“Liesel and Helene are second cousins- their grandfathers were brothers Gustaf and Dietrich Rempel of Gnadenfeld, Molotschna, Russia/USSR (now part of Ukraine). While Dietrich was able to emigrate from the USSR to Canada in 1926, Gustaf died tragically in the USSR. Liesl and Helene met only once, in 1988, during Liesl’s first trip to Canada.
During the last two decades Helene has found and translated many of her Grandfather Dietrich’s journals- some of which have been published, with the remainder scheduled to be published in 2018-19. After reading Liesl’s story, Helene thought that she would like to translate it into English, so that more of Liesl and Helene’s relatives and friends could read this important story.”
“Elisabeth (Liesl) Löwen- was born in 1929, in Gnadenfeld, Molotschna in the southern USSR, where she grew up in a Mennonite family and community. During the Stalin Era Liesl and her family experienced much privation and governmental abuse: the unjust imprisonment of her father; forced repatriation to Russia after the family had fled to Germany during World War II; forced labour in the Siberian forests, and much more. Through it all, Liesl maintained a grateful heart and a persistent faith in God.”
“Helene (Leni) Rempel Klassen- was born in 1928, in Ebenthal, Caucasus USSR. When Helene was onlya a year old her family received permission to leave the USSR and emigrate to Canada. The family moved all the way across the country to Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley, where Helene grew up, went to school, married and raised her family.”