Katrina Lanze, née von Menen, was born in 1915 and is two years younger than her brother Carl. Although recently married, she still lives at the family home in Mecklenburg because her husband Jürgen is often away on duty.
Jürgen Lanze is a Lieutenant Commander in the German navy. Like Manfred von Lieber, his remit is U-boats, and he is often needed at Lübeck.
When we first meet Jürgen, Carl congratulates him on his Knight’s Cross, but he downplays the attention. He is highly skilled but modest and is far more concerned about the safety of his crew than earning medals.
Katrina and Lanze are expecting their first baby, with a due date in March 1945. Anna von Menen almost spills the beans to Carl, but manages to hold her tongue, allowing for double celebration when he gets back from Argentina:
Schwartz pulled open the heavy front door and Katrina stepped inside, the two large parcels she was carrying tumbling unceremoniously onto the polished oak floor.
‘Yes, your big brother, home at last!’ He lifted her clear of the floor.
‘Careful,’ she laughed; ‘haven’t you heard?’
‘Heard what?’ Von Menen lowered her to her feet, stepped back and eyed her closely. ‘You’re…?’
‘Yes,’ she beamed. ‘You’re going to be an uncle.’
‘Fantastic! When’s the big day?’
He flicked away the fringe from her porcelain blue eyes, cupped her face in his hands and beamed. ‘You look radiant,’ he said, ‘still full of girlish innocence.’
‘Thank you, kind brother. At twenty-nine, I’ll take that as a compliment.’
The young couple are very much in love, certain of each other in an uncertain world. They make decisions together and plan for their baby’s future. Jürgen freely admits that, for him, Katrina is at the centre of everything:
Lanze looked von Menen in the eyes.
‘When I’m at sea, my immediate concern is for the welfare and protection of fifty-six officers and men, and the safety of the boat. Yet always on my mind is the most important part of my life – Katrina. I think about her constantly. It helps me keep my sanity.’
And this priority of family life wins out when the General gives the Lanzes the opportunity to start a new life in Argentina.