We could not have lived in Berlin as well or as cozily without the help of our Tagesmutter / neighbor / fixer / friend who, for no discernible reason except kindness, made our little family part of her world.
Her bio-family might not have been from Berlin originally. They might have been from somewhere boring and not-Berlin. She is the youngest. After some out of control years in the city ("Oh, Seth, if I tell you that some times I did not think I would live to the next day"), she had children of her own and settled with them in Kreuzberg.
Her father was born in 1923 and died in 1989. When he was eighteen he had a "Yiddish girlfriend." His brother made some kind of official report about her, and she was deported to a camp. Father then served as a military courier for three years of the war, at the end of which he returned on foot to the family, from a great distance.
Her father gave her and all of her siblings "Hebräischen Namen." She did the same for her three kids (who are – she struggles to translate – "mixed caste": their papas are west African immigrants)...oh, except for the middle child, named after the title character of a popular U.S. sitcom about a black teenager. "I love that show when I was growing up."
Her father was outlived by his brother, who died in 1995. "We never had contact with him. Nimmer. My father would not have contact with him."
She related these stories to me in parcels, at pick up or drop off, and then our house affairs would draw us hence.