Ingrid Sander

As a child, Ingrid Sander fled the Allied bombing of Berlin, then she and her family walked 200 kilometres back home.

September 18, 2018 | | Over the Next Hill

Snapshot: Meet a Community Elder

Elegant and charming, 83-year-old Ingrid Sander was born in Berlin, Germany in 1935. When she was eight, Allied bombs destroyed her street – and her home. Her mother, who was trained in first aid, had tucked little Ingrid into the basement of a nearby school while she helped with the fiery chaos in the neighbourhood. When her mother returned many terrifying hours later, the homeless pair began a train journey throughout Germany in search of Ingrid’s father, who had been conscripted into the German army as kitchen help.

Miraculously, the young girl’s parents eventually found each other near Dresden. But the Russian army was closing in, so the small family walked north to Berlin, scrounging food along the way and stopping to sleep in barns. It took them two months to complete the 200-kilometre trek back home.

The family settled into the British sector of partitioned Berlin, where Ingrid completed her schooling, but at age 18 and with little in the way of job prospects, she chose to cross the Atlantic to Canada. She was placed with a family in Joliette, Québec as a mother’s helper and paid $35 a month, from which $10 a month went to the Canadian government to repay the $150 cost of her passage.

On the same date Hurricane Hazel touched down in Toronto, Ingrid blew into the city. She found work at Murray’s Restaurant, and later become a keypunch operator, working for Eaton’s and Oshawa Wholesale. She briefly married Klaus Sander, whom she had met shortly after her arrival in Toronto, but her three children were fathered by her second husband, Vasile. When that marriage ended, she and Klaus reconnected – and have been married, again, for 27 years.

As a child, Ingrid Sander fled the Allied bombing of Berlin, then she and her family walked 200 kilometres back home. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

As a child, Ingrid Sander fled the Allied bombing of Berlin, then she and her family walked 200 kilometres back home. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

When the couple retired to Caledon, the Caledon Seniors Recreation Centre in Bolton became their social hub. They played bridge, and Ingrid took up painting, becoming a member of the Orangeville Art Group and Country Palette Artists, and exhibiting, selling and donating many of her paintings. As her eyesight became a problem, Ingrid switched her passion to expanding her doll collection. She also enjoys gardening, and her efforts have been featured on several garden tours. Since that time, the garden has been turned over to perennials, which Ingrid says are “less work,” though she still looks forward to spending time among her plants and flowers.

About the Author More by Gail Grant

Gail Grant is a freelance writer who lives in Palgrave.

Related Stories

Mary Rose (left) and Darla Fraser are two driving forces behind the effort to make Orangeville a welcome place for seniors. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

The WHO and Local Seniors

Sep 18, 2018 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Orangeville residents and planners looking to serve an aging population are finding age-friendly inspiration in the World Health Organization.

Marg Patterson (right) shares a laugh with fellow poker players. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Never a Dull Moment

Jun 20, 2016 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Caledon’s Seniors get Social at the Centre

Waterloo’s shiny new Research Institute for Aging is a beacon of hope as older adults struggle to preserve their well-being. (Photo courtesy RIA.)

Older Could Be Better

Jun 19, 2018 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

The Research Institute for Aging works to improve quality of life for seniors.

Friends, old and new, are a bulwark against loneliness and loss.

The Importance of Companionship

Sep 16, 2016 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Friends, old and new, are a bulwark against loneliness and loss.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment you agree that IN THE HILLS magazine has the legal right to publish, edit or delete all comments for use both online or in print. You also agree that you bear sole legal responsibility for your comments, and that you will hold IN THE HILLS harmless from the legal consequences of your comment, including libel, copyright infringement and any other legal claims. Any comments posted on this site are NOT the opinion of IN THE HILLS magazine. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please report inappropriate comments to vjones@inthehills.ca.