Bitburg in 1953
An account of a military childhood in Bitburg, West Germany in the 1950s
My father was stationed in Bitburg in 1953. We went to a school on the base. I was in elementary school and I don’t remember if there was a high school. My mother would shop at the Commissary, and bring home big 5-gallon jars of mayonnaise and things because that is what was for sale there. We were not allowed to eat food from the Germans because it was not safe, or that is what we were told. Besides, the Germans were still recovering from the war and they needed their food for themselves. The Germans were very nice to us and we had a German maid, a gardener, and a nanny for me and my two brothers. We lived on the economy then because the base housing had not been built yet. My mother and her friends were part of a German-American women’s club that did social things and raised money for poor German children, orphans and other victims of the war. I don’t remember anyone ever talking about the war or how the Germans started it. Later when I learned the history of the war I was really shocked to find out that our German neighbors had been a part of such horrors. It did not fit with my memories of them as nice, hard-working, organized and civilized. To think that they had done those things, it still is shocking to me.