Excerpts from my diary:
December 5, 2012:
I have been working on his project even though I have neglected to journal. Yesterday, December 4, was the 33rd anniversary of my father’s death in 1979. My day was dedicated to working on his history. I actually did learn something.
Since I could not find anything about his first encounter in the Polish army from his papers, I started to question whether he ever was in the Army at the outbreak of the war. I did see some evidence that he was in the reserves and today I read a journal of Mama’s that said that he was called up before September 1st, 1939.
There is also an entry that indicated that he was in a POW camp in Lithuania. I had heard stories growing up that he was interned in a camp in “Litwa” which if you translate that into English it refers to Lithuania, even though Latvia did have Polish soldiers in camps. Lithuania did open its doors to fleeing Polish soldiers and they were in camps that were not harsh and allowed family communication. Eventually neutral Lithuania was annexed by the Soviets and those soldiers that did not escape were taken to Russian labor camps. Those stories that I heard also indicated that Tatus escaped from a camp in Lithuania, but the timing of events do not make sense and I am not sure how to prove or disprove whether he escaped or not. Clearly the findings say that the Lithuanians were not wanting to retain the Polish soldiers if they had a mind to escape. There were enough of them; they let them go. Although the reference to the escape may have been his escape out of Poland without being arrested by the Russians by going to Lithuania, since Mama does refer to her fiancé being in a POW camp.
Today I read some of Mama’s journals, written in English, about her early war days, which must have served as practice for her essay about her Siberian experience. The entries were more detailed than the eventual essay and they have served as more information about those early years. There are so many journal entries on various pieces of papers, on backs of calendars, family record books. She did not waste anything. As long as she could write over other printed material, she did. I have to read through all those various finds and see if they are pertinent to the history, or if they are just a expressions of her haunted life, which are in of themselves valuable. Those expressions explain who she was after her trauma and why she was the way she was.
Then there is the issue of her hand writing, or as I like to call it ‘chicken scratch’. Her writing in Polish – forget it! can’t read it. Her writing in English, close to being the same. The entries in the beginning are rather readable, but close to the end, not so much. I will have to keep re-reading them and hope to grasp more. There are some important references, which I will have to keep reading to see if I can figure out what she is saying.