My name is Christiane Edeltraud (Christl) Fechter. I was born to Liebreich and Anna Fechter on Oct. 21, 1928 in Gfell, Bohemia—where my family farmed for 15 generations. After a short but golden childhood, Hitler invaded, followed by the Communist regime. When I was 15, my family was driven from our homeland and put into a concentration camp. Later, I discovered this was a blessing in disguise. Because we were forced out, we escaped being trapped behind the Iron Curtain as our home came under Czechoslovakian rule.
Our lives were extremely hard, at times living near starvation. After leaving the concentration camp, I innocently married a man who was brutal and cruel. But soon I found a position as a governess where I could heal from my terrible experiences, and I recognized I had a gift for teaching children. I left for Frankfurt with nothing more than about $15 to attend college, where I excelled. I began teaching kindergarten. After a long search for truth, I joined the LDS faith after being introduced by the family of one of my young students. I was baptized in 1958 in an ice cold lake, which caused great strain between me and my family.
I came to Utah on a refugee visa, without language, without money, without a roof over my head, and without work. But the Lord led my steps, and I found work at the University of Utah in a totally different field. In time I became a research specialist and earned the Presidential Achievement Award. During my entire life I worked on my family history and genealogy—a difficult, expensive passion because the records were often behind the Iron Curtain. Therefore I worked around the clock to get money for the documents, sometimes three and four jobs at a time.
Over the years I had the privilege to grow close to many people who I considered part of my family, including eighteen “adopted” grandchildren and many others. They added so much joy to my life. Some of my closer relatives in Germany are: Guenter Fechter (brother) with Helga and their children Peter and Christine, Gunthilde Hofmann (sister) with her children Birgit and Michael, and Albert Fechter (cousin) When I look back over my life, I didn’t always realize the heavenly guidance I was receiving. I went through hard times but I now recognize how Jesus led me from one stepping stone to the next. When I couldn’t walk anymore, Jesus carried me. I can only say thank you to Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost.
Services will be held at the Centerville 19th Ward Chapel, 900 S. 400 East, Centerville, on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held before the service beginning at 9:45 a.m.