A brief history of Emma Zena Lossl
April 17, 2018 marked my mother’s 107th birthday. Emma Zena Lossl (née Heitmann) 1911 – 20008, lived an extraordinary life. Mum was born in 1911 in London.
Journey to adulthood
Shortly the birth, my grandfather, Emil Heitmann, returned to Germany to serve his conscription. So Mum spent WW1 living in Hamburg. Because of the Allied blockade on Germany, during the conflict, hunger was rife. Meanwhile, the British branch of my Anglo/German family, endured civilian bombing. The Germans dropped bombs on London from Zeppelin airships.
Mum’s spent her childhood in Hamburg. As a young woman, she began an apprenticeship. When Emma became a dress designer, she was inspired to move to the city of her birth, London.
Developing her business
In 1932, armed with her British birth certificate, Mum came to London to get her British passport. Emma Lossl, soon settled into life in London, with the help of her family living in the East End of London.
Women in Britain had received the right to vote in 1928. Mum was on the cutting edge of women’s issues, when she applied for a bank loan to start her own dress design business.
Setting up premises in London’s Galeries Lafayette, Mum’s dress design business thrived. She was a confident, independent woman, long before the concept of ‘women’s lib’ was conceived.
My inspiration to write
I only really got to know Mum’s early life after her death in 2008. She was 97. Her death inspired me to research my Anglo/German heritage. I soon discovered an amazing family saga. Since then, I have grown close to mum as I have uncovered the facts of her early life. It has been her life story that has inspired me to write. Emma Zena Lossl, has been my greatest influence and motivator.
The picture is of Emma Lossl, fruit picking circa 1940
Rest in peace Mum
I am currently working on the story of Emma Lossl’s life, during WW2.
When I asked Mum if she was in the Land Army ( women who helped on farms, while the men were away fighting) here in the UK during the conflict. She replied,
‘Oh no darling. The uniforms were horrible. I worked for MI6 or MI5, I can’t quite remember which one’.