From Rubble to Champagne with Vivianne Knebel

Our past becomes the stepping stone we use to move to a greater destination!

Define rubble…it is not that we can clearly define it but we illuminate what it looks like from different vantage points. For Vivianne, it was using a little metal pail to ask for scraps of chicken heads and fish heads. She would bring them home to her mother to make soups out of them. After she dropped off the fish heads and chicken heads, Vivianne would go to the open-air market to retrieve wooden fish crates to use to create a fire to cook with. This memory, already it was a difficult time her life, is one of the memories that add to her appreciation for all she has done now.

Our past becomes the stepping stone we use to move to a greater destination!

Things changed, as they often do, and new opportunities gave way to living a better life. At the age of seven, Vivianne’s mother reconnected with an old school friend. He became a father for Vivianne and his profession of being a tailor came from his time in Siberia. While there he mended the soldiers’ uniforms. This played a huge role in his alcoholism and the verbal and physical fights between him and Vivianne’s mother. At that time, Siberia was a place that many dot return from.

(Check out Vivianne’s interview on the #SpeakEasy Podcast:

Empathy is built in our tough times but it should be shared at all times. Throughout this episode, we are reminded that choices are most often made with good intentions. Vivianne’s mother married her school friend when Vivianne was 13 and then they immigrated to Canada. (The land of milk and honey) Her mother was sure to tell her and her sister that the marriage was a meal ticket and not a union of love. Many can relate to doing what they had to do for a better opportunity for their children.

Vivianne had this same mindset when she chose to leave school at the age of 14 in order to join the workforce. Her first job was with a man who said that he would train her to be a dental assistant. She also endured her first experience with harassment by a friend of the dentist. It was while she was working at Volkswagon in the accounting department that became her first experience with being disappointed at a job. It sent her into a depression that leads to a suicide attempt. (Find out what halted her suicide attempt in this episode)

Vivianne’s gems:
~ Show empathy
~ Continue to believe that greater is coming
~ Tell your story
~ Be ready to move on to something greater
~ Do what is necessary
~ Tap into a support system

Now more than ever there are people who are dealing with circumstances that are beyond their control. They are fighting to stay afloat with uncertainty and fears that continue to creep up into their thoughts. How do you fight it? How do you move past what has become a barrier or a brick wall? Vivianne took us through experiences that look just like your own with a disposition that can shift the hearts and minds of many.

Create your rubble to the champagne story every day through conversations and information that elevate you.

(Check out Vivianne’s interview on the #SpeakEasy Podcast:

Meet Vivianne:

Vivianne Knebel was born illegitimate in 1943 in the epicenter of Nazi power, Berlin, Germany. Her free-spirited and strong-willed mother, Marija, fought to keep her alive among falling bombs and Soviet attacks. After the end of World War II, with much of Berlin razed to the ground, Vivianne came to know poverty and constant hunger. As a teenager, she immigrated to Canada, but in her new homeland, times became so desperate that she had to beg for money to eat. After dropping out of school to find work, Vivianne became the victim of sexual harassment. Spiraling into depression, she attempted to take her life but was miraculously saved by a six-year-old child.

Falling in love with a fellow German immigrant, Wiland proved a pivotal turning point for Vivianne. He saw a wellspring of potential in her and believed that she could become more than she had ever imagined. They married and moved to the United States. In the land where so many immigrant dreams are built, Wiland encouraged Vivianne to pursue endeavors that would test her mettle, including piloting a plane, running a marathon, and taking on a key role in supporting his business enterprise. Vivianne’s journey of personal growth later gave her the courage to battle cancer and embrace a spiritual life.

Through hardship, demoralization, yearning, searching, loving, inspiration, and growth, Vivianne has discovered the ultimate secret to a life well-lived: a grateful heart.

Social Media Handles (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s