Anne-Marie Nakhla is the granddaughter of Neta Loewen, and great-niece of Hein, Peter, Gerhard, Tina, and Anni. She lives in Shelton, Washington with her husband, and three of her six children. The daughter of both an award-winning historian (Gary Ferngren) and a former-WWII refugee (Agnes Loewen), she had the right DNA to make family history a compelling passion.
She obtained her M.A. in Modern European History from Western Washington University in 1996. Having taken Russian history, and needing a subject for her master's thesis, she began traveling 45 minutes north to interview her grandmother, Neta, in Abbotsford, B.C. In the hours spent transcribing those interviews and conducting background research, Anne-Marie realized that her grandmother was describing some of the most significant events of the 20th century. That gave birth to one of her life's passion...researching the early years of communism in the Soviet Union.
Anne-Marie took 15 years off to homeschool her six kids. Toward the end of that time, she brought her kids north to meet Tante Anni, the only one of her grandmother's siblings still living. Hearing firsthand Anni's story, and seeing her kids' response to Anni, Anne-Marie began to research and write anew, this time producing Endurance: One Family's Story of Surviving Communism, War, Famine, and the Soviet Gulag and Exodus: One Refugee Family's Story of Coming out of War, Loss, and Poverty. The books as yet lacks a publisher, so in the meantime, she created a website to give others access to the compelling stories of lives altered by the Soviet Regime, 1917-1991.