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Written by Morgan Manter

Marlis C

Country of Birth:


Year of birth: 1935

Places of Residence:

World War II

Marlis C. Born in: 1935 World War II

Home: I lived in a very nice apartment that was like a duplex. Our neighbors were very good friends of my parents until they died. I lived there until I was three and then we moved into a big house that was owned by the government, because my father was a forester (foresters lived in government homes). It was a two story house with a big barn and it was one minute from the forest. We walked through our yard across street car tracks and we were in the forest.

Neighborhood: It was like the neighborhoods in the United States, our house was brand new and most of the houses in the neighborhood were new, we lived on the outskirts of the city. The streets were nicely paved and we could get to a big meadow within three minutes from the house or to a forest.

Parents: Anna and Henry (Heinrich)

Sisters: I have two sisters, I am the oldest and my two sisters one is only three years younger and the other is fifteen years younger than I am. She was born after World War II; we were born before World War II.

Marlis remembering World War II: It was scary. We lived in a very scary area because there was an army base not too far away from us and we were close to the border between France and Germany. We were bombed frequently, we spent every other night in the cellar, I shouldn't say cellar, my father had a bunker built, a special place to go to during bombings. It was only about eight feet-not even eight feet maybe six feet wide and twenty feet long, that way bombs couldn't hit it too easily, we could get into it from our cellar. My father built a door underground into this bunker and another door out of the other end in case out house was bombed, then you couldn't get back out of the house so you had to have another exit away from the house.
He had it built, he was a forester and he had a lot of people work for him and they could come and build the bunker. People in Europe and most of the world, they know what happens during wars especially when they have airplanes and they drop bombs. He probably built that bunker in 1942 or 3, so the war was already going on. And you know when a house buries you,, its much worse than if you're in a narrow channel where if the bomb falls a little bit this way or just a little bit that way you don't get hurt.
Our neighbors came and used it with us. Both of the families that came and used it with us had children our age so we kind of played and had good times sometimes but the air raids seemed to be more at night when we should be asleep and we often slept in the bunker. We had bunks lined up for my sister Ursula, Margit, and Irmgard, one was Christina, and a boy named Walter. In fact I saw him two years ago when we went to Germany with Teri (Marlis' first daughter). We drove into the street and this man was out front and I stopped and said "˜How long have you lived here?' and he said "˜All my life. ' and I said "˜O. k. then I know you, we used to play together as children. Do you remember me?' Ah, yes he did. So we chatted for a while, he still lives there with his family. It was a big house. He just never moved. Can you imagine all the things I've seen and all the places I've been? He's never moved. I always stuffed my fingers in my ears because I was afraid of the noise. One night a bomb dropped into our woodpile in the backyard but we were lucky it didn't explode.

While They Were Bombing: Half the time you are praying. Please god let this get this over and done with in a hurry.

Jewish Friends: We had Jewish friends who slowly weren't there any more. I remember I had a girlfriend, my best girlfriend was Jewish and one day I went to school and went by her house. She was upstairs in her bedroom and she waved me on and I never saw her again. I never knew what happened. That's so sad isn't it? My mother said they knew something wasn't right, but didn't know? They didn't dare to ask. You couldn't. You'd get shot if"¦ never mind I don't want to go into detail.

Looking Back at the War: I was too young to know what to do different or how to change things. And I cannot think of anything that my mother could have done different. We stayed as long as we could in our house. One day we had to leave on our bicycles and put suitcases on the back of my bicycle, it was only a children's bicycle, we rode to my grandmother's which was 45 miles, oh kilometers from home. We did it in two days. We spent one night at somebody's' house, then we rode to my grandmothers. We stayed there for the rest of the war. Our house was on the border and they fought back and forth. My grandmother's home wasn't so close to the border. We stayed there until after the war, then we had to leave even there. I went with my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather and my sister. We went to another town and stayed there with some people. Which today is Ramstein; where today's American hospital is. Whenever anything happens to American solders all over the world they end up in that hospital, and that was the town we were in. There was a big American air force base nearby and it still is. What I remember the most about that town and that winter, we never had air raids while we were there, but what I remember most is that we had the most snow ever that winter in 1944-1945. There was so much snow, and that was fun. And for a ten year old or a nine year old at the time, one remembers the snow best.

Life Differences Before and After the War: Oh, very different of course, we didn't have to go into the cellar any more. We stored our potatoes in it, and my father came home. He was gone in Normandy; he came home on December 6th which is St. Nicholas's day, so that makes it always in my life a special day. We didn't know he was alive. He knocked on the front door and said, "˜I'm here!'. The last that we heard was that he was lost, they didn't know where he was, and then he came home.

After The War: We started to build the houses again; you can imagine what it's like after a war, you start to build back what was destroyed.

America: When I was fifteen and a half I came to the United States to go to high school. This was after World War II. I was ten when the war was over. I came to go to high school. I had to promise to stay here for two years. When I graduated high school I went back home and decided, Oh I kind of liked it in America; I think I'll go back. And so I lived here. Shortly after I came back to America I met Rick (her husband). We met in college and started dating and didn't get married for three years. In 1956 the army drafted him and sent him to Germany. I became a U.S citizen. Went back to my home and we were married there. And then we had three children. Now we have grand children.
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