My Sister’s Mother
A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia
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In 1940, Janina Ślarzynska and her five-year-old daughter Mira were taken by Soviet secret police (NKVD) from their small family farm in eastern Poland and sent to Siberia with hundreds of thousands of others. So began their odyssey of hunger, disease, cunning survival, desperate escape across a continent, and new love amidst terrible circumstances.
But in the 1950s, baby boomer Donna yearns for a “normal” American family while Janina and Mira are haunted by the past. In this unforgettable memoir, Donna recounts her family history and her own survivor’s story, finally understanding the damaged mother who had saved her sister.
Finalist, Best Traditional Non-Fiction Book, Chicago Writers Association
Praise For My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia…
“Superbly records the bitter suffering both of victims of the Soviet Gulag and of displaced emigrants. And, we witness the enormous problems of traumatized parents in connecting and sharing their experiences with their American-raised children. In this context, Donna’s teenage ‘tragedy’ of failing to make the cheerleading squad is particularly poignant.”—Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, author of Between Nazis and Soviets
“A primer for all who seek to understand the harrowing journey of Poles during this fateful period.”—Allen Paul, author of Katyń: Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of Truth
University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299308506, 312pp.
Publication Date: April 27, 2016