When I began my search for my father, Stanislaw Zebrowski, I knew he would be dead by now. He was born in 1914, so if he was still alive he’d be 108 today. Not likely.
My parents and I came to Canada in 1951 from Displaced Persons camps in Germany. My father got work as a logger in Timmins, Ontario. My parents’ marriage was falling apart. A year later, my mother left my father, taking me to Sudbury, Ontario, where I grew up. I was 4 years old. I never saw my father again. I don’t even know what he looks like.
So how do you look for someone you don’t know anything about? My husband Neil, started doing a search online. He found a site - Find a Grave. We knew Stanislaw’s full name, date of birth and where he was born from old war records my mother kept.
Neil entered them into the website site and voila, up popped Stanislaw’s grave in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. So we went to Kirkland Lake in October to see my father’s grave.
We met Dave Pearce, the manager of the cemetery. My father died penniless and was buried by the city. He was placed in an unmarked grave. Dave put a modest marker at the site for me.
My heart broke seeing that tiny hand-written marker. I placed flowers on my father’s gave. I wept and talked to him. I vowed he would never be forgotten again. And that he would not remain in an unmarked grave.
In the spring, Dave will place this new marker for my father. And I will be there.
It's a modest sign of respect for a man who fought for his country, spent five years in a German POW camp, never again saw his homeland, lived a hard-scrabble life in a tough industry in a new country, and died penniless. My father.