Julius Pedde

September 7, 1904 - December 16, 1998
Born: Stare Grabie, Poland
Died: Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada
Cemetery: Overholt Cemetery

Julius Pedde was born in a German community in Stare Grabie, Radzymin, Poland. His family was exiled to Siberia when he was about ten years old. There, they lived in a sod hut with two rooms, one for animals and one for the family -- the seven children out of fourteen who survived and their parents.

The family was eventually allowed to return to Poland. There, Julius met and married Emma Kaczkowska. Two children were born to them, Wanda (1931) and Bruno (1933.) Bruno died in 1934 and Emma died in 1935, leaving Julius with a young daughter Wanda and no wife.

In 1937, Julius married Alma Schmigelski (1914-2002.) To them were born Edgar (1938) who died as a baby, then Albert (1942) and Erwin (1944). Soon World War II was underway and by late 1944, many Germans living in Poland fled towards Germany to escape the Russian army's advance westwards.

Julius and Alma joined the flight and got separated along the way. Alma had with her Julius' daughter Wanda and sons Albert and Erwin.

In January of 1945, Albert and Erwin got sick from hunger and cold. On reaching Graal Müritz in northern Germany, the boys were taken to a children's clinic. Both died and were buried there. Albert was three years old, Erwin was less than one year old.

Alma continued to flee towards Germany and stopped in a town called Groß Steinrade. En route, she had discovered that she was pregnant and in July, 1945, a new son, Siegfried was born. They lived briefly in a fire station and then in nearby Heidmühlen, where they waited for Julius to find them. Julius appeared one day, after bicycling around northern Germany for months, from one Red Cross centre to another, looking for any refugee list with Alma's name on it. It was a bittersweet reunion. After being separated from Alma for months, Julius found that he had lost two sons, Albert and Erwin, and gained another, Siegfried.

The family emigrated to Canada in 1949 and in November of that year a new baby, Alfred, was born.




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