Kazimiera (nee Gerech ) KOLODZIEJ
Kazimierz was born 19928-12-24 on a civilian settlement called "Osada Ostrówek", in the Poleskie area of Poland (present-day Belarus). Her siblings included an older sister, an older brother, a younger brother, and the youngest brother who was born in Siberia and died there at the age of 11 months.
The entire family was deported, including her maternal grandparents. Her father had served in WWI and was offered land in a military settlement, but he refused this and purchased land in a better place instead. At the outbreak of the war, her father was called up to a base not far from where they lived and he served in the Military Police, but he soon returned home, when the Soviets invaded.
They were part of the first wave of deportations which took place on 10 February 1940, and were sent to a place called 'Szondorzero posiolek' north of Kotlas. Released on 'amnesty' in November 1941, they made the harrowing journey to the south of the USSR, where they spent several months on a collective farm in Uzbekistan, before joining the Polish Army. Kazimiera remembers receiving Confirmation from Bishop Gavlina when he visited Uzbekistan.
They had traveled south on a boat on the Amudaria River for 3 days without any food or water, before reaching Kotlas. Her father volunteered for the Army and was separated from the family on the train south. One of their neighbours later reported that he had died of typhoid fever in Kermine, but what actually happened was that he lost his memory and did not remember his family. But her brothers saw him walking by and they ran after him, and he did remember them, and the family was reunited.
The famiy evacuated to Persia with the Polish Army, and spent some time in the Middle East, before being sent to Tengeru Camp in East Africa, where they stayed until after the war ended. They subsequently lived in the UK before emigrating to Canada.
Kazimiera in Africa at age 20
Her brother, her sister, Kazimiera, and their parents in Africa
Kazimiera in Montreal in 2011