Mom’s One Tough Lady


Rosedale GardenI hope all Moms had a happy Mother’s Day last weekend. 

My Mom was born in Yugoslavia.  Her Dad was German and Mom Hungarian.  After WWII broke out a German officer rode up to the door of their house and told my Grandfather that he was to report for duty, and if he didn’t, they would come back and shoot him. After much discussion with my Grandmother, he decided to report. He came home a few times, but is listed as MIA in the area of Yugoslavia now known as Bosnia.  In the meantime, my Grandmother was taken to a Russian concentration camp.

My mother, at nine years old, was left to fend for herself, begging for food, after her Grandfather’s death and her brothers took off for Germany.  After a year on her own, she eventually found her Mother, who was rented out by the Russians to work in farmer’s fields during the day.  She was then also placed in the concentration camp with her Mother for 18 months.  The Russians lined up the men in the camp, and were taking every tenth man for a work detail.  Her brother who was dying of cancer, saw what was happening, and tried to swap spots with him, but he refused.  The ones chosen for the walk detail were tied together and led into the woods never to be seen again.  Those with mental issues were taken on a picnic, but didn’t come back.

Mom was playing under a bunk and found some money. Grandmother used it to pay the underground to help them escape with a group of 60 from the camp.  The person leading them didn’t want to take Mom as he said she was too young and small to keep up.  Grandmother told him that she would stay behind if she couldn’t.  At one of their stops, she fell asleep on the cold concrete and awoke to a guard watching her and crying.

Mom tells the story of stuffing her little dog in the bottom of her bag, and piling clothes on top of him so she could sneak him on a train.  When they got to where they were going, she took the clothes out of the bag, and the dog wasn’t moving, and she thought he was dead until he jumped up and loved on her.  Travel became very dangerous for the group. They next group leader made her leave her dog behind.  She could hear him howling for miles.  


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