Birthday Memories: Sister Dora

As a schoolgirl caught in the crossfire of advancing troops, it seemed I was in the epicenter of World War II. British, German, US and/or Russian troops all converged, at one time or another, on my little Bavarian village.

Birthday? Spent huddled in the field watching night flares light up the sky overhead, as well as our village down below. Waiting…waiting for bombers to level our home?

Birthday? Wondering if my father, standing tall, proudly wearing his naval uniform, would ever be home to celebrate with me. Would he only be a memory? It would be four long years that he patrolled the channel, protecting our homeland.

Birthday? A rich tradition was the celebration of one’s name day – the day we received our Christian name. It was even bigger than our birthday.

But, despite war, despite hardship, despite loss of privacy and loss of property, despite troops in our village and in our homes…Mother always assured a celebration…with cake. There was always a cake.

Sister Dora Zapf, SDS

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