The American War Bride Experience

GI Brides of World War II

Simone Marousek
Belgium War Bride

I met Joe in Antwerp, Belgium. He was a merchant marine on a tanker. We dated for 7 or 8 months. We wanted to marry in a church, however, the priest needed proof that Joe was not already married, which of course, he did not have! We then married in City Hall and we had a small get together at my parents' apartment afterwards.

I travelled from Antwerp (Belgium) to Paris where I was to meet other war brides. From there we went by train to Bremerhaven. It was in December and the train was not heated. We also did not eat until we arrived in Bremerhaven. We stayed there for a few days in some barracks and left Christmas Eve, 1946, on the Admiral R.E. Koontz. We encountered many storms, most of us were seasick the whole time. We arrived in New York on January 7, 1947.

My husband was not there to meet me due to a previous argument about him not being able to find an apartment. The Red Cross put me up in a motel and advanced me some money and said they would send him the bill. After a week, I contacted a friend of mine from Antwerp who had married a GI from Massachussets. She told me to stay with her which I did. After a few weeks there, my husband showed up and persuaded me to go to Chicago with him. Over the years, I wished many times that I had returned to Belgium instead.

I lived in Chicago for 13 years until my husband got killed in a car accident. I then moved to Toronto with my children. My best friend married a Canadian soldier and settled in Toronto. After five happy years there I found out that I had to return to the US or lose my citizenship. So that is what I did. I have resided in the Milwaukee area ever since.

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