Valentine Kirychenko’s mother, Lydia, and Lydia’s family were sent to Siberia at the start of WWI. While returning home after the war ended, eight-year-old Lydia and her two sisters become separated from their mother, Louiza. The girls grow up in the chaos of the Stalin regime, facing oppression, starvation, with death always threatening.
During WWII, Lydia and her husband, Ivan, struggle to protect the family during the German occupation. Lydia finally finds her mother and they became reunited. But then the family is taken to Germany to work as slave labor in the munitions factories, enduring unrelenting bombing raids until the factory is destroyed. They manage to find jobs in a village, finally safe until the war’s end.
After four years in a refugee camp post-war, Ivan moves his loved ones to Australia, beginning a new life far from war-ravaged Europe. Here they grow and prosper in a safe and happy environment.
Even when ordinary people are buffeted by forces beyond their control, they can do extraordinary things.
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About the Author
Valentine Kirychenko wanted to tell his parents’ story. “In the context of a migrant family in a foreign country, I realized how their bravery and sacrifice ensured my survival.” He is a medical doctor and lives in Sydney, Australia.