporski,
you may be surprised to receive news from a stranger. As the tenant of the Kronen Pharmacy, which had been demolished completely by fire, did I, after briefly fleeing, return to Fuerstenwalde, and was charged with safeguarding the remaining drugs in the Kurfuersten Pharmacy. Most of the wares had been removed, the rest had been trampled in the dirt on the ground. Two days later your dear husband also made an appearance, very agitated and deeply worried about his family. Unfortunately, your husband was already taken into custody the following day; he visited the pharmacy accompanied by Russian guards one more time and has not returned since. It was said that he passed away while being transported to the hospital in Mittenwalde. Unfortunately I have the sad duty to tell you further painful news. After the experiences with the marauding and plundering Russian Army, your mother felt that she could no longer endure this life and preferred to end her life at her own will, as well as her faithful servant Kube and his wife and many other people in Fuerstenwalde. They fare better than those who remain.

On the afternoon of April 22nd at 3:30, the Russians moved in. You cannot image how they tore the place apart. Had we believed what we heard on the radio about the occupation of Eastern Prussia, and acted accordingly, then maybe we could have been spared. But one was always thinking about propaganda, because I did not expect that such brute people existed. No one can put into words what we went through, even the minister for propaganda Goebbels coudl not have done that, it was so terrible.
5 days after the Russians got here and plundered everything, my father died. He was already in the final stages of disease, but he would have held on for a little longer, had there not been this much excitement. A totally drunk Russian was putting a gun to his head two days before he passed away, and wanted to shoot him. Had it not been for an officer who came to pull him out..., he would definitely have managed to shoot daddy. You can‘t imagine the kind of horror we went through. That same Russian also wanted to shoot me, because I did not want to go with him. Only because of my mother’s wishes to go with him rather than getting shot did I walk in front of his revolver. Can you believe that in that moment I would not have been afraid
of a weapon and would not have hesitated to shoot him if I had a weapon. But as it was I was just a helpless victim of a total drunk, and could only pray to my god that I would be released from the Russian’s violence alive. Can you believe that I must hate all people from that nation? I can‘t any other way...

As a final farewell note I want to tell you today that I am thinking of you until my final breath in deepest love. The poison I took 2 days ago, unfortunately did not have any effect; probably is was already too old. I am only endlessly weak and miserable from it. Today I am planning to slit my wrists; this will finally help .
Also of you, dear Kurt, have I been thinking in love, despite everything that happened in the past several months. I now want to express to you my final wish, which really only has all of your best at heart .
Don’t just try, but really do change. Don‘t alway want to dictate the others, but show your good wife and your truly lovely children real love and deep understanding.
Take my plea as it is meant from an honest mother’s heart, and act upon it, then everything can still turn out well for you.
I am writing without glasses. They are gone, much as everything alse of any value. We had really terrible days here. But it was supposed to also be bad in Saarow, so that I am fearing that you will not return home.
So, dearest children, take again my final love regards from your old, loving you very much
Mother and grandmother

Letters from 1945