I was given the name Magdalena when I was four. In 1943 I arrived in Teheran in Persia on a train from Siberia with thousands of other children, from babies to up to age 10. No mothers. No fathers. No adults except the soldiers.
We were all put into hostels until we could be claimed by someone, or adopted. I didn’t speak much but I seemed to be Polish, and so when I was unclaimed the Polish Consul-General and his wife took me and called me Magdalena and I became their daughter.
That time is when my life started. I have no recollection before that time. I remember no person before that time.
I remember nothing but snow and being cold and a little piglet that was my only friend. When I woke crying in the nights I would always be crying “they are taking the piglet from me… mama… mama… they are taking the piglet…” and my mother who was not my mother would kiss me and hold me until I fell asleep again.
The doctor thought I was probably born in 1939 and so I became that age, but who can say when and where I was born? Not me. In time I forgot the cold of Siberia and became happy in the warmth of Persia.
Then came 1945 and the bitter memories for us Poles. In February Churchill and Roosevelt met at Yalta and agreed to sell the carcase of poor Poland to the butcher Stalin. Our General Sikorsky was already assassinated. Russian soldiers surrounded our home at the Polish Consulate in Teheran.
My brave father stayed at his post as long as he could and managed to get papers and money to the Polish Government in Exile in London, and then with help from the American Embassy we got to Palestine and my father started a scheme to send food parcels to Poland, which was occupied again but this time the uniforms were Russian and not German. It was 1945; I was about six years old, and in a foreign country.