The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Jorgen Nielsen -- Male War Bride

One problem that male war brides had that their counterparts did not was that they had to start immediately to earn a living to support their families. He started as a stock boy in Los Angeles, California and retired in 1987 as a Systems Analyst in Seattle, Washington. "I cannot say enough about this warm welcome I received from Virginia's parents, and how much help my father-in-law was to me as long as he lived."

When Virginia got her discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard, she took her physical to go overseas as a War Department Employee for the Civil Censorship Division of the U. S. Army of Occupation. Jorgen was employed in Copenhagen to work for the same unit as an Allie Civilian Employee. They were introduced by a co-worker on February 21, 1947. It was Virginia's birthday and Jorgen thought she looked a little homesick, so he went back to his barracks and brought her a carved statue that he had bought in Oberammergau and gave it to Virginia for a birthday present. They did not have their first date until after June and were married on July 16th, so although he got off to a slow start he made up for lost time.

When they arrived in Bremerhaven to go to the U.S. they were delayed for three days because the ship had struck a mine. They were billeted ashore and the harassed clerk was putting three brides into one room and three grooms into the next. When she got to the Nielsens and found out that Jorgen was a Male War Bride she put them in a room together because she was taking home a male war bride herself. This was great because when they got on the Zebulon Vance they were two decks apart for the next sixteen days. Because Virginia had been hired for her job in New York City, Uncle Sam only paid her was to New York but because her home was in Los Angeles, California they gave Jorge a train ticket to Los Angeles. They traded in the train ticket on two tickets on the Greyhound bus so on his arrival, Jorgen, saw the U.S. from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific.

They have been married for over fifty-three wonderful years. They have had their ups and downs. The worst was when their first born son, Alan, died of meningococcemia at the age of four and a half. They were bereft. Jorgen's family sent them tickets to go to Denmark. Virginia, three year old Glenn and Jorgen went but there were complications. Jorgen was now a U.S. citizen and although he found a job he could not get a work permit. Housing was a problem. If it could be found it was only for Danish citizens. Jorgen found that the United States had become his home so they went back. Virginia worked so that Jorgen could go to college and he got his degree from UCLA in 1960. They have lived all over the U.S., four years in Colorado, seven in Virginia and for the last twenty years in Seattle. Glenn also lives in Seattle and they love the Pacific Northwest. They have some health problems but they still have each other and that is the important thing.

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