"I know firsthand what it's like to lose a home..."

March 14, 2016

Letters from WWII refugees to Syrian children

I know firsthand what it's like to lose a home and become a refugee.

 

Carefully penned in tight script on a piece of ivory stationary, this was the opening of 87-year-old Helga Kissell's handwritten letter. It was addressed to Sajeda, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee in Jordan who Kissell has never met.

 

Despite their 70-year age difference, the pair share a common life experience: Both know the reality of life as a refugee.

 

In 1945, Kissell was 16 when she and her mother were forced to flee their home in Berlin in the dwindling days of World War II. Seven decades later, Europe is facing the worst refugees crisis since that time

Kissell's letter is part of a program by humanitarian aid group CARE that connects World War II refugees with Syrian children. Though CARE has been providing disaster relief to those displaced by Syria's civil war, it actually began as a charity for European WWII refugees in the 1940s.

 

“To hear other stories and see letters from refugees who experienced the same situation before gives them the sense of solidarity,” said Eman Ismail, CARE's assistant country director for programs in Jordan. 

 

Please click here to read the rest of the article. 

 

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