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Life at the Salvation Army

 Strassenkreuzer (Germany) 02 July 2019

How nice and comforting it is when life goes your way. And how easy it is to complain if it doesn’t. Personal experiences, illness or disease can turn a life around in a split second. Here’s the story of a man who has all the reasons to complain, and yet feels like he has nothing to wish for. (560 Words) - By Beate Bluhm


Manfred Frömel. Foto: Bogdan Itskovski,

Manfred Frömel was born on the 15th of April, 1952 in Neuendettelsau as the only son to a family of five daughters. After his parents divorced, he grew up in the former DDR (East Germany) with his father, the trained cook and butcher has lived in a room provided by the Salvation Army in Nuremberg for 16 years.  Despite his severe disability, he's completely satisfied with his life.

Why do you live at the Salvation Army?

I was jailed for a total of 15 years for fleeing East Germany, I tried to get the hell away from there loads of times.  The second time I ended up in Waldheim fortress,  and the third time resulted in going to prison where I had my teeth knocked out.  In 1987 I was released by the Federal Republic of Germany and moved to my older sister's house in Neuendettelsau.  I started off working in a pub and then in a guest house for a while.  Afterwards it went bust and I didn't receive my wages, so I went to the Salvation Army in Nuremberg, because I didn't even have a flat.  That's where I first worked as a cook and then spent six years working on the Salvation Army's farm where I was given accommodation.  But my health had started to fail and I've had a room here since then.

How did you lose your legs?

I was ill with diabetes and I didn't know about it.  I was always strong; I used to carry pigs around the farm.  Then I developed some open sores on my legs and when the pain got too bad, the right leg first had to come off in 2006 and then the left one a year later.  I was in a care home for half a year.  At the moment, a carer comes once a day to wash me and change my bandages.  I'm fine when I take the tablets.  Two years ago I got a big, specially adapted room with a kitchen and I can just about look after myself.  I like living here by myself and have a lot of visitors and family over.

What do you wish for the future?

I don't need anything and I don't want anything.  I'm doing just fine, when I see what it's like for some families for example.  I get my disability pension, compensation from the state for my time spent in jail, it's enough for me, and I get by all right.  I've got my friends to play cards with, can play on the computer and watch DVDs.  One of my hobbies is the railway; I've got quite a few books and videos about it.  I just wish that I could live without pain for a while, to eat what I want and not have to wean myself off smoking anymore.  I dream of maybe going to Estonia with my sister.  I used to travel a lot and have been to Russia before and I like the cold.


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Originally published by Surprise. ©

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