Krysia--A Polish Girl's Stolen Childhood During World War II

A Memoir by Krystyna Mihulka with Krystyna Poray Goddu

Krystyna Mihulka

Krystyna Poray Goddu (Photo by Dave Romero, vibrantimage.com)

About the Authors

TWO KRYSTYNAS--WE'RE COUSINS!




OUR BIOGRAPHIES, IN BRIEF


I was born in 1930 in Lwὸw, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine). In 1940 I was forcibly deported to a remote communal farm in Kazakhstan in the Soviet Union, where I struggled to survive as a political prisoner for nearly two years. After being liberated from Communism I spent several years in refugee camps in Iran and Africa. Then I settled in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where I married a young Polish World War II veteran. We had three wonderful children. In 1962 my family and I migrated to South Africa, and in 1969 to the United States, settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have lived here ever since under my married name, Christine Tomerson.

Always interested in writing and painting, at the age of 53 I received an associate of arts degree with honors from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California. Later I continued to study memoir writing at Adult Education Pleasant Hill and California State University East Bay. I am a member of the California Writers Club. In 2004 my article, “Hopeful Faces of Freedom,” was published in the Contra Costa Times.--Krystyna Mihulka



I am the author of numerous books, including A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dollmakers and Their Stories: Women Who Changed the World of Play, both for young people. My work has appeared in American Girl magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and the Riverbank Review of Books for Young Readers, and I am a regular reviewer of children’s books and writer for Publishers Weekly magazine. I have worked at Woman’s Day magazine and was founding editor of Dolls magazine and cofounder of Reverie Publishing Company, which published books on dolls and toys for collectors and children. I have also worked in school libraries and taught writing to children and adults. I hold a degree in comparative literature from Brown University.

I grew up hearing stories of my family's experiences during World War II. Somehow, I was never very interested in them until my cousin started sending me the stories she was writing about many of the same experiences--but told from a child's point of view. I began helping her with her writing, and organizing the stories into a form that I thought would make a good children's book. After more than a decade of working together, I presented our proposed book to my editor at Chicago Review Press. To my and my cousin's great excitement, she wanted to publish the book. While this book is my cousin's story, it is also the story of my family. Seeing it come to publication is deeply meaningful for both of us.--Krystyna Poray Goddu

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