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Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber
Swastika Painted on Her House

Time 0:02:31


I had incidents, that’s again us being a newcomer in Prince Albert, that’s later when we had the two children my daughter was two so it was in ’76, we bought our first little house and we moved, and my husband and I at home we speak Schweizerdeutsch, Swiss-German, and with the children too. And we moved to that little house and my husband went away, he went hunting with somebody, we moved in and the next day was a swastika painted on that house in the front and “fuck off.” I didn’t even know the word “fuck off”, or I knew it was not good. And I had—I was a mother of two small children and I knew that's serious, we just boughted [sic] a house we’re, you know—that exposed where we are. And what I did is I phoned the police not knowing that actually Prince Albert was at that time known quite bad, they had neo-Nazis and so on, I don’t remember the police man who came out, and then he looked at it and of course children came it became a whole neighbourhood thing, and I got to know the neighbours and you know we figured it could not have been children or not too young because the le—letter of “fuck” was written in double like double “f” double “u” you know children wouldn’t know.

Uh we never found out who did it, we painted over, and I got to know all the families at least with children because they came and looked because the policeman was there. Or—What that did to me was probably it’s one of these imprints when you leave that you can be marked for something you are not, because somebody probably heard they speak German, or even if I would, I was born in ’47 so I even I was—whatever I had nothing to do, or it doesn’t matter if you have or you have not, how you can be marked, and I tell that quite often because people sort of, Canadians—because Canadians are nice. And then I said, “They’re not so nice.” And then I tell them and then they have not much to say, that has happened to me.

Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber was born in Burgdorf, Switzerland in 1947. When Annemarie was 16, she started studying to become a home economics teacher. After four years of college, she graduated with diplomas in textiles and food. Annemarie taught for one year before she joined her fiancé, Heinz Buchmann, in England. She worked as a nanny while Heinz was in school.

Annemarie and Heinz returned to Switzerland to get married in January 1971. A month later, the newlyweds immigrated to Canada. Although Heinz planned to find work in Belleville, Ontario, they ended up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where the Canadian government helped Heinz find a job at a manufacturing company.

After one year, the couple moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, where their two children were born. Annemarie taught at a high school during the day and took art classes at night. She began to exhibit some of her artwork and in the 1970s she helped start the Saskatchewan Craft Council.

In 1980, the Buchmann’s moved to Saskatoon where Annemarie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Saskatchewan. In June 2013, she was awarded the Premier’s Prize for her work in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s exhibition Dimensions. Annemarie is an active volunteer and has worked since the 1980s with the Saskatoon Open Door Society which helps newcomers settle in Canada.

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