She hoped for a happier and more carefree life. When Hanna M. packed her things to move to Germany, she also had a good deal of courage with her. Hanna M. was 30 at the time. She had already had her daughter Lena when she was 20 and wanted to start over again. She was curious and also in love when she dared to move from Poland to Munich. Lena was nine years old. She would learn German, thought Hanna M., and she would probably do it too. Lena now speaks German perfectly, but it wasn’t easy for the girl. At first she had to attend a transition class because she couldn’t understand a word in the new Munich school. Only after a year in Sendling did she start attending the elementary school near her home. She learned quickly, but school wasn’t the problem.
The problem was mom’s new husband. At first, says Hanna M., everything was fine. They knew each other from Poland and she trusted him. She soon found work in a company canteen through a temporary employment agency. Financially she was doing better now than in her old homeland. Her colleagues were nice to her. But the partner changed. He became violent, especially when drunk. “He was brutal,” says Hanna M. She was afraid of him. And she was afraid of losing everything. The rental agreement for the apartment was in his name. Where should she move to in a city where there is hardly any affordable housing? Back to Poland? Tear Lena out of school again? Hanna M. gritted her teeth when he hit her. She hid the bruises.
But once he hit her in the stomach so hard that she had to go to the hospital. Her spleen was ruptured. She almost bled to death. But she didn’t report the man this time either. The doctors suspiciously asked what had happened to her. And she rambled something about a bicycle accident. She was terrified of her boyfriend and was glad that she was believed.
He no longer lives in Germany, says Hanna M., which is why she dares to tell her story. But not with her real name. She took out loans with this name. For him. She’s still paying it off. At some point she quickly gathered what she needed and fled with her daughter. A friend helped her, she says. The two lived in a clearing house for two years and hoped to get their own apartment. They have them now. A social apartment with a view of the countryside. Hanna M. and her daughter feel comfortable in this home.
A long vertical scar divides her torso
“It’s over,” says the blonde, petite woman. She repeats this sentence as if she still can’t believe it. She sits in her kitchen-living room, speaks quickly and erratically. Her blue eyes are as big as marbles. She wanted to see a little more of the world with them. Now, she says, she is almost always at home after work. At the moment she can only go to the company part-time. She can’t manage any more, she has gout and thrombosis in her leg and she can’t stand for much longer. “I love my work,” she says. Preparing salads, running the dishwashers, there’s a lot to do. Then Hanna M. lifts up her sweater. A long vertical scar divides her upper body, which she retained from the ruptured spleen. In May she was in the intensive care unit again. Again her life was in danger. This time because of a pulmonary embolism.
The two women work, but they cannot afford to make big leaps in their income. Lena would like to get her driving license and actually she would also like to start training. And her mother urgently needs an orthopedic mattress. She also wants some furniture. A sofa, an armchair. The small kitchenette could also use an upper cupboard.
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