Easter in Poland is a joyous family day. After the Resurrection Mass in church, families return home to a sumptuous brunch. The white-covered table is laden with spreads of cold meats and salads, with a centre-piece of the Easter basket filled with hard-boiled and colourfully hand-painted eggs. Children love cracking eggs, knocking them against each … Continue reading Polish Easter Traditions
For the older generation of Poles, the 10th February 1940 is an especially poignant date. From the start of Stalin’s Purges in 1934, throughout the thirties, throughout the forties, and right up to his death in 1953, it is estimated that around four million of his own people died as a result of resettlement to … Continue reading On this day in 1940
It is a Polish tradition that on 1st November, All Saints Day, the departed are remembered with a special ceremony at the cemetery. All over Poland families gather together and visit the cemeteries to decorate the graves lavishly with flowers and to leave burning candles inside protective-glass holders. From above, in the dark, the country … Continue reading Remembering the residents of Sulby Camp near Husbands Bosworth
Continuing on my journey across once-Polish land and now Ukraine, we also stopped in Mizun, near Dolina at my request. Larger than Michalovka, with brick buildings as well as wooden huts, it had the air of a run-down place, despite the backdrop of beautiful woodland. My parents moved here just before the war (1939) when … Continue reading My visit to the Ukraine 2011 – part 2 – Mizun, near Dolina
In 2011, I was lucky enough to be able to make my own journey to the Ukraine to re-trace where my parents had lived. Visiting my mother’s village was like stepping back in time: small wooden houses, some dilapidated, some supported with lean-to sheds, all surrounded by vegetable plots or small orchards. The surrounding countryside … Continue reading My visit to the Ukraine 2011 – part 1 – Michalovka near Rava Ruska
In Volume 2 of ‘The Journey’, I describe the voyage from Palestine to England with my mother Anastazia. In January 1948 our boat, the SS Samaria, set sail from Port Said in Egypt and two weeks later we docked in Liverpool, having crossed The Mediterranean and negotiated the turbulent waters around the Bay of Biscay. … Continue reading A new life in England
Anastazia Malinska was my mother. I based the character of Anastazia in my novel ‘The Journey’ on her. She was the youngest in a family of five and only a small child when her father and her oldest brother (17) were called to arms in the First World War. The next few years her mother … Continue reading Who was Anastazia Malinska?
Anna’s character in my novel ‘Stolen Years’ is based on Anna Majcherczyk. The plot is based on real events as recounted to me by Anna and on my own historical research. All other characters, conversations and daily situations are fictional for the purpose of driving the plot. Anna Majcherczyk was my husband Michael’s mother. Aged … Continue reading Who was Anna Majcherczyk?
Ady Dayman was kind enough to invite me to be interviewed for his show at Radio Leicester. The interview was broadcast earlier this week. He asked me to talk about my book ‘The Journey’ and describe the harrowing details of the experiences my parents endured as they were packed onto cattle trucks with hundreds of … Continue reading My interview with Ady Dayman at Radio Leicester
My generation of Polish children, born during or just after the war, was brought up on our parents’ stories of their dramatic wartime experiences. As I child, I was unable to comprehend exactly what those stories meant in reality. I didn’t understand the horrors they had experienced in their recent past. When I grew up, … Continue reading Why I wrote ‘Stolen Years’ and ‘The Journey’