FROM MY LIFE
Copyright © Joachim Colling 2009
Cover Picture: Photo Teje Colling 1991
Table Of Contents
GROWING UP IN GERMANY
MY WAR – PART 1 – 1944-45
MY WAR – PART 2 – MY NEW LIFE
RETURN FROM WAR 1947-49
BREMEN AFTER ITALY 1950-51
MY FIRST VISIT TO SWEDEN THE SUMMER OF 1951
LILLSJÖNÄS - WINTER 1951-52
THE OLYMPICS - SUMMER OF 1952
BETWEEN SWEDEN AND SWEDEN 1952-54
MY SECOND TRIP TO SWEDEN -1954
THE GOLDEN SUMMERS OF THE LATE 50TH
INTERNATIONAL CIRCLE OF STOCKHOLM - 1957-58
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES AND CONTACTS
THE INDIAN VILLAGE ASSOCIATION
BUILDING AND EXPERIMENTS - 1954
BUILDING AND DOCUMENTATION
TECHNOCENTER AND COLLINGS SYSTEM
OUR LIFE AT HÅGELBY 1963–71
THE CENTER PARTY OF BOTKYRKA
MAYOR OF BOTKYRKA
AMATEUR GENERALIST IN THE FIELD OF ENERGY
AN AMATEUR TOURIST EXPERT
AN OPERA AMATEUR
THE OTHER COLLINGS – GENEALOGY
WHAT NEXT – ABOUT SOME OF OUR TRAVELS ?
A POSTSCRIPT USED AS A
After having written a number of anecdotes from my life it became obvious to me
that what earlier to me had looked just accidental happenings fit into a kind of
Very early during the time as prisoner of war in Italy I decided that I would aim to
be a generalist and not a specialist. I met professors and others who were top in
their line of knowledge or specialised profession. Not many could really be able to
become just as good. I thought I probably would not be able to achieve this.
Though I believed there must be a need for people who can coordinate these
experts, in an other word generalists, and there might be my chance.
Another decision at that time was to learn a practical trade. I thought then that the
world needs people in the field of building.
Later in Germany, in Bremen, I had started accidentally with the first steps on the
way to a possible career in politics. I became concious of the fact that this would
need constant fighting to reach the next steps on the hierarchical system ladder. I
realised that I did not want to be bound to this fate and I decided to jump off and
start anew everytime it looked as if I got caught by the system.
Now in retrospect it seems to me that every new beginning logically built on what
happened before and that the new beginnings were not only accidental but fitting
into some logical pattern.
I think I never wanted to get very high in the hierarchical system. And I did not
want to make a lot of money.
But this is not quite true - after reflecting a bit. I can´t say I would not have wanted
a lot of money. But I was not prepared to concentrate on it. I remember now a
discussion with LMG.
We said it is not really difficult to become rich. You just have to buy at a low price
and sell at a higher price and always save part of the surplus. And you have to
concentrate on it. Do nothing else. All the time. There are markets for almost
everthing, for salt and sand or more advanced products.
One can also be lucky and win in a lotteri, though the chances to be killed in a
motor accident are much better than to win a really worthwhile amount in a lotteri.
Even really profitable inventions are just as rare. Buying and/or manufacturing and
selling is the secret.
However, I did never want to leave the to me more interesting projects I have tried
to describe in these anecdotes and which have given me satisfaction and a full life.
And I think I understand what Goethe´s Faust said at the end to Mefistoles ...
Joachim Colling – http://www.collings-system.se
GROWING UP IN GERMANY
Table Of Contents
KÖPENICK – MY PARENTS
KRONHORST NEAR TEMPLIN
MY SISTER AND BROTHER
THE WAR AND SCHOOL EVACUATION
MOVING BACK “HOME”
When looking back upon my life I see clearly defined periods and what has
happened I see in anecdotal form.
But I must have a very bad memory, or suppressed a lot, because I remember very
little from my life before the war.
Though I cannot really think of anything which my unconsious? needs to suppress.
But while I write this more details emerge.
Maybe it is because I used to feel that I was reborn at the end of the war. It became
quite a different life.
I was born during the year 1927 which I don´t remember, quite naturally, but I
have certificates of birth and even baptisation (protestant). Why I was baptised I
do not know. The family was not religious.
My father had left the Catholic Church because they refused to read a mass over
his mother who just had died after he was demobilised after the first World War -
and he had no money to pay for the service. Maybe it was because of my mother
who was more conventional protestant.
The family lived in Köpenick at that time. Köpenick, of world fame, because of the
ridiculous, fake captain whose story became a theater play “The Hauptmann of
Köpenick” showing what the indoctrination of the military mind can have for
My parents had a that time two textile shops, lingery etc with own manufacturing
capacities, in central Köpenick. We lived at the outskirts towards the North. I have
only two clear memories from that time.
On the left side of the street towards the North was an open air garden restaurant
with huge chestnut trees in the garden and a dance platform. I remember it was
summertime and one could hear the garden orchester play.
The other picture i still have is a football playing ground on the right side of the
street and cheering crowds gathering during sundays to watch the plays.
After these two streetcorners there was only a dark, huge forest separating
Köpenick from the next suburb.
Do I think everything is very large in my mind because I was very small?
From the first 3 years there is nothing more. I know my parents worked during the
day and I was looked after by my maternal grandmother whom I also have in a
vaguely loving memory.
This pictures must have been taken around 1950
My mother was born in Berlin but her mother came from the small country town of
Stargard in Pomerania near the Baltic coast. The family owned a butcher shop
there and I actually have a faint memory of rather small town houses and that we
once had made an excursion to the coast in a horse carriage. Her father was master
carpenter with an own work shop in Berlin.
My father came from a miners family in the Saarland at the border between France
and Germany. My father started very young to work in the mines. He increased his
income by playing a trumpet (waldhorn) on Saturday and Sunday.
As he did not see any future for himself in the mines he decided to become a
cavalry soldier 1906 at the age of 17. If one signed on for a 12 year period one
would get an education and money after beeing discharged.
Of course, nobody thought of war. But then came the 1st World War which ended
at the end of his 12 year period.
JOHANNISTHAL - BERLIN
After the year 1929 my parents businesses declined largely as a result of the great
depression which reduced the circumstances of many middle class families in
Germany at that time.
The shops with their manufacturing facilities had to be liquidated and my parents
moved to another part of Berlin.
There my father tried to establish a small textile manufacturing, sewing, firm. He
was travelling a lot to sell his products.
We moved to Johannistal, a place which has a better connotation than the
affiliation with an infamous happening like Köpenick. Johannistal was the place
for one of Europes very early pioneer airfields.
I still see in my mind small red and yellow planes circling above our heads looping
the loop and doing other dangerous stunts. I remember one or two planes falling
down in huge spirals and one pilot jumping with a parachute to safety.
One other memory is of an immense fire when a roofpaper factory burned down
and one could see the flames all night.
A similar view from our window but of many small fires was the Nazi victory
parade in the streets 1933 with their sea of torches.
There are two more memories, or pictures:
My father had to sell even this firm. There was not enough trade to survive. What I
rember of this is a visit to the cellar where all the sewing machines were which had
to be sold.
Another time when I apparently must have had an huge trantrum because I did not
like the dress I had to put on for a Sunday because it looked like a girls dress, I
thought. Funny what one remembers.
KRONHORST NEAR TEMPLIN
After these business ventures, which failed, my parents went on to another similar
disastrous venture. They bought a small farmstead with the last remaining money
about 100 km to the North of Berlin. This was not larger than 10 ha.
Now I remember more: we went every summer from Johannisthal by car to a small
summer home we rented for two weeks near an old brick kiln with a view on a
lake surrounded by a forest. I remember especially the trips by car through the
The farmstead they bought was in the neighbourhood.
In front of the dwelling house which was on the small village road was a small
garden with wine? at the Southern wall towards the street. And I rember that we
had a garden with fruit trees, a number of beehives, pigs and chicken, which my
father tried to manage as a poultry farm (but they were wiped out by a disease)etc.
At that time my mother, quite understandably, being a city girl, got a nervous
breakdown and my father went to work somewhere else.
But I had only good memories being 6 to 7 years old and not understanding any of
all the problems. I remember the warm kitchen, the house with its 1m thick earth
walls, cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the excursions with the
neighbours boys to the lake for fishing..
My memories from school are only positive. We had a small village school where
the 1st to 3rd grades were in one room and we had one teacher trying to keep us
busy. I had been earlier at Johannistal at a city school with just one class for my
age group, and this was much more exiting. Even at that time I must have found it
very easy to learn and read. I assimilated everything like a sponge.