First look at the diary

Because the diary I found among Dad’s belongings is over 80 years old and had traveled a great distance, it is extremely fragile but quite legible. The first page includes the name of its owner, my aunt- Anna Wardamasky; her address in Leningrad and telephone number.

Then there were pages of nonsense, such as the words of the song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” followed by pages written in Russian titled, “Russian Songs.” I was getting bored.

On February 5, a page was ripped out of the book except for a tiny piece which said, “February 8, 1942 received a telegram from Martin.”   Whoa!  Martin was my dad. What was that all about?

It wasn’t until February 21 that another interesting entry was made:  ??? correspondent Mr. ???? about helping us in Kuibyshev. Joseph ???, correspondent of Boston paper, helped to form a telegram to USA.  Polish citizen, ??? very grateful for his advices concerning our care.

The ??? was to indicate names which were very carefully scribbled out, as if to either hide or protect someone. A February 23 entry said, “???Mr. Turner, correspondent of Daily Herald and 2 hother presses in Sweden and Palestine (his advice about sending a telegram to president.)”

At this point, I stopped reading because I was wondering what I had stumbled upon and needed to figure out what to do next. Where is Kuibyshev?  I never heard Dad mention that place and why were they there attempting to get assistance from foreign press correspondents to send a letter to the president?

Do I continue reading the diary or try to find out about Kuibyshev via history? I decided to continue reading, but felt it would be helpful to begin to organize the various entries, particularly since they spanned so many years.

So off to the store to buy a journal! I wanted to have  a handwritten version of what I would find along with the notes I planned to document on my computer.  Back-up everything!


About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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