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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
Anyone who knows Eric knows that he writes about a little bit of everything
Annelee
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By Eric Bergeson
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother ...
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Eric Bergeson's The Country Scribe
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother Joe, who is now president of the company, the business has nearly tripled in size during Eric’s ownership tenure. The holder of a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Dakota, Eric has taught courses in history and political science at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He is also an adjunct lecturer in history for Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. Eric’s hobbies include Minnesota Twins baseball, Bach organ music, bookstores, hiking, photography, singing old country music with his brother Joe, and watching the wildlife on the swamp in front of his house eight miles outside of Fertile, Minn.
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annelee.jpg 

Pardon the blurry picture. Phones don't always do the best. Above is my friend Annelee Woodstrom from Ada, MN. She invited me to hear her present to a couple of hundred history students in West Fargo High School today. Annelee has written two books about her childhood in Nazi Germany. 

Annelee's presentation was well-organized, well-delivered, and well received by very attentive students. Her family was persecuted due to her father's refusal to join the Nazi party. Annelee longed to attend the Nazi parades and be in the Nazi youth organization, but her father would not let her. 

After the war began, things got very grim. Due to her family's lack of party membership, Annelee was shipped away to work 60 hours per week far from home as a 16-year-old. We forget: The aftermath of the war was grim for the German people. They were treated horrifically by the Russian occupiers. Annelee was near the border between the American and Russian zones. The American soldier who became her husband supervised the distribution of provisions in her home town. 

That is the short-hand version of Annelee's first book, War Child. 

In a short period of time, Annelee brought home the stark realities of war to the students present. Her father left for forced work in 1943. They never saw him again. Annelee does not know if he was shipped to Siberia after the war or not. His whereabouts remain a mystery. I think that story sunk in more than any other. 

Annelee is 87 years old and still writing and speaking. Friends James and Shirley Hanson of Ada have made it a mission to drive Annelee to her speaking engagements as they believe it is important that her message get out. So do I. 

Doing the speeches comes with a price for Annelee: She said after every presentation, she has nightmares about the bombings from the American planes and the long nights spent in shaking bomb shelters, only to come up in the morning to work a full day surrounded by the smell of burning flesh. 

We are so lucky. 

 

 

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