Maria Kiciuk on her life after the end of the war

Maria Kiciuk

Maria Kiciuk (née Kocur) comes from a well-off family residing in Strilky, Western Ukraine, at that time. Her parents met in Yonkers, USA, where her father emigrated in 1909 and her mother in 1911. After returning to Ukraine, the family buys a piece of land and a farm in Topilnytsja. In 1939, at the beginning of the World War II, the Polish-occupied western Ukraine is annexed by the Soviet Union. Maria's family is dispossessed and forced to leave their home. They manage to hide with relatives for a while. After German troops conquer Western Ukraine in 1941, the family returns to their farm.

In the spring of 1944, Maria’s parents and their four children have to flee once again from the approaching Soviet front. The trek of refugees is stopped by German troops near Uzhhorod. Horses and carts are confiscated and the people are loaded onto trains. Maria and her family are first sent to a forced labor camp near Linz, then to Berlin. Here, Maria Kiciuk spends the day with other children in a barrack on the camp grounds of the Pertrix battery factory. She does not have to do any forced labor herself, but her 17-year-old brother Theodor and her parents do.

In the face of the approaching front and out of fear of the Soviet/Russian occupiers, with the support of a "Ukrainian relief committee", the family manages to escape through a hole in the fence of the camp grounds and moves on to Erlangen. There, Maria experiences the end of the war.

After the liberation by American troops, the family is initially placed in a displaced persons camp. Here, Maria attends a Ukrainian gymnasium and then a German Hochschule for a year.

In 1949 the Kocur family emigrates to the USA, where Maria earns her doctorate in linguistics. In 1953 she marries Jaroslaw Kiciuk. They have six children. Today Maria Kiciuk lives in Yonkers, USA.