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  • Writer's pictureTammy Borden

The Year Was 1937. What Happens Nearly 80 Years Later is Priceless.

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

German girl with braids holding ball 1930s

If you've read the opening chapter of my new novel, Waltraud — A True Story of Growing Up in Nazi Germany, you know this story.

And now you can watch the video where my mother tells the story herself, along with a delightful surprise.

Waltraud was my mother, originally from Germany, born in 1927. She passed away in 2020, and it shook me. She was my rock, my inspiration, and the most epic mother on the planet.

As opportunities arose, I asked her questions about her childhood growing up in Nazi Germany, coming to America through Ellis Island, and a host of other fascinating tidbits about her life. She didn't always realize it, but I secretly recorded her telling these stories.

I few years ago I was preparing a talk for a Christmas event I was speaking at and wanted to include a few stories about favorite Christmas memories. I have plenty of fond memories of my own, among them the year I got an Easy Bake Oven. Needless to say, my cooking skills haven’t gotten far beyond what that small appliance could create, but I’m getting better.

For my husband, it was the year he got a BB gun. Unlike the disappointing culinary skills that resulted from my little oven, his gift fueled in him a life-long love for the outdoors and hunting. I have several dead, mounted animals in my home to prove it.

When I asked my mom about her favorite Christmas memory, I never imagined the beautiful story that would unfold, and how special that upcoming Christmas would end up being as a result.

It was Christmas Eve 1937. She was 10 years old. Her father was drafted into the German army for training before World War II officially began, and he had already been away for six months. She wasn’t looking forward to Christmas because her dad wouldn’t be there.

As the story fell from her lips, I was enamored. It was a sacred story if I ever heard one. Watch her tell it, and wait until the end to see her delight nearly 80 years later. This is one of my most cherished memories...

Want to read her full story? Click below.

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