Album of My Life

Album of My Life


By Ann Szedlecki

“I am the daughter of nobody. I have no sisters. I am nobody's granddaughter or daughter-in-law, aunt or cousin. Who am I? My past is all gone. It disappeared...”

Ann Szedlecki was a Hollywood film-loving fourteen-year-old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and she went to the Soviet Union with her older brother, hoping to return for the rest of her family later. Instead, she ends up spending most of the next six and a half years alone in the Soviet Union, enduring the harsh conditions of northern Siberia under Stalin’s Communist regime. Szedlecki’s beautifully written story, which lovingly re-constructs her pre-war childhood in Lodz, is also compelling for its candour about her experiences as a woman in the Soviet Union during World War II. As a very young woman without family, living largely by her wits, she is only too aware of her own vulnerability and meets every challenge she faces with a fierce determination to survive. Throughout her ordeals she hears the echo of her mother’s last words to her: “Be decent.”

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About the Author

Ann Szedlecki was born Chana Fraijlich in Lodz, Poland in 1925. After spending the war in the Soviet Union, she returned to Lodz to find that every member of her family had perished. In 1950, she met and married Abraham Szedlecki. They emigrated first to Israel and then, in 1953, to Toronto, where their daughter, Lynda, was born. Ann worked in the garment district, but eventually opened her own successful ladies’ clothing store, which she operated for twenty-five years. She became an avid community volunteer, discovering her natural talent as a storyteller. Ann Szedlecki passed away in 2005.

Product Information

  • Release: June 1, 2009
  • $14.95 Paperback
  • 240 Pages
  • 6 x 9
  • ISBN: 9781897470107

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The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs

Since the end of World War II, over 30,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors have immigrated to Canada. Who they are, where they came from, what they experienced and how they built new lives for themselves and their families is an important part of our Canadian heritage. The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs is guided by the conviction that each survivor of the Holocaust has a remarkable story to tell, and that such stories play an important role in education about tolerance and diversity. Millions of individual stories are lost to us forever. By preserving the stories written by survivors and making them widely available to a broad audience, the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs series seeks to sustain the memory of all those who perished at the hands of hatred, abetted by indifference and apathy. The personal accounts of those who survived against all odds are as different as the people who wrote them, but all demonstrate the courage, strength, wit and luck that it took to prevail and survive in such terrible adversity. The memoirs are also moving tributes to people – strangers and friends – who risked their lives to help others, and who, through acts of kindness and decency in the darkest of moments, frequently helped the persecuted maintain faith in humanity and courage to endure. These accounts offer inspiration to all, as does the survivors’ desire to share their experiences so that new generations can learn from them. Recognizing that most survivor memoirs never find a publisher, the Azrieli Foundation established the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program to collect, archive and publish these distinctive records.