Maria (Pindral) SaariX

Born: April 9, 1910

Location: Majdany

My mother, Josephine Kowalski, was born on April 9, 1910 in the village of Majdany, a town of Golina, Poland. Her parents were very poor famers. My mother was left homeless and resided in Slesn, Poland, where she cleaned for three years before Hitler arrived. They were given 20 minutes to gather their things and were taken to labor camps, stripped of clothing and covered with delousing powder. They became forced labor on a beet farm in Steinburgrund, Germany, and worked from dawn to dusk. My mother met my father, Lewon Lisofski and I was born on April 21, 1941 in Steinburgrund, Kiirtrin, Germany. Life became very hard. I was left with a Germany baby sitter which created a language barrier. As a child I was able to speak German, Polish, Russian and Czech. The only language I read and wrote fluently was Polish. My parents had plans to marry but the Germans required papers to prove they were free of Jewish blood for two generations. My father had papers, but my mother's records were destroyed in a parish fire; marriage was denied. About two years later my mother and I were taken from the beet camp and she was forced to work as a domestic slave on a farm. Conditions for my mother were horrid. One time I put puppies in an outhouse and was beaten; my mother threatened to call the police and an SS officer came and severely beat my mother with a hose. My mother became depressed and lost her will to live. My step-father, Jozef Pindral was in the Polishs army before the war broke out. He was captured by the Germans and was in a prisoner camp for most of WWII. His camp was bombed and most of the prisoners were killed. He ran into the woods and later mixed with slave workers on a farm. Because he was a strong man able to do the work of many men, he was not turned in and he spent the rest of the war working as a slave laborer. Jozef became a member of the Voluntary World Service C.M.L.O., YCMA group British zone in Germany until we were sponsored to come to America. His friend, Piotr Wisniewski, was also a member of this army. I was four years old when my mother and Jozef were married. When the war ended we were advised to stay in Germany due to poor conditions in Poland. We also heard that my father had died of a massive heart attack at the age of 36. In 1950, my parents signed up to come to America. I was ten years old. We were sponsored by the Catholic Service to make a trip to Rice, Virginia. We were processed through Ellis Island, NY. My step dad worked on a farm to pay for our passage. We corresponded with a family in the Copper Country who were also immigrants Piotr Wisniewski, who told us there was work. We moved to the Copper Country and my step dad got a job at the Painesdale Mine. Jozef was then employed by Copper Range for the next 19 years until his retirement. My younger sister was the only one born in America. I became a US citizen on May 15, 1963. My oldest brother and my father became US citizens on July 20, 1984. I graduated from Jeffers High School and received an associate's degree from Suomi College. I am married and have five children. I still live in Painesdale, Michigan and have not experienced hunger sinceI was 10 years old. Life is good, I survived the Holocaust.

Contributed by: Debbie Pindral, Painesdale, Michigan