22th of June 1922,
is 5 years after the revolution in Russia began, my
father stowed away
Istanbul, alone, on a Dutch ship, the Valkenburg, leaving his family behind.
He was only fourteen years old
I am now trying to reconstitute what his and his family's life could have been at that time, the atmosphere in the city, the every day struggle to survive. I would like to compare what I learned with others' experience and I would be grateful to receive informations from people whose parents or grand-parents eventually told them. It is difficult, I know, because they prefer to forget.
I am specifically interested in the city of Odessa where my father was born. All his life, his hart, his mind remained with this beautiful city. He was terribly home sick. And I am also interested in what happened in Istanbul in the camps (specifically the ones on the asian part) organized by the "League of Nations" to catch the first big wave of refugees of the century, the organisation which gave birth, later on, to the UNO.
The purpose of this research is to leave a first hand testimony about these troubled times to my children. Not an historical study. We know the facts, maybe not all the truth about them. We usually always forget the people behind the facts, their emotions, their hopes, their sorrow, their suffering. Later, they have impredictible reactions sometimes. They are difficult to understand, and when I was a child, I could not understand.
I would like to take more time to think about the past, since the past always play a great role to manage the future, and I am very thankful for any interesting experience, testimony or story you may wish to share with me. Thank you.