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Sun Nov 4, 2018, 06:34 PM

A memory of a refugee

I wanted to tell you the story of a woman who was born in Germany in 1933 right after Hitler took power. Her name is Lieselotte (Lilo) Collier. Some of you may have heard her story before, because I have talked about her on here previously. Lilo grew up in Frankfurt Germany, the transportation and banking capitol of that nation. Frankfurt was massively bombed by the allies, first by the British and then the Americans. In 1943 Hitler was beginning to see the hand writing on the wall, as the war effort was not going his way. He had decreed in the summer of 1943 that all children must leave the cities by December. In early November, Lilo was removed from her home. Because there was transportation, she and many others had to walked in a column for miles and miles. Some of that was through the snows of the Bavarian Mountains. They ended their journey at a Roman Catholic orphanage just inside the Austrian border where
she stayed for a year and a half.

Five days after the war was over, the director of the orphanage gathered all the German children together and told them they had to leave and that there was no money left to keep them. They were driven to the Austrian-German border and then left on their own. Once again there was no transportation. Lilo, wandered the German countryside and towns for 10 and a half months. Often sleeping in barns, church door steps, bombed out schools and on occasion in the home of a kind countryman. Many times, because of the destitute condition of the nation and its' people she had rocks, garbage and rotten food thrown at her and even once was shot at. Finally an American military batallion picked her up and brought her to a "staging" orphanage where she remembers lining up for 16 weekends before her parents found her and she was reunited with her family. Because of her trek through the snows of the mountains and her substandard footwear, she got frostbite on her left leg and right foot. When she became pregnant with her first child, that (because of the change in her body) turned to gangrene and she had to have the toes of her right foot amputated and also her left leg right below the knee with just local anesthetic in order to save the fetus' life.

Her little boy remembers growing up seeing the stares at her of others, being teased about that and also her heavy German accent. Lilo was sickly for the rest of her life. She cringed when ever she heard a low flying plane or a close siren and never watched war movies. She had a brain hemorrhage when she was 39 years old and passed away. Her son had already lost his father at 7 to the Vietnam War and was 15 when she died.

That little girl grew up to be my mother and today would have been her 85th birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILO (sorry for the long post)

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply A memory of a refugee (Original post)
gopiscrap Nov 2018 OP
TallMike Nov 2018 #1
gopiscrap Nov 2018 #2
riverbendviewgal Nov 2018 #3
marked50 Nov 2018 #4
lunasun Nov 2018 #5
AwakeAtLast Nov 2018 #6
grantcart Nov 2018 #7
gopiscrap Nov 2018 #8
sarge43 Nov 2018 #9
FuzzyRabbit Nov 2018 #10
GeoWilliam750 Nov 2018 #11
bdjhawk Nov 2018 #12

Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:12 PM

1. nice memorial.

Happy Birthday Lilo. Happy Birthday to all lost mothers too.

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Response to TallMike (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:15 PM

2. welcome to DU

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:28 PM

3. Sorry for your losses.

I send you a

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 07:34 PM

4. Thanks for that story. It is wonderful to hear about how others have lived and loved in the world.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 08:09 PM

5. Happy Birthday Lilo

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:00 PM

6. A portrait of courage

in your whole family!

Is there any way you might turn your story into a book? It is fascinating and touching!

Sending many hugs to you on what I'm sure is a bittersweet day.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:09 PM

7. Refugees make America better

And you are living proof of that

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Response to grantcart (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:11 PM

8. thank you, you are very kind to say that

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 11:03 AM

9. For Lilo

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 12:57 PM

10. Happy birthday, Lilo.

I'm very sorry that your life was full of hardships. I can tell by your son's writing that you were a good and loving mother.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2018, 01:36 AM

11. Happy birthday, Lilo

And thank you for sharing this with us.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2018, 03:07 AM

12. What a beautiful tribute

Happy Birthday! You are remembered!

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