Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Loving Enemy the; Post-War Hamburg Was a City Reduced to Rubble and Filled with corruption.Among the Ruins a Young British Seviceman Found Love, Reveals Marion McMullen Profile

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Loving Enemy the; Post-War Hamburg Was a City Reduced to Rubble and Filled with corruption.Among the Ruins a Young British Seviceman Found Love, Reveals Marion McMullen Profile

Article excerpt

Byline: Marion McMullen

LEADING political activist and best-selling author Harry Leslie Smith's philosophy is simple. "I say accept love as it comes and accept love as it goes because it is the only currency that never devalues us."

The 92-year-old World War Two veteran knows all about the power of love. He found himself stationed in Hamburg at the end of the Second World War and unexpectedly found a reason to stay in the city ripped apart by Allied bombing... a young German woman by the name of Friede.

Harry's book time in Harry, a coal miner's son and political commentator, tells their story in his latest memoir Love AmongThe Ruins. It is a powerful love letter of a war-time romance against the odds.

"I was 22 and ready for peace. I had spent four years in the RAF as a wireless operator. I was lucky during the war; I never came close to death. While the world bled from London to Leningrad, I walked away without a scratch," writes Harry.

"Make no mistake, I did my part in this war; I played my role and I never shirked the paymaster's orders.

"For four years I trained, I marched, and I saluted across the British Isles."

Friede was 17 when Harry first saw her trying to barter for food on the side of the street and the first words he said to her were "You are beautiful". He says: "I displayed a confidence I generally lacked, unless full of beer. I barged into the young woman's life."

latest his Hamburg " She revealed her name was Elfriede Gisela Edelmann ("Call me Friede, it is easier") and he persuaded her to go on a picnic with him a week later and so began the start of their courtship and the long process of winning each other's trust.

"It was easy for me to fall in love with Friede because she was as glamorous as a movie star. She had deep, expressive hazel eyes, and raven hair that hung voluptuously to her shoulders."

Harry helped with food and essentials for Friede and her near-destitute family, but it took a lot to convince her that his feelings were real, especially when she pointed out to him: "Tommies come and go: you too will leave for England and go back to your English girlfriend. …

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