10 Jul 2022 |
Posted by Jonathan Radnedge | 0 Comment.
** Helga Wawra, the longest-serving and heart and soul of the Hannover-Bristol Gesellschaft, received the Bristol Lord Mayor’s International Medal in May.
Helga, now in her 80s, made a special trip to receive this honour, with her partner Wilhelm Knicker, and was delighted to visit the Mansion House again, which she has visited on so many occasions in the past, when she came with the Hannover delegations.
Helga is the one person who remembers the time after the Second World War, when the population of Hannover was at starvation point, and where many families did not have shoes to wear, and her family was no exception: she has told us that they only had one pair of shoes for the whole family, which had to be worn whenever any member of the family wanted to go out onto the streets.
The Bristol-Hannover exchange was started up as a result of Bristolians collecting shoes to send to Hannover, so that the children could go to school, and thus Helga is the embodiment of this original story.
Helga has regularly organised many of the activities of the Gesellschaft, always including events in Hannover which showed off the best side of Bristol life, and participated in all visits to Bristol, so that she knows the city really well. She has taken many photographs and video films of our exchanges and festivities in Hannover and sent these over to us regularly to show our members.
She also set up a detailed historical photo exhibition of the exchange with its many participants, including several of Bristol’s Lord Mayors. The exhibition was shown in Hannover, and then later in the Create Centre in Bristol as one of the premier events of the 70th anniversary in 2017.
She is currently engaged in helping Ruth Myers of Local Learning here in Bristol with her ‘Sharing Memories’ event to take place in September, involving Bristol schools, as part of the anniversary celebrations.