becoming a self in history, becoming a self in my street

Marianne and Ulrich Sander

This is a picture of Marianne Sander who was 78 when it was taken. Inset is a picture of her brother Ulrich, whom she loved very much. He was her closest and most valued companion. Ulrich Sander died in hospital at the end of the war aged seventeen. During the war he had disappeared having been picked up off the street in Amsterdam and sent to work in Germany. This was a common occurrence in the Nazi occupied parts of Europe. His family only found out what had happened to him months later when he wrote them a letter. At the time of getting the letter, they had no idea whether he was still alive because of the time that had passed since his disappearance. He eventually escaped from Germany and was found on the border and rescued in the last weeks of the war. He was very ill and had to be taken to hospital. His family were informed of his whereabouts but were unable to reach him before he died. His two sisters never saw him again after his disappearance, but his mother and father were able to go and see his body after he had died.

Ulrich was an inspiration to many during his lifetime because of his special gift of empathy. He was a person who had a bright future and who seemed to possess a healing wisdom far beyond his years. People often went to him for help and advice despite his youth. The pain of his loss and the pain of the lost potential of his life had a mysterious outcome for his sister Marianne, who had felt especially supported by him when he was alive. She said that her life became more than her own through his death. She was fifteen when he was lost to her and she said quite simply that from then on, she partly lived her life for him, not wanting to waste it so that his lost life would in some way be vindicated.