The food on the Isle of Man was very British which our landlady cooked – we were all dying for potato salad. Whenever we had to peel the potatoes we kind of pinched one or two potatoes and put them inside the gramophone and when our landlady went for the day to Douglas we took them all out boiled them and made some lovely potato salads. And of course some of us got (food) parcels, and there was one girl who got a lot of sausage sent which was absolutely delicious with our potato salad. For our tea we really had most of the time lettuce and something – we were all a bit tired of the lettuce and the girls in the house next door, they got for their tea always soups so in the end we decided that we would pass on our lettuces to them and they would pass on their soup to us so we all had good changes.
It was a very pleasant atmosphere on the Isle of Man and the people were very considerate to each other. Eventually they (authorities) arranged a kind of Tribunal where every body had to appear and people were going to get released. The Tribunal was alphabetical, so with my name being Einstein before Irene Mendlick – so I came before and I came back to Bradford.
We were very lucky that Mrs Gibson took us back possibly because she never had such good maids before, and she got rid of her other two English maids and took us back. We stayed there for another year when we really felt we had had enough domestic work and we joined the War Work.
We managed to get a job in a tarpoline factory sewing tarpoline covers – it was really hard work. Because those covers were very very heavy and the material was very rough. But we had the advantage that you only worked from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm and the evening was our own and we could do what we liked.
So we managed to get a room with some other refugees in town and Irene and I shared that room and there were another two or three refugees who were in the house there. The landlady came from Berlin and she was extremely nice and did some cooking for us. If she made something special we would always get some share of it. We were very happy there and we could bring plenty of friends for afternoon tea. Some of our friends had joined the ATS and when they were on leave they had no where to go so they used to come to us, sleep in some of the neighbouring houses and come for the meals to us and. we always had company and Hilda and Lee from Manchester came over to see us so we had quite a nice time there.
One day we went to one of the clubs there and we met a lady who had an awful lot of things to carry. We offered her we would help her.so we never went to this club because they were mostly Austrian’s, and we used to go the Jewish club there. And when we got to the club there was a whole crowd of Soldiers from the Pioneer Corps that they had invited. So we mixed with the soldiers and that’s were Irene met Hans (Ward). They made a date for seeing each other, as long as Hans was near Bradford. That’s how the friendship started.
Erik Stern managed to go to America and he joined the American army there and he came with the American Army back to Great Britain.
Somehow when he came back our friendship was not the same anymore. He had lived in America – we had lived in Great Britain, and somehow we found it quite difficult to be very close so the friendship in a way petered out.
He did one thing – I had a big Lift – van (Container) which went from Germany to America because I intended to go to America to marry Berthold. And I had some money smuggled out and he looked after the lift van and paid for it all the time, but of course the money was actually mine – but stii he administered and this was a tremendous help to me.
Martin and I had always been close friends in Germany because Martin had joined our sports club (in Augsburg) and we used to go out in a four some, Martin and my cousin andme and Berthold. So we went out together quite a lot and we knew each other very well.Somehow after we immigrated we wrote letters to each other telling just each other about our lives and how things were going. for us and. I just mentioned that the thing with Erik Stern had kind of petered out, or tI didn’tt feel the same about him as I did before, wnen Martin thought that it would be nice if we met again after all that time.
Martin came to Bradford to visit me and my friends. and then we arranged that we would meet again in Carlisle where we had a weekend together and where we decided then to get married. But first of all I had never met Matin’s parents but Martin had met my parents quite often because all the young people used to come to my house where we had a meal together or an evening together, because most of our social life of course in the last couple of years was in private houses. So I came up on Witsun to Glasgow to introduce myself to Martin’s parents and I think I had a feeling they quite liked me, after all I came from the same background as he did. We decided to get married in July (1946).
Of course you have got Martin’s life story what happened after July – so I do not need to repeat it.
Irene and Mr Bruce came up to the wedding which was really nice and I also had no difficulty in fitting in with Martin’s friends which were the Besters and Benches. We are still friendly with them and also with their children as a matter of fact we are very friendly with Susan the daughter of the Besters who are in Australia.
You don’t replace those old friendships as you have too many things in common with those people who have come out of Germany and have got the same experiences.