Arabella Kurdi (then Pallister) left England for Germany early in February 1947. She was appointed as School Meals Organiser and worked from the BFES Headquarters in Herford.
The work of the School Meals Organiser
involved inspecting schools, and setting up school kitchens and dinning
rooms. Arabella and her colleague Phyllis Pollard visited schools throughout
the British Zone of Germany. They co-authored a guide to school meals
which contains advice on nutrition, menu suggestions, and recipes. The
work necessitated much travel to the schools and to factories for equipment
and because of this Arabella was issued with a car and German PoW driver.
Arabella’s driver, Gerhardt, was from Stettin, his wife and three
children were refugees and lived in one room in a village in Schleswig
Holstein. They built a strong working relationship trying to teach each
other languages and singing German songs. In 1947 they covered 30,000
miles. Arabella would often be required to leave her Billet or Transit
Hotel by 7am for long journeys and frequently did not reach her destination
until 6 or 7pm. Accommodation was in transit hotels, which had been
commandeered by the army; they were staffed by Germans and the food
was provided by the British. During her travels the sight of Germany’s
bomb damaged cities made a profound impression on Arabella. She recorded
some of these in her photographs.
While based in Herford Arabella was billeted with a German family in a requisitioned house. She slept there but ate her meals in an Officers’ Mess. Her friendship with the Krümme family continued long after her return to the UK in 1951.
Find out more about The Papers of Arabella Kurdi