Archives: Soviet women soldiers  

She was a woman on the run…

The sight of German uniforms weakened her knees. She buckled. Her weight collapsed against me, and then, I saw her ashen face. My mother and I were in the Frankfurt  International Airport,  surrounded by uniformed airport security police.  We were on our way to Russia,…

The Missing Thousand Days: THE CLUES

On March 27, 1940, in defiance of her mother’s wishes, Rosa Butorina (my mother’s real name) married a swarthy, Rudolph Valentino-esque man 20 years her senior. This is the last known photograph of her before she was captured by the Nazis in Poltava. The Nazi…

“You don’t believe in Death!”

“You don’t believe in Death! ” my mother said in a moment of piquancy during our customary game of thrust and parry whenever it came to trying to unearth her war-time secrets. The sheer force of her personality. The power of that voice. And her…

I used to dream I could fly.

I used to dream I could fly. A spirited run, a leap into the air, and the wind-milling of arms would send me skimming over the telephone poles that lined the gravel streets and wooden sidewalks of Netherhill, Saskatchewan.  Then, it was simply a matter…

Love In The Time Of Chaos And Rubble

“They are immortalized at the moment of their greatest joy, their eyes brimming with optimism.” My mother, Agnes Spicer, is part of an extraordinary art exhibit of 22 remarkable Canadian war-brides ‘going home’ to Holland. In August, 1946, on board the RMS Mauretania, she traveled…