I fortuitously found this article on my desktop today. I somehow could not move it or delete it – I was trying to declutter, and so in the end I thought I would post it here, where it should be safe, at least.
In my mother’s own words, a short article she was asked to write for her school magazine in 2000.
Grazyna Łomnicka Seydlitz, primo voto Wysoki
I was born in Lwow on the 28th November 1929. where I went to school until the outbreak of the war in 1939. My sister Alicja was three at the time. My father, a lawyer, who was secretary at the Lwow Polytechnical University, was called up as a reservist on the 28th August 1939.
For a long time we did not know where he was, but he came back suddenly for Christmas. That was the last time we had a family Christmas. On Good Friday, 24 March 1940 my father was arrested, and our flat was occupied. My mother, sister and I were left to live in one room. Not for long, however, for on 13th April 1940, together with thousands of other Poles, we were taken to Siberia. We knew nothing about my father’s whereabouts.
After the “amnesty”, in autumn 1941 the “wanderings“ began. We, the so called “volunteer emigrants”, and the men who were let out of prisons and labour camps; everyone began to go, mainly on foot, towards The Polish Army which had been set up by General Anders in Russia.
My mother and my sister and I didn’t get there. The “authorities” gathered us up on the station in Tashkent and transported us to a kolkhoz in Uzbekistan. My little family and a few other Poles. Out of this small group a few died on the way of typhus.
Spring 1942 and we were still in the Kolkhoz. There was no contact with the outside world and no contact with my father. Was he alive? Was he still in prison?
And then suddenly he arrived – very thin, very ill. He had walked all the way for weeks from wherever he had been. He found us – and the next day he died. I was 12.
In Autumn 1942 we somehow managed to get to Pahlevi across the Caspian Sea and to Teheran where I stayed till 1945.
Then I joined the School for Young Volunteers in Nazareth. In 1947 I came to England and went to the Joseph Conrad School in Haydon Park in Dorset. Then in 1952 I married, had a daughter, and then three grandchildren.
From the day I left school, and in spite of my family commitments, I have always worked full time in a variety of jobs – waitress, travel agent, and trustee. I have always liked working with people and for there to be a lot going on. I anticipate retirement with horror.
Written in the year 2000.
My mother died on September 11th 2006, having worked full time at the Polish Trustee Association from 1988 till August 15th 2006.