This story is also available in the following languages:  Italian
The story “Finding a language” takes us back to the experience of the many children who – after the end of World War II – were sent by their own families to stay with families in other countries, far from the places where the war had brought hardship and destruction. It is 1948 and Dorothea, a 5-year-old German girl, finds herself – along with other children – about to set off on a journey without her parents to another country and another family in Denmark where she is to spend the
A short fragment of the story

The train journey seemed endless. I did not touch the lunch my mother had packed for me. I planned to save it for the journey back to Harrislee. As soon as possible, I would flee and return home to my family. There were many of us children who were lifted out of the train with our suitcases in Brande. The cardboard signs with our names were read eagerly by the people who were waiting. I cried when a red-haired man took my hand and my suitcase after having read my name. I refused to go with him. He said something unintelligible to me, patted me on my cheek and lifted me up in his strong arms.  


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Why this story is important
The story draws us in an extraordinarily direct manner into the thoughts and emotions of a child grappling with a very particular and tremendous experience as she finds herself in a completely different environment, with another family (her “foster parents”, as she calls them), and above all with another language. With the affectionate support of Paula and Knud, her foster parents, the day arrives in which as the author writes, “It became exciting to look for the Danish words and find them with Paula’s patient help. I found the language”. Also the story deals above all with two fundamental themes for the Europe of yesterday and today.
How this story was created
This story was created within the european project European Memories. It is an autobiographical narration.
This story is part of the stories selected as winner for the "Telling Europe!" Award, created within the "European Memories" project, Grundtvig Multilateral Project - 2008 - 344 / 001-001, created by UNIEDA-Italian Union of Education of Adults (coordinator), ADN - Fondazione Diaristico Nazionale-Onlus, European Information Center (BG), Danish School of Education, University of Arhus (DK), Community Development Foundation (ES), SL- sozial.label eV (DE), VIDA - Association for Intergenerational Enhancement and Active Development (PT).
It is an autobiographical narrative.


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