Monday, September 28, 2009

Remembering Jane

Polish-born Jane Boruszewski, of Syracuse, NY, took part in several of my online courses through Ryerson University in Toronto between 2004 and 2006, sharing short memoirs and fictional stories based on her life experiences. She was enthusiastic about the writing process, and her sweet nature and determination to write inspiring and often beautiful stories about some of her difficult life experiences – especially in a language that was not her first – endeared her to me and to others in these groups. Between 2003 and 2007, she was delighted – as were her supporters here in Canada, with whom she kept in contact – to see several of her stories appear in OASIS Journal.

OASIS Journal editor Leila Joiner will dedicate this year’s issue to Jane’s memory. The story posted on the Days Road Writers' Workshops blog earlier today was one of Leila’s favourites among Jane's contributions.

Jane will be missed by all of us who knew her.



Jane was born in Poland, and in 1940 at age 13, during the Second World War and following the invasion of her country by first Germany and then Russia, she and her family were deported to Siberia.

With Britain's support, in July 1941 the Polish Government-in-Exile re-established diplomatic relations with Russia. This led to an “amnesty” for Polish citizens who had been held in Russian labour camps and prisons, and to a Polish army being formed inside Russia. Jane's future husband, Walter, enlisted at the age of 17.

Some of the Polish army was needed to protect the Western Allies' oil fields in the Middle East, so under the amnesty, 77,000 soldiers and 43,000 civilians, including 20,000 children, were evacuated from Russia to various countries including Iran and the Middle East. Polish soldiers went on to fight in North Africa and Italy.

In 1942 while Jane was travelling with her family by train to be closer to the Polish army for protection, she and her older sister Mary fell ill and had to be taken to a hospital. When they were released, they didn't know where their family had gone, so an army-run orphanage took them in. They were transported to Iran, and from there to East Africa, where Jane spent the next seven years and completed high school.

After the war, Jane travelled to England, where she met Walter. They married in England in 1949, and two years later immigrated to the United States on a special visa for ex-Polish soldiers and settled in Syracuse. There they raised three daughters, and Jane completed two years of college. Writing, says her husband Walter, was her passion.

Jane’s sister Mary married and settled in England. Jane’s father died in Russia, and her mother and younger sister remained in Russia for a few more years before returning to Poland. Although Jane and her mother were back in touch in 1947, they were unable to see each other again until they were reunited in the United States in1964, after a separation of 22 years.

Jane passed away August 1, 2009, at 82 years of age. She is survived by Walter, her husband of 59 years, 3 daughters, 8 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.


OASIS Journal ( accepts submissions from outside the U.S.; for more information please contact the editor, Leila Joiner, at OASIS Journal 2009 will be available in late October through and

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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