Cover photo for Ruth Janz (nee Strempler)'s Obituary
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Ruth Janz (nee Strempler)

May 14, 1931 — February 21, 2024

Altona, MB

Ruth Janz (nee Strempler)

On May 14th 1931, in the town of Tilsit, East Prussia, Heinrich and Melita Strempler welcomed their first-born child, a girl.  They named her Ruth.  She later had four brothers, Kurt, Erwin, Guenter and Gerhard, and one sister, Ingrid.   The young children did not have many years to live carefree lives as children should because Europe would soon be torn apart by war.  One night in 1938, when Mom was seven years old, she remembers “Kristallnacht”.  That was the night the windows of the synagogues, homes and businesses owned by Jewish families were smashed.   It was the official nationwide beginning of the “solution to the Jewish problem” as practiced by the Nazi party under Hitler and what turned out to be the start of the Holocaust.  The Jewish business owners and their families had been taken away.

In the summer of 1941, the war with Russia began and with Tilsit being very close to the Russian border the family could hear the canon fire from their home.  At this time her dad had to man the anti-aircraft guns.  Oma, mom and the boys would sleep downstairs so that if the air raid sirens went off, they would be able to get up quickly and run to the bunkers for shelter.  On one night the air raid came so fast that they did not have time get out of the house.  They didn’t want to go the basement because too many people had been buried when the buildings were hit and they collapsed on top of them.  Opa had them sit in a circle and pray as the bombs fell on the town.  As the war progressed and the Russian army advanced Oma and the children had to flee from their home in Tilsit.  It was October of 1944.  Opa had to stay and work in the paper mill but joined the family later.  

By 1945 they were living as refugees in Austria. Towards the end of the war older men were forced to join in the fighting and Opa had to leave the family at the beginning of April.  The war ended in the middle of May but the family did not know where Opa was or if he was still alive.  He had been captured by the Americans and sent to a POW camp where many men became ill and died.  Opa was released because he could confirm that his family was in Austria.  In August of 1945 they had to return to Germany and they lived in a refugee camp.  They eventually were able to move into a small house in Sulzkirchen.  It was here, on January 1, 1947 that mom was baptized.   She was given a Bible verse at her baptism.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

As a child Mom was frightened by thunderstorms and during one severe thunderstorm when she was visiting her Oma, she took Mom to the window and told her that she need not be afraid because God had created the thunderstorm.  When she was afraid, she could always remember that Jesus would walk right beside her, wherever she went.  This assurance helped Mom throughout her life.

On January 1, 1950 Mom began working as a volunteer at Marienburg, an MCC senior’s home for refugees.  It was here that she met and got to know Dad.  Mom and Dad were engaged on May 14, 1951, which was Mom’s birthday.  Having lived through two world wars the Strempler and Janz families decided to leave Europe in the hopes of finding somewhere they could live in peace.  They chose Canada.  Dad emigrated to Canada in 1951 and first went to Saskatchewan and then in March of 1952 he was able to move to Altona, Manitoba and start work at Rhineland Car.  The Strempler family left Germany for Canada in January of 1952.  Mom and Dad were married on September 7, 1952 in Neubergthal, Manitoba.  They rented a small house in Altona and the next year purchased a house which they lived in until they built a new house on the same location in 1961 where they raised their family of four sons, Henry, Helmut, Manfred and Arnold, and one daughter, Doris.  In September of 1980 Mom and Dad and Doris moved to Lowe Farm, Manitoba.  

Mom was predeceased by her brother Kurt in 1941, her mother Melita in 1981, her father Heinrich in 1990, her sister Ingrid in 2007, her husband Artur in 2012,  and her grandson Jason in 2023.   She is survived by her children Henry, Helmut, Manfred, Arnold and their wives, Doris and her husband, 16 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.  Devon and Amy will be welcoming Mom’s 31st great-grandchild later this year.

A private funeral service will be held.  Interment will take place at the Hillside Cemetery, Morden.

Donations in memory of Ruth may be made to MCC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth Janz (nee Strempler), please visit our flower store.


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