There are always two sides

There is always light – just look for it

I met this fantastic German lady who was all of 85 years old.  She arrived in Canada in 1947 and was now happly living here for the past 63 years. In our conversation I said you must have been in Germany during the Second World War where upon she started to tell me a story about her life at this time.  I was delighted to hear it and the clarity at which she told me was amazing as if it was only yesterday.

She lived in Poland with her family, as after the First World War Poland had become an independent state and now occupied some lands that once belong to Germany.  When the German Army invaded Poland in 1939 she was a young girl of 14 years old.  She was then able to attend a German speaking school in Poland.  When she reached 17 years old she worked as a secretary for the German Army in Poland.  Towards the end of the war the Russian Army were advancing on the city which she was working and given the stories she had heard of the atrocities being committed by the advancing Russian troops she decided to try and escape as quickly as she could.  Her family lived over 30 kilometres away which was now in the hands of the Russian Army.  She approached the most senior ranking German Officer in the office in which she worked and asked would they take her with them if they were retreating back to Germany.  He was unsure of his orders and told her to be ready to go at a minutes’ notice.

During one of the bombings on the city the following night instead of going to the air raid bunker she fled the city by train.  At that time one could only travel sixty kilometres on any given journey.  Before she left the army offices where she worked she managed to take an amount of ration books with her.  These ration books were extremely valuable at the time and she was able to use them along her route to encourage people to buy additional train tickets to take her further south.

All the train carriages were occupied by German soldiers, during her long and dangerous train journey she sat on her small suit case on the outside between the carriages.  She described her journey in detail with her face and blonde hair turning black from the smoke of the train engine and the numerous attacks on the train by fighter planes.  Where she would have to get underneath the train for safety.

Along the way she enquired of several people where would it be safe for her to get off the train and finally she did so in the small town in Bavaria.  She stayed here for nearly a year and with no idea of what had happened to her family back home.

She knew the America and English armies were advancing but she was not too concerned.  When the surrender of Germany was announced in May 1945, there were celebrations in the town.  She along with some other friends watched the American soldiers enter the town.  She described them as they marched along the narrow street as doing some sort of funny movement with their mouths.  They were of course chewing gum, which she had never seen before, they handed out oranges and chewing gum and call out to the girls – “hey Blondie” they shouted she remembered.

Now that the war was over she tried to trace her family back home, her father she knew was living in Canada as he had gone to seek work there in 1928 when she was only three years old.  She had no idea where he was living in Canada.  Her mother and older sister with two small children were somewhere in Poland if they had survived the war.  Her brother in law who was in the Germany army was also missing.  One day after work she went to lie down and prayed that she could remember where her father was.  In a dream she saw an envelope with is address clearly written on it, she awoke from the dream and wrote down immediately what she had seen in her vision.  She had a vision of an envelope with the name and address as she had seen as a child from the letters that her mother would receive from Canada before the start of the war.  In her dream she clearly saw her father’s name, address and the letters SAK –Sackatchewan Canada.

That day she wrote  letter and posted it to her father.  Not know would it ever get to him and after a month of waiting one morning a letter arrived from her father in Canada. He was able to tell her that her mother, sister and children were alive but her brother-in-law was captured and he was in a concentration camp under Russian control.  It took over two years from that day to secure her documents and her place on a trip to join her father in Canada.  Three years later with the support of the Red Cross they were joined by her mother, sister and children and brother-in-law who was released from the concentration camp.

She has now her own children and grand children all doing well.  She also shared with me the sadness she feels of selling her family home as she misses her own home, her yard and garden.  She told me her name and I have decided not to use it in this story.

I thanked her for sharing her story with me while we passed the time and I greatly admired her courage and innovation.  She shined of a positive attitude and great determination in her live as she continues to travel to visit her family and friends across Canada.  One could feel a beautiful kindness in her heart.

0 Responses

    1. Dear Farouk
      If this is a real interested comment please relpy and we can discuss the reason you would like to use the story

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Mel Clifford

Experienced coach & consultant dedicated to personal growth. Offering coaching, public speaking, & insightful books on personal development & business management.


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