From Germany to Canada and back and forth once more, Viktor and Christel Hirschkorn have carried their love for one another across the globe.
The Vernon couple celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on Dec. 28, 2021.
Asked what their secret to a long marriage is, they replied, “love, patience and work.”
Now 88 and 82 years old, respectively, Viktor and Christel met by a chance connection in Hannover, Germany. Viktor had already immigrated to Canada but was visiting his sister Hilde in Hannover. Christel also happened to be visiting Hilde, whose husband was a friend of Christel’s family.
Viktor described it as love at first sight.
After a brief six-week courtship, Viktor proposed to Christel while they were driving on the Autobahn to Hamburg, Christel’s hometown. She said yes, and after the wedding the couple left Germany for Cranbrook, where Viktor was working as a journeyman carpenter.
Leaving a city of over a million people for Cranbrook was a bit of a culture shock for Christel, but she made friends quickly. Learning English wasn’t so bad; she picked up some of the language by watching Bugs Bunny cartoons.
They moved to Vernon a few years later, where Viktor started up a small construction company with his brother, Helmut.
After having two sons, Andreas and Rolf, they moved back to Hamburg for two years. But they just couldn’t stay away from Vernon; they moved back after two years and have lived in Vernon ever since.