The Immigration Story of Hannelore Leidecker (German Immigrant)

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This letter is written by me, Hannelore (Bastian) Leidecker, I am 84 years old, and live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for 58 years.

Pirmasens, Germany - 1956
Before we could leave Germany to Canada we had to go through a lot of paper work, go see our doctor, get exams done, get passports for all of us. We had to drive to another city to see Canadian army doctor, he examined us if we were healthy. Alex, my husband had to have a trade, he was a licensed mechanic. Everything took a lot of time. Now we had to sell all our belongings, as we could not bring too much with us, just our clothes. Bedding and dishes were sent separately. Now we needed money, which we did not have a lot of. The R.C. Church helped us out, which we had to pay back in two years time. Everything took a whole year before we could leave. Our family and friends said we were crazy to leave our homeland for Canada to start all over again.

Leaving Germany, our homeland for Canada was very hard to go away from home to a new country, leaving our family and relatives behind. Not knowing what we are getting into. My husband's sister (Johanna junior) left Germany in 1953, having a baby from a Canadian soldier, going to meet him in Ottawa, Canada. She kept in touch with us all the time. She was the reason that my husband Alex decided we will go. She told us to come, it will be better for us, a better life. So we decided to go, Alex Leidecker, wife Hannelore, our two boys, Peter - 5 and Manfred - 2, Alex's mother, Johanna (Senior) and brother Eric.

We left Bremer Hafen Germany on February 19, 1957 on the ship Italia with so many other people from all over Europe. The trip was very rough as it was winter. The ocean was like a wash board. I was very sea sick for 10 days. My husband had to look after the two boys the whole time. On March 3, 1957, after 12 days on the ship, we docked in Halifax, N.S. I for one was very glad to go on solid ground again.

Now we are in Canada, it was scary at first, not to know what is going to happen from now on. The people were very nice to us and very helpful. Now going through Customs to get the stamp, now we are Immigrants. Next we had to go by train to Ottawa. In the train station we bought bread and corned beef in a can for the train trip to Ottawa. When we started to eat the corned beef on bread, it was not like our German bread. The kids didn't like it and said that it tasted like meat on cake.

Now it is getting more difficult as we don't speak English. We arrived in Ottawa on March 5, 1957. Alex's sister picked us up from the train station.
Now we have to live in a small house together, all nine people, until we find work. We had to help each other. My husband Alex got a job after two days as a mechanic. I got work in St. Vincent hospital in Ottawa. The first year was very hard, I was sad and wanted to go home. Thanks to my husband, he says to me to have patience, it will get better. He was right, like always. Alex got a better job and I started work at RL Crain Ltd. Things were looking up. In 1959, we bought our house in Ottawa and I am still living in the same house.
We had two more children, Mary-Ann (1961) and Karen (1966). We love Canada and are proud to be Canadians.This is our home. After 55 years of marriage, I lost my wonderful husband, Alex on October 22, 2007. I have wonderful children to help me through this, 5 grand-children and 3 great-grand-children.

In a twist of fate, in August 2007, my oldest son and his daughter (23) visited family in Germany, in the small town of Hermersberg, where my husband Alex Leidecker was born. There my grand-daughter met her husband and has been living in that same small town since 2008 and they have a son (1 1/2) and daughter on the way. Her name is also Alex(andra) Leidecker.