Thoughts on Refugees

My husband Dave's grandparents Abram and Margaretha Driedger with their two children arrived in Canada in

My husband Dave’s grandparents Abram and Margaretha Driedger were refugees who arrived in Canada in 1924

I am from a refugee family. My grandparents and my husband’s grandparents were refugees who came to Canada from Ukraine. Having just lived through the violence of a World War, a civil war and raids by ruthless bandits on their homes and communities many were traumatized. They came to Canada without money and only a few belongings. The Canadian Pacific Railway had to finance their trip. They had survived a recent famine in Ukraine so their state of health was less than ideal.

My husband's mother's family just before leaving from Lichtenau. His mother Anne is the little girl on her mother's lap.

My husband Dave’s grandparents Heinrich and Gertrude Enns were refugees who arrived in Canada in 1925

They were Mennonites, a religious sect often misunderstood by their new Canadian neighbours. Here was a group of people who insisted on speaking German, wanted their own private schools and refused to serve in the military. 

My grandparents Diedrich and Margareta Peters were refugees who came to Canada in 1923

My grandparents Diedrich and Margareta Peters refugees who came to Canada in 1923

Yet they were accepted into Canada and their descendants have served and enriched this country by making outstanding contributions in almost every area of Canadian life and culture. 

My grandparents Diedrich and Margaretha Peters who were born in Ukraine and whose lives were forever changed by the Break Event

My grandparents became prosperous Canadian farmers whose fifty-four descendants serve their country as school administrators, speech therapists,  nurses, media personalities, pharmacists, professors, physicians, professional musicians, agriculturalists, journalists, service managers, postal workers and teachers.

I’m so glad the government of Canada accepted my family when they were refugees. What if they hadn’t?

Other posts…….

On My Grandparents’ Farm

School for the Deaf- My Father-in-Law’s Birthplace

Aprons

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Family, History, Politics

3 responses to “Thoughts on Refugees

  1. Al Loeppky

    Thanks for the post, MaryLou. I crossed the US border with our Grandpa in the sixties. His name, as you know, was D.P. Peters. A “DP” in those days was also short for a refugee or displaced person. I distinctly remember the customs agent, after hearing Grandpa’s accented English, making a wry offhand comment about how his initials matched his status. By then Grandpa had already been here for at least forty years.

    • Dear Al,
      I wonder where that custom agent’s family had come from. Sadly the refugees we are accepting now will probably have to tolerate the same attitude from some Canadians, even some Mennonites who given their history should know better. Thanks for the story. It is an important one. Do you think Grandpa knew what the agent had said? Did he respond in any way?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s