Apart from that little long weekend in Singapore all the way back in February, I have only one trip planned for this year. But it’s a big one. Five weeks, yes five weeks, in Poland. Well, mostly Warsaw.
IN THE SAME COUNTRY! I know right!
You know me, I usually like to tick off 5 or 6 countries when I visit Europe. That way, it makes the super long flight worth it. But this travel thing is about evolving. And although I love getting to as many places as possible, on recent trips I’ve found myself really wishing I’d had more time in each place.
Well, this trip I’m giving myself plenty of time. And with good reason because I am heading back to Warsaw, home of my paternal lineage. It’s gonna be a kind of root finding exercise. I will be searching for family birthplaces, possible new relatives and my lost pierogi-consuming, mushroom-picking, vodka-drinking heritage.
Dad’s family were part of a relatively unknown page of WWII history. I say unknown, because many of the survivors were told never to discuss it. They were ashamed to do so, just wanted to forget it or, even sadder, just didn’t think anyone would be interested. I’ve done a lot of research into this period of history over the last few years and never realised the struggles my family faced. Those who are interested are welcome to read about my geneology search at my website Looking for the Lukasiks. For those who are not so interested, here’s a brief wrap up; because it forms the basis of so much of what this trip will be about for me.
World War II broke out in Gdansk on 1 September 1939 when the Germans swept into Poland from the West. The Russians swept in from the East on 17 September and deported the Poles living there to Siberia. This area was named ‘Kresy‘, or borderlands. Many thousands died and those who survived, spent the next decade, displaced and wandering the world, looking for shelter and safety. New lives were created in new countries after the war; a new Polish diaspora.
I am lucky that the majority of my family survived, unlike others. But I never really knew their story until recently.
My wishes for this trip? That I can piece together a clearer picture of who my family was, gain a deeper understanding of my heritage and what it means to be Polish.
From what I’ve seen on social media, things have changed in Warsaw since my last visit. I’ve been watching this city come alive with keen interest and looking back on the words I wrote after my last trip to Warsaw:
Warsaw – what can I say – I read recently that you have a face that only a mother can love. And it’s true. I know you want to open up, but I don’t think you can just yet. I’ll give you time and see how you go, but you are brave and you are a fighter and you have a fantabulous history that the world is waiting to hear about.
I’d say the buzz that was just starting when I visited in 2014 is now blooming and I can’t wait to check it out! Let the count down begin.