ANNI

REFUGEE. DEATH MARCH SURVIVOR.

“I couldn't walk. I couldn't even move my toes.

I was shot and left lying in a field all alone."

Anni, during a Yugoslavian Death March, 1945 

read

Anni Kessenich was the youngest child in a family that slid into poverty just as Stalin began implementing his first Five-Year Plan and his harsh policies of collectivization. She experienced communist indoctrination in school, collectivization, famine, and the Purges of the 1930s.  She and her family left their home in Nieder-Chortitza in 1943, when she was 17, and became war refugees. She found herself in Yugoslavia when the war ended, a Soviet zone. Attempting to escape across the border, Anni became separated from her family, and was wounded in a death march that claimed the lives of thousands.

 

A compelling and colorful storyteller, you can read Anni's  first-person account below. 

Anni in 1943, photographed by Nazi photographers
Anni in 1943, photographed by Nazi photographers

press to zoom
- Anne Kessenich, in Endurance by A Nakhla
- Anne Kessenich, in Endurance by A Nakhla

press to zoom
Anni Kessenich (right), and sister Neta Loewen, ca 1989
Anni Kessenich (right), and sister Neta Loewen, ca 1989

press to zoom
Anni in 1943, photographed by Nazi photographers
Anni in 1943, photographed by Nazi photographers

press to zoom
1/8