My father initially shared a small room with three other Polish workers on the farm, but after an apprentice was drafted into the German Army, he was granted a private room, this addition behind the kitchen. One day the farm supervisor asked him to visit Vienna to purchase supplies. The supervisor signed his name on the business stationary and told my father to enjoy his day in Vienna.
Entering the Vienna train station, black uniformed Gestapo personnel were visible, but dad felt safe with the signed documents. I was shocked to be greeted in Vienna by my cousin Marc, who lives hours away but took a chance on spotting me in the busy station. It's been over 30 years, he was a young boy in Wales, but he somehow recognized me. We spent the next 8 hours talking, eating, and laughing.
My father kept the signed document and would sometimes forge the supervisors signature on official stationary; thereby visiting Vienna on his free day (Sunday). One day he took his surprised Ukrainian friend Michal with him. My fathers German was by this time fluent so they agreed to let my father talk if stopped. This man was wandering in Vienna and his shirt caught my attention. He is Ukraine, a friendly quiet sort, somehow I feel he has a connection with Michal.
I will leave Vienna Sunday morning, July 19, and pick up from where dad and Artur were headed in 1945. After leaving Romania they stopped briefly for one night in Poland ... Their expectation was they would soon return as liberators, freeing Poland from Russian influence and control.. Little could my father imagine that it would be almost 50 years before he would return home again.
Author - Andrew Bajda
Since publication of my book in December of 2016, so many amazing things have happened on both a personal and professional level. As the journey continues to evolve, I'll update my travel adventures on this blog, and invite you to join me along the way.