Otti Remembers gives a personal account of what it was like for a young girl to grow up in Germany before, during and after World War II. Strong women in Otti’s life ̶̶ and some chance meetings ̶̶ helped her survive bombings, hunger and tuberculosis. Otti Baulig Ney, in collaboration with her daughter, Denise, provides insights about the war years from the viewpoint of an everyday German citizen. Otti left her homeland to marry a solider she barely knew and found love and happiness as an American.
Otti Baulig Ney
Otti appreciates the many blessings of her life. She was surrounded by resilient women who taught her how to survive in tough circumstances during the war years and beyond. With her family, she huddled in bomb shelters for protection, and then successfully fought tuberculosis.
Laurie Ney, an American soldier she knew for ten days, waited three long years for Otti to join him in America. They wed soon after her release from Ellis Island. The couple enjoyed a happy marriage and raised two children. Laurie died in 2012. In her later years, Otti freely gave of her time for many causes, including a hospice program. She helps others as a “payback” for all the help she received during her lifetime.
Denise M. Ney
Denise grew up learning about her mother’s sometimes life-threatening experiences growing up in Germany during World War II. In later years, she collaborated with Otti to tell her amazing story so that their descendants can better understand their heritage. As a researcher, Denise also knew history scholars and enthusiasts would appreciate Otti’s first-person account of enduring wartime hardships.
Denise is a Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One of the highlights of her career was the development of a new paradigm for the nutritional management of the rare genetic disease, phenylketonuria (PKU). Patients now can eat a wider variety of foods that taste good and help them stick to their strict diets.
Thanks go to many members of Otti’s family in both America and Germany who searched their memories for important family events, surfed the web and provided letters and photographs. Otti’s friends and neighbors in Sutter Creek, California, and especially Bill Daley, helped with digital support and offered encouragement.