(above) Willi, my Papa standing in the doorway of his little factory behind our house.
My Papa was a Master metal-smith and fabricator. He was one of the very few individuals who owned his own company. Under the oppression within East Germany, nearly all people worked for the state. To give you an idea of how it was under the thumb of communism, let me provide some details of my Papa's work environment. There were severe restrictions placed on private companies. For example, we could not have a car. My Papa applied to get a car but the wait to receive one was extreme. He waited eight years after applying but died before the application was approved. We were not allowed to have a telephone for home or business. (However, in 1969, the Halle Post Office very much needed my Papa to build something but he told them he would only contract with them if he were allowed to have a telephone. He was immediately approved to have a telephone which improved his business and our lives greatly. Also, it was illegal for Papa to hire any helpers. he had to work alone. Lastly, the income tax was unbelievable. I'm not sure but I seem to recall my Papa was required to pay about 90% of his earnings to the state! Despite all of these handicaps, we were still able to maintain a higher standard of living than most people.
(below) Papa working in his shop.