In Love and War: A News 11 Special Report

Roland and Lore Roesner
Roland and Lore Roesner

News 11's Brad Harvey and Melissa Voetsch reported this story on Feb. 14:

This is the story of a man born into a world that brainwashed an entire generation to hate, and a woman who was born into a world that sought to take an entire generation away.

Somehow, their love surmounted it all.

To meet Roland and Lore you'd understand immediately why they've enjoyed 52 years of marriage. "We both like classical music," they say. "We have a lot in common, and then we have our differences."

You might be amazed to know that they were born into a world that seemed destined to drive them apart.

Lore Vogel was born in 1930 to Leopold and Ilse (Hecht) Vogel in Düsseldorf, Germany. Roland Roesner was born into a German family in Cologne. As early as he can remember, the culture under Hitler taught him one thing: "hate the Jews... hate the Jews," Roesner said.

As World War II intensified, Lore 's parents scrambled to save their family. When she was just nine years old, Lore was put on a train all by herself to a northern England hostel. Her older sister, Inge, would follow three months later on the last train to carry children to safety.

There, they waited for their parents. Lore says, "We lived with that promise that they're going to come. What is a 9, 10, even 11 year-old to think?"

The casualties of Hitler's murderous rampage across Europe were not limited to the Jews. He also took over the minds of a generation of children. Roland eventually found himself in the Luftwaffe, the German air force, crash landing into the reality of the Nazi illusion.

"When the whole thing collapsed," he said, "When the truth came out, it was like the curtain opened, and we saw the ugly reality."

Within two years, letters of hope from her parents stopped coming to Lore. Only then, did she realize the brutal truth. They were gone. She later learned they'd perished in a Russian concentration camp. The only escape was a new beginning in Akron, Ohio with a distant relative.

Roland's decision to live in the country he once fought against offered him a chance to begin living life according to his own rules. He ended up choosing Akron, Ohio and a modest apartment next to Lore and her sister. He went out with her sister, but Lore's picture caught his eye.

Lore says in order to live her life in a country with free choices, she would have to forgive freely on the deepest level. Only in doing this, would she finally be in control of a destiny others once sought to take away from her. "You judge each person for what he is. No matter where they come from, race color or creed. That person you look at...don't judge the whole bunch by him."

The only thing left of living through their nightmarish childhoods is a gold pendant Lore's mother smuggled to her wrapped in a piece of candy. And like their love for each other, Lore and Roland cherish it as a symbol of what they've survived. And what is yet to come.

Roland and Lore raised a son and daughter and have several grandchildren. They lost their son in a tragic car accident several years ago, showing us yet again, how precious life is and powerful the ties that bind when love is forged in the fires of war.

Posted by LS