The lady that was downstairs talking to Anneliese's mother was making a deal to buy her for a German circus.
Her mom sold her for a monthly sum to be paid for the rest of her life. Her mother coldly packed her belongings and sent her on her way, get out of my life, freak, and don't ever come back. That was the last time she saw any of her family. Anneliese (Pronounced Anna Lisa) was to become a side show in the circus. They had a tent that you had to pay a fee to enter and see the 'freaks.'
She was by far the smallest of the midgets. Soon they advertised her as the worlds smallest woman. Tiny Tim of England was much smaller. He was the worlds smallest adult human being.
The circus owner was a kindly man, but his wife was cold and mean to the midgets. She was their overseer, and reminded them daily, if they tried to escape, they would get into a lot of trouble.
For Anneliese, it was way better than being a hostage in her own home. When the people came into the Freak Tent, they treated her like a queen. She loved the attention given her. She missed her home, especially her father and brothers, but never wanted to go back. The circus was now her home, her life.
The circus was the German version of Americas Barnum and Bailey. Its movements were controlled by the government, mainly where they could travel outside of Germany.
Eventually, during the early 1940's they were allowed to travel out of Germany. In late 1941, they were performing in Argentina, when Pearl Harbor happened.
Since all of the circus people were German citizens, Argentina placed them under house arrest. So they spent all of world war two in Argentina.They were allowed to perform periodically, earning enough to feed themselves and their many animals. Anneliese said the circus people fell in love with Argentina, and planned to never go back to Germany. Little did they know there would be nothing left in Germany after the war ended worth going back to. Anneliese's village was leveled by the Allies bombings, along with Berlin.
They felt fortunate to have been out of Germany when war was declared.
The German circus people learned to communicate with the Argentinians. After living in Nazi Germany, it was heaven on earth living in a free nation. Their business was once again booming.
They had free travel all over South America, and were loved and accepted wherever they went. Anneliese and the other midgets were the main attraction of all the sideshows.
No one had ever challenged their advertising her being the worlds smallest woman, and since Tiny Tim's death, she could have been the smallest human.
In the summer of 1946, Anneliese learned they would be going to America to perform. The State of Texas had invited the circus to perform at the 1946 State Fair of Texas, held in Dallas. She was excited because she had a good long time friend living there.
They had been communicating by letters for years. She was excited to see him again. The circus traveled by boat to America. Dallas welcomed them with open arms.
Anneliese's man friend went to see her, and the mean woman in charge of he midgets would not allow him to see her. So on the first nights performance, he bought a ticket to the midget sideshow.
He told her she was free of her bondage from Germany. He told her the woman would be in trouble with the law if they found the circus was holding her hostage.
They made plans for Annelise to escape that very night. Her friend would hire a taxi cab and take Anneliese and her trunk full of lifetime belongings away from the circus, and there was nothing the mean old woman could do to stop her. She was elated, but still skeptical of getting her freedom from the circus without a lot of trouble.
Next time. “Free at last.”