(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, 9/30/2011
Karen Breen-Bondie’s mother “was never one to reminisce,” but the 24-year-long Ferndale resident felt strongly that her mother’s story needed to be told.
“I never understood why some people who lived through really big things wouldn’t want to share their experiences with others. We need to remember the atrocities of the past so that we don’t relive them,” said Breen-Bondie of her mother’s experiences as an ethnic German in a Yugoslavian concentration camp, and then Germany, in the 1940s.
“My mother had opportunities to share her story, to be in books or documentaries, but she never did. And she didn’t like to talk about it. But I felt like it was important, especially for my own children, so they can have a sense of history and know about where their family came from.”
She also said that sharing the story puts life into perspective for her three children. That’s why she worked from old handwritten notes found in the attic and from conversations pieced together to write her mother’s story: Surviving WWII Communist Concentration Camp. “There is nothing that we go through these days that is like what happened during the war and the years after. People now think it’s the end of the world if they are facing a foreclosure. They don’t know what it’s like to have an army march in, separate you from your family, and march you for days to a new village without being able to take any of your belongings. Not knowing what happened to your loved ones. …We need to appreciate what we have,” she said.
The story can be read at http://www.scribd.com/doc/63502110/Ann-Kuebler-Breen-Story. It chronicles the life of Ann Kuebler Breen, who was born in 1938 in Batschsentiwan, Yugoslavia, escaped from a concentration camps in her home country with her family as a teenager in 1946, settled in central Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1955.
Breen-Bondie began putting together her mother’s story a few months ago. She put it together with old family photographs to share with her family, and the world. She has also archived videotaped interviews with her grandparents about their experiences in the war on YouTube.
Breen-Bondie added, “As much as I’d like to expound on my mother’s story, because I know there is much more to be told, I’m satisfied with the basic foundation of information my mom has provided our family. It’s just too emotional for her to continue to discuss in depth and I will honor her unwillingness to delve any deeper.” Breen-Bondie is a busy mother of three and the Secretary of the Woodland Park Improvement Association. To read Ann Kuebler Breen’s story click here.
News Wire Notes – contact C. Proxmire at email@example.com for purchase information. This story is updated from a prior version. Some information was removed at the interviewee’s request.