Child Survivor of the Gulag
Brothers Rudolf, Jakob and Peter Plett are reunited, ca. 1992
My uncle Rudolf Plett was a child survivor of a Soviet slave labour camp. His story follows.
Überlebendes Kind des Gulag
Brüder Rudolf, Jakob und Peter Plett sind wiedervereint, ca. 1992
Mein Onkel Rudolf Plett war ein Kind, das ein sowjetisches Sklavenarbeitslager überlebte. Seine Geschichte folgt.
A Willing Warrior
Errol Chenery with wife Lila in 1962
William Errol Chenery (1899-1968) was a Canadian mechanic who remarkably chose to serve in both world wars. His family kindly allowed me to share his story for Remembrance Day.
Remembering Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth graces my historic Canadian $1 bill
Today we mourn and remember a great Queen. My late friend, Dr. Valerie Giles, researched the Queen in Canada and shared personal memories that I believe she would have been pleased to share here. We learn about Princess Elizabeth’s first visit to Canada in 1951, her 1953 coronation, and her 1994 visit to open the new University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, B.C.
War Relief Diary
The Mennonite Centre serves people in need in Ukraine
Since the horrific invasion by Russia in February, the Canadian-based Mennonite Centre in Ukraine has increased relief work while providing near-daily war updates. These gripping accounts provided the opportunity for me to extract the found poem below (slightly treated).
One Woman's Road to Rome
Valerie serves up tasty food for me and my sister
My writer friend Valerie Giles was a woman of faith. She shared pivotal moments about her road to Roman Catholicism in her history column in the Prince George Citizen. Her stories about serving with food were mouthwatering!
Susanne’s daughter Lena’s wedding to Kurt von Schmude in 1948.
Susanne stands at the far left; my father beside the groom.
My father’s aunt Susanne Plett Janzen was a courageous widow who sheltered my parents when they first escaped to West Germany in 1947. Her flight from Ukraine in 1943 also brings to mind so many fleeing today.
Die Hochzeit von Susannes Tochter Lena mit Kurt von Schmude im Jahr 1948.
Susanne steht ganz links; mein Vater steht neben dem Bräutigam.
Die Tante meines Vaters, Susanne Plett Janzen, war eine mutige Witwe, die meine Eltern bei ihrer ersten Flucht nach Westdeutschland im Jahr 1947 beherbergte. Ihre Flucht aus der Ukraine im Jahr 1943 erinnert auch an so viele, die heute auf der Flucht sind.
Remembering Valerie Giles
The Prince George Citizen announces Valerie's new column on Feb. 7, 1998.
A dear friend and excellent writer, with two newspaper columns and two published books, passed away suddenly last December. Valerie’s writing journey is explored in this blog post, along with some personal memories from my sister, Kathy Plett.
Memorable Mennonite Obituaries
Young Lutherans and a Mennonite veteran, ca. 1945
Krippendorf, East Germany (See Marianne Preisser Rempel below)
As I have been translating obituaries to learn more about families and history, some stood out for their touching writing. Others represented pivotal or representative moments in Mennonite history. Below are some of these memorable stories. All were also shared with Bethel College’s Biographical Wiki for each person named.
Irene Plett is a writer, poet and animal lover living in South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.