How did Martha Locke Cammack die

Berlin : Martha Fleischhammel (born 1909)

She put on the pearl necklace, brushed a silver lock from her face and stepped out of the cabin into the narrow corridor in which her grandson was already standing. "But we don't gamble away more than 50 marks," she said, and Jakob offered her his arm and nodded. “Yes, Martha, 50 at most.” First they sat down in the dining room of the cruise ship going to Oslo, had a bite to eat and then made their way to the casino. But they were too early. The croupier's lady let her in anyway, thinking that Martha recognized this beyond any doubt by the way she laboriously bent her mouth into a smile: "I'll pull grandma across the table." Martha was even great-grandmother, she was over 90 years old old - but she wouldn't let that goat fool her, that would be even nicer, nothing and no one had gotten her down for a lifetime.

She took a seat at the roulette table and put 30 marks on the twelve. The ball rolled. "Rien ne va plus," chirped the goat, the ball stumbled - and fell into the twelve. Martha quickly calculated 35 times 30 and stacked the chips in three towers: one to continue playing, one for the champagne afterwards, one for travel expenses.

For a few years her name had been Kühn, like her first husband. Back when she was still young and didn't want to go to a dance with one of the boobies from her Silesian village, the Kühn brothers came over from town and she fell in love with one of them, went with him and 10,000 Reichsmarks with her father in their pocket to Golm, where they set up a nursery and planted cauliflower on a huge field. But it wasn't raining. The plants withered, and so did marriage. Her father came from the Silesian village and brought his child, who meanwhile had one of its own.

The name of the second husband - Martha had meanwhile gone to Berlin, worked as a secretary and had married again - lacked any charm. The name and character of Erwin Fleischhammel coincided in an amazing way. He beat, he sniffed, he sent the children to collect cigarette butts that the American soldiers had thrown on the ground, half-smoked. But it was no different for other children, their fathers also had to kill in this war, they had images in their heads that should definitely not come out, and a little toughness, the people said, never hurts.

Martha, however, was allowed to serve the food to the Americans, who discovered that Erwin Fleischhammel was a communist and dismissed them: who knows what the women of this red rabble were up to. She found work at Siemens on the assembly line, that didn't bother her, the economic boom now cheered people up. They bought a car, took a sailboat across the Wannsee, booked trips to warm countries, from which they sent colorful postcards to their relatives. Only Annette, the daughter, could not find joy in the flourishing consumer society. She still heard the roar of the bombers and the infernal noises of the impacts, painted somber pictures, read Dostoevsky and then gave up, at 18, when love became torture too. Martha found her, smelled the gas downstairs in the hall, ran up the stairs, threw open the door, too late.

Erwin Fleischhammel died a few years later.

For the second time she was standing in front of a grave in the Dahlem forest cemetery, but life did not end. She went dancing and to the movies, drove in a purple coat and a smart hat on to the east where her son lived, bought Rolling Stones records and jeans for her grandchildren, and put an ad in the newspaper.

A butcher, fate was obviously in the mood for jokes, answered. He smoked chain, he drank, he had a lot of debts and was 20 years younger than Martha, but nobody noticed. She busily took care of everything, planning vacations, getting his papers in order, maneuvering him out of his debt problems and rationing the alcohol while he obediently shuffled after her. When he developed cancer she cared for him and he actually recovered, continued to drink and smoke vigorously, and died from them a few years later. For the third time Martha ran to the forest cemetery in Dahlem.

And there were still 20 years ahead of her. She flew, now alone, to Spain and Portugal. She became a great-grandmother. She invited the family to the restaurant. Every Christmas she baked Silesian poppy seed dumplings. She got sick and recovered. She kept her mind as clear as glass. She sat in her armchair and listened to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they talked about new loves and broken hearts and said: "It was all there, it will all pass again."

Martha died on February 14th, at the age of 103, three months before her 104th birthday. Her grave is in Dahlem on the forest cemetery. Tatjana Wulfert

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