On 23 August 1966, Werner Spieß crashes on the motorway near Dessau and dies three weeks later in the district hospital Dessau. The teacher was 46 years old and left his wife, two daughters and one son. His death is burdening the family to this day.
He is a blind spot in her story, which has been silent for a long time. What the relatives do not let go in all these years, are the puzzles, the oddities.
There are pictures of a summer holiday in 1966: A large man of almost two meters looks at the camera at the east beach in Timmendorf.
Dark hair, questioning look, it radiates power. "A whole year saved Mutti for the trips to the Baltic Sea," his son will later write in a photo album. "We had a wonderful vacation, until Father had a serious accident with his scooter during the night."
Oddities do not let the family go
"Much of the accident is contradictory and strange. There are too many questions without answers, "says the granddaughter L. Spiess. She does not want to name her real first name for professional reasons. The 37-year-old Berlin woman has been researching the death of her grandfather for weeks, talked to family members, even if it was difficult.
Now, after 50 years, she is looking for witnesses who remember. "Perhaps there is a plausible explanation for everything, then it is so. Then you can perhaps conclude your peace with it. But I want clarity. "
Werner Spiess ran 500 kilometers with the scooter
In the middle of August 1966, Werner Spiess had to leave his holiday in Timmendorf, because the teacher was summoned to the Baltic resort of Zinnowitz. He is supposed to dissolve a summer camp, which he had organized for many years, because a colleague was overwhelmed. He told his family before leaving. On the spot, Werner Spieß explains a few things and sits on his scooter on 22 August 1966. He wants to go home, to special houses in Thuringia, where the family is waiting. The next day the 21-year-old son was to marry, L. Spiess's father.
Actually, an intermediate stop was planned in Berlin, but Werner Spieß drives through a 500 km on a scooter. "He was known for his surprise. Probably he wanted to go home early" says L. Spiess.
Werner Spieß at night captured by bus
In the middle of the night on August 23rd, around 1am, Dessau suddenly ran three dogs on the motorway from the right. Werner Spieß wants to move to the left, but is caught by an overtaking vehicle. The "Liberal Democratic Newspaper" later spoke of a "West Berlin omnibus" in its accident report.
One day after that, a normal passenger car talks about the latest news in Central Germany. It is obvious that there was no interest in reading a class enemy in the media. However, both media are consistent with the 76.5 kilometers as an accident location, between the descents Dessau-Ost and Dessau-Süd.
Small brain smashes, severe burns
Werner Spieß has no chance. After his heavy fall, he was taken to the Dessau Clinic. The police surveyed witnesses on the ground. In the night, an authorized officer of the family in Sondershausen is passing the accident report. It was short, but it contained unusual details, the relatives remember. And on the note he gives to his wife, the place of the accident is the southern exit.
The wedding is canceled, the family - next to the son's daughters aged 16 and 19 - goes to the hospital. Werner Spiess lies there with life-threatening injuries. The cerebellum is crushed, and it has burns of the third degree. The son never forgets the first visit to the father. "He remembers how his father opened his eyes," says Spiess. "He looked excited, reached out and wanted to say something. But he could not speak."
Hospital staff left the family over Werner Spiess's death in the dark
The family visits him again and again - and can do nothing. Werner Spieß dies on 12 September 1966. When the family comes to the hospital on the same day, she is sharply rejected, the granddaughter said. "The staff said you could not see him again. The corpse was confiscated."
Now begins a time that would be impossible today. The relatives neither know where Werner Spieß died, nor where the corpse is.
A skull-brain trauma had indicated the hospital as the cause of death, the white L. Spiess today from documents of the Dessau city archives. "But for my family the corpse had disappeared.
For weeks, authorities gave no information. Also in Sondershausen ask residents questions. "My grandfather was known as a colorful dog, he was popular as a teacher and as a human." The school finally organized a mourning ceremony. The participants sat, apparently without their knowledge, before an empty urn, so it is told. The corpse was cremated
Three weeks after the death of Werner Spiess, the family suddenly received a message on October 3. The urn shall be collected in the cemetery in Sondershausen As the granddaughter researched, the Police Department had indicated an unnatural death. After an autopsy, the prosecutor had released the corpse on September 13 for burial. She was cremated in Dessau. "No one asked my family if they wanted a cremation." Werner Spieß was buried on 6 October 1966 in Sondershausen. Memories are still tears.
He was humorous and creative, and knew L. Spiess from stories. The memories are still tears. Even with her, who did not even know him. His death remains unprocessed because the circumstances remain so puzzling. And so the questions remain.
Why is there different information on the accident? Who owned the dogs, the witnesses described as large and cultivated? Did they come from the nearby settlement or forestry foresters? There had never been anything known about a police investigation.
To be left unclear, the feeling of self-conceit, which fired the conjectures. In the family, the rumor still holds that the animals belonged to a tower near a water pump. "It was said that the tower had something to do with stasi activities and it was guard dogs," says Linda Spieß. And: "I can imagine anything or nothing." Granddaughter wants to look at Stasi files and hope for witnesses.
She spoke to the police directorate in Dessau, with the hospital, there are no documents there. It was connected with archives, also with the cemetery in Dessau, she was in the court medicine in Halle, where she encountered keywords for the autopsy.
L. Spiess is now preparing an application for the inspection of files at the Stasi Unterlagen-Behörden. The case had also been occupied by Sebastian Opitz from the Police Directorate in Dessau. The documents of the granddaughter "do not doubt a traffic accident". On the basis of the newspaper reports, he assumes the place of the accident between the ski runs. "In the vicinity lies the settlement Hagenbreite, which could explain the dogs best."
L. Spieß now hopes for hints: from police officers who were then in use, medical assistants, nurses or doctors. Or from people who have been told something. "It's not about finding a culprit. But to know what has happened. "To make the blind spot more visible and the past more manageable.
What remains are the watercolors in the house of parents, which Werner Spieß had painted, the photos. "The longing for the Baltic Sea is still preserved", the son had written under the image of the last holidays.
source: http://www.mz-web.de/24934554 [state 20.10.2016]
P.S. Article was taken from the newspaper because it is my uncle.
[translated with Google translator]