Lieselotte, Lilo, Leislot, Lilian

When I was growing up in Berlin, I was always very happy with the name my parents had chosen for me. Lieselotte seemed a very nice and acceptable name and Lilo, as I was generally called, suited me fine. This changed drastically when I moved to England at the age of 19. No English person could pronounce Lieselotte, which became “Leislot”, and, worse still, Lilo was pronounced “Leilo” – the name of an inflatable rubber mattress – ha ha! So I eventually called myself Lillian, a name I am not entirely keen on by now. My surname fared not much better, but there was nothing I could do about that: Lachmann became “Letschmann”, and only when I got married did I have a pronounceable surname.

When my husband and I approached our 60th wedding anniversary, our daughter wanted to surprise us with a congratulatory message from the Queen. She went to the office that stored the certificates of births and marriages to get a copy of our marriage certificate. Examining the one that was eventually brought to her, she discovered that the date was right, my name was correct – Lieselotte Lachmann – but the happy groom was not her father! After another search, the correct document was produced. A copy was sent to Buckingham Palace, and we were happy and duly surprised and honoured to receive Her Majesty’s good wishes on the day.

Among 30 or so replies to Marianne Wallenberg’s letter to aktuell re Else Ury, published in December, was one from a former Lieselotte Lachmann. Mrs Wallenberg, a cousin of my husband’s, phoned from Chicago to give me the news. Of course, I thought that I might finally get to know the namesake who also shared our wedding day. As the lady had given her London phone number, I contacted her and we had a nice chat and arranged to meet. But she did not get married on 10th July 1942!

It would be very nice to make up a threesome. So, if Lieselotte Lachmann who got married at Kensington Registry Office sees this letter, please get in touch.

Lillian Heyman
Chiffre 108101