WWII diary contains special family secret
Don Nestor read from his father’s World War II diary and talked about a life-changing family discovery at Tuesday’s Buckhannon Rotary Club meeting.
Nestor’s father, the late Clinton Nestor, served as a mess sergeant for the United States Army from March 23, 1944, to Dec. 2, 1945.
“It’s kind of neat to go through (the diary),” Don Nestor said. “I’ve kind of gone back and tried to pick up some of the towns in Europe they went through. You can kind of track them going through Europe, from France and over into Austria and Germany.”
Inside the diary were the names of Clinton Nestor’s children – including a daughter who was born in April 1946.
Clinton Nestor had fathered the girl with another woman during his two-month stay in Austria. The child’s mother previously attempted to get in contact with Clinton Nestor, but all of her attempts through the post office were unsuccessful.
The family secret wasn’t discovered until 1977, when Don Nestor’s Austrian sister successfully made contact after years of trying. Although her name was inside the diary, the Nestor family did not learn of this secret through reading the diary.
“She found us. We knew nothing about it,” Don Nestor said.
Clinton Nestor already had passed away of cancer by the time the Austrian daughter managed to contact the family.
Clinton Nestor’s sister had been the local postmaster, and until her retirement, all letters from the Austrian daughter and attempts to make contact were blocked.
“She sent them back (with the message) ‘He’s a married man. Leave him alone,'” Don Nestor said, adding that his father’s side of the family had a baby photograph of the Austrian daughter in the family Bible, but his mother and siblings were never made aware of their foreign sibling.
Although the news came as a surprise for the family, it was well-received, Don Nestor said, adding that it was a common occurrence for men to father children during their time overseas. After learning the news, Don Nestor, his mother and his siblings were able to visit Austria and meet with their newest family member.
“We’ve learned some German words. They’ve learned a lot more English than we’ve learned German,” Don Nestor said, adding that they still communicate using Skype. “This is where you think about the way life kind of turns and how God blesses you in so many ways.
“These things happen in wars. Wars are tough,” he continued, saying everyone who went into war had to deal with a great deal of uncertainty.
“(You were) leaving not only your home and your friends and your family, but your country,” he said.