A Distant Promise: A New Beginning

The Last Bridge: Her Own Story: Elvera Ziebart Reuer

Written by Marjorie Knittel

As told by Elvera Ziebart Reuer. Midstates Printing, Inc., Aberdeen, South Dakota, 1984, 167 pages, softcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to present two outstanding books written by Elvera Ziebart Reuer, Mesa, Arizona.

The Introduction to the book A Distant Promise includes the following text: "Elvera's story continues in her new book A Distant Promise: A New Beginning as she comes to America. She reflects back on her homeland of Arzis, Bessarabia, and gives us a closer look at the everyday life of her family and other villagers as well as the traditions and customs of the Bessarabian-Germans. Her memories take us, again, through the war years where she experiences the Nazi youth leaders' attempt to indoctrinate German children.

In this sequel to The Last Bridge we become better acquainted with Elvera's family and some of her friends. We learn of her brother, Bruno's ordeal at Stalingrad and brother Albert's war experiences after he is drafted, at age sixteen, into the German army. We then find out what happened to the Ziebart family after that terrible war.

However, Elvera's continuing story is mostly about coming to America, her adjustments, her sorrows and her joys as an American citizen. It also relates the strength she derived from her strong Christian upbringing and how that strength carries her through adversities.

Elvera's story professes her love for America. Yet, her voice of experience, which knows well the pitfalls of a socialistic society, warns her adopted country of how we are losing the unique freedoms that has made the United States of America the greatest nation on earth.

About the Author

Elvera Ziebart Reuer was born in Strassburg, Bessarabia, and lived in Arzis, Bessarabia, until she was ten years of age. At that time Communist Russia gained control of Bessarabia and because the Volga Germans were being shipped off to Siberia, and the young women of Bessarabia were not safe with Russian soldiers in the vicinity, she and her family left their homeland for Germany, along with 93,000 other Bessarabian-Germans, to be relocated by Nazi officials.

The Ziebart family was placed on a farm in Poland, which had been confiscated from Polish citizens. They lived there until Elvera was fourteen years old. It was then that the Russian army's advance sent them fleeing for safety.

The family immigrated to America in December of 1949, settling with relatives in South Dakota where Elvera met and married Erwin Reuer. The courage and principals of Elvera's mother, Eva Ziebart are passed on to her children and served Elvera well as she faced the hard life of a farmer's wife, and the loss of one of her six children.

Elvera now resides with her husband in Mesa, Arizona, where she has her own upholstery, drapery and alteration business. The Reuers are members of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tempe, Arizona.

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Review of the book by Edna Boardman

A Distant Promise & The Last Bridge

The price for A Distant Promise is $30 (softcover) and for The Last Bridge is $35 (softcover)
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