Alina Suchanski’s recently published book Alone – an Inspiring Story of Survival and Determination tells the story of a young Polish orphan who came to Pahiatua in 1944. Based on the life of her stepfather Tony Laparowski, it recounts his early childhood in Poland, his family’s deportation to the Soviet Union at the start of World War II where both his parents had perished, and his journey as an orphan from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Persia to New Zealand. Although Alina’s stepfather read the completed manuscript, sadly he hasn’t seen his story in print. He passed away in May 2012 before Alone was published.
Ms Suchanski who spoke no English when she came to New Zealand as a refugee herself in 1982, said that writing this book took her eight years and was the biggest challenge of her life. Based on her stepfather’s memoirs hand written in Polish, she spent several years researching the book which included interviewing remaining family members in Poland and employing an historian to gather further information. Alone is her second book, publishing Polish Kiwis – Pictures from an Exhibition in 2006.
The talk will also include the screening of an excerpt from the documentary Poles Apart. Produced by Ms Suchanski in 2004 it presents the story of the Pahiatua Children, interviews with the representatives of this group and their personal memories.
The opportunity to hear Alina talk about her book Alone will appeal to anyone with an interest in Polish history and the Pahiatua orphans, the journey of refugees to New Zealand, or simply about the human capacity to overcome adversity.
Tuesday 19 March, 5.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street
FREE – no need to book, just come along
Proudly supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Wellington