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Luisa Hozzel
Fictional Character
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away;
Fallout;
Armistice
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: West Germany (born in Germany)
Date of Birth: 1920s
Occupation: Clerk
Spouse: Gustav Hozzel

Luisa Hozzel was a clerk in Fulda, in the American zone of West Germany in the years between World Wars II and III. She lived with her husband, Gustav, a printer and a veteran of World War II.[1] When the Soviet Union invaded Fulda in February 1951, Gustav joined the emergency militia and was forced to retreat west with the American forces. Luisa hid Gustav's medals, and did her best to keep her head down.[2][3]

Unfortunately, her best was not good enough. In June 1951, the Soviet MGB, aware that Gustav was fighting in the west, took Luisa into custody as a counter-revolutionary. She and several other women, including Trudl Bachman, the wife of Gustav's employer Max Bachman, were placed on a train and sent to a gulag in the east.[4] She wound up somewhere in the Jewish Autonomous Region not far from the town of Smidovich. She and the other women prisoners were promptly stripped, bathed, and shaved by male guards. Then she was assigned a uniform and number,[5] and soon fell into a routine in the camp over the course of the remainder of the summer: wake up at 0530, breakfast in the form of gruel, a visit to the latrine, and then work. She and Trudl Bachman were assigned to cut down trees with a two-person saw.[6]

As the weeks passed, Hozzel learned Russian, mat in particular. She learned how to look like she was working while doing the absolute minimum to avoid getting in trouble. Her guards taunted her by telling her that the camp was in the Jewish Autonomous Region, on the theory that, as a German, Luisa was also a Nazi. For her part, while Luisa wasn't particularly anti-Semitic, but acknowledged what Germany had done to the Jews.[7] Snow started falling in October, and Hozzel and Bachman were soon treated to a proper Siberian winter and the accompanying work conditions.[8] Both were also subjected to the unwanted attentions of camp guards, both male and female.[9][10]

A few weeks into the winter, the guards discovered that five women from Hozzel's barracks had escaped including Maria Bauer. Hozzel knew nothing in advance, and had not helped them. However, the women of the barracks were placed in a punishment cell. Hozzel came out of her five-day confinement more determined to survive and escape.[11] She was disturbed when Maria was captured not long after her escape.[12] In June, 1952, Hozzel and the rest of the prisoners were informed that Joseph Stalin had been killed. While Hozzel and Trudl Bachman could see the parallels to Hitler's death in 1945, neither were particularly upset. The guards, on the other hand, openly wept.[13]

Things grew even more confused after Lavrenty Beria, Stalin's immediate successor, was ousted by Vyacheslav Molotov. While the fighting in Europe stopped, the prison camps were uncertain how to precede. Moreover, Hozzel wondered what she'd do if and when she was allowed to go home.[14] Not long after, a fellow prisoner named Mogamed informed Hozzel that Trudel Bachman was indeed trading sex for favors. When Hozzel confronted Bachman after a day's work, Bachman indignantly proclaimed that she wasn't hungry for the first time since they'd been taken prisoner. Bachman also asserted that they weren't going home.[15] However, Bachman was wrong: a few weeks later the German woman prisoners were repatriated,[16] although they were sent west under less-than-ideal conditions.[17]

The Soviet train carried them to the border of West Germany. Hozzel stood in line at a control point, and was informed by a clerk that her husband had been killed less than a year before. The clerk informed her that the Federal government would pay her a stipend for her loss, and also gave her some money to insure she'd be stable. She told Trudl Bachman that Gustav was dead, and learned that Max Bachman was alive. Hozzel was embittered by Trudl Bachman's luck. To make matters worse, when they returned to Fulda, Hozzel found that her whole block had been leveled by bombing.[18]

When Max Bachman returned home, Hozzel found herself growing envious of Trudl's happiness. However, she withheld Trudl's indiscretion from Max when he told her that the insurance policy he had on his print shop did not cover acts of war.[19] However, as the days of desperate living in Fulda ground on, Hozzel, in a fit of jealousy, informed Bachman of what Trudl had done while they were in the gulag.[20] Despite this revelation, the Bachmans stayed together, which rankled Hozzel.[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Bombs Away, pgs. 13-14, ebook.
  2. Ibid., pg. 402.
  3. Ibid, pgs. 403-406.
  4. Fallout, loc. 338-397, ebook.
  5. Ibid., loc. 1553-1611.
  6. Ibid., 2093-2152.
  7. Ibid., loc. 3036-3094.
  8. Ibid., loc. 4062-4124.
  9. Ibid., loc. 4688-4721.
  10. Ibid., loc. 5716-5777.
  11. Ibid. loc. 6269-6329.
  12. Armistice, pgs. 46-49.
  13. Ibid., pg.s 82-85.
  14. Ibid., pg. 141-144.
  15. Ibid., pgs. 187-191.
  16. Ibid., pgs. 229-231
  17. Ibid., pgs. 248-251.
  18. Ibid., pgs. 311-341.
  19. Ibid., pgs. 357-361.
  20. Ibid., pgs. 366-370.
  21. Ibid., pgs. 404-408.
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