‘U’ is for Ula

Ula, 'sparkling' at her sister's wedding

Ula, ‘sparkling’ at her sister’s wedding

My neice Urszula, or Ula as she is always called at home, is the youngest of my cousin Adam’s three children.  From the shy early teen she was in 2007, when first we met, Ula has blossomed into a beautiful and stylish young woman.  Today is her 20th birthday and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish her ‘Happy Birthday’.  Wszystkiego najlepszego na urodziny!

My Personal A-Z of Poland has taken me down many routes and shared many stories.  Dad, along with millions of others, paid the price of a war torn Europe.  His family was scattered far and wide, but for Dad there has been a belated happy ending.  I’d like to share with you today a video that had tears streaming down my face, but which also ends joyfully.

Ann, or Gallivanta is a warm-hearted lady who is proud of her country, New Zealand.  This week I received from her a link for my Jo’s Monday walk.  It’s not strictly a walk but it is a very moving journey and I thought that it deserved a place here, alongside Dad’s story.

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/the-story-of-seven-hundred-polish-children-1966

I know that it’s the kind of story that Frizz will find empathy with, and won’t mind me sharing it on his Tagged- U.  I’d like to thank so many people for the love that is shared in our blogging world.  I’m feeling quite emotional this morning and I think it’s time to go back to playing with Polish castles.  Thanks also to Julie Dawn Fox for the personal A-Z challenge.

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67 comments

  1. We have Ulla as a girl name .. and also Ursula, maybe it comes from Poland – we had a couple kings that was in Poland through the years of history, ransacked and raping. Ula, stunning in her very classy dress. I would love to go to Polish wedding, heard all the stories about them .. last for days. Lovely post, Jo.

  2. you touched my heart with the video, the “… 1966 documentary tells the story of 734 Polish children who were adopted by New Zealand in 1944 as WWII refugees. Moving interviews, filmed 20 years later, document their harrowing exodus from Poland: via Siberian labour camps, malnutrition and death, to being greeted by Prime Minister Peter Fraser on arrival in NZ. From traumatic beginnings the film chronicles new lives (as builders, doctors, educators, and mothers) and ends with a family beach picnic…”

  3. A very happy belated birthday to your beautiful niece Jo. Your family story is very moving and what your father must have gone through…I wonder how things will be when the last of the older generation are no longer here, who will remember the horrors that went before and are continuing today? Oh Jo, I wish I could give you a great big hug right now and we could have a little cry together, then put the kettle on and share a nice cup of tea together. Before you retreat back into your Polish castles that is…or maybe I could come with you! ❤

      1. Did the kettle boil dry??? I got lost on the way and couldn’t find you or your castle. Too dark… 😦 Still, I made it there today, found you and loved the tour. Now we can have that cuppa …and maybe find a ghost or two… 😉

      2. Oh dear, I have to confess the kettle’s rarely off in our house 😦 I should be busy right now, but here I sit with…. another cuppa 🙂

    1. I know, Cathy. Not my usual kind of share but when Ann sent me the link I wanted to use it.
      Much happier stuff this morning (and a ghost! 🙂 ) Hugs, darlin!

  4. Ula is a beauty and looks so poised. Lovely picture. I watched the story of the Polish children and felt up lifted with the ending. So many others perished during those horrible years. Thanks to you and Ann for sharing this important story and lesson on humanity.

    1. It was hard watching some of it, Lynne. I almost didn’t but it was compulsive once you began. That poor lady and her frozen Mum and brother. What memories for a child! How would you sleep at night?

  5. Aw lovely family photo Jo ! She is looks a very poised young woman.
    Not always a happy ending but glad about this one .

  6. Jo your niece is beautiful!
    Thanks for the link from Gallivanta, I watched both videos. The story the young woman told of her mother and brother found frozen together was heartbreaking.

  7. She’s a darling Jo. Your Dad must be so thrilled to be re-united with his family again. I haven’t watched the video. I’m not good with things like that. The more I see of the way man treats his fellow man and even animals the more I despair of the society we still live in. As you say we can’t change the past, but what worries me is the future, especially after these European elections. What is wrong with everyone? The freedom to travel and to learn about other cultures should be welcomed. Anyway, rant over, …take care of yourself today.
    Jude xx

    1. Disappearing into my ‘castle in Poland right now’, Jude. I know exactly what you mean and normally I won’t watch either. Fortunately this has some lovely moments, but I fully understand. When are you off to the Lakes and where are you staying? They should be filling up nicely today 🙂

      1. We’re in the northern lakes Jo. Thought it might be a tad quieter than around Windermere. I haven’t been there for decades, though we drove through a few years ago. So busy we didn’t stop except at Kirkstone Pass for lunch.

      1. … 🙂 Do you know what I though a few hours ago, if dear Johanna comes to Istanbul, I will especially take her to a Poland village, near my city 🙂 Love and Hugs, nia

      2. Bless you, darling. That’s a lovely thought. Take good care. In England it’s raining a few more of those ‘cats and dogs’ 🙂

    1. I usually won’t make myself watch them, Sue. Pure cowardice, I know, but I can’t stand images of Belsen and wasted limbs. So glad this had a happy ending, at least for the few.
      Thanks, hon 🙂

      1. Thank heavens for some happiness Jo. So much suffering.

        On a completely different note Jo can I ask again about the ‘rules’ of your Monday walk submissions. This really is not a big deal I just want to be sure I haven’t missed something in submitting mine to you on Monday. Let me know if I need to change the format to have it qualify as one of your features. Again no big deal just want to be sure I understand what you are looking for. Thanks so much. xoxo

      2. I think I have confused the world and his auntie, Sue? You can see now why I didn’t call it a challenge? The challenge is all mine!
        Are you thinking your ‘rabbit’ wasn’t there? I include all the links for this week at the end of next week’s walk post. That way everyone should get a chance to see them. But I tweet and share them on FB during the week for those who use social media. 🙂

      3. Oh clearly I am a bit slow. Another cup of coffee for me Jo! So sorry and I promise not to ask one more question and get walking…or running 🙂 Thanks for your patience!

      4. What I will do when I’m away for the week I haven’t yet worked out (Tavira 4-11th June)but we’ll soon find out!
        I probably confused by putting Yvette’s Memorial Day in this week but it came in on Sunday night and it seemed inappropriate to hold it over.
        I will go and stand in the dunces corner 🙂

      5. Oh Jo it takes very little to confuse me. Really no worries at all but thanks for so gently explaining it to me. Hopefully only a little eye rolling on your side of the pond 🙂 Can I come to Tavira? I have travel envy.

  8. I wonder whether Polish castles are to intensify or deplete the emotion? Somehow all things Polish have the power to make emotion erupt. I suspect it’s the family connection. Children now in Polish history are always my twins, give or take a few decades, and for you no doubt they are your father. Can’t watch the video yet because Plitvička reception is a bit one barish, but I’ve bookmarked it. A lovely photo of your niece. Those sparkles are very clever!

    1. Hi Meg 🙂 I can claim no responsibility for the sparkles (shame! 🙂 ) Disco lighting at the reception but very pretty. I’m off to Niedzica soon (virtually, of course). I try to keep it light. We can’t change the past, Meg, can we?

  9. What a lovely and caring family you have Jo, that is a beautiful family portrait. Many English children were deported to Australia during the war and sadly many of them were put onto farms and used as cheap labour. So much sorrow comes from wars in so many different ways.

    1. Someone’s sorrow is headline news every day, Pauline. I try to focus on the joy in life because the past is the past and we can’t change it. Sometimes we seem pretty darn powerless to change anything though.

      1. We do not have TV at this house sit and we do not miss it. I skim the headlines on the Ipad but very seldom read the articles. They say to make a change start with yourself. I think WP is a force for good as we all connect in our communities. I also focus on the positive…:)

  10. Your niece is beautiful! Thank you for the link to the touching stories of those children of war. Glad they found love and compassion. Made me think of the thousands that didn’t.

    1. Now why do you think I seldom posts photos of me, Jill? 🙂 🙂
      Thank you! Have a happy week. Rain stops play here (but blogging is not affected by the weather)

  11. a lovely story Jo, that war touched all of us, but I had not heard about these children before, thanks to you and Gallivanta 🙂 your niece is a beautiful girl!

  12. Happy Birthday to your lovely niece. I am so glad that your father has his belated happy ending and that we can all celebrate joy, and joyous events concerning Poland.

    1. Many thanks for the link, Ann. It didn’t quite go to plan (another of those weeks!) because I realised I’d already completed a ‘U’ post on the Urszulas! The story deserves to be told so I ‘improvised’. 🙂

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