Postcard from Europe #5: Love blossoms in unlikely places

This is yet another post from the time when I was living in Germany and traveling around trying to visit every corner of Europe before my return back to US...

This post is not about me or my experiences.  Rather it is the story of the parents of a fellow traveler.  But I was so fascinated by it that it is etched deep in my memory and even today I continue to marvel at it.

I was returning back to Frankfurt on an overnight train from Italy.  A Norwegian girl on the train asked me if the train would stop in Darmstadt (a town south of Frankfurt).  "No", I said, "This is an express train.  But you should have no problem getting a train from Frankfurt.  Why do you want to go there?"  "My grandparents live there".

Now, I was really confused.  Why would a Norwegian girl have grandparents in Germany?  That too so far from Norway?  Something didn't quite add up.  I was definitely not going to dig up a sleeper cell but I didn't stifle my curiosity and asked.  And here is what she said:

My dad was drafted into the German army during World War II when he was a teenager and ended up fighting and getting captured in Norway.  He was in the POW camp when he fell really sick.  Horribly sick.  My mom was a volunteer nurse and it was her job to keep checking on my dad and giving him medicine.  When the war ended, my mom made sure he got sent with a big supply of medicine (he was still not well).  Later, she sent him a care package with more medicine and he wrote to her thanking her.  Later still, he wrote to her that he was now well and hoped to get admission in a university.  Her mom prevailed upon her own father (who happened to be a university professor in Norway) to give this boy admission...
To this day, I cannot explain any of it.  It is such a strange happening - two people on either side of an insanely murderous war find love with each other.  I have wondered what happened to her dad at the university in Norway.  Did he have to hide the fact that he was German?  Did the fellow Norwegian students shun him?  Did his love for this girl/woman keep him going when his spirits were down?  Or was he glad to escape from a ruined country that seemed to have no future?

Either which way, I salute the parents of this girl.  As for the girl, I left her at Frankfurt central train station after making sure she knew which train to take.  I had to get back to the office, it was already 8am!

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