Windows 8 is Reminding Me of the Past

What would you do if you woke up one morning and learned that the country in which you were living was under attack? And what would you do if you were a member of that family—a son, a brother—but thousands of miles away?

The city in the Soviet Union where my grandparents, three aunts, and one uncle were living would soon be under attack, so they packed up the bare necessities and headed away from the bombings. My father was safely tucked away with friends in New Jersey and had no way of knowing if they had survived.

As someone who has had difficulty adjusting to Windows 8, I am reminded of this story several times each day as I unlock my computer. Somehow during the past few weeks, a photo stored on one of my files has ended up on the lock screen and I need to learn how to get rid of it!

The photo is a copy of a letter written to the State Department from the American Embassy in Kuibyshev, USSR on January 19, 1942. The letter stated that Dad’s family arrived at the embassy, having been en route from the city of Novgorod since August. It asked that the State Department contact my father and ask him for money for their repatriation home. The letter mentioned that they had no money and therefore were having difficulty finding a place to live.

How very sad! I see this letter over and over each day. That is the story behind my book. And you think you have problems?

Memo about flight from Novgorod

Memo about flight from Novgorod



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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