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Maria-Anna DZIAD

Maria-Anna was born in Jaroslaw, Poland, on March 13, 1914. She and her siblings were raised by her mother, her father having perished in the First World War. At age 10, being the oldest, she went to work as a nanny/housekeeper to help support the struggling family. She married Stanislaw on April 25, 1936, in Sokal, Poland. They settled into farming life and had two girls, Zosia and Antonina.

February 10, 1940 was a catastrophic day in her life. Russian troops evacuated whole villages, packed them on to cattle cars and deported them to labour camps in Arkhangelsk, Siberia. They lived in long barracks, expecting to live out their lives there. Maria-Anna worked in the bakery, producing up to 1000 kg. of bread daily. Her next job was delivering mail 30 km per day through the Siberian forest. She ultimately lost her two daughters to the cold, hunger, dysentery and typhus.

After Germany attacked Russia, the Polish deportees were allowed to leave the work camps and head to the southern USSR to find the Polish army being formed there. They evacuated to Persia (Iran) with the army, then Maria-Anna and her husband were sent to a Polish Refugee Camp in Tengeru, East Africa. Finally, they were warm and well fed. Joseph and Teresa were born there. The family lived here for six years.

In December 1948, he young family continued their journey to freedom in Canada, arriving in Arborg, Manitoba. Living with relatives and with the help of the Benedictine Sisters, their lives finally took root. Tony and John were born here. After retirement from St. Benedict's Manor where she worked as an aide and continued to be an active member of St. Philip's Church.

Maria Anna Dziad passed away in Winnipeg on October 5, 2006.

Copyright: Dziad family

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