Our Own Heide Santos gave us a heartbreaking and amazing snapshot of what it was like growing up in Germany during the Nazi reign. She began by saying that she was told Americans were well informed about what happened in Germany because they watched Hogan’s Heroes. Heide debunked that claim.

Before the war, Heide’s family lived a comfortable life. But, when the war broke out, bombs were dropped on her house just a month before she was born. Hers was a difficult birth and her mother spent 6 months in the hospital while Heide’s older sister (14) took care of Heide and her other sister (10). An American soldier, upon learning of the sister’s situation, wanted to help and brought them food. The family later tried to go to Regensburg but were turned away and wound up living in tents in Dresden

where they were given just one bowl of food per person per day. Heide’s mom went from 150 pounds to 100 pounds and eventually collapsed from hunger. Luckily, an American doctor helped her regain her health.

After World War II, the Allies partitioned the defeated Germany into a Soviet-occupied zone, an American-occupied zone, a British-occupied zone and a French-occupied zone. Berlin, the German capital city, was located deep in the Soviet zone, but it was also divided into four sections. In 1946, Heide’s father came and took them to the Russian area of Berlin in East Germany.

In 1948 a “Coyote” (human smuggler) took the family through a forest to West Berlin.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time and Heide
needed to end her story there. We are hoping she can return to finish telling us her fascinating story.