I was born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, and came with my parents Jan and Tekla and my sister Donna to the United States as Displaced Persons in 1951. My Polish Catholic parents had been slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Growing up in the immigrant and DP neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, I met Jewish hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead horses, and women who walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. My poems try to remember them and their voices.
These poems have appeared in my chapbook Language of Mules and in both editions of Charles Fishman’s anthology of American poets on the Holocaust, Blood to Remember.
Since retiring from teaching American Literature in 2005, I've written two new books about my parents. My new poems about them appear in my books Lightning and Ashes (Steel Toe Books, 2007) and Third Winter of War: Buchenwald (Finishing Line Press).