Leaving war-torn Europe is topic at Pelican Library June 20 as prelude to Friendship Fest

“World War II and its aftermath are just historical events for many people, but they are reality for those of us affected by them. Their influences are life long. I am a casualty and a survivor.”  

The book cover is pictured, by author Margaret Grgurić Smolik, who will be speaking June 20 in Pelican Rapids.

With that preface, Margaret Grgurić Smolik begins the story of her life – from her early childhood in Croatia through her family’s escape to Austria and finally their immigration to Iowa, USA as refugees.

In the US we are more apt to hear the story of the Second World War, its beginning and its end, from the point of view of Americans. 

Join Margaret as she talks about her life and her book Like a Haystack: Life from my Perspective, at the Pelican Rapids Library on Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. Margaret looks through the different layers of her life to make sense of the woman she is. She uses her older sister’s stories of life in Croatia – of the farm where the family lived, how they ate and worked. She relates her parents’ story of how after the war began and the fighting came to their town, the Germans told the family that because they had German names they would be protected for three more days. Margaret describes life in the camps in Austria as the family tried to create a new home. Finally, Margaret tells of the struggles the family had to receive permission to move to the United States after the war, and of their struggles to learn all they needed to know in another new country.

Margaret’s stories of her childhood in Croatia, Austria and Iowa are clear, engaging, and important. They will strike chords in many memories, especially for those people who grew up on a farm. Her nephew Jim Michels and his family now farm just north of Pelican Rapids. At the end of her book, Margaret writes  “During and after World War II, our family and thousands of others like us were reduced to nothing at some point.” And yet they survived, grew, improved their lives.

 Join Margaret and her family on Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 pm at the Pelican Library as she tells the stories of her youth and muses on the long term effects of the war.

2019 Friendship Festival schedule

6-20-19 – Talk by Margaret Smolik, an immigrant, about  her book, 7 p.m. Pelican Rapids Library – cosponsored with Friends of the Library

6-21-19 – Ice Cream social at community movie night – 8 p.m. – cosponsored with Park Board

6-22-19 – Friendship Festival 

10:45 – 11:30 Teaching kids and other people the Swedish line or circle dances on the hill

11:30 – 12:15 Band of Faith

12:15 – 12:30 Intro by Brent, Cynthia, Suleeqo

12:30 – 1:15 Fargo Spelmannstag

1:30 – 2:15 The Associates 

2:30 – 3:15 Ballet Folklorico

3:30 – 4:15 Buffalo River Drummers and Dancers

4:30 – 5:15 Somali Dance Troupe