My family – mother, stepfather, a younger brother and sister, two stepbrothers, and a brother from my mother’s marriage to my stepfather. Mother married twice. Her first husband (my father) suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident in 1964, and died a few weeks before my 10th birthday. Life suddenly became challenging, not least because my mother spoke only broken English. For the next 8 years, I was the translator for our family and helped to deal with all official correspondence.
Background – how my parents ended up living in England. Following the partitioning of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, my mother and her family were deported to the East. Thus began an extraordinary ordeal that took them, and many thousands like them, on a journey stretching from Siberia to Pakistan, and beyond. Their male relatives endured a parallel journey; arrested, exiled, and held as prisoners of war. Countless numbers were summarily executed by the Red Army.