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 my father secured a job in the Forestry Management. It is at this point that my book, The Journey, begins.
I had hoped to find my parents’ home, a forester’s lodge, but there was not enough time to go around and ask people. Also, seventy plus years after my parents’ deportation to Siberia and all the upheavals that followed, the population of Mizun would have been an entirely new set of people, apart from the odd few who had survived those horrific times.
I knocked on the door of a little old house where an elderly couple let me in, but the language barrier made it difficult to communicate. Their poverty was evident. They lived and slept and ate in the one room, where everything had been blackened by years of fume-emissions from their one stove that served as a cooker and a heater.
I could not help but reflect that in some strange and mysterious way I had been spared a life such as theirs.