Sunday, May 18, 2008


Heroes, everyone has them. They come in all shapes and sizes, today I will blog about my heroes, my grandparents. They are known to me and my family as Babcia and Dzia Dzia, grandma and grandpa in Polish. Why are they my heroes you ask? Keep reading.

Both of my grandparent were born in Warsaw Poland. Both of them were teenagers when WWII started. Hitler was ordering his troops to clear the streets of Warsaw of not only Jews but of students, shop owners and anyone who did not fit the blond hair blue eyed bill. We are not Jewish.

During this time my grandfather had been taken off the streets of Warsaw after being told by his mother not to go out that day, she had a bad feeling-he never saw her again. He spent the next five years in Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. He was put to work in the quarry mining rocks. Then had other jobs and was actually treated somewhat humanely, why he does not know. It could have been he just did what he was told. One time he got really sick and one of the soldiers made sure he was nursed back to health a guardian angel of sorts?

After the camp was liberated in 1945 out of the 200 Poles that were sent with him only 8 survived.

My grandmother became a member of the under ground army and was a survivor of the Warsaw uprising of 1944. Not many people are aware of the fact that Warsaw had a whole functioning "underground" city including schools! She helped many people escape the Warsaw ghetto and risked her life every time she did so. I will always wonder how many lives she saved.

After the war is when my grandparents met. According to my grandmother he courted her and once tried to kiss her and she slapped him! Too funny! They settled in England while my grandfather finished engineering school and they had my mother. They were able to locate what family members survived the war but most were killed.

They moved to America, Cleveland Ohio and settled down and raised a family, having 2 more daughters and a son. Making a very comfortable life for themselves.

They would take care of me and my brother after my biological father left us, they were a huge part in making my brother and I who we are today. I named my first born Antoni, after my grandfather.

They retired to Florida like all grandparents do. They then moved to Billings Montana to be closer to my aunt as they are getting older and having no family near by they needed help. I do think the breaking point was when hurricane Charlie hit and they were "living" in their closet until the storm blew through. That was too much for me to think about!

They are still here with us and I am so grateful for that. They recently celebrated 60 years of wedded bliss, maybe not all bliss but they made it 60 years, crazy huh? They are getting old and frail. My grandmother not so much, she is the strongest woman I know. Don't get me wrong she is 81 and she does have her share of health issues, it is my grandfather I worry about.

He is old almost 87 and is getting tired and forgetful, he has dementia. Last time I spoke to him I honestly do not think he knew who I was. It broke my heart in to a million pieces! Here was this man who survived a Nazi death camp and he could not remember me his oldest grandchild.

I am going to see them in July for my cousins wedding and this might be the last time I see him. Damn I am going to miss him so much!

My heroes Dzia Dzia and Babcia


Carrie said...

I didn't know where Toni-oni-oni-oh's name came from. Nice story, rich Polish heritage ;)

Blarney said...

Sounds as if they have had a very full life and have celebrated every moment they've had & are blessed with. I am also stuggling with the thought of loosing my 93 year old Grandmother. This may be her last year; she is already in rehab for a broken hip and its not going so well (physically, mentally and health wise). I am going to celebrate as much time as I still have with her like there is no tomorrow.

Outnumbered2to1 said...

Wow, what a sweet story!

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