Reviewer June Maffin:Living on an island in British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Maffin is a neophyte organic gardener, eclectic reader, ordained minister (Anglican/Episcopal priest) and creative spirituality writer/photographer with a deep zest for life. Previously, she has been grief counselor, broadcaster, teacher, journalist, television host, chaplain and spiritual director with an earned doctorate in Pastoral Care (medical ethics i.e. euthanasia focus). Presently an educator, freelance editor, blogger, and published author of three books, her most recent (Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture your Spirituality) has been published in e-book as well as paperback format and a preview can be viewed on YouTube videos. Founder of Soulistry™ she continues to lead a variety of workshops and retreats connecting spirituality with creativity and delights in a spirituality of play. You can find out more about June by clicking on her Web Site.
Author: Krystyna Mihulka with
Krystyna Poray Goddu
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Imagine - you are seven
and a half years old. Your father is the Chief Justice of an
Appellate Court. Your mother holds degrees in chemistry and
philosophy. Your home has a little garden at the back and you
live in a city in Austria that is filled with cultural and historical
significance. Your childhood is fun and generous and life is
good. But on March 12, 1938, the music on the radio is
interrupted with the news that “Hitler has marched into Austria.”
When you go to school, you learn to drop into newly-dug trenches when
sirens blared and carry a mask everywhere you go. The radio was
always on at home and the loud, rasping and ominous voice of the man
called Hitler and the reactions you saw in your parents faces
terrified you. And that was just the beginning.
Memoir writer Krystyna Mihulka with able assistance from Krystyna Poray Goddu has a unique ability to transport the reader to the world of her childhood. We do not *read* a story about little Krysia, we *are* Krysia. We are seven and a half, then eight and then nine as we endure famine, rides in cattle cars to Russia; experience separation from father; meet fear, face-to-face when threats of orphanage-placement enter conversations by ‘officials,’ and terrifying fear when mother doesn’t return for hours from “interrogation”; learn economics through experiences with the black market in order to survive; encounter grief when infant sister dies at birth and is buried in Kazakhastan and cousin dies of typhus and is buried in Yangi Yul; learn geography by travelling by another cattle car into Turkmenistan, across the Kyzylkum Desert (north of Persia and west of Afghanistan; gain isight into politics by personal exposure to Stalinism and Nazism.
There is much in the news today about immigrants and refugees, refugee camps, visas and entry-permits, but what is really known about the journey such people endure?Deported from Poland as a child to a life of that of a prisoner in a remote village on the dry grasslands (steppes) of Kazakhstand under Communist rule for nearly two years and then as a refugee in the mountains and deserts of Persia and the jungles of Africa, the author knows. And she remembers.
To 'remember' is one
thing. To write a Memoir about those experiences is quite
another matter. This book, for young readers and adults, is
beautifully written. Weaving family and world history together,
the authors’ insight and storytelling skills are a special gift to
the reader. Recalling each incident was painful for Krystyna
Mihulka and she was ready to give up but “with tears rolling down
my cheeks,” she persevered. She believed that her story was
not just her story, but the story of those who lost so much in WW11
and particularly those who were deported to Russia in the darkness of
night. The author believed that she had a responsibility to
write the book in the hopes that her words would help “keep history
from repeating itself.”
One can only hope she is right.