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Retiree to speak on surviving World War II

Sep 06, 2019 09:00PM

Pete Czerny will speak at the Springville Senior Center, 65 East, 200 South, on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m., sharing his memories of surviving World War II.

This event is free and open to the public. Czerny was born in Germany during World War II to two faithful LDS parents. He, his parents, and 2-year-old older brother experienced the war just as horribly as people in those countries that Germany attacked.

True miracles kept them several times from being killed and yet they also were not spared the wrath of the conquering Russian soldiers as his family ended up behind the Iron Curtain, in Communist East Germany.

Their home destroyed, they eventually had to start a new existence and felt inspired to do it in America by escaping as a family, first to West Germany. By the time he was 12, Pete and his family had been refugees three times. He is one of the youngest survivors of the war who have actual memories of it and its atrocities.

The war and the few years he lived in post-war Germany robbed him of a normal childhood. Even coming to America was not without problems, since he spoke no English when his family arrived. After graduating from high school, he served an LDS mission to Austria.

He drafted into the U.S. Army for six years, during which time he served in the active, reserve, and stand-by army. During part of this time he was able to attend the University of Utah, where he received a bachelor's degree in secondary education.

While waiting for a fall teaching position, he began a summer job at the BYU Motion Picture Studio as an assistant motion picture film editor. He soon became the studio's supervising film editor and has worked there in various capacities for almost 50 years.

Although retired, he still volunteers to take visitors on tours of the studio, and he projects movies for the BYU Harold B. Lee Library's film series. While at the studio and during vacation times, he authored, photographed, and published the book "The Great Salt Lake," taking several years to finish.

He has studied music and has written many songs, hymns, poems, and piano solos. Because of the lasting scars of the war and his shattered childhood, he did not marry but instead has risked his life in helping friends and relatives behind the Iron Curtain and serving his church. Pete invites you to come and hear his story. He will have free handouts, and a question and answer period will follow the lecture. (Serve Daily submission by Diane King.)