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The Golden Daughter
My Mother's Secret Life as a Ukrainian Slave Worker in Nazi Germany

The Golden Daughter. Blonde, pampered, unsmiling, with her parents Sergei and Aniela Brik - who doted on her. A handful of years later her life changed dramatically. She never saw her parents or her home in Ukraine again. Her wartime experiences left scars that affected her relationships with her parents, her friends, her lovers - and with me, her daughter.


Locating the spot where Mama worked as a slave in a ball-bearing factory.


I discover my parents' marriage certificate in the Weiden records office.

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Mama with me in the Weiden Displaced Persons camp.


A simple stone memorial marks the spot where Mama and hundreds of other slave workers were locked in wooden dormitories when they weren't in the factories.


Seventy-five years ago these homes didn't exist in Weiden, Germany. Instead there were wooden huts - the Displaced Persons camp where I was born.


I shared some photographs from our time in Bad Reichenhall with city archivist Dr Johannes Lang and the soldiers who took me round the old camp.


With historian and activist Alex Kraus in Wurzburg, searching for the house where my mother was put to work as a housemaid when she was taken from Ukraine.

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The picture problem

A big problem in researching my birth father Stanislaw is that my mother destroyed every photograph she had of him. With us in this photo is the man who would become my stepfather. You can see where my father was cropped out of the picture - and out of my life.


In the Kirkland Lake cemetery office with manager David Pearce, trying to find the site of my birth father Stanislaw's unmarked grave.


A chance to say a few words to the father I never knew. I promised to return with a simple stone, so his grave was no longer unmarked.

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