The war was over.
It had actually ended for us in May 1945 when the first American troops rolled into our small Bavarian town, close to the Austrian border.
There had been no secret weapon, no miracle to give us victory. It was over now, almost six years of bombing, of losing loved ones, possessions, of food rationing and in the end of losing hope.
Our church was filled to overflowing. There were people from cities in the north where bombings had destroyed everything they owned; people from the eastern part who had fled the Russian occupation; children who had been sent south to protect them from the horror of nightly bombings. And there were American soldiers who joined us on this Christmas Eve.
The sermon was moving; about hope for the future, thankfulness for having survived this long nightmare.
And then the lights dimmed, the tree was lit and as the organ played “Silent Night,” there was sobbing and tears were streaming down peoples’ faces and even the soldiers wiped their eyes.
This one Christmas Eve is etched in my memory forever.
— Ursula Reinhold