In far northern Germany, close to the historically fickle border, there are Danish communities. They fly the Danish flag. They speak the Danish language. They've even imported the boggy Danish weather. There was a 95 year old man at our show tonight who was impressed into the German Army in 1944. He was sent to the bloody eastern front, leaving behind his family and the love of his life. He fought and dodged death for three weeks before he was captured by the Russians.
For five years, he worked in a Russian camp. No one knew if he was one of the 30 million who died from combat, starvation, exposure, or disease in the largest and deadliest military confrontation in world history.
In 1949, the Russians simply opened the gate to the camp and said, "You're free to go." The man walked and hitchhiked 1500 miles with no shoes, no food, and no money to go back home and settle in the remnants of his Danish community, still contained within the borders of Germany.
His love had waited for him. They married and then farmed the land for more than sixty years. His wife passed away of a stroke a few years ago.
He came to our show tonight and stayed for both encores. He didn't walk with a cane or fall asleep during the show. If you'd asked me, I would have said he was sixty five years old. After telling us his story over dinner, our host had this to say:
"He is the happiest man I ever met."