Caritas, one in the West, the other in the East of the city. The ecclesiastical structures had never been properly divided in East Germany. Ms. Heidlauf gave me and my brother gifts of money (from the West!) and other small presents. She was annoyed when we children called her “Aunt Heidlauf” to thank her. She wished for the intimacy of “Aunt Gertrud”. She deserved a bit of gratitude, I thought, and headed off for what was for me at the time a dutiful family visit to an aunt. My mother and I took a bus on that grey December evening to an old, box-shaped modern building on Steglitzer Damm in Südende. The flat was ascetic; I remember a floor lamp from the forties and fifties – and the difficulties of communication due to hearing loss and old age. I saw her there for the last time. She later moved into a nursing home and died soon thereafter.
Aunt Gertrud is my personal connection to Südende.