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Roma Talasowicz-Eibuszyc Warsaw, April 1917-Los Angeles, May 2006

My mother’s story is a heroic tale of a young woman who survived, against all odds, as a child and teenager in Warsaw from 1917 till 1939 and as a young woman in Soviet Russia from 1939 till 1946. Her manuscript pays tribute to Jewish life in Warsaw in the interwar period and to Polish Jews who sought refuge on Soviet soil at the outbreak of WWII.

Leaving Communism behind and starting a new life in America at age fifty, it was at great risk to her safety and sanity that she re-entered the world she suppressed for so long in order to write her story. She bravely faced the ghosts she left behind in Warsaw and Russia, bringing them back to life to acknowledge and honor her strength to survive.

Roma Talasowicz-Eibuszyc was born in Warsaw in 1917, the youngest of six, acutely aware of the world around her. As a teenager she became active in politics, embracing the thriving Socialist Jewish movement, Bund, in Warsaw. Years of exquisite tenderness and love in her family are contrasted with poverty, abandonment, desperation and tragedy that would befall her promising world.

Orphaned three times by the age of fourteen, she remained full of idealism and vitality. With the German occupation in 1939, her Jewish world vanished forever. She escaped Warsaw in order to save herself only to be captured and enslaved by the brutal Stalinist regime.

Surviving in the remote corners of Russia an extraordinary courage and the hope of reunion with the family she had abandoned in Warsaw kept her alive.

In 1946, almost a year after the war ended, Roma and the other survivors were allowed to leave Russia, forced to settle in southwestern Poland. Still hoping to be reunited with her lost siblings, she made her way to Warsaw only to witness the city’s devastation, and the annihilation of her family.

Unable to leave Poland until the age of 50, in 1968 she was finally bound for America, to be reunited with her only surviving sibling. I was fourteen at the time, witnessing my mother learning English at night, working in a factory all day, and fulfilling her hope that her daughters would become educated young women.

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