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Linda Cook

Post-war reconciler and outstanding home-maker

Born Dietlinde Helmes in southern Germany in 1924, Linde was the second of four children, and the only girl. At the start of the Second World War, Linde joined the land army, and learned the meaning of hard, physical work. Later, she was drafted into the Air Force, and became a radio operator, using Morse code to direct pilots on their landings and take-offs.

In 1946, Linde found herself in a conference centre in Caux, Switzerland, part of a small group of Germans invited out of Germany to begin the work of reconciliation that would undergird the future European Union. Linde often spoke of the experience of hearing Irene Laure, a leader of the French Resistance, publicly apologise in Caux for her hatred of Germans.

That amazing apology gave Linde the courage to accept her own part in the collective responsibility of Germany for the war. 

In 1952, Linde became engaged to Sydney Cook, who had been in Germany with the Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament (now Initiatives of Change) since 1946. They started their married life in the industrial Ruhr area of Germany, where their only child, Angela, was born. With MRA colleagues, they worked with both mine owners and mineworkers to build better relations in an industry that was vital to the economic rebirth of Europe after the war. A group of miners wrote a play, Hoffnung (Hope) to document this work, and along with that play and its cast of miners, Sydney and Linde travelled to Japan, other parts of Asia, and the United States. Finally, in the early sixties, they moved to Britain. In 1963 they settled in Cardiff, Wales, Sydney’s birthplace. They continued to work with Moral Re-Armament/Initiatives of Change throughout their lives.

Linde was an outstanding home-maker. Wherever she lived, she created beauty. A meal cooked by her was a delight to both the eyes and the stomach, and her German Christmas cookies were legendary. Linde loved Wales, but also continued to travel with Sydney. They spent several years in India, where they are remembered with great fondness.

Towards the end of her life, as Parkinson’s disease took its toll, and after the death of Sydney, Linde bravely moved to the USA to join her daughter and her family there for the last seven years of her life. Her radiant smile stayed with her to the end.

Additional names
Dietlinde
Nationality
Germany
Primary country of residence
United Kingdom
Additional names
Dietlinde
Nationality
Germany
Primary country of residence
United Kingdom