Settling Down in Munich, ...Almost

After the first experiences in a Research Institute and in the industry, Rodenstock represented the opportunity for a steady and solid career and family life, because all our relatives lived in the neighborhood of Munich and Landshut , about  60 km far from Munich. The family owned company was the market leader in Germany and had an excellent reputation. The organizational structure was flat, ensuring a good teamwork and information exchange. Particularly my relations to Günther Guilino and the other senior people of the development department were excellent. So after one year my wife and I decided to stay in Munich and to set an end to our previous itinerant life. We built  a splendid Bavarian house  in Pischelsdorf about 35 km North of Munich. On the ground-floor  walls  made of brick there was a wood construction for the first floor. Entering the house the living and dining room were on a slightly higher level and covered with dark-red tiles contrasting with the golden brown of the wooden beams of the roof. Living and dining room with lead glass windows were separated by a tiled stove. To start our daily work in time we had to get up at about 5 am in the morning to take the commuter train. Bärbel was working in the international marketing department of a Munich pharmaceutical company Klinge. Often in the evening and almost every weekend we played tennis at the Tennis Club Jetzendorf. Here Bärbel developed her tennis career. She had a great talent for motion and was mentally strong in difficult match situations. So she became the number 1 female player of the club  and won several smaller tournaments. Even if I was a relatively technically gifted soccer player I was not talented for tennis. I played with big enthousiasm and ambition but by the second tour I was knocked out of the tournaments.

At that time Bärbels parents lived at Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich. Both were born in Bohemia, Austria, Franz Otto Burian in 1896 and Berta Burian, née Leis , in 1908. From 1918 on Bohemia was part of the Czech Sudetenland . Franz Otto was agronomist and managed the agricultural estates of Austrian noblemen. In  1945/1946 when the Sudeten-Germans had been expulsed,  Franz Otto and Berta Burian and their daughters Bärbel and Helga settled near Munich where Franz Otto became administrator of the big estate of the psychiatric clinic Haar. In 1979 Franz Otto Burian died and we asked Bärbel’s mother, Berta, to live with us in our new home. The house was relatively  big , so she could live in two rooms and we had a harmonious family life. She was a very warmhearted person and  supported us, when we lost a big amount of money through the fraud of our financial advisor. When we discussed the situation that I possibly would leave Rodenstock and so the Bavarian region it became clear that Berta would not move with us. Her other daughter Helga and her family lived near Munich and at an age of nearly 75 she did not want to leave the area, where she had lived  for about 40 years after World-War II. This fact was certainly the most difficult point when taking my decision to terminate my contract with Rodenstock.

Berta rented a separate apartment in a retirement home in Munich and lived there until her death in the year 1996. We visited her regularly there and we could see that she was well integrated in the community and had many social contacts. I think if she would have come with us to France she would have been too isolated , particularly as she did not speak French.