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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

My family's immigration journey - my mother's side

Updated: May 5

Although both my brother and I were born in Sweden, and so were also both my mother and father, we have been refugees and immigrants on both sides.

On my mother's side, her father Uno, was Swedish and worked with building railroad tracks. He had a son from a previous marriage named Jack, when he met my maternal grandmother Maria. She was Polish and came to Sweden through the Red Cross rescue mission White buses, collecting prisoners from Ravensbrück 1945. Maria Pietrzak had also been to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she had lost her husband Leon, and had a black, tattoed number on her underarm. She had two sons left in Poland, who survived WWII, and whom my mother met a couple of times after Maria had passed on, when I was 9 years old. She was always afraid of being captured again by the police and wasn't even sure if she was going to be transported to another prison-camp when the White buses same to pick her and others up. Maria worked with washing clothes for others. She didn't want my mother to stay and play after school and she was always afraid of taking showers, so she bathed instead. When we had been there to visit, we always had some kind of dessert with whipped cream, so that she could be sure we would feel full. According to my mother, Maria was also very superstitious and had a developed sixth sense. They were Catholic and she was apprehended, she believed, because she was illiterate. This became the reason for why my mother found it so important to get a university degree. in Uppsala, where she met my father, and where I was born.

I wouldn't have been born, if it wasn't for the Holocaust, which is why it's so important for me to learn more about it, and share her story, that she found so hard to talk about.

Note: When I went to look her dates up in the Swedish national archives almost ten years ago, she was noted as diseased 1977, two years prior to her actual death.

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