Maria Welker is the next community member to be featured on "Edgewood Communities Presents" Hosted by Greg Peterson and sponsored by Lutheran and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Welker will share her life story which includes leaving her hometown during World War II and later coming to America.
Born and raised in Karlsdorf, Yugoslavia, Welker lived on a farm with her family. In 1944, her family was forced to house soldiers and provide them with grain from their farm. After the Russian invasion, Welker's village was evacuated and residents were transported to refugee camps and forced to perform manual labor.
Fearing for their lives, and separated from her husband who had been sent to another camp, Welker's mother made the decision to escape. With her three children in tow, the family made it to the Austrian border. With the help of the local Red Cross, Welker's father was located in East Germany and brought to Austria to be reunited with his family.
Through familial ties in America, Welker and her family eventually settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1952 she moved to Jamestown and married her husband, Peter. Together they have two children.
"Edgewood Communities Presents" will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Juliet J. Rosch Activities Center on the Edgewood Communities campus. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be served. The program will begin at 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer session.
The public is welcome to attend the free event and listen to Welker speak first-hand about her past. Reservations may be made by calling Edgewood Communities at 665-8197 by Friday. If there is no answer, please leave a name and number attending on the answering machine.