Everything I know about my family history is a bit fuzzy. Whenever I ask my father questions about how his parents ended up in the Midwest, he only knows so much. “We didn’t talk about things like that,” he explains to me. “Those conversations would make us feel less ‘American,’ so we didn’t really have them.” He tells me that his parents were originally from Kraków and Wilno (which is no longer part of Poland), but he doesn’t remember which parent grew up where.
What he does know is that the story goes something like this: They were both being transferred from one camp in German-occupied Poland to another when technical issues blessed them with an opportunity to escape. After fleeing, they immigrated to America, eventually landing in Chicago where a friend was able to host them. From there my father’s family raised him and his brother, fully rooting themselves in the American Midwest.