After his release from prison on 19th January 1941, August Landmesser worked as a foreman for the firm Püst, a haulage company. The firm had a branch at the Heinkel-Werke (factory) in Warnemünde, near Rostock, which is where he generally stayed.
In his letter of 2nd January 1971, Rudolf Landmesser wrote to Irene:
"During his stay in
Rostock, however, he was friendly with a Russian girl. That must have been
1943, because I can remember that he visited us with her at Wilhemlsallee 6,
in Blankenese, and we did not live there until after we had been bombed out
in March 1943.
She was a medical student at the Lomonossow University in Moscow, and as such had worked as a nurse in a Russian field hospital in the Ukraine.
When the Germans occupied the Ukraine a farmer made out she was his daughter, and under the false name of Sonya Pastschenko she was deported to Germany as an 'Ostarbeiterin' ( a person deported from the east to work as a labourer).
Here, she first worked as a household help and then as factory nurse in the Heinkel-Werke in Rostock, where she met your father. I don 't know anymore about her, either. My father tried to get in touch with her again by letter, but he didn't succeed (after 8th May 45)."
|At Easter 1943, August Landmesser and Sonya visited the Landmesser family in Blankenese near Hamburg. Sonya was to become Ingrid's and Irene's new mother. He also visited Ingrid and went to the Proskauer family to see Irene. It is the only meeting with her father that Irene can remember. They were able to play together, on their own, in the livingroom. When the father heard about the heavy bombing in Hamburg in July/August 1943, he drove his lorry to Hamburg in the hope of helping the children. He also visited the Landmesser family in Blankenese and described the terrible journey through bombed out Hamburg. The foster mother had already left Hamburg with Irene. He took Ingrid and the Graumanns with him to Rostock. When the grandmother saw that August lived in one small room in Rostock, she insisted on being driven straight back to Hamburg. The city was to be cordoned off.|
|August Landmesser and Sonya Pastschenko|
February 1944 the was drafted and sent to the front woth "Bewährunsbataillon
999", which was a particularly tough unit for very risky operations,
made up of ex-prisoners and "undesirables", who were ostensibly
given the chance to prove themselves. It was known that the majority of
them would not survive.
In May 1944 he wrote the following letter to Frieda, the grandmother, and her husband Ernst:
Sunday 7th May 1944
|The father was
reported missing and then declared 'dead'.
Irene never gave up hope that he might return.
She often stood on the railway bridge near Dammtor railway station and watched the trains.
Could he be one of the survivors?
She thought this explained why the Proskauers did not adopt her : they could not; the father might have come back.
In 1994 Irene saw that she had to bury her hopes. She found in Ingrid's papers the news from 6th November 1944, telling that he was reported missed, and, in the Guardian File, the letter of 4th June 1953 from her guardian, Herrn S.:
Translator's note: The Todt Organization was a semi-military governmental unit set up in 1938 for the purpose of constructing rnilitary installations and special highways suitable for arrnoured vehicles.
In the end, everybody knew that he was dead.