Depression Legacy

Legacy of the Depression

migrant familyThe Great Depression deeply changed the lives of those who lived through it. The experience of having no money and scrambling to make a living affected the choices that people made in their lives.


For example, Delbert and Alvin Apetz both say that they have been very careful to hang on to the money that they’ve made later in their lives. Also, they rarely borrow money from someone else. Delbert says, “If I didn’t have any money I didn’t buy it. That was the end of it.”



GoertzenMany who lived through the Depression find themselves unable to throw anything away. Their basements are filled with things they may not have used in 10 years. But as Herman Goertzen (left) says, “I might need it tomorrow.”

These were hard times. Yet, if you talk with Depression survivors, you may find that those who were younger during the 30s took all the hard times in stride. They were kids. They never knew better times, and so they adapted.
Others believe the hard times were valuable. Stan Jensen (right) says the Depression gave him a “work ethic and sense of goals and what you do with your life.”

Yet all in all, what comes through in talking with these survivors is the sense that the human spirit is strong and people are able to live through the worst of times.

Written by Bill Ganzel of the Ganzel Group. First written and published in 2003.

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