Thank you for sharing your story, it is hard for us who weren't there to
imagine what it must have been like. I like the story about how the
children were tagged with coloured ribbons, how strange that you felt
jealous of your companions with more!
In message <edk4an+j07q@...
>, Walter Orlowski
>Your father's memoirs have also jogged my memory. Somewhat
>let me describe my mother's experience. Your father was indeed very
>observant. As we arrived in Pahlevi (Iran) from Krasnovodsk(Soviet
>Union at the time), we were deloused, meaning all of our wordly
>possessions such as clothing, blankets, food etc. were taken from us
>and burned. We had little more than the clothes on our backs left. My
>mother, who was already sick with Typhus, managed to salvage her
>cross and a prayer book, her most valued possessions. She was still
>ambulatory so when we arrived in Teheran in April, we were grouped
>together with those to be sent to Africa, designated as "healthy".
>But my mother collapsed in the train station and was taken to a make
>shift hospital the kind that was described by your father. My sister
>and I were taken to an orphanage. Your father may well have been
>taken care of her since she was there for at least a month. He may
>also have attended to my sister at the orphanage where we were until
>early May. As I recall, my mother did have a bed. She survived, but
>died two months ago at the age of 96. I would have loved to ask her
>who her doctor was in Teheran. I think she would have remembered.
>For us, Uzbekistan was the source of the epidemic. Typhus may have
>been responsible for most of the deaths of the Polish army recruits
>who died in Central Asian republics (over 2,000). It was impossible
>to control the lice among the refugees. Every train and fishing boat
>were crawling with them. My mother described an incident on a train
>before we reached Vologda in Northern Russia, where a young well
>dressed Russian army cadet, kept rubbing his long heavy coat, and
>then suddenly threw something a the floor and stepped on it. It was a
>handful of lice. Fortunately, typhus organisms were not endemic in
>Northern Russia. In Uzbekistan my mother worked in a laundry room in
>an Army Base, which is probably how she contacted the disease. She
>used to boil the clothing to kill the bugs and lice.
>I feel that I owe a debt of gratitude to your father. It was not an
>easy or a pleasant task and he probably never forgot the experience.
>At all times your father was at risk of contacting some of the
>diseases in spite of precautions. A lot of the people had active
>tuberculosis and all refugees were probably exposed to it. Everyone
>in my family was. Epidemics of dysentery, worm infestations and
>childhood viral diseases were common and took a heavy toll on the
>emaciated refugees. All the kids were tagged with ribbons of
>different color depending on what disease they had. I only had one,
>and envied those with three or four ribbons. There was a very high
>mortality among children and very few if any elderly were left.
>With best regards,