I met Michael in about 2001. He told me of the suitcase that had been hidden under their childhood house and only recently recovered. In it were letters, photographs and documents. Trouble was the letters from the Siegel family to their son and brother, Naftali,were in Polish. Many years later one letter, written in 1946, was translated and the awful truth revealed.
Naftali Siegel's whole family had died in the Holocaust. He never spoke of their fate to his wife or children, they remained in ignorance until 2004.
In 2013 I asked if I might investigate and see if it was possible to write a book about it. There was a host of letters, all needing translation, a number of documents and photographs - a veritable treasure-house of memorabilia. A good friend, Eva Scherer, came to my rescue and translated many of the letters. It was a gruelling journey for her too as her family also had a bleak history in Poland - coincidently in the very area where the Siegel family had lived all those years ago.
Slowly, the images became clearer. It was like seeing them through water that became more crystalline as the months went by.
Not everyone has been helpful. In the Polish village of Pruchnik itself many residents, quite justifiably, want that part of their history forgotten. We discovered there had been "significant resistance" in Pruchnik when the Germans arrived and many died, both Gentiles and Jews.
It would not have been easy to be reminded of that tragedy. So emails are being ignored and in the end I have had to work on the "probable archaeology" of the past.
It has been a long and difficult journey. I feel privileged that, of all the millions of anonymous victims of Hitler, I have been able to get to know and cherish this one family. By remembering them I can honour all those who will forever remain anonymous.
or through this website.
Our children are only lent to us for a short time. What we dream for them today will determine who they are tomorrow.
In this gift book you will find many of the dreams you have for your own special child.
Beautifully illustrated with photographs that could have come out of your very own album, this is a book to treasure.
from the author via this website.
In July 1933 Alice and Emile Pothron leave New York for a six-week vacation in France, the land of their birth. It will be four years before they see America again.
This is the true story of what one family had to endure when Germany invaded France in May 1940.
A stunning, gritty biography of hardship, endurance and courage under Nazi occupation, it is the story of a woman whose love for her child gave her the strength to survive and, finally, to escape the hell-hole of occupied Europe.
Available as paperback and e-book:
or the author via the contact from on this website.