German grandmother searches for Suffolk soldier she ‘fell in love with’
- Credit: MAGDALENE HEITHAUS
In the midst of the Second World War, a 17-year-old German girl fell in love with a Suffolk soldier – and now more than 60 years later, she is hoping to find out about his life story.
Magdalene Heithaus met Fred Oliver at her home in Diepholz in Lower Saxony, Germany, when he was sent over with his horse during the 1939-45 conflict.
The young soldier, who was born in Newmarket in 1924 and grew up in the Suffolk town, visited the farm where Magdalene lived with her parents in search of some oats.
A young Magdalene - aged 17 at the time - immediately fell in love with the Suffolk soldier in 1946, despite Mr Oliver only spending a few weeks in Diepholz before being sent 120km east to Hannover.
Mrs Heithaus said that Mr Oliver's mother "hated the Germans" and after the war came to an end in 1945, they never heard anything from each other again.
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She only received one letter from Mr Oliver after he left Diepholz and has since wondered how his life turned out.
What she remembers of Mr Oliver is very scarce - but she does know that his family also worked with horses and he had planned on opening a car repair shop when he was younger.
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Now at the age of 90 and after losing her husband a few years ago, Mrs Heithaus she often thinks of the past and what could have happened to important people she met in her life, such as Mr Oliver.
She is hoping to find out what happened to him, where he lived, or perhaps even if he is still alive - and hopes that by sharing this story it might refresh the memories of some people who knew him.
Mrs Heithaus would love to hear from any relatives of Mr Oliver - or anyone who thinks they may have any information.
You can get in touch here if you are able to help in any way.