She sailed out of Antwerp on Tuesday, December 4, 1945. Everything she owned she carried in pigskin leather bag: two dresses from her time in Nuremberg, a sweater, some underwear, one pair of shoes, and the little French-English dictionary she kept from her escape out of Krakow.
With the clean sea breeze brushing along her brow, Bisia Reavis stood alone along the rail of the Belgian Unity, a Liberty Class freighter bound for New York City. Just one month past her 24th birthday, she looked back at the only world she had ever known as it slipped from view. Ahead awaited the American husband she had met and married just ten months ago in her native Poland. Behind lay an old way of life still smoldering in ruins.
No longer the headstrong schoolgirl who thought the war would be a big adventure, Bisia’s six years of fighting under occupation had shattered the world she had inherited, so, too, many of its people. Some, like Bisia, now found themselves scattering like wind-blown seeds to far away lands with only their memories and dreams to replant.
I didn’t know what to think. All I knew was that there was a world out there for me to see, and there would be no second chances, no second thoughts. (more…)