Autobiography of an Unknown Lady from 1918 Till 2011: (Still Going Strong)

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Trautel Coleman describes herself as 'an optimistic, simple person who has achieved absolutely nothing in life'. Now in her nineties, she lives quietly in Kingston upon Thames with her husband Geoff. She was born towards the end of the First World War in Thevernitz in East Prussia (now part of Poland), and when that war ended her family moved to a tenement in Berlin. The twenties was a period of great economic hardship in Germany. The country was bankrupt and inflation was out of control. In 1929, therefore, they emigrated to Chicago. Here they hoped to find peace and prosperity, but instead there was the Wall Street Crash and the Depression. Her father lost his job and his savings, and in 1939 they returned to Germany, where jobs were plentiful. However, within months Germany was at war, and peace and prosperity seemed further away than ever.