Across the Atlantic
July 5th, 2018
In coming to a new country, there are many things that one brings with them - the practical luggage needed for the everyday, as well as the things that may not be as practical. Most people would class photographs into the second category, even if they would not deny that they do serve a clear purpose. Identity documents, on the other hand, serve a clear purpose and are very often quite necessary to pass from one nation into the next. Another type of document that may pass over from the "old country," long after the person in question has emigrated, are letters from loved ones. All of these items that you see below served some essential purpose – which is crucial to why they survive today – and made up a piece of the story of these people's lives at one point or the other.
Various forms of documentation were required in DP camps. Here are some examples, all that one person had at different points and for various purposes.
Stefan Malish's permission to drive three different vehicles in the camp (left). Stefan Malish's ID with his fingerprint (top right). The same ID card - from the back - which, in English and in German, emphasizes the importance of carrying the card at all times and that rations will not be provided without it (bottom right).
A registration form in the DP camp where Stefan Malish resided (bottom left). Another of Stefan Malish's DP ID cards (bottom centre). Another form of registration for Stefan Malish, pictured here as a young teenager (bottom right).
Many DPs were also veterans, to which General Sikorski Polish Veterans' Hall in Oshawa can be but one witness.
Photographs of Jan Ciosk in uniform. He served in the Polish army, allied with and aiding the British, which helped him have the connections and support to later emigrate.
Other physical memories originating from outside of Canada include what - or, most often, who - they had to leave behind.
Stefan Malish's family in Ukraine - his mother and siblings (left), his brother with a young woman in traditional dress (centre), and himself along with his brother (right).
A letter from Stefan Malish's mother in Ukraine. She writes to him that she is happy he is safe in Canada, and that all but one of his brothers have died or are missing, due to the war.
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