Nov 4, 2010

My grandma was an orphan

for a while, at least.

When Germany attacked Soviet Union in 1941, and the War began - my grandma was just a child. She and her brother were evacuated, along with millions of civilians from the Eastern parts of the Soviet Union into the far west - away from where the battles raged.

Hundreds of thousands of families were torn apart. Very often, the children were sent on one train and the parents - on another, each going to separate parts of the vast country. Like many of the children in those times, my gramma was separated from her parents and was sent to one of the random orphanages. Her cousins were also separated from their own parents and were sent to yet another orphanage.

My gramma does not talk much about her time in the orphanage, but I know she remembers the hunger. She told me once, when I refused eating an onion in my soup, how they once found a bunch of fresh onions. It was like a holiday - they ate them as if the were apples. She still remembers the sweet taste, because they were living on scraps most of the time.

During and after the war, parents and children alike were frantically searching each others. My gramma was very fortunate - her parents were able to find her. Her aunt, however (my other gramma) had never found her children. She searched and searched, but the records were scattered, and the children were moved frequently - she never found them again.
It must have been an awful and tragic time for her, but to make things worse, her own family had never forgiven her for "loosing her children". For some reason she had became the mother who lost her kids.
My family is just one of the millions of families that were casualties of the War. It is both fascinating and painful to think that somewhere out there, there is a whole other family that share my blood, that I, nor my mother or my brother will never meet.

I've been thinking about my other gramma a lot. How much pain and suffering she went through. How many times she had probably tried to imagine her children growing up somewhere, healthy and happy. And how many times she probably thought the worst.

1 comment:

Kim Foo Young said...

oh anna. you have taken the wind from my lungs and pulled tears to my eyes this morning.

you know i love your grandma. i didnt know these things about her. she is an amazingly strong woman and i wish she lived closer so i could know her more. sad face :(


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