Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” I interviewed my grandma who was born in 1935 in a small village of Gnatowice. She witnessed the war as a small child, and that experience stayed with her for the rest of her life. Nonetheless, she always seeks the best things in life, and each day tries to share something important with others. This story is centered around emotions and recollections, and describes the life in the time of the war, as seen through the eyes of a child.
Grażyna Oczkowicz was born in December 1937 in the village of Rzędowice in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Grażyna was the third of the five children of Kazimiera Tkaczewska (maiden name: Grzywnowicz) and Stefan Tkaczewski. During the war, Grażyna’s father was a guerrilla fighter, so many of the interviewee’s childhood memories are related to the fight against the German invaders. Grażyna Oczkowicz spent her childhood and youth in Rzędowice, and after the birth of her children, she and her husband moved to Silesia, where she started working for an office in Sosnowiec. She still lives in Sosnowiec.
Bernd grew up in Northern Germany. He speaks about his childhood memories during and after the war, the role that National Socialism played in his family, and his mentally ill grandfather’s story.
The history of my family reflects life in a totalitarian regime. All that my great grandfather and great-grandmother went through shows and demonstrates the lack of respect for a human being, invasion of privacy and persecution, violates morality, human rights and freedoms. That is why, under the Soviet rule, millions of people were subjected to the arbitrariness of the totalitarian state, and many were never able to reunite with their families.