Berlin – An accordion player who got infected from her husband, a Slavist who loved to travel, and a carpenter from the Harz region – they fell victim to the pandemic.
Gudrun Borries (1944–2020)
No matter what Gudrun Borries did – it had to be full of passion, and not just on holidays. Borries, born in Guben near the Polish border in 1944 and later moved to West Berlin, always drew on abundant resources. She played the accordion and was an entertainer with body and soul. At family celebrations and at all the clubs and institutions for the disabled in which she was active. “My mother liked people who are unusual, like herself, and conspicuous,” says Stephan Antczack, for example the Korean woman with walking disabilities in the “Theater of the Crazy”, which he founded.
His father’s name is Achim, he was Gudrun’s great love, they had three children together. The separation from him almost became her undoing. She started drinking but made it back to life with detox and weaning therapy, and she also found a new job. Actually, she had always dreamed of becoming a children’s nurse, but at first she couldn’t find an apprenticeship, then her parents were against it. So she got to know a saleswoman and found a job at KaDeWe, the “Kaufhaus des Westens”, smoked goods department, from where she always came home with new stories. Because she served Wolfgang Menge from the program “Drei nach Neun” or sold “her” Mayor Klaus Wowereit smoked salmon and Schillerlocken. But she wasn’t really happy with it: always with her hands in the ice, always on the fish, says her son. “And of course the smell was on the train after work. As a child I was sometimes very embarrassed. “
That’s why Gudrun Borries got to know Heinz at the KaDeWe, who was selling washing machines next door. Heinz came from the GDR, where he had spent five years in jail for espionage. Because he was no longer allowed to go over, Borries often drove across the border and looked after his mother. Heinz died in 1987 after a few years of partnership and too much alcohol. Borries went to rehab again and remembered her beliefs. She joined the Catholic abstinence organization, the “Kreuzbund”, and met Hans there, the man with whom she spent her life until the end – dry and no less hungry for life. The two attended concerts by their youth hero Peter Kraus and organized large celebrations. She continued to make music, at home or in the Teltow Deaconess House for her grandson Lewin, where everyone only knew and loved her as “Grandma”.
Few can love as shamelessly as this woman.
Son of Gudrun Borries
In general, it was always a challenge when you wanted to speak to her, says Stephan Antczack: “You always had to queue for her.” Especially since there were two phone appointments a day with her sister Christel – the two were close for life connected, they loved and quarreled. Above all, however, his mother was able to love, says her son: “She was a grand master at showing her love, a role model for all of us. Few can love as outrageously as this woman. “
Borries lived in Marienfelde and loved her garden in the Neukölln colony “Wilde Rose”. In summer she always had cherries, currants and gooseberries. Sometimes Borries visited the children and grandchildren, but last year she did something that didn’t really suit her: she stayed at home a lot, didn’t even go shopping. Corona scared her. But her husband Hans was susceptible to illness. He had frequent doctor’s appointments, and in early December he ended up in the hospital for a bowel history, where he was routinely tested. When the positive result came, Borries panicked: What should she do if Hans didn’t survive the virus and leave her alone? But in the end everything turned out differently. Borries had long since contracted her husband. Five days after Hans, it was his birthday, she was admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath. Three days later, she texted her son an emoji with an onion. “Onions are the roots of a plant, their origin,” says Antczack. “But they are also underground.” Then he knew that his mother would not stay much longer.
The staff at the Auguste Viktoria Hospital in Schöneberg gave her and her family a memorable extension. On December 14, 2020, Gudrun Borries was in bed, only ventilated through a tube. Her son held the left hand, one daughter the right, the second daughter stood at the foot of the bed. The sister from the late shift entered the room: time to say goodbye. Half an hour later, at 2:35 p.m., she was back, turned to the patient, removed infusions and syringes and switched off the ventilation. Their children stood by and sang “It takes little to be happy”. With tears in the eyes. But that’s how she would have liked it.
Martin Bevernis (1931–2021)
Actually, Martin Bevernis should have sat with Günter Jauch once. Because when you sat in front of the television with him and saw “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, he always knew all the answers, even from the most impossible areas, regardless of whether geography or acting – there was only a problem with sports knowledge, says his daughter Claudia. But he wouldn’t have had the nerve for a TV show, she says: to access this knowledge in front of an audience under time pressure. It was much better for a small group. At family celebrations, Martin Bevernis was rather the calm, level-headed one. Anyone who got into conversation with him later went home enriched. “He had a tremendous amount of general knowledge,” says his daughter. Because her father loved reading, until the end he had subscribed to a whole series of newspapers, he read specialist books in the original language, geographical and historical treatises, for a while he absorbed the knowledge of entire lexicon series. He loved history, but above all the language. Languages were his passion. The studied Slavist spoke Polish, French, English and taught Russian at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall – which he almost did not survive: Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he suffered a heart attack. But he was a stand-up man. He always fought his way out again. ”That also applied to his job. After the fall of the Wall, Russian was suddenly no longer needed, wanted, the Slavic Studies section shrank to a small core and Bevernis lost his job as a university lecturer.
But while some of his unemployed colleagues fell into depression, Bevernis had long since found a new job. He worked for the examination office and interpreted for tour groups who came to Berlin from Russia. And finally he was able to travel to countries that he had only read about before: Bevernis was fascinated by foreign countries and cultures.
He made a lot of trips in his car – another passion of his. In his mid-80s he drove as far as Tyrol in his Audi, he was fascinated by the region, the castles and palaces. And the mountains – to him, who actually came from the coast, from Stralsund. Until the end he was proud to be able to switch to Low German at any time, and it saddened him that hardly anyone in his old homeland understood him anymore because the younger generation did not use their dialect.
Until the end, even after a second heart attack, Martin Bevernis kept his zest for life, was always on the go, always had new ideas, was always open to new things. There was already a bit of resistance to modern technology when she gave him a computer and a smartphone when she was over 80, says his daughter. But before long he was online more often than she was, reading the news, researching his next travel plans. He opened a family chat on WhatsApp, messages and pictures were sent to each other. “When we were out, he always went with us in his mind,” says Claudia. “When we were once in South Tyrol at Juval Castle, which the mountaineer Reinhold Messner discovered, I had the feeling that he was about to materialize here next to us.”
And then this actually quite harmless accident. Martin Bevernis was on his way to bed; he stumbled, bent over, broke his ankle. Little did she know when his wife got the ambulance that her husband, to whom she had been married since 1957, would never come back. Just a few days after the operation, Martin Bevernis was fine again, he was already looking forward to the rehab, and at the age of 89 he had quickly recovered from the operation. But for the change of station he had to do a routine test – and it was positive. Instead of going to rehab, he ended up in the isolation ward. He lay there alone in a room, isolated, visitors forbidden. His wife, daughter, and granddaughters called him every day. But Bevernis’ condition deteriorated rapidly, he was transferred to the intensive care unit. His relatives were allowed to leave things for him at the reception, but they were not allowed to see each other. Not even when it became clear that he wouldn’t have much time left. Martin Bevernis died on January 19, 2021. Sadly, he was part of a new record: 1,734 people died that day in Germany with or from Corona.
Eberhard Krumbügel (1934-2021)
If someone asked where great-grandpa, grandpa or dad is, the answer was: He’s in the basement doing something. Eberhard Krumbügel will be remembered as someone who thought little of putting his hands on his lap. Even after he was long retired, he, the carpenter, teacher and handball player, still made a lot with his hands. It is said that many of the bird houses in Wernigerode made his hands. These were his specialty, he liked to give them away.
Eberhard was born in November 1934, the third of four siblings. He told the grandchildren about the Hitler Youth, about the war and the hunger afterwards. His family is one of those who were separated by the construction of the wall. The younger sister and the oldest brother moved to Bonn and Reutlingen, where they built up a family. Eberhardt and his younger brother stayed in Wernigerode and Quedlinburg. The western parcels remained connected, the brother sent for a birthday, the sister sent for Christmas. Tchibo and Milka.
Where’s grandpa “Here at work.” He said that often and it showed that he really always had something to do. He switched from the workbench to the school desk and taught crafts and sports, both subjects that he was passionate about himself. He played field handball, was once a district champion in swimming – and at some point discovered and trained Norbert Hahn, who was GDR Olympic champion in tobogganing in 1976 and 1980.
Eberhard Krumbügel spent his everyday life with his wife Bärbel, with their two children, their four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He only knows the fourth in his granddaughter’s pregnant belly. It was important to her to visit him again. He was already in the home in Berlin. He saw the granddaughter in her wedding dress in June, in the Corona summer. So the grandpa was a guest at this family celebration.
The family brought him to the home in Berlin-Hellersdorf in February 2020 so that he could be closer to his relatives. There were always restrictions on who could come when and for how long. His family followed the rules and visited him frequently. Then in December the first big outbreak came into the home and no one was allowed inside. When he became infected with the corona virus, Eberhard Krumbügel came to the hospital and was already sore. There was always a comb in his pocket, and shortly before his death this comb lovingly brushed his hair. He died on January 7th. The funeral will be rescheduled if at least 50 people are allowed to meet.