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Re: Roman Skulski

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  • Michael Kulik
    ... conscious. She will ask her older sister who was nursing her at the time. She does remember that one of her friends was left behind because she couldn t
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 3 6:27 AM
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      --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, chris bienkowski
      <chris_bienkowski@y...> wrote:
      > Roman,
      >
      > My mother says she remembers very little as she was only semi-
      conscious. She will ask her older sister who was nursing her at the
      time. She does remember that one of her friends was left behind
      because she couldn't walk. Two of my mother's friends pulled her
      onto the ship while one pushed. It is scary to think that ones
      existence depends on any number of acts of kindness or coincidence.
      >
      > Chris
      >

      Krasnavodsk must have been a place defying description - so near, but
      so far, for many, many people. My Grandmother was also "lost" at
      Krasnavodsk, here my father and aunt describe the last few days in
      Russia:

      `Russian soldiers were guarding the station and the trains on
      which we were to leave, carefully checking and then rechecking
      everyone's papers. This time we were to travel in real passenger
      compartments, not the cattle trucks to which we had become
      accustomed. As we boarded we experienced a surge behind us as those
      poor people without departure papers tried to storm the train.
      Russian soldiers beat them back with rifle butts and well aimed fists
      and feet.'

      It was now August 1942 and with precious little water or food on
      board, the train began its final journey to the Russian port of
      Krasnavodsk - a small matter of a further 1,000 or so miles. Under
      cloudless skies, just across from the baking and vast deserts of
      Turkmenistan, freedom was waiting.

      Despite almost all of the passengers being seriously ill, with one
      disease or another, the atmosphere on the train was one of cautious
      optimism. Although the memory of their lost loved ones, buried at
      regular intervals in shallow graves throughout Russia, or abandoned
      at the rail side continued to haunt them, they now allowed themselves
      to believe that at last salvation was at hand.

      My father's account continues:

      `We travelled via Tashkent, which we had first reached some nine
      months earlier, then onto Samarkand - a place I remember for its
      beautiful blue mosque, and then through Bukhara. The journey itself
      was not without incident as on the way to Krasnavodsk the rear
      carriages of our transport, which were packed with orphans, suffered
      a collision with a locomotive. We were all ordered to jump down from
      the train, as there was a real risk of an explosion. Although very
      aware of the danger we did so most reluctantly, fearing that we would
      not be allowed to re-board. However, after an hour or two, we
      thankfully continued on our way.

      `We were constantly tormented by the lack of water and I remember
      that at one place, Kizyl I think, I made my way to the front of the
      train and begged the driver to spare me some water; offering him some
      biscuits in return. He beckoned me to help myself and, although
      contaminated with oil, I gratefully gulped it down before returning
      what remained to my sisters and mother.

      `As the train pulled out of Ashkhabad railway station something
      occurred that made a huge impression on me and filled me with pride
      and hope at the same time. A Polish soldier, some said it was a
      General, appeared on the platform and stood there saluting us -
      saluting us, a train of half-alive women and children. Blinking back
      the tears, this made me even me determined to survive.'

      A few miles short of Krasnavodsk the train ground to a halt and its
      passengers ordered down from their carriages. Flanked either side by
      armed Russian soldiers they were informed that the remaining miles to
      the harbour area at Krasnavodsk were to be covered on foot. This
      alarmed my father:

      `My mother was now desperately weak and as we walked I steeled
      myself to react quickly in case she should fall. Miraculously we made
      it and we were directed to an enclosed compound in the harbour area
      where again our papers were inspected. Here we were to spend several
      days, sitting on a filthy beach right against the sea, tormented by
      dust storms and the ever present heat.'

      Although freedom was now literally within touching distance, people
      were still dying and each morning bodies would, once more, be taken
      away to some unknown resting place. Those that were teetering on the
      edge of death, unable to move, relieved themselves where they lay.
      Surrounded by this suffering, and undaunted by a thick layer of
      floating oil, my father took to swimming out to a nearby raised
      pontoon where he would spend a few hours each day. Tragedy though was
      about to strike.

      Stefa Kulik continues:

      `My sister Hela sold our last remaining possession, my
      mother's
      eiderdown, in exchange for a battered kettle and some drinking water.
      Barely conscious, and unable to move, my mother's life was slowly
      fading away. The day before we boarded the ship, medical staff came
      and took my mother away to hospital. You see if you were unable to
      stand unaided, or walk onto the boat unassisted, the Russians had
      already said that you would not be allowed to leave. I watched as my
      mother was carried away.'

      My father meanwhile, unaware of the heart rending drama unfolding,
      returned to find his mother gone:

      `I came back to find she had been removed to hospital - a
      thousand sensations pulsed through my body and I suddenly became
      faint and nauseous. What should I do? Should I go and try to bring
      her back? Adults nearby, perhaps sensing what I was contemplating,
      told me to forget such ideas and that I should save myself. In any
      case, I was told, she will follow in a few days.

      `The very next evening we were ordered to board - we were on our
      way. As we began to congregate I noticed two boys, about my age,
      carrying their stricken mother towards the boat. What would happen?
      Would they be stopped? Despair gripped me again, they were allowed to
      pass - my mother could have been saved. When we reached the gate a
      final check was made and a Russian soldier again inspected our
      papers. He remarked that the papers gave four names, one was missing?
      I told him my mother was no longer with us.

      `On board we were packed in like sardines, people everywhere - if
      you attempted to walk you could only do so by treading on some poor
      soul who would weakly protest at your lack of consideration. Those
      that could, relieved themselves over the side of the boat otherwise
      people simply, without any warning, emptied their bowels where they
      sat or lay. Many who left Russia as free people were to die before
      even reaching Pahlevi, it was almost as if they had decided that they
      could now rest in peace.

      `As the boat left the harbour my mind raced through the events of
      the last two and a half years, as if on fast forward, and then the
      question I dreaded; although I knew I had to ask it: could I have
      saved my mother? Had I failed? Russia was slowly disappearing on the
      horizon and then it hit me, as a cold shudder ripped through my body,
      the sudden realisation - my childhood was almost gone - I was 14
      years old and alone in the world.'


      Terrible, terrible days

      Michael Kulik
      England.
    • nina.goff
      Dear Roman. Your story is so similar to my mothers family except that my Dziadek was arrested in late 39 never to be heard of again. My Mamma and her brothers
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 4 12:21 AM
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        Dear Roman. Your story is so similar to my mothers family except that my Dziadek was arrested in late 39 never to be heard of again. My Mamma and her brothers and sister as well as my Babcia were in the first transport in 10th feb 1940. My mother is Salomea Szymczycha and her brothers were Kazik, Stasiek, Rudek, and sister Aniela. My Babcia died in Bhukhara as well. Mamma remembers that everyone got sicker as they came to the hotter climates. We have no idea where she was buried. Rudek and Sala came to New Zealand with the Polish children in 44. Aniela returned to Poland after joining the army to fight the Germans. Kazik went to Palestine then onto England. Stasiek too joined Anders Army and finally in 47 immigrated to Sydney.
        The saddest part of yours and my Mammas story is that to this day it is impossible to get information of what happened to my grandparents and where they were buried. It feels really strange that there deaths have not been recorded and that they didn't exist. They only exist in memories but because my mother was young and now that my oldest Ciocia has died there is no more information that can be passed on to my children. Regards Janina Goff.
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 1:27 AM
        Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Roman Skulski


        --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, chris bienkowski
        <chris_bienkowski@y...> wrote:
        > Roman,

        > My mother says she remembers very little as she was only semi-
        conscious.  She will ask her older sister who was nursing her at the
        time.  She does remember that one of her friends was left behind
        because she couldn't walk.  Two of my mother's friends pulled her
        onto the ship while one pushed.  It is scary to think that ones
        existence depends on any number of acts of kindness or coincidence.

        > Chris
        >

        Krasnavodsk must have been a place defying description - so near, but
        so far, for many, many people. My Grandmother was also "lost" at
        Krasnavodsk, here my father and aunt describe the last few days in
        Russia:

        `Russian soldiers were guarding the station and the trains on
        which we were to leave, carefully checking and then rechecking
        everyone's papers. This time we were to travel in real passenger
        compartments, not the cattle trucks to which we had become
        accustomed. As we boarded we experienced a surge behind us as those
        poor people without departure papers tried to storm the train.
        Russian soldiers beat them back with rifle butts and well aimed fists
        and feet.'

        It was now August 1942 and with precious little water or food on
        board, the train began its final journey to the Russian port of
        Krasnavodsk - a small matter of a further 1,000 or so miles. Under
        cloudless skies, just across from the baking and vast deserts of
        Turkmenistan, freedom was waiting.

        Despite almost all of the passengers being seriously ill, with one
        disease or another, the atmosphere on the train was one of cautious
        optimism. Although the memory of their lost loved ones, buried at
        regular intervals in shallow graves throughout Russia, or abandoned
        at the rail side continued to haunt them, they now allowed themselves
        to believe that at last salvation was at hand.

        My father's account continues:

        `We travelled via Tashkent, which we had first reached some nine
        months earlier, then onto Samarkand - a place I remember for its
        beautiful blue mosque, and then through Bukhara. The journey itself
        was not without incident as on the way to Krasnavodsk the rear
        carriages of our transport, which were packed with orphans, suffered
        a collision with a locomotive. We were all ordered to jump down from
        the train, as there was a real risk of an explosion. Although very
        aware of the danger we did so most reluctantly, fearing that we would
        not be allowed to re-board. However, after an hour or two, we
        thankfully continued on our way.

        `We were constantly tormented by the lack of water and I remember
        that at one place, Kizyl I think, I made my way to the front of the
        train and begged the driver to spare me some water; offering him some
        biscuits in return. He beckoned me to help myself and, although
        contaminated with oil, I gratefully gulped it down before returning
        what remained to my sisters and mother.

        `As the train pulled out of Ashkhabad railway station something
        occurred that made a huge impression on me and filled me with pride
        and hope at the same time. A Polish soldier, some said it was a
        General, appeared on the platform and stood there saluting us -
        saluting us, a train of half-alive women and children. Blinking back
        the tears, this made me even me determined to survive.'

        A few miles short of Krasnavodsk the train ground to a halt and its
        passengers ordered down from their carriages. Flanked either side by
        armed Russian soldiers they were informed that the remaining miles to
        the harbour area at Krasnavodsk were to be covered on foot. This
        alarmed my father:

        `My mother was now desperately weak and as we walked I steeled
        myself to react quickly in case she should fall. Miraculously we made
        it and we were directed to an enclosed compound in the harbour area
        where again our papers were inspected. Here we were to spend several
        days, sitting on a filthy beach right against the sea, tormented by
        dust storms and the ever present heat.'

        Although freedom was now literally within touching distance, people
        were still dying and each morning bodies would, once more, be taken
        away to some unknown resting place. Those that were teetering on the
        edge of death, unable to move, relieved themselves where they lay.
        Surrounded by this suffering, and undaunted by a thick layer of
        floating oil, my father took to swimming out to a nearby raised
        pontoon where he would spend a few hours each day. Tragedy though was
        about to strike. 

        Stefa Kulik continues:

        `My sister Hela sold our last remaining possession, my
        mother's
        eiderdown, in exchange for a battered kettle and some drinking water.
        Barely conscious, and unable to move, my mother's life was slowly
        fading away. The day before we boarded the ship, medical staff came
        and took my mother away to hospital. You see if you were unable to
        stand unaided, or walk onto the boat unassisted, the Russians had
        already said that you would not be allowed to leave. I watched as my
        mother was carried away.'

        My father meanwhile, unaware of the heart rending drama unfolding,
        returned to find his mother gone:

        `I came back to find she had been removed to hospital - a
        thousand sensations pulsed through my body and I suddenly became
        faint and nauseous. What should I do? Should I go and try to bring
        her back? Adults nearby, perhaps sensing what I was contemplating,
        told me to forget such ideas and that I should save myself. In any
        case, I was told, she will follow in a few days.

        `The very next evening we were ordered to board - we were on our
        way. As we began to congregate I noticed two boys, about my age,
        carrying their stricken mother towards the boat. What would happen?
        Would they be stopped? Despair gripped me again, they were allowed to
        pass - my mother could have been saved. When we reached the gate a
        final check was made and a Russian soldier again inspected our
        papers. He remarked that the papers gave four names, one was missing?
        I told him my mother was no longer with us.

        `On board we were packed in like sardines, people everywhere - if
        you attempted to walk you could only do so by treading on some poor
        soul who would weakly protest at your lack of consideration. Those
        that could, relieved themselves over the side of the boat otherwise
        people simply, without any warning, emptied their bowels where they
        sat or lay. Many who left Russia as free people were to die before
        even reaching Pahlevi, it was almost as if they had decided that they
        could now rest in peace.

        `As the boat left the harbour my mind raced through the events of
        the last two and a half years, as if on fast forward, and then the
        question I dreaded; although I knew I had to ask it: could I have
        saved my mother? Had I failed? Russia was slowly disappearing on the
        horizon and then it hit me, as a cold shudder ripped through my body,
        the sudden realisation - my childhood was almost gone - I was 14
        years old and alone in the world.'      


        Terrible, terrible days

        Michael Kulik
        England.






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      • Michael Kulik
        ... it is impossible to get information of what happened to my Grandparents and where they were buried. It feels really strange that there deaths have not been
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 4 1:02 AM
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          --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, "nina.goff" <nina.goff@x> wrote:
          > Dear Roman. Your story is so similar to my mothers family

          > The saddest part of yours and my Mammas story is that to this day
          it is impossible to get information of what happened to my
          Grandparents and where they were buried. It feels really strange that
          there deaths have not been recorded and that they didn't exist. They
          only exist in memories but because my mother was young and now that
          my oldest Ciocia has died there is no more information that can be
          passed on to my children. Regards Janina Goff.



          Janina:

          It was actually my message that you responded to - I must learn to
          retitle the message heading when it is appropriate to do so.

          Re your comments that "they didn't exist", and regarding my
          Grandmother who was "lost" in Krasnavodsk, one thing I recently
          persuaded my father and uncle to do was to have an inscription added
          to my Grandfathers grave - which fortunately is only 2 or 3 miles
          away from where I live now.

          I have tried to trace my Grandmotehr through the International Red
          Cross (and the Polish and Russian equivalents) but to no avail, and
          yes it was like she never existed. So I arranged to have her name
          added to my Grandfathers grave - better than no record at all and it
          is at least somewhere to go. This we have found has given us some
          sort of closure.

          Michael Kulik
          England.
        • jagna8@aol.com
          Two years ago, at the annual commemoration of the Katyn massacre in London s Gunnesbury cemetery, I overheard one old lady murmer to another one, wistfully:
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 4 2:41 AM
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            Two years ago, at the annual commemoration of the Katyn massacre in London's Gunnesbury cemetery, I overheard one old lady murmer to another one, wistfully: "Pomysl, jestesmy ludzmi, ktorzy nie istnieli" - "Just think, we are the people who have never existed."
            Both were the daughters of the murdered officers, and both were sent off to Siberia.
            This must be a very strange feeling, and I know it is shared by many Siberian survivors.
            Jagna
          • Zbigniew Bob Styrna
            Michael, That is a good point. Has anyone in our group been able to find lost souls that died in Siberia or along the escape route? My grand mother died in
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 4 8:24 AM
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              Michael,

              That is a good point.  Has anyone in our group been able to find lost souls that died in Siberia or along the escape route?

               

              My grand mother died in Kudymkar Siberia and my grandfather just south of Aktyubinsk , close to Dhuryn  Kazakhstan .  Is there any way top find out if there are graves or markers ?  According to my mo who’s still alive, they never marked graves.  Is this true?

               

              Zbig

               


              From: Michael Kulik [mailto:iteekulik@...]
              Sent: Montag, 4. April 2005 00:03
              To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Krasnavodsk / Janina Goff

               


              • --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com , "nina.goff" <nina.goff@x> wrote:
                > Dear Roman. Your story is so similar to my mothers family

                > The saddest part of yours and my Mammas story is that to this day
                it is impossible to get information of what happened to my
                Grandparents and where they were buried. It feels really strange that
                there deaths have not been recorded and that they didn't exist. They
                only exist in memories but because my mother was young and now that
                my oldest Ciocia has died there is no more information that can be
                passed on to my children. Regards Janina Goff.



                Janina:

                It was actually my message that you responded to - I must learn to
                retitle the message heading when it is appropriate to do so.

                Re your comments that "they didn't exist", and regarding my
                Grandmother who was "lost" in Krasnavodsk,  one thing I recently
                persuaded my father and uncle to do was to have an inscription added
                to my Grandfathers grave - which fortunately is only 2 or 3 miles
                away from where I live now.

                I have tried to trace my Grandmotehr through the International Red
                Cross (and the Polish and Russian equivalents) but to no avail, and
                yes it was like she never existed. So I arranged to have her name
                added to my Grandfathers grave - better than no record at all and it
                is at least somewhere to go. This we have found has given us some
                sort of closure.

                Michael Kulik
                England.


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            • Michael Kulik
              ... lost souls that died in Siberia or ... My grand mother died in Kudymkar Siberia and my grandfather just south of Aktyubinsk , close to ... graves or
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 4 9:32 AM
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                --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, "Zbigniew Bob Styrna"
                <styrna@t...> wrote:
                > Michael,
                >
                > That is a good point. Has anyone in our group been able to find
                lost souls that died in Siberia or
                > along the escape route?
                >
                My grand mother died in Kudymkar Siberia and my grandfather just
                south of Aktyubinsk , close to
                > Dhuryn Kazakhstan. Is there any way top find out if there are
                graves or markers ? According to my mo who's still alive, they
                never
                marked graves. Is this true?
                >
                >Zbig
                >
                >


                Zbig:

                Based on previous discussions here, it seems to be that if you were a
                civilian "on the move" then it is virtually certain that no grave
                markings exist - you were left at the railside or, at best, a hastily
                dug grave with a temporary cross would often be the final resting
                place. In the camps themselves those that died would often be said to
                have "gone under the firs."

                However if you were a member of the Armed Forces then, as Stefan has
                recently mentioned (a lady in Russia recently wrote to him and the
                group on this subject), then sometimes your grave was marked. Of
                course over time, even these graves have not been respected or have
                often fell victim to other developments.

                As for Krasnavodsk and where my Grandmother was last seen, based
                on "what has been passed down" it seems likely that a mass grave was
                where she was laid to rest.

                Michael Kulik
                England.
              • bartmant@earthlink.net
                ... lost souls that died in Siberia or ... My grand mother died in Kudymkar Siberia and my grandfather just south of Aktyubinsk , close to ... graves or
                Message 7 of 14 , Apr 4 10:23 AM
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                  > That is a good point. Has anyone in our group been able to find
                  lost souls that died in Siberia or
                  > along the escape route?
                  >
                  My grand mother died in Kudymkar Siberia and my grandfather just
                  south of Aktyubinsk , close to
                  > Dhuryn Kazakhstan. Is there any way top find out if there are
                  graves or markers ? According to my mo who's still alive, they
                  never
                  marked graves. Is this true?
                  >
                  >Zbig

                  Hi,

                  The loss of dear ones without a trace, with no graves or markers. . .
                  nothing, is a horrible thing. It's very sad, and also makes the blood
                  really boil. It is very traumatic, and makes psychological adjustment all
                  the more difficult. For your interest below is a poem written by a guy from
                  my families village whose mother was lost in this way. Most likely her
                  ashes were scattered on the four winds from Treblinka, but the poem could
                  be from anywhere that a human being has suffered this terrible fate. I had
                  the poem translated to English.

                  Tilford


                  For My Mother

                  Alas, My Mother beautiful amongst the women
                  Tell, tell me where you are – tell please:
                  I searched, I asked every one and every acquaintance,
                  Until now I’ve not found a thing.


                  How will I know how to continue searching – how?
                  How will I know where you are buried?
                  The holy land where you are buried without name
                  I would thaw with my muted cries.


                  I would kiss and caress it always,
                  I would place my bed on it;
                  I would embrace her to my heart with warmth
                  And place fresh flowers day to day.


                  A white willow I would plant there
                  And under its shade in sorrow I would dance
                  Days and nights I would linger there
                  And the rest of my life I would spend in this place.


                  I would at least place a headstone there.
                  So that the dispersed sons in the world
                  would be able, once on a troubled day,
                  To shed a tear –- a child’s bitter tear.


                  How to help? How to redeem?
                  No one says; No one acknowledges.
                  I will search endlessly, nights and days
                  Your grave, there you’ve been taken for eternal rest.


                  --------------------------------------------------------------------
                  mail2web - Check your email from the web at
                  http://mail2web.com/ .
                • Lech Lesiak
                  ... wrote: The loss of dear ones without a trace, with no graves or markers. . . nothing, is a horrible thing. It s very sad, and also makes the blood really
                  Message 8 of 14 , Apr 5 6:27 AM
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                    --- "bartmant@..." <bartmant@...>
                    wrote:


                    The loss of dear ones without a trace, with no graves
                    or markers. . .
                    nothing, is a horrible thing. It's very sad, and also
                    makes the blood
                    really boil. It is very traumatic, and makes
                    psychological adjustment all
                    the more difficult.
                    end quote

                    It seems to vary with individuals. I have a good
                    friend whose father disappeared on the Russian front,
                    and I never thought that the manner of his father's
                    death affected him greatly.

                    I have no idea where my grandparents are buried
                    either, and have never had any great urge to look for
                    their graves.

                    We are all different.

                    Cheers,
                    Leszek

                    ______________________________________________________________________
                    Post your free ad now! http://personals.yahoo.ca
                  • okbarbara@aol.com
                    Hello Zbig, My mother is still, to this day, upset that she can t visit her mother s grave. It bothers her more on Mother s Day. Her mother died on the train
                    Message 9 of 14 , Apr 5 7:02 AM
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                      Hello Zbig,
                       
                       
                              My mother is still, to this day, upset that she can't visit her mother's grave. It bothers her more on Mother's Day. Her mother died on the train from Siberia and was just thrown into a big mass grave. At least that is what she told me. It is awful that they couldn't even mark them.
                       
                       
                      Barbara Plecinoga,
                      Salem, Massachusetts
                      USA
                    • Zbigniew Bob Styrna
                      Barbara, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother’s departure like that. It sure is a sad thing to hear about how they died, and how they were treated
                      Message 10 of 14 , Apr 5 8:34 AM
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                        Barbara,

                        I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother’s departure like that.  It sure is a sad thing to hear about how they died, and how they were treated after death.  In Siberia there was no dignity during life, and not even after death.

                        It haunts my mother to this day also. It wasn’t just the death, it was the indignity during it all that my mother, and I think other’s have trouble with.

                         

                         

                        May John Paul II rest in peace.

                         

                        Zbig

                         

                         


                        From: okbarbara@... [mailto:okbarbara@...]
                        Sent: Dienstag, 5. April 2005 06:02
                        To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Final Resting Places

                         

                        Hello Zbig,

                         

                         

                                My mother is still, to this day, upset that she can't visit her mother's grave. It bothers her more on Mother's Day. Her mother died on the train from Siberia and was just thrown into a big mass grave. At least that is what she told me. It is awful that they couldn't even mark them.

                         

                         

                        Barbara Plecinoga,

                        Salem, Massachusetts

                        USA


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                      • Michael Kulik
                        For your interest below is a poem written by a guy from ... her ashes were scattered on the four winds from Treblinka, but the poem could be from anywhere that
                        Message 11 of 14 , Apr 6 8:06 AM
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                          For your interest below is a poem written by a guy from
                          > my families village whose mother was lost in this way. Most likely
                          her ashes were scattered on the four winds from Treblinka, but the
                          poem could be from anywhere that a human being has suffered this
                          terrible fate. I had the poem translated to English.
                          >
                          > Tilford
                          >
                          >
                          > For My Mother......
                          >


                          Great Poem Tilford, also thanks to Krys / Hania for the poem on
                          message
                          15112


                          Michael Kulik
                          England
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