Sunday, March 15, 2015

XII - Love among the Displaced Persons Camp

Married September 15, 1951 in Hamburg-Veddel

One special family story was how Dad and Mom met after the war ended. As we understood it, simply he was shot and wounded after the war ended, she was a nurse, they were both in a German hospital, somehow met, fell in love, married and emigrated to the U.S. But this story also gets a bit more complicated if I am to understand the post war span of 7 years as refugees until they immigrated to the U.S.

Elfriede Dusel was a children's nurse, studied, trained and interned with the Wurzburg Germany Red Cross and Wurzburg Children's Hospital from March 20, 1940 to May 1, 1942. The next 5 years are unclear. Then she reappears on the record at the Bergen-Belsen/Hohne  Glyn Hughes Hospital from April 1947 to May 3, 1949. This hospital camp was  only 39 km from the Fallingbostel  D.P. (Displaced Persons) complex and actually part of it.


This aligns well with family history she related of taking care of the flood of liberated inmates of the infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.This mass of humanity necessitated Elfriede help out beyond her child care duties. She told of feeding adult survivors with baby bottle and formula because they could not process real food because of years of starvation and many died anyway. This was a life long vivid image to me and sparked my early and life long interest in the Holocaust.

Then from April 1947 to November 1950 she was serving at the D.P. branch at Lemgo, Germany B.A.O.R. (British Army of the Rhine) then at Glueckstast, Germany I.R.O. (International Rescue Committee) Sickbay from May 1949 to March 1951, simultaneously serving in Fallingbostel  some 154 km apart.

The reason for this detail on Elfriede is to match scenarios when and where dad and her could have met.


Zygmunt Frackiewicz - Records from the 504 IRC (International Refugee Committe) Resettlement Center, Gluckstadt, Camp Leader Office detail his post liberation service:
  • April 16, 1945 to September 25, 1947 worked as block leader at Polish Military Centre Fallingbostel
  • September 26, 1947 to December 31, 1947 worked as blockleader in D.P. Camp Fallingbostel
  • January 1, 1948 to October 23, 1950 worked as blockleader in R.P.C. (Refugee Processing Center) Fallingbostel
  • October 23, 1950 to February 26, 1951 worked as blockleader in  R.P.C. Gluckstadt 
  • February 26, 1951 in 504 Resettlement Centre
So there was overlap where they could have met either in 1947 at Fallingbostel D.P. camp while she was at Bergen-Belsen.  The other option is at Glueckstadt  where they both worked in the 1950-51  in the R.P.C (Refugee Processing Center).

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