99-year-old woman who survived Nazi assassination attempt beats COVID-19

/ 05:09 PM July 21, 2020
COVID-19, coronavirus

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Image: CDC via AP, File

She’s a survivor indeed! An elderly woman in the United Kingdom who made a recovery from the coronavirus disease is no stranger to threats on her life.

Joy Andrew, 99, who lives in York in northeast England, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 16, The Press reported on July 14.


By May 30, her daughter Michele Andrew was told by care home Minster Grange that her mother was “at end of life.” Joy has been at the home since 2013.

“She wasn’t speaking, eating or drinking. Her oxygen levels were fluctuating wildly. I went in to bid my mother a final farewell,” she recalled.


A team of carers at the nursing home looked after Joy’s health for the next two days and. thankfully, she made a recovery.

Her return to health comes amid sad news that at least 20 residents in the care home died during lockdown on the first weekend in May, as per Michele.

“My mother survived an assassination attempt in post-war Germany by her chauffeur, later identified as a Nazi; she survived a crash landing in the desert as one of BOAC’s first air hostesses, and was rescued by Bedouins; and she survived breast cancer,” Michele said. “She certainly wasn’t going to let coronavirus defeat her.”

Joy was a sergeant for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and served during World War II. Michele said the assassination bid took place when Joy was posted in Dusseldorf, Germany, after the war.

She joined the British military in Germany, in particular the British Army of the Rhine. She stayed with an elderly couple with whom she was friendly; however, their daughter was a Nazi.

“My mother was allocated her own driver to take her wherever she wanted to go,” Michele said. “This included a trip to Berlin, where she wandered alone in the remains of the Reichstag. She also went to the Nuremberg Trials. Because my mother’s family is Jewish, this was obviously important to her.”

“Quite probably, the couple’s daughter informed Joy’s driver that she was an easy target,” she noted.


“One day, the driver picked her up and, en route to the destination, deliberately crashed the car in an attempt to kill her. She still bears the scar on her face from the assassination attempt. The driver was arrested and turned out to be a Nazi.”

Joy has dementia, so she does not realize what a feat she has made by surviving COVID-19. But Michele said the rest of her family, which includes “two nieces, four great nephews and 13 great, great nephews and nieces” are happy for her recovery.

Joy turns 100 on Nov. 22 and Michele hopes to celebrate with residents and staff in Minster Grange, should physical distancing measures allow it. Niña V. Guno /ra


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TAGS: breast cancer, Coronavirus, COVID-19, elderly, Nursing Home, Plane crash, United Kingdom, war veteran
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