Danuta

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There are things I could tell you about the war, but they would make me cry. Birmingham is heaven.

I was born in Poland. During the War Hitler attacked Poland from the West and the Russians attacked from the East. Because my father was a police officer he was arrested shortly after the Russians attacked and to punish the family they came one night and took us away, and deported us to Russia.

I was taken just with my Sister because we had our father?s name. My sister was 15 and I was 10 years old. The two of us were packed in terrible conditions on the train in cattle trucks. We travelled about one month with very little food and no sanitary conditions. We were taken to Kazakstan. We had to spend two terrible winters there. After some time it was announced that the Polish people were free to travel because the Polish army was formed in Russia, so we got together and we travelled again.

The Polish Army helped us to survive. They were forming transports to Tehran in Persia. So we were taken to this port in Russia. We sailed during the night to our freedom in Persia. We were there for a few years. We had to start at school, in very primitive conditions. Then we were sent to Lebanon and we lived there for 3 years. It was a very beautiful country.

England was accepting some Polish people. My sister got married to a Polish officer so we were classed as an officer?s family and were accepted to come to England as displaced persons. We sailed for England and I started a very wonderful life.

I found that the English people were very kind and there was great hospitality. I was helped to apply to enter the school of nursing. I was training for 4 years and after I qualified as a SRN I applied to become a midwife so I went for training first of all to Leeds then finished the first part of my midwifery and afterwards I applied to Marston Green Maternity Hospital in Birmingham which is now not in existence.

When I got my qualification I decided that I really wanted to be a district nurse so I went to do special training in Worcester and I became a Queens Nurse. I worked in Bradford for 9 years as a District Nurse Midwife which was a very happy time. I met my husband, and got married. My husband wanted to work for himself so he bought a Post Office and stationery shop and he became a Sub postmaster in Birmingham. I was still continuing as a District Nurse at Weoley Castle.

While I was doing my midwifery training I spent a lot of time around Selly Oak living with a midwife delivering lots of babies at home and I have over 1,000 on my register. I?ve had students with me as well. So this is my contribution to the city of Birmingham.

I retired at the age of 65 and enjoy living with my neighbours at the Midland Heart scheme in Harborne. I am an active member of the Polish community in Birmingham. For the last ten years I have been a voluntary worker for the Polish Community, looking after the elderly people that are isolated and lonely. We are based at the Polish Church at Digbeth.

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