Viktor Brodzinski, born in Poland in 1935, came to the UK aged 11 having spent some of the war years working on a German farm until the arrival of the Allies.
Viktor Brodzinski was born in 1935 in a small village in Eastern Poland where his parents were farmers. During 1943 Viktor’s mother, 4 siblings and 2 grandparents, left the farm in haste. The Ukrainians, encouraged by the Germans who initially promised to grant an independent Ukraine, had started attacking the Poles. The family, all except Viktor’s father who had been transported to Siberia, were loaded onto wagons and taken to Germany. Viktor’s family were selected to work on German farms where they were treated as slave labour but at least they had avoided being sent to concentration camps. When the Allies arrived the roles were reversed. The German farmers were imprisoned in the cellar and Viktor and his family could roam freely, eating whatever produce they wanted from the farm.
After the war, Viktor, his mother, sibling and grandparents were relocated to Italy. Viktor’s father, who had joined the Polish Army in Russia, traced the family through the Red Cross. He was stationed nearby. When Viktor’s army unit moved to England the whole family relocated and lived in Polish DP (Displaced Person’s) Camps in the Midlands. Their farm in Eastern Poland had been burnt to the ground. When his father was demobbed the family moved to Huddersfield to join an uncle who was already established there. Viktor, however, spent much of his education in full time Polish boarding schools in Linford Park, an ex-American army camp. When Viktor was an adult the family moved to London. After a successful career in engineering and running a Polish delicatessen Viktor is now retired and living in Hackney.