When my dad died, he would have had no idea how much the little battered, brown, army box he left behind would motivate me to start a 20 year journey into his past. When he died I couldn't read or write Polish....this box pushed me into a search I could never have imagined. Not only did I learn more about his family and his past, the war, the deportations, the imprisonment, the gulags, the injustice ....but now I can read and write Polish. So my little box of memorbilia is important to no one.....but when I look at it, or touch it, it represents 74 years and the greatest motivator I ever could have come across in my life. One night when writing my family's history I was locked into the face of my dad's sister on the computer. I knew very little about her and she had no children and there was nobody left to answer any questions for me. The door in the room unexpectedly slammed shut behind me as I
stared into her computer image and I was strangely drawn to the army box for some unknown reason. I had in my possession the army box for years so it wasn't anything new to me. But for all the years I had the box I couldn't read or write in Polish. Now my Polish was at an elementary level. I went with the feeling to the box and inside, I found a letter that had been written to my dad from his sister. The one whose face I had been staring into for an hour asking what had happened in her life. When she was 58 years old she wrote probably her last letter to my dad and in this letter she told her life story. Almost everything I wanted to know was in this letter. This is one incident I hold dear to my heart but it was just the beginning of so many more miraculous pieces of the puzzle that came to life from my search. When I questioned the arrival in Pahlevi.....the box drew me in again and I found a tiny
notebook specifically noting when my dad left Russia and how long the trip was to Pahlevi. He wrote notes on his trip to Jerusalem......wrote the words to Volga, Volga. Words that once meant nothing were all of a sudden coming into a life of their own. I also have the Pope's certificate to Polish soldiers in Rome. I can't help but think of all the stuff that was left behind by people who died and seemed so insignificant. There is a story in everything if one just takes the time to look at these things. Another thing I have is a Jerusalem medal, that I have worn all my life....and it came from the time when the soldiers visited Jerusalem and picked up trinkets and postcards, which my dad also kept. Who knew? And my latest army records that I recieved tell me exactly just when my dad went to Jerusalem and would have bought the medal. So again...to some this means nothing...but
when you are searching or perhaps trying to hold on to a piece of the past....these little pieces of information can mean alot. I urge everyone who has anything left...to treasure it.
I would never give up this little brown box....but there will come a day when it is insignificant to everyone.
your timing couldn't be better to vindicate me. I am moving and this past weekend when I was storing 2 things of dziadzia's that I have hung onto my mother was asking why I was still lugging them around. I had to tell her they were things any collector would die for - though that is purely my opinion and not necessarily tested!
The first item is his army ruck sack with hand painted personal identifiers and the second is a footlocker made out of a metal artillery shell box again with his II Polish Corps #'s.
Hopefully these are the odd things you might include in a collection.
put together a special exhibition of wartime artefacts! Who else has or knows of any? Best regards
On 11/04/2013, at 3:37, "Barbara M." <bwbm5@...
I have some of my Father's sewing kit - one of those wooden"mushrooms" for mending socks. It was Army Issue by the British.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, April 07, 2013 6:09 PM
I just read where prisoners learned to make buttons from bits of chewed bread in order to hold their clothes up and made needles from fish bones, to use stray threads for sewing up holes ripped in their clothes. They also learned to make thread from old socks . In my dadÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s army box I found a needle, thread and extra buttonsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦..that he seemed to want to keep long after the army. To someone else this is just a sewing kit but because I understand where he came fromÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦and from reading these
storiesÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.it makes one understand how important simple things like a needle and thread and a couple of buttons can be.