“I can only hope that Sajeda will find peace, first of all in herself, and also get over the tremendous shock of having to leave her home,” Kissell told Mashable.
That is a feeling she knows too well.
Kissell and her mother fled their home in Berlin as the Soviet army crept closer to the city, poised to invade. Her father had been killed weeks earlier in an air raid. Her home was bombed, and most of the family’s possessions went up in flames. Kissell and her mother packed everything they could carry and boarded one of the last trains out of the city, fleeing to a relative’s home in Bavaria.
"It is never easy to leave one’s homeland,” Kissell wrote in her letter to Sajeda.
But there were bright moments too, including the day a young American soldier named Leo walking into the shop where Kissell was working. The two became pen-pals when Leo returned to America, and he sent her CARE packages to help them survive the postwar years.
Eventually, Leo and Helga fell in love, and she moved to the U.S., and they married. They've been together for 67 years. Without the war, they would have never crossed paths.
“Always remember the good times and look forward to what the future may bring,” Kissell wrote.