Friday, April 15, 2016

Martha Fritz

Martha Fritz
Ostern 1954
 (Easter 1954) 
I first met Mrs Fritz in 1988.  She was lying in a hospital bed in Dandenong; paralysed after having a stroke.

Martha Riedl was born at Atzenbach, Lorrach, Germany on 30th June 1931.  She was the 5th of 10 children of Karl Riedl and Maria Theresia Kummer (7 girls and 3 boys).

Martha worked as a waitress and cook at a restaurant cafe, which is where she met her future husband.  Mrs Fritz remembered how nice Mr Fritz looked in his "uniform".  He would keep going back as she was such a good cook. He said that she made the best "Forelle" (Trout) and Käsekuchen (Cheesecake).

Mrs Fritz did not like to talk about war time at all.  If I asked a question about the war or Germany, she would always change the subject.  The only story that I heard her tell was of bombers coming through the valley where they lived and her mother would gather the children around the chimney during bombings as it was the strongest part of the house!

Atzenbach 2006
A lady told us that the Riedl home was on the left where the cars are.

Mr Fritz told the story about the first time that he met Martha's parent.  He could not understand the conversation. "It was like walking into a house of martians!"  The German dialect was so different to his!

Martha and Wilhelm Fritz
1 October 1955
They married at the Riedl home in Atzenbach on 1st October 1955 with their first son coming along soon after.

When they decided to make a new life in Australia, Mr Fritz promised his in-laws that he would take care of Martha no matter what.  He kept that promise to the end.

They arrived in Australia on 11th June 1957 and spent time at the Bonegilla Migrant Camp initially and eventually settled at Doveton, Victoria.

Martha Fritz - 1957
(Immigration Records)

Mrs Fritz worked as a dressmaker to supplement the family's income.  She also read palms and had a long list of clients visit the home (as she was known to be very accurate in her predictions).

Unfortunately Mrs Fritz had many more strokes and was in a wheel chair.  She died in a Berwick nursing home as a result of  a "Cerebrovascular Accident".  She was 67.

Click for more A-Z Posts


  1. Interesting. Good luck with the rest of the AtoZchallenge.

  2. Great to be able to get her photo from the National Archives.
    I have enjoyed your posts so far in the A to Z challenge. Keep up the good work.

  3. Those memories of bombings must have been terrible if she didn't want to talk about it. (not that bombing should produce a pleasant memory, just that evidently she couldn't get past the past) She seems like a sweet woman who suffered a lot there at the end.
    Visiting from AtoZ
    Jollett Etc.

  4. A poignant story in many ways and the lovely first photograph of Martha has a sad air about it. My uncle, who was rescued by he small ships off Dunkirk, also would not talk about the war and would show signs of emotion at seeing commemorations etc. on TV. I quickly realized it was a very sensitive issue and changed the subject,

  5. I imagine the war was hard on a lot of Germans who were just trying to live. Moving to Australia probably gave them a chance to breathe without so much of the horror, that was the war, hanging over them.