WW2 captive to speak at first 60-plus fall program

Willy Penner, who experienced starvation as a child captive in a World War II refugee camp in Poland, will tell his story at the Tabor College 60+ Learning in Retirement program on Monday, Sept. 22.

Titled, ?Great is Thy Faithfulness: The Story Begins with World War II,? the presentation will begin at 9:45 a.m. in the Wohlgemuth Music Education Center.

?Willy Penner has a dramatic story of escape that he has told many times in various group settings,? said Connie Issac, director of the Learning in Retire?ment program.

?We?re glad that he is willing to tell his story more time so we can learn from him what life was like for many during World War II, and also give thanks to God for sparing his life."

Penner is a retired public school administrator who lives in North Newton with his wife, Gerry. He was only 8 years old when he was caught in the fighting between Russian and German forces.

Separated from his parents, Penner was held captive for four years in Poland before he escaped to a Red Cross refugee camp. He credits God?s faithfulness for caring and providing for him.

Penner was reunited with his parents and placed in a Menno?nite Central Committee refugee camp in Germany. He and his mother later came to Cordell, Okla., after a sponsor paid their way to America.

Penner was determined that he would learn English so well that no one could detect he was German. His high school years were at Corn (Okla.) Bible Academy.

After attending Tabor College for two years, Penner graduated from Southwestern State University in Weatherfor?d, Okla. He retired in 2001 from a career in elementary school education, which included more than 30 years as principal at Cimarron.

The Penners have three married children and eight grandchildren.

The public is welcome to attend all Learning in Retire?ment programs. Fees are $3 per session or $15 per semester ($28 per couple).

Registration and discount cards for lunch in the cafeteria will be available at the door during the half hour before the meeting.

For more information, contact Isaac at 947-3121, 947-5964, or by e-mail at conniei@tabor.edu.

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