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War Child

M. J. Stoppi

Perhaps tens of thousands of orphans of all nations, created as a result of World War Two, survived because of the kindness of others or by state intervention. Many of those survivors later went on to become viable citizens of their countries. Others were not so fortunate and hopelessly drifted down to the lowest ebb of society, there to be categorised but unidentified.

In a sense, I was one of the lucky ones. I was orphaned at the age of ten when a bomb dropped aimlessly during the German ‘blitz’ killed my parents and my baby brother. I was away from London at that tragic moment, and thus survived.

Unlike so many of my contemporaries, I was spared from subsequent mental trauma because of an unconscious survival technique of amnesia. For the period of the event until over a decade later, I was totally unaware of anything that had happened to me prior to December 1940. I had no childhood memories. I couldn’t even remember the sound of my parents’ voices, let alone the lessons I learned in school.

I functioned very much like a robot in order to survive. This is the story of my emergence from trauma and depression.

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