Brizlee WI, Meeting

Alnwick Town Centre
Alnwick Town Centre

Our president Barbara welcomed members and visitors from Craster and Shilbottle to our March meeting.

Notices from Cresswell House included a Down Your Way at Corbridge in May, and a reminder of the Crafts and Flowers competition on May 20.

Rothbury WI invited members to their WI in May for a Jane Austen inspired costume show, and also in September to hear about ‘A Year Behind the Veil’.

A list was circulated for members to consider their summer outing, from Whitby, Beamish Museum or St Mary’s Loch and the Borders.

With business over, Barbara introduced our guest speaker for the evening, Fran Elson. Her talk was a very personal and moving account of her family living in Hitler’s Europe.

It started in 2004 when Fran and her family were clearing out their parent’s home and finding letters all written in German. The letters were between her mother Ilse, Hulda her grandmother and Gisela her aunt.

Her mother Ilse had kept the letters for over 50 years, never mentioning them or telling their story.

Fran and her sister set about the task of having the letters translated. They revealed an incredible story of the three ladies.

The ladies, all born into a Viennese Jewish family, were caught up in the tragedy of Hitler’s Europe. The women, bound together by a love that flowed through the letters, were physically torn apart by the politics of the 1930s and ’40s. They ended up in three different countries and kept their hope of seeing each other through their letters.

Ilse was in Britain, Hulda in Germany and Giselle in Austria.

The letters carried you through their story and struggles during those years. Fran told us of the importance the Red Cross had been during this time delivering the letters and she remains grateful to them.

Birthday flowers were presented to Irene. Competition winners were: Margery Brown, Sylvia Taylor, Penny Weddell and Margaret Hope. Raffle winners were: Dot, Barbara, Ann, Anne and Maureen. The next meeting on April 18 is Member’s Night.