Maria Plett Wiens (1888-1980) #476149
My father told me the story of how his aunt Maria Plett survived a shooting that killed her husband, Peter Wiens, in post-war East Berlin.
Maria (1888-1980) #476149 was born in Alexanderfeld, Sagradovka to Heinrich Plett #54359 and Katharina Teske #69167.
In 1910, she married teacher Peter Wiens (1884-1945) #1083027. He was born in the forestry camp of Neu-Berdjansk to Bernhard Wiens #101724 and Katharine Boldt #1189499. Peter enjoyed new experiences in different locations. From 1906, a few years before they married, until 1943, he lived in Landskrone, Friedensfeld, Rosenhof, Alexanderhof, Samara, Nikolaifeld, Steinfeld, Gnadenfeld, Schoenau, Rosenort, Kleefeld, Blumenort, Simonsfeld, and Apostolovo.
The family grew until 1930, when their last daughter was born. They had ten children, three of whom died in early childhood.
They fled Russia for Poland with the others on 23 Oct. 1943. In 1945, they lived in East Berlin. Maria often hosted Russian officers, who enjoyed the borscht soup that she made with beef that they supplied. The Russians would chat with her husband, who spoke Russian fluently, as he taught the language.
But one day she didn’t recognize the officer who came in the door. He sat across the table from her husband, took out his pistol and shot him in the head. Then he shot her. The bullet went right through her body, above her breast. She was bleeding badly and pretended to be dead.
Her daughter Maria #1117275 escaped through a window. The shooter pursued the teenager, but a neighbour helped to hide her.
Both women survived, and arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1948.
Below is Maria’s obituary, published in Der Bote 1980 Apr 23 p. 6, translated with the help of Google.
Maria Wiens, née Plett, died on 7 March  at the age of 91 years 2 months and 7 days at Donwood Manor, Winnipeg. Since her family is widely dispersed, the funeral service couldn’t be held until March 13th. It took place at First Mennonite Church at 11:00 in the morning. Pastor John Neufeld gave the funeral address based on Psalm 23 and Revelation 7: 9-17. The sister's mortal body was buried in the Glen Eden cemetery.
I, Maria [Plett] Wiens [#476149], was born on 17 Dec. 1888 in Alexanderfeld, Village No. 1 of Sagradovka. My parents were Heinrich [#54349] and Katharina [Teske] Plett [#69167]. My mother was born a Teske. My father was a teacher.
In 1908 I was baptized by elder Franz Martens and became a member of the Nikolaifeld Mennonite Church.
On February 23, 1910, I married Peter Wiens [#1083127], a teacher, in my home village. We had ten children. Three died in early childhood. In 1945, a son died at the age of 25 in Germany. The oldest son is missing. One son [Heinrich] and one daughter [Liese #1117498] live in Russia with their families. Of the other married children, a daughter [Maria #1117275] lives in the U.S.A., a son [Herbert #1121237] in Germany, and a son [Bernhard #1004345] in B.C.
My husband was shot by the Russians in Germany in 1945.
In 1948, I came to Canada with my youngest daughter [Maria Wiens #1117275]. Here [in Winnipeg, Manitoba] I was allowed to work at the children's hospital for ten years and retired at the age of 70.
I am grateful to the heavenly Father for my reasonable health until now. I hope for a reunion with all my loved ones in the homeland above.
That is as far as our mother wrote.
In recent years she was in Donwood Manor, where she was called home on March 7th. She leaves behind five children: Heinrich and Liese [#1117498] in Russia, Herbert [#1121237] in Germany, Marie [#1117275] in the U.S.A., Bernhard [#1004345] in B.C., also 11 grandchildren and a sister, Susanne [Plett #476152], in Germany.
We don’t begrudge her heavenly peace.
Psalm 23 (NIV)
One of my favourite psalms, Psalm 23 was read at Maria’s funeral. I selected two verses, but the whole passage can be read on Wikipedia.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing....
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Irene Plett is a writer, poet and animal lover living in South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.