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A Soldier Named Alexander

Alexander, an American soldier, with Siegfried

Alexander, an American soldier, with Siegfried

A German man searches for the soldier who took care of him during WWII.

For decades, Siegfried Laier of Moerlenbach, Germany, has been searching for an American soldier.  More than half a century ago—when Siegfried was just a boy—he formed a friendship with the young GI.  

It was March of 1945 … The final days of World War II.  For Germany’s civilians, it was a time of uncertainty and despair.  One of the innocent victims was young Siegfried Laier, whose neighborhood was destroyed by allied bombers.  Siegfried’s mother fled with her three youngest children.  The Laiers walked 125 miles to be with relatives in the village of Moerlenbach.  It was a tough time for Siegfried and his family:

“It was very bad.  I was four when the war ended.  There was very little food to be had.  We had to go with meal vouchers and buy food, but there wasn’t much around.”

When American troops rolled into Moerlenbach, the German citizens were afraid that the conquering army was out for revenge.  But instead, they found friendly soldiers who provided them with food and medical supplies.  According to Siegfried, one of the GIs was a young man named Alexander:

“He was sympathetic to me and friendly.  If it hadn’t been for him, perhaps I would not be alive today.  He was a guardian angel for me.”

Americans gave supplies to German civilians

Americans gave supplies to German civilians

The “guardian angel” took it upon himself to track Siegfried down.  Alexander took a genuine interest in the Laier family, and before long, the food shortages were a dim memory.  Alexander made daily visits and over the next three months, virtually became a member of the Laier family.  According to Siegfried, their friendship transcended race, nationality, and even language:

“What he would say to me, I don’t know.  I don’t believe that he knew German and I certainly didn’t know any English.  It was just hands and feet and somehow it just felt alright.  Somehow we did communicate, because you don’t necessarily need words for communication.  You can do things with signs and it went alright.”

Often times, Alexander would invite Siegfried to tag along on routine patrols around town:

“When I was sitting in the car and the other children saw me, they were perhaps a bit jealous because I was allowed to drive and they couldn’t.  I was very proud.”

Inevitably, the time came to say goodbye and Siegfried was left heartbroken:

“I was sad.  Perhaps I would never see him again.  As I think about it today, I was really sad.  I have always thought about how he helped us and that I should’ve helped other people.  He was not obliged to us in any way.  But he did it as a human being, out of human love.”

Today, Siegfried has only one memento of Alexander—a photograph taken in the spring of 1945.  At the time, Alexander was about 20 years old.  Siegfried does not know Alexander’s last name, but does recall that his unit marched into Moerlenbach, Germany, on March 27, 1945.  Siegfried is hopeful that he and his guardian angel will one day be reunited.