Richard (and Tanya),
Thank you for your reflections, and I am sorry to hear that you are hitting
some roadblocks with your family, as others have also in the past. The
information that you did obtain from your father in October at least gave
you many of the dates and places.
It seems that our families survived and coped with the inhumanity they were
subjected to in different ways. Many seem to have put a "cap" on those
days, much like the cap on the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl - reliving
those days is like rekindling the pain of loss of a way life they led before
the war, of family members they had, of personal suffering. Others have
gone the other way - writing of their experiences in order to "release the
demons". In any case, it is normal to wish to not subject one's children to
the horrors of such experiences.
The survivors we are talking about are all in their late 60s, 70s and 80s,
and when I reach that age I hope that I too will have earned the right to
speak or remain silent about my life and about whatever I choose. Having
said that, I have had some small success from spending time at the side of
my uncle over the course of several days - whilst he was blinded in Siberia,
he retained a meticulous memory of people and places. A way in seems to be
to talk of childhood, life before the war, etc. However, even those who do
recount the details do not wish to continue dwelling on them - they want to
move on with life.
The fact that the Soviet deportation experience of the Poles was not
acknowledged by the West nor by Poland itself - for their different reasons
- must have made it even more difficult for these victims of war to speak
out. All that this does, though, is put even more of an onus on us - the
younger generations - to recognise what was perpetrated on their families
and to recognise the courage of the people who survived it all and made it
possible for us to be here today.
> ... I wish I could think of a way of unlocking the chest but I am coming to
> realise that that may never be.... I wish you luck and wish I could offer a
> way of tackling the challenge with which you have been presented. Should any
> other reader of this have advice on an approach then please feel free to offer
> Richard Sochacki
>> Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 08:27:41 -0800 (PST)
>> From: "Tanya M. Niedzwiecki" <Tanya_78_2000@...>
>> Subject: Help and Assistance....
>> I was wondering if anyone has run into this situation:
>> I was talking to my family about the family history
>> and asking the usual questions, "Where were you born,
>> what church did you attend as a child etc" My uncle
>> got angry and said that I was prying too much
>> information and had no right to be asking such things.
>> Seriously I wasn't asking anything too personal. I
>> told him that I wasn't going to post all that
>> information on the Internet or anything and that he
>> didn't have anything to worry about. I even gave him
>> my website to look at, but he didn't care. Now he has
>> gone to my grandmother and told her not to tell me
>> anything about the family. She is my only resource
>> since she grew up in Europe and only connection to her
>> side of the family tree.
>> Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can
>> approach this?
>> + KRESY-SIBERIA GROUP
>> + Research, Remembrance, Recognition
>> + Websites: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Kresy-Siberia
>> + http://www.AForgottenOdyssey.com
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