Name: Regina Allen
Born: 13 August 1912
Birth place: Germany
Where do you live?
I’ve lived at Jewish Care’s Kun Mor and George Kiss home at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre (BACL) in Friern Barnet and before that at Ella & Ridley Home since 2014.
Tell us about your early life?
I was born in Germany, where I lived with my father, who owned a bookstore and my two sisters, as my mother died in childbirth when I was very young. When war broke out, we fled. Only one of my sisters and I were able to escape; she went to Belgium and I went to Glasgow, with a small bag and as many books as I could carry. I moved to Sheffield, then on to Devon.
What was your profession?
I trained as a nurse in Germany and, when I came to England, I found a job and went on to become head nurse at Okehampton Hospital. Later, I worked for theoretical physicist Professor Cyril Domb, using a huge typewriter, which included Greek and Latin alphabets for medical terms.
When did you marry?
I married Martin in 1958 and moved to London. Martin was a travel agent by profession, which meant we were able to enjoy travelling across the world and learning new languages.
What do you consider to be your greatest or proudest achievement?
Being able to continue as a nurse during and after the war gave me a sense of worth, at a very lonely and unsettling time.
What is your happiest memory? When I married Martin.
What national or international news story had the greatest impact on you over the years?
Definitely the Second World War. I not only lost my father and youngest sister, but my whole extended family was wiped out. I was forced to move to a foreign country as a young girl, with nothing more than a few books. I was lucky, but so many were not.
Who are your heroes? Professor Domb was a huge inspiration to me, making groundbreaking discoveries.
The secret to a long life is…? Love what you do and don’t always follow the same path.