Healing Trauma, Decolonizing Memory

ElaineBy Elaine Enns (right), re-posted from Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology.

All four of my grandparents fled Ukraine and Russia in the 1920s, coming to Saskatchewan with some 22,000 other Mennonite immigrants.2 During the Russian Revolution and Civil War (1917–21), they and other German-speakers endured a continuous climate of violence, plundering, rape, and killing. As a child, I knew something unspeakable had happened to them. But my grandparents spoke only about the good times and the vast abundance and beauty of the land. In my senior year at a Mennonite high school in Saskatchewan, our drama teacher had us perform a reader’s theater rendition of Barbara Claassen Smucker’s novel Days of Terror. 3 Survivors of the Zerrissenheit (a German term loosely translated as “a time of being torn apart”) spoke with us about their experience. Seeds of a call to become a “remembearer” in my community were planted in me, which have grown for thirty years. Click here to keep reading.

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