September 30 — Reunited

On Aug. 28 three sisters — Mary, Clara and Theresa — came to the Kronau Heritage Museum during their annual visit to town. The Frey sisters grew up on a farm located in the original Kronau district, southeast of Kronau’s current location. They went to school at Saar’s rival establishment, the “Old” Kronau School, and enjoy coming back to Kronau for a yearly tour of the town and surrounding area. While the museum is honoured to be a part of this annual outing, it is especially honoured to host historical documents and artefacts donated by the Frey family.

Our newest exhibit, “Bless ‘Em All,” includes a section dedicated to the sisters’ brother, Fred Frey, and his involvement in the Second World War. As an adult, Fred was a staunch supporter of the museum. His generous support and avid role in the community played a big part in the preservation of local history. For a number of years, many did not know his story; Fred was a quiet, unassuming man who was very taken aback when the museum asked his permission to name him as one of our heroes. He contested, “I am no hero. I only did what all the other guys did.”

freysisters2016
The Frey sisters — Mary, Clara and Teresa — stand in front of a “Bless ‘Em All” exhibit that consists of their brother Fred’s wartime artefacts. 

On Nov. 11, 1942, Fred joined the Canadian army at the age of 20. Leaving his father, mother and 12 siblings he set off for basic training in Maple Creek. At one point during the war, Fred Frey drove an ammunition truck towards the front lines in Italy. He carried food, ammunition and gas through narrow mountainous passageways. His bravery mirrored the courage and sacrifice made by Canadian troops throughout history.

When the war came to an end, Fred returned home to a hero’s welcome, a new baby brother the newest addition to the group of friends and family. Fred lived on the farm near Kronau. He passed away on Feb. 12, 2016. He was a loyal supporter of the museum and will be sadly missed.

During his sisters’ visit, I gained a whole new perspective and understanding of this local hero. I did not have the honour of meeting Fred myself, but from meeting his sisters I knew he must have been someone truly special.

The Frey women were delightful visitors. During their tour, I learned Fred was not the only family member featured in “Bless ‘Em All.” His sisters pointed out several local young men in photos who were also close relations. It was heart warming to hear their stories; their admiration for their brother was evident as they spoke of him. Fred’s story was further personalized by their visit.

Their annual trip was incredibly special to witness. Thank you to Mary, Clara and Theresa for providing this museum worker with an unforgettable memory.

 

Jacqueline Wagner, Summer Student 2016 

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