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Queen of Ladysmith on Story Net

jos_k2_items Table (1)

idtitlealiaspublishedintrotextfulltextvideoplugins
1Queen of Ladysmithqueen-of-ladysmith
By the time she was in her mid-thirties, Hulda Erfle had lived through two world wars and survived the upheaval of her family's deportation from their ancestral farmland in Eastern Europe.


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Queen of Ladysmith

Recording Date:- 29-07-2012

Storyteller:- Gerda & Hulda Erfle

Province:- Quebec

Language:- English

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By the time she was in her mid-thirties, Hulda Erfle had lived through two world wars and survived the upheaval of her family's deportation from their ancestral farmland in Eastern Europe.



"When you don't have a home, then you know that you can't stay in one place."

By the time she was in her mid-thirties, Hulda Erfle had lived through two world wars and survived the upheaval of her family's deportation from their ancestral farmland in Eastern Europe.


In the tiny Quebec village of Ladysmith, her home her since 1960, 104-year-old Hulda is simply known as Oma (German for Grandma), a tribute to her many years' service as a local community volunteer.
Oma's ancestors were farmers from Germany who had settled as colonists in the Russian-controlled territory of Bessarabia during the 19th century. She was just 10 years old when the region united with Romania, at the end of the First World War.


In the summer of 1940, just days following the surrender of France to Nazi Germany in World War II, the Soviet Union annexed and occupied Bessarabia. Against the background of the Hitler-Stalin pact, more than 93,000 Bessarabian Germans were resettled in the Reich.


The Erfles were given just 48 hours to pack up food, furniture and tools for the long journey by horse and wagon that would lead them to Nazi-occupied Poland, where they were put to work growing food for German soldiers.

Hulda and her daughter Gerda Bretlzaff remember these times and share the story of how the family came to start their new lives in Canada.

Recorded in Ladysmith, Quebec.