Please welcome Helena Nikiel to the group.
Helena, many of our relatives have also been reluctant to discuss the
traumatic past that they left behind 50 or 60 years ago. However, as you
browse the messages in our archive, you will see that the experience stays
with them all the same - and affects their families as well...
It sounds like your father went through the same "Forgotten Odyssey" that
many of our families experienced. Soviet forced labour camps, arduous
journeys to find the free Polish army forming in the USSR after the
"amnesty" following the German attack on the USSR, and eventual evacuation
to Persia for the fortunate 115,000 soldiers and civilians. Starvation,
disease, cruelty and death of family members along the way.
It is possible for you to obtain records from the ex-Soviet archives on your
father's family deportations. It is also possible to check the Hoover
Archives in case he left depositions with General Anders after the amnesty.
With his permission, it is also possible to obtain a copy of his free Polish
Forces service record, including information he would have provided at the
Can I just say that, even though my father would never discuss his
experiences with the family, he has been very pleased to see the next
generation take an interest in these matters and it has led to many
conversations generated from specific questions. Some of our other members
have had similar experiences, so this may be possible for you as well...
(though no guarantees, each person is different!)
From: helena nikiel <helenanikiel@...
Briefly I am the daughter of Edward Nikiel. I currently live in Vancouver,
British Columbia. My father was at primary school in Zdolbunow, Wolin. He
then attended high school in Lwow and went on to be a cadet at Wayherowo.
In Oct 1939 he was captured in Przmisl and sent to prison in Kherson then on
to Vorkhuta. He later joined the Free Polish Navy and earned the Polish
equivalent of the VC. He did not see any of his relatives again after he
had been captured but heard his mother had died in Vorkhuta and father had
been shot by gestapo. His father had been a station master and navy captain
in WW1. Some uncles had farms in Dubno. One uncle had gone to the USA and
was possibly living in Chicago. My father is still alive but very reluctant
to discuss his past. We only have a very sketchy outline and would like to