Photo. Refugees waiting to be admitted to the Marienfelde Refugee Center, August 14, 1961
© DHM-Schirner

January 2012

A single cufflink as memento

Cuff button
The matching piece to this silver cufflink, decorated with Asian writing, was lost during the Nieske family’s flight in February 1953.

After Hans and Christa Nieske’s marriage in 1949, they worked together on a farm in Zernin (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). The GDR began collectivizing agriculture on the Soviet model in the 1950s. Due to strong political pressure, the last family farms had given up individual production by 1960. In February 1953, Hans and Christa Nieske left behind their fully-equipped farm and fled with their two-year-old son to the West. The young family celebrated their first Christmas in the West with Christa’s parents and sister, who fled to the West in December 1951.