The Journey of Never Seeing Home Again

Before I begin posting blog pieces chronicling Kasia’s deportation to Siberia and the aftermath, I thought I’d introduce what we call in our family “The Deportation Log”.

I received a photocopy of it from my great aunt Julia several years ago and it details the dates and places the Oko family were sent to during the years of displacement. Michał, my great grandfather, had the foresight to record every journey; when they left a place and when they arrived at another. And it’s through this piece of paper that I know where and when the Oko’s were and it proved invaluable when trying to piece together this portion of Kasia’s life.

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Below is the translation of Michał’s log. Anything I’ve added is in square brackets [ ].

Departed Poland for Russia 10.2.1940

Arrived in Siberia 23.2.40 Noshul [town in north-east Russia]

Departed Siberia for [central] Asia 9.11.41.

Arrived in [Central] Asia 13.12.41 Jalal-Abad [in present-day Kyrgyzstan].

Departed Jalal-Abad 9.8.42.

Arrived in Krasnovodsk 11.8.42. port on the Caspian Sea [present-day Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan].

Departed Krasnovodsk 12.8.42.

Arrived in Pahlavi 13.8.42 Persia [now the port of Anzali, Iran].

Departed for Tehran 7.9.42.

Left Tehran 9.3.43 for Ahvaz [city in south western Iran].

Arrived in Ahvaz 11.3.42.

Departed Ahvaz 30.4.43 for Karachi.

Arrived in Karachi 8.5.43 India [present-day Pakistan].

Left Karachi 10.7.43 for Africa.

Arrived in Dar es Salaam [Tanzania] 24.7.43. Africa

Departed Dar es Salaam 26.7.43 port.

Arrived in Kigoma [Tanzania] 29.7.43. by train.

Left Kigoma 11.8.43 for Abercorn [present day Mbala, Zambia].

Arrived in Abercorn Camp 3.8.43.

Left Abercorn 4.6.48.

Arrived in Lusaka [Zambia] 7.6.48.

Departed Lusaka for Tanganyika [present-day Tanzania].

Arrived in Tengeru 19.9.48. [town near the city of Arusha in northern Tanzania].

Left Tengeru 21.10.50.

Arrived in Italy 12.11.50. Genoa

14.11 Naples – Bagnoli [western seaside quarter of Naples]

Departed Italy for Germany 2.11.51.

Arrived in Germany Lesum Bremen Blenkensee-Libek. 4.11.51

Departed Germany for England 17.12.51

Arrived in England 18.12.51. Eastmoor Hostle [Hull].

Departed England 15.12.1955.

Arrived in Canada Port Halifax 21.12.55.

London Ontario 23.12.55.

It ends in Canada, after an arduous journey of fifteen years. But Kasia’s journey deviates from this ‘log’ slightly. There were periods of time when she wasn’t with the family, for instance while they were in Abercorn (present day Mbala, Zambia). Having signed up to the Polish Women’s Auxiliary Service (Polish: Pomocnicza Służba Kobiet, Pestki), a unit in the Polish Armed Forces, she was at times based in Lusaka, Zambia on months on end.

Later, when the family were moved to Tengeru in Tanzania, she met and fell in love with my grandfather, Franciszek Czarnecki, and together circumstances would have them make England home. They left Tengeru almost two months before the remaining Oko’s, who spent a year in camps in  Italy and Germany before heading to England and finally arriving in Canada in time for Christmas.

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