LIFE STORY



 It was in this courtyard that she enjoyed 
gardening her very own raised flower bed.
Erna Klara Laser was the seventh of eight children born to Theodor and Pauline Werner, a German family living in West Prussia. She went to school from age 7 to age 14, learning German and Polish.  At age 14 she became apprentice as sales clerk in a dry goods store. Erna supported herself with this day job in the Hohensee Family business, while attending night school.  Her dream to become a teacher was never realized, however, due to the war years.

At age 14 she attended special evangelistic meetings at church with a very dynamic speaker.  Through his powerful messages, she recognized her need for a Savior and came to faith in  Jesus Christ and was baptized. This was the most important decision she ever made in her life!

When WWII broke out, it was the Hohensee family who took her with them to the countryside, to escape the turmoil in the city and be more protected. There she found a position with the post office. Later she trained as a telecommunications operator in the Air Force, stationed in Bialystock, Poland. During one of her vacations home, she met Heinrich Laser, who was also in telecommunications, stationed in Amsterdam. After that the two  often passed the long, boring night duties with conversation getting to know one another well enough to fall in love and become engaged.  They married July 3, 1942. They were only together as a married couple for 2 short weeks, and then had to return to duty. Thereafter, they only received the occasional leave to return home.

This was a difficult and stressful time. In October 1944, without her husband at her side, but the help of a midwife, Erna gave birth to their first child. When their daughter was 3 months old, Erna had to leave her lovely apartment, take the child and a few belongings and flee the enemy. Together with her sister Minna, her sister-in-law Else with her two children, these three women trekked across the country for a whole year.  During that time they experienced God’s faithful protection in miraculous ways. They ended up in Germany, where their husbands’ family lived. It was in Goslar, that both women were re-united with their spouses. Each woman had her own powerful story to tell!  Heinrich and Erna had two more children in Goslar, a son and a daughter.

Ten years later the family immigrated to Canada, settling in Winnipeg, MB. Erna enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom doing occasional cleaning jobs to supplement the family income to help buy their first house. Involvement in the church with the Women’s Ministries groups was a great joy in Erna’s life. She sang in the choir, was secretary of the ladies group and as deaconess faithfully visited the elderly. Later she donated thousands of volunteer hours to the Shepherd’s Care Foundation and found that to be the most rewarding time of her later years of life!

Erna visited family in Germany twice, once to be reunited with her sister Lydia, who she believed had died in captivity! You can imagine the joy! She also traveled to visit her children while they lived in various parts of the USA and Canada!

A severe bout of shingles at their 50th Anniversary celebration left her with considerable chronic pain; even a pain-management clinic could not help her to cope with the nerve damage to her right side.

When Erna’s husband died November 1998, she moved to a smaller apartment in the Millwoods Manor and carried on as best as she could with the full support of her family and many friends.

At Shepherd’s Care Erna loved to crochet, listen to Bible sermons and hymns, and attend church services, communion and anything German! She loved to sell at her Saturday craft table. She loved her garden but more than that, she loved people and sharing her life experiences with others in the hope of providing stimulation and encouragement. She gave advice freely – whether you wanted it or not; but it was to your advantage and you were wise to listen! She was a woman of prayer – always sharing how the Lord answered so many of them! She had a good sense of humor – but was often frustrated by her hearing loss. She really appreciated people who took the time to explain what was happening to her and why.

My brother Garry in Chilliwack, my sister Christina in Sardis, and I,  with our families, were so thankful that our mother was placed into the Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre where her German spiritual and  cultural needs were met.  She loved all the staff, but especially also her ‘Polish girls’ who loved to tease with her! She had lived on this campus of care for 25 years!  And it was from here that the Lord carried her home, after a brief illness, to live forever with Him.  She gladly moved from time into eternity on Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:10 p.m. taking no earthly possessions with her, for she had sent her treasures on ahead! 

We will fondly remember you
Mom, Oma, Oma-Oma, Tante Erna, Friend and  Fellow Volunteer ! 

17 comments:

Karen said...

Karin...this is such a moving and tender tribute to your mother...

I had to smile at this portion..."she gave advice freely – whether you wanted it or not; but it was to your advantage and you were wise to listen!"...it reminded me of one of my relatives...

Your closing sentence was just precious! What a legacy your mom left her family....

Bernie said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mother Karin, the love and respect you feel for her shines through every word. She sounds like a woman I would of enjoyed knowing very much. God Bless you and your family.........:-) Hugs

Doris Sturm said...

What a lovely memorial to a nice lady. God bless her! She's at peace!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Karin, What a wonderful story. Your mother was a remarkable woman. I enjoyed reading about her so much. I know she was proud of the woman you are, Karin... AND ---I know that you learned alot about life from your mother. God Bless HER--and YOU and the family.

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Karin,you have a tremendous legacy ,left by your Mother.May she live in your heart forever as you remember her life.She is now rejoicing in glory,the most wonderful place to be.
Hugs,Ruth

Jan said...

What history in your family, a beautiful moving tribute to your beloved mother and family.
Hugs - Jan

Glenda said...

What a sweet tribute to your mom! She must have touched so many lives with her story and her life! I know you will miss her so in the days ahead. May God's peace and your wonderful memories comfort you.

lori said...

Karin,
I'm in a puddle here...today is my mom's birthday so this it just hit home..What a life story your mum had...
To know she is back in the arms of her love and dancing with Jesus must comfort yo...

What a beautiful tribute to her..what a beautiful life...

peace,
lori

Evi said...

Thanks for the beautiful tribute mom. It was nice to hear some of the history again.

Anneliese said...

I compare her to my mother-in-law with her experiences and I marvel at the strength these women had.
May God dontinut to bless you by her memory.

Warren Baldwin said...

What a powerful story and, as Karen said, "a moving and tender tribute."

Your mom and her sisters must have seen and experienced some horrible things during those war and even postwar years. Unfortunately, that part of the story is not told in he U.S. When I tell some of it in the history classes I teach for a junior college, students sit there with their mouths open. I had one woman read a book on the treatment of Germans after the war, and when she gave her report in class she cried.

You mentioned your mom thought her sister died in captivity. Was she taken to Russia? Many thousands (millions?) of German civilians were, and many never returned.

I have written an article on some of these issues of postwar treatment of people. If you are interested in reading it let me know and I will email it to you.

A book you might be interested in by a German woman is "Eva's War."

Warren

George said...

Thanks for sharing your Mother's wonderful story with us. Not only is her story very inspirational, the love is obvious in every sentence.

Marg said...

The voyage sounds similar to some of my husbands history. A strong German influence plus a story of courage, how she trekked with her family...Unbelievable. But what a strong faith in God...
Sounds like you have such a wonderful German connection of community at this special home...
Please share that next year on Mother's Day.
It's a beautiful post.

ellen b. said...

What a beautiful tribute Karin! What a blessing to have parents whose treasures are laid up in heaven! May God comfort you and your family as you remember your mother...

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Karabeth said...

A beautiful tribute, Karin. You captured so well the way your mother moved within her different worlds (earthly & spiritual, German & Canadian, business & home).

I'm praying for you and your family as you pass through these difficult and emotional days.

Valerie @ Intelligent Expressions said...

What a compelling and fascinating legacy! Your retelling of her life was beautiful. What a heritage to know about - but even better is the legacy of faith you carry with you -

It is so hard to go on without our moms - no matter what age - and yet she lives on in you and your family and .. You will meet again! What a promise!