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Helena Żmurkiewicz

Helena Żmurkiewicz, photography by Tomek Zerek
 

Helena Żmurkiewicz, nee Rodzeń, was born on 17th June 1926 near Stanisławów, now Ukraine. At the beginning of the Second World War she was deported deep into Russia with her entire family, to the territory of today’s Kazakhstan. In 1941, the family was evacuated from the USSR with the Anders Army. During the journey Helena’s parents died of malaria. Helena Żmurkiewicz’s sisters, Irena and Janina, joined the army and Helena was transported to Palestine via Iraq and Persia (now Iran). In Nazareth Helena graduated from the School of Junior Volunteers, the Pedagogical High School. She worked as an English teacher in the Youth Mechanical School in Bayt Nabala.

In 1947, Helena Żmurkiewicz left Palestine and went to the UK where she married Włodzimierz Żmurkiewicz, whom she had met back in Kazakhstan. In 1951, the couple left for Hamtramck, to join Włodzimierz Żmurkiewicz’s family. Here Helena Żmurkiewicz raised her children. She also ran a Polish language school for the Polonia.


Interviewed by Anna Muller on 27th July and 10th September 2015 in Hamtramck.

interview excerpts
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Work in exile
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Transport from Kałusz
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Polish army and school in the Middle East
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From Krasnovodzsk to Pahlevi
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School in Khanaqin
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Gedera, Jenin, Nazareth, Bayt Nabala
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From the Middle East to Hamtramck via the UK
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Getting used to Hamtramck
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