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Marek's Coat

Marek's Coat

160 pages
Published:   March 5, 2024
Non-Fiction  /  Biography & Memoir
Paperback:   9781895488609    $25.00

Early in the morning of April 13, 1940, seven-year-old Marek was awakened by a loud pounding on his front door. A local Soviet collaborator informed Marek’s mother that their family must leave their home and head to the train station. Marek, his mother, and two sisters had little time to pack, but even though it was already spring, Marek’s mother made sure he wore his winter coat.

Marek and his family became one of roughly one million Poles who were deported from their homes by the Soviets and sent to work in Siberia. In Marek’s Coat, Joseph Skarżeński tells the wondrous story of his youth: his years spent herding cattle in Siberia with a Kyrgyz shepherd, who taught him how to survive the ferocious winters; his journey through Central Asia to an Indian orphanage for Polish refugees established by the Maharajah of Nawanagar; and how his simple winter coat saved his family over and over again.

A memoir of separation, isolation, and rebirth into a post-war world, Marek’s Coat is a reminder of what it takes to survive when the world goes mad.
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Joseph Skarżeński was born in Poland and deported with his mother and sisters to Siberia during the Second World War. Following the end of the war, he lived in England and Canada. He now lives in Ottawa.