The Valentine Braun Irrevocable Education Trust

Mrs. & Mr. Braun History

     The Valentine Braun Irrevocable Education Trust (The Valentine Braun Scholarship) was established in memory of Mrs. Valentine Braun and Mr. Alexander Braun to provide tuition scholarships for those seeking post-secondary education at a State of Kansas qualified academic institution.

     Valentine (Valentina) Petra (Petrovna) Lange was born in Timisoara, Romania in1929 to Russian engineer Peter Zaitzev and Romanian housewife Helen Talpa Lange. By the end of the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union (during World War II) she and her parents were forced to flee from Europe. By 1944 Valentine was living in a Displaced Persons (DP) camp in Bavaria as her family awaited permission to immigrate to the United States. They moved to North Newton, Kansas, in 1949, with support from the Mennonite Central Committee.

      Alexander (Petrovich) Braun was born in 1923 in the village of Wernersdorf (Little Germany), former Soviet Union, now the Republic of Ukraine, the oldest child of farmers Peter and Katharine Braun, Germans by nationality. When Alexander was a little boy his father was arrested and taken away from the family for an extended period of time while his mother and younger children experienced extremely harsh living conditions.  In 1941, when the Germans invaded and occupied the former Soviet Union, Alexander was forcefully “recruited” to work for the Germans because of his ability to speak German and Russian. After the war Alexander was a refugee in Austria where he worked on a farm until he was reunited with his father and one of his brothers. By the end of the war they were living in a Displaced Persons (DP) camp in Bavaria where he met Valentine as they awaited permission to immigrate to the United States.

     Valentine and Alexander were married in 1951. Alexander and his family did not get permission to immigrate to the United States, so he.  relocated to Canada on a work visa where he and his brother, Peter, worked as miners in a gold mine.  Valentine and her parents moved to Topeka, Kansas, in 1952. In 1953 Alexander received permission to join his wife and her family in the United States. The Braun family remained in Topeka from that time. They had a daughter, Nancy Diana Braun, who died in childbirth in 1955.

     Valentine earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Washburn University (Topeka, Kansas) with honors in 1978, majoring in education, history, and foreign languages. She earned a Master’s Degree with honors in political science from the University of Kansas (Lawrence). She held a teaching certificate in foreign languages and history. She worked as an accountant and editor for the Kansas Medical Society for 35 years and, at the time of her retirement in 1994, was associate executive director. She was a member of the American Medical Writers Association, American Public Health Association, American Association of Medical Society Executives, and Kansas Advocates for the Improvement of Health Care in Nursing Homes. She was an honorary life member of the Kansas Medical Society and Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. She received a governor’s certificate in recognition of her contributions in developing “talking books.” Mrs. Valentine Braun died in 2000 in Topeka, Kansas.

     Alexander Braun worked for a body shop for several years until he obtained his Master Electrician license at which time he worked for numerous years for the Kansas Neurological Institute as an electrician. He later worked for the State of Kansas for many years as a machinist and electrician until his retirement. Alexander enjoyed playing chess and tending his gardens.  He was a member of the Topeka Chess Club.  Mr. Alexander Braun died in 2011 in Topeka, Kansas.

     In 1995 Mr. and Mrs. Braun became founding members of an Orthodox Christian Church in Topeka, Kansas, now known as Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Christian Church. They stayed loyal members of this church until the last days of their lives.

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Last updated in December 2021.