Barbara Serbinski Sipe

Barbara Serbinski Sipe

This blogging journey is not new for me. It has just taken another form. Previously I have been keeping a diary documenting my research into my parents’ past, primarily their experiences during and right after World War II. I always knew my mother kept documents and letters from those years and I knew they were in her attic. When she suffered a stroke,  my brother and I sold her home and I took many of her personal affects home with me including the box in the attic.


  1. Dear Barbara,

    I was reading your blog and I was surprised. The fates of your parents and that of my dad are practically parallel. The main difference lies perhaps in the fact that my grandma and grandpa were not just Polish, they were Polish Jews.

    When the WWII began, they lived in a small Polish town beside Sanok. My grandfather was a doctor and my grandmother a housewife, while my dad was still a student. They absolutely adored Germany, graduated from a Vienna university and did not really believe the stories of the horrors that occurred with Jews in Germany and the countries it occupied.

    However, they ran. You may be surprised, but by the end of September 1939 they arrived precisely to Kosov – the birthplace of your mother. They arrived there because all of my grandma’s relatives lived there.

    Until 1941 my grandfather continued to serve as a doctor. However, at some time his son and he got arrested by the NKVD. The further standard path went on – Uzbekistan, Anders’ Army (even though for Polish Jews it was practically impossible to get enlisted), Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Italy. My grandfather was a field doctor. I think they very well might have been acquainted with your mother – moreover so because Kosov was their common background. My dad served in the infantry, then in the automobile division.

    The end of the war saw them in Italy. My grandfather was wounded and died in a UK hospital in November 1945. My father went on to study in a Bologna university until 1947. My grandma, having been left in Kosov, was captured by the Germans and died in an extermination camp in 1942.

    In 1947 my father made the decision to go back to Kosov in order to find his mother or relatives, the deaths of which were unbeknownst to him. As you understand, he was instead sent directly to Siberia. He spent his time in those camps until the death of Stalin, leaving only in 1954.

    Then began a more happier part of his life. He meets my mom in Siberia.

    Right now, both my dad and mom live with me and my family in Canada. My dad is already 91. He cannot remember a lot of things – and when he could, I was young and did not ask. Now I have to research on my own…

    As you see, we have a lot in common. Your investigation gave me a few ideas for new search directions. In particular, the Hoover Library.

    Best regards,

  2. So glad to see you’ve tirelessly carried on with this project! Love the introduction and the picture!😍

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