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Friday, 27 May 2016

Helene Bruun's diary 1874

Christine's, Renate's and my great-great-grandfather, Eduard Justus Thode, had a niece called Helene Bruun.  Helene's German mother had married a merchant from Finland, and Helene grew up there.  In the summer of 1874, she visited Germany with her sisters and mother.  While here, she wrote a diary.  The diary is full of things she did in Dresden.  She mentions, for instance, going to the deaconry, which I wrote about in a recent blog post.  She also mentions listening to a service by a Lutheran priest called Mayer in the Frauenkirche.

In the diary, Helene, aged just 13 in 1874, talks of a walk she did one day with her cousin, my great-grandfather, Felix Thode, as well as his brothers, Justus and Alfed.  They started walking from the boys' home in the suburb of Strehlen at half past 9.  They went first to Schmetterlingsjagd, and a short time later, they crossed the vastness of the Grosser Garten, Dresden's answer to London's Hyde Park or New York's Central Park.  From there, the four cousins went via Gruna, and headed on to Blasewitz where, according to the diary, they had 'Kuchen und Eis' (cake and ice cream) in a Conditorei.  They then went strolling along the banks of the Elbe and headed home.  They made it back to Strehlen by a quarter to four.  Depending on the exact route taken, theirs was a walk of at least a half dozen kilometres.
An intersection in the Dresden suburb of Strehlen, where my great-grandfather, Felix Thode, lived with his parents and siblings as a child.  When he was 10 years old in 1874, his cousin Helene came to Dresden, and together with his brothers, they went for a walk through Dresden, starting from his home.
In 'Altstrehlen', or an older part of the suburb.
This is the Carolasee (Carola Lake) in the south-eastern corner of the Grosser Garten, or Great Garden, near the Carolaschloesschen.
in the middle of the Grosser Garten is this castle built by one of Dresden's most famous characters, August the Strong.
The castle built by August the Strong (August der Starker).  Helene (13), Felix (10) Justus (15) and Alfred (13) may have passed this castle during their walk that summer day in August 1874.
The four cousins may have walked along a path such as this one in the Grosser Garten.
Many kilometres later, the four walkers reached Blasewitz, by the banks of the Elbe, just across the river from Loschwitz, where other Thode relatives lived.  At Blasewitz, cakes and ice cream were ordered in a Conditorei.
After the Blasewitz refreshments, the cousins proceeded along the Elbe for a while, and headed back to Strehlen.  Along the way, according to Helene Bruun's diary, the youngsters spent a lot of time trying to catch butterflies.  They had been away for a little over six hours.
The Christuskirche in Strehlen.  The suburb was flattened during the bombing of Dresden on the night of 13-14 February 1945.  The house my ancestors lived in no longer exists, and the street name has also changed.

In an old part of Strehlen

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