German woman searches for soldier dad from Newfoundland
Born after 1945 wartime romance, daughter has photo, name as clues
A German woman born after a 1945 wartime romance is in St. John's to search for the man she believes is her father, a soldier who was from Newfoundland.
Angelika Bylda was conceived in the dying days of the Second World War when her mother hooked up with a soldier who was boarding at the Hamburg bakery where she worked.
Bylda never knew about him until her 20s, when her mother shared two photographs and some documents that included a name — Bill, or Willis — and suggests he was from Corner Brook.
"They fell in love," said Bylda's friend, Eva Musseau.
"But because he wasn't supposed to date a German woman, they locked him up in a makeshift cell. His superiors locked him up … They waved to each other through a window, and one day he was gone."
On Thursday, Bylda shared her story with the St. John's Morning Show, with Musseau acting as translator.
It happened the end of May or in June 1945, she said.
"Two months later when she knew she was pregnant, she wrote a letter because all she had from him was pictures, the name on the back and Corner Brook, Newfoundland, but the spelling of the name, we are not quite sure if it's Crane or Crow or Cram."
However, the letter came back and Bylda doubts her father ever knew of her existence.
Her mother married and had another child and did not want to talk about what happened, she said.
When Bylda was around 30 years of age, in the 1980s, she started searching for more information.
She said her father served with the 59th (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment, but the Canadian embassy could not help her, and referred her to the British embassy.
Bylda first visited the province two-and-a-half years ago, and made contact with a family in Corner Brook, but the lead proved to be a dead end.
"It was the wrong family," said Musseau.
Now she's here again until Friday, and hopes someone can help her solve the 70-year-old mystery.
Angelika Bylda can be contacted at email@example.com, or through her friend at firstname.lastname@example.org.