From the archive: Lost love

June 23rd, 2012
Over the next three weeks I will post three different true stories of lost love with completely different outcomes.

J., an intelligent, charming and enterprising young man had fallen in love with E., the daughter of a banker who was one of the richest men in Europe. Although himself from humble means, he had, through business, become comfortable. E.’s father adored J. and often invited him to spend time with them in their family home in Perpignan in southern France. Shortly before the second world war broke out, J., E. and her brother went to Perpignan to hide out as things were already tense politically. It was here that J. learned to drive. Although events here are unclear, circumstances separated J. and E. J. ended up in Tangiers, while E. and her brother remained somewhere in Europe. He lost contact with his own family and with E. and her family. When J. returned to Europe he tried to find information about his own family and E. and her family. All of his extended family except his brother had perished. His brother had managed to escape eastwards, only to end up in the Siberian camps. In seeking E. and her family, he travelled by train to Perpignan, but the house was empty. E.’s father had died in a death camp. The day after his death, an order was received by the camp’s commander to spare his life. Despite J.’s best efforts he could not find his beloved E., not knowing that she had ended up as a refugee on a ship bound for the United States. Distraught by having had everything ripped from him by the war, his family, the girl he passionately loved, his property and his money, he began to rebuild a life. He completed university, got a job, married, had a family, and emigrated to Australia. Decades later, in his eighties, E. finally managed to locate J., ringing his home. The telephone was answered by J.’s wife, so all that E. asked was whether J. was still alive. He was alive and when E. rang twice more in the following handful of years, they did speak. She had never married and died in relative poverty in America. J. died later in his nineties, never having set eyes on his beloved E. ever again.

© 2012 Prowling Dog

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