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Book tells of life in Hertford

A German who was sent to live in Hertford after the Second World War, has published a book about her experience.

Beate Howitt was sent to live in the town in 1948 when she was 10 years old and has written a book entitled Mixed Blessings about growing up as a German in the area at that time.

She was sent to England with her brother Fritz to live with a guardian on the Molewood estate after her father was killed in the war. Their mother was desperate for them to escape the poverty and difficulties in Germany.

Beate, 73, said: “Life was very difficult in Germany. We didn’t have much to eat and there was lots of starvation.

“England was paradise. It couldn’t have been more different from where I came from and I wanted to stay.”

She went to the then Ware Grammar School, now Presdales, and the book tells how she suffered prejudice because she was German.

She later qualified as a teacher and worked at schools in the region including Hazelwood in Hoddesdon, All Saints’ C of E in Datchworth and St Joseph’s Convent School in the Park in Hertingfordbury, now St Joseph’s in the Park.

Beate, whose maiden name was Weiser, married Claude Howitt in 1960 and they had three children together. Tragically, their eldest Tania, who suffered from epilepsy, died of brain damage.

Beate, who is now studying at Oxford University, said of the book: “It’s dedicated to my mother’s memory. She lost her home and her husband and gave us away for a better life abroad. I always kept in touch.”

 

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