What the media is reporting about Halina's search for answers
EXTRACT: I always thought the samovar in my dining room was a family heirloom. It wasn't. It was one of my grandmother’s last gifts, a final effort in 1965 to maintain a link with the daughter she had not seen for more than 20 years.Today, when I look at the samovar, I see much more than a traditional Russian appliance for making tea. I see it as a way for my grandparents to ease a feeling of guilt over the fate of their only child Maria - my mother. In 1943, when she was 17, Maria was snatched from school in Ukraine by Nazi soldiers and sent to work as a slave in Germany. She never saw her parents again.
EXTRACT: I solved the mystery of what happened to my father. He disappeared from my life when I was four years old. This past fall I learned about the hard-scrabble life he led, and the last years of his life. My discoveries led me to an unmarked grave in a hilltop cemetery in a down-on-its-luck mining town in Northern Ontario.
EXTRACT: After Maria Brik died in 2018 at the age of 92, her daughter Halina St James found over 60 letters. Written in Russian and Polish by Brik's parents and their friends. The documents tell of the life young Maria Brik, a former labourer in the German Reich. "These letters brought me to Wurzburg," says St James, her voice breaking slightly.
EXTRACT: Halina St. James traveled to Germany in May 2022 to visit all the places where she could follow traces of her mother. An employee of the "Initiative against forgetting" led them to the site of the former forced labor camp on the Oberndorfer Wiesen. Although the camp barracks have disappeared, the past became tangible through the erected information boards and verbal explanations.