Goodbye after 83 years: you would like to cry, but you have no tears


St. Petersburg (Florida) – Almost 83 years ago, two Jewish girls (both 9 years old) hugged each other tightly under a maple tree at their school in Berlin-Mitte. They cried, said goodbye. The families of the best friends had to flee from the Nazis in the spring of 1939.

Betty Grebenschikoff (now 92, maiden name “Ilse”) and Ana Maria Wahrenberg (92, formerly “Annemarie”) survived. But they lost sight of each other between Saint Petersburg, Florida (Betty) and Santiago de Chile (Ana Maria).


Betty Grebenschikoff started school as

Betty Grebenschikoff started school as “Ilse”. Her family fled the Nazis to the USA in 1939Photo: private


Annemarie Wahrenberg (now called “Ana Maria”) at the age of six in 1936 when she started school in Berlin

Annemarie Wahrenberg (now called “Ana Maria”) at the age of six in 1936 when she started school in BerlinPhoto: private

Now they have found each other again: as grandmothers.

8000 kilometers away from Berlin, the girls of yore put their heads together again, hold hands, shine like grandmothers: under palm trees in Florida. As they did at school, they sit next to each other. Toast with champagne, toast each other in Hebrew: “L’Chaim!” Translated: “To life!”

This reunion was so beautiful that we did not shed a single tear. Because enough of that flowed.

Send the lucky photos to BILD. Betty: “Hope was always there. I have never forgotten my Annemarie. Your photos and our keepsakes are treasured like treasure. For decades I mentioned her name in lectures, looking for her. But not found. “

The problem: the changed names. But at the beginning of the year the Shoah Foundation helped. And so the two Berliners saw each other again for the first time via video (BILD am SONNTAG reported).


Betty celebrated her wedding with Oleg in Shanghai in 1948 on her flight to the USA

Betty celebrated her wedding with Oleg in Shanghai in 1948 on her flight to the USAPhoto: private

Betty: “Our children made the meeting possible. We’re old women. ”And Ana Maria adds:“ It was also nice that our children got along. ”

For five days, the two of them spent only with their families in Florida. Maria, the German-Chilean: “We went for a walk by the sea, looked at Betty’s photo albums and certificates. The container with my photos was confiscated at the time. We couldn’t save anything to Chile. “

The dark moments are not forgotten. Ana Maria: “Betty still knew exactly how bad my father looked when he came back from the concentration camp shortly before fleeing.”


On May 31, 1952, Ana Maria married her Hans in Chile at the age of 22.  He too had fled Berlin

On May 31, 1952, Ana Maria married her Hans in Chile at the age of 22. He too had fled BerlinPhoto: private

But: the two didn’t cry. Betty: “Everything was too beautiful for that. Enough tears have flowed in all these years. “

Will the two “girls” meet again soon? Rather not. Ana-Maria: “That was my last trip abroad. We will probably not be able to hug each other again. “Betty:” But make a phone call every Sunday! As long as we live … “

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