Mina Zaidman was born in Miedzyrzec, Poland, in 1934. She lived in a small house with her parents and younger brother. She was only 4 ½ when the war broke out and does not really remember much about life before that. Before Germany invaded Miedzyrzec, the Russian army occupied the city as part of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact settlement. When the Russians left, Mina’s father joined his brother and went to Belarus, leaving Mina, her brother and mother alone in Poland. Mina and her family eventually went to Belarus to find her father and that began their difficult journey throughout the war years. Mina went through many hardships, from traveling to Belarus, with only what she could carry, to being sent to Siberia and then a Kolkhoz (farm collective) in Kazakhstan, where she and her family waited out the war. Mina eventually immigrated with her husband and baby to Israel in 1957 and then to Toronto in 2008, where she is to this day, and very happy. Mina was interviewed for this project at Baycrest’s Cafe Europa in February of 2019 by Matthew Lungen, Kathryn Tuns, Rowina Debalkew and Lyndsay McCulloch.
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