The quoted statement indicates that the two families knew each other. They stayed nearby and were probably acquaintances. When the war was going on, some people left their homes to take refuge in distant lands. Few people who remained there thought that those who had left their land would never return. Mrs. Dorling, a non-Jew, thought that the entire family of Mrs. S, a Jew, was killed during the war. So instead of receiving her warmly, the lady gave the girl a cold reception.