In the thought provoking novel ‘Krystyna’s Story’ by Helina Ogonowska-Coates, Krystyna underwent a dramatic change from her beautiful loving home in Poland to the harsh & inhumane conditions of the Siberian Labour camp – Camp Niechodnile. This change is important as it makes Krystyna a better person and helps others to realise the brutality of war.
Before the Russians invaded Krystyna’s home, she had a happy and loving family that loved and cared for her, ‘I remember learning to walk in the warmth of the kitchen with mama leading my footsteps’ Krystyna had an innocent & naïve childhood, she lived in the moment with no worries crowding her thoughts ‘I loved to play in the orchard, climbing the apple trees or just lying in the shade listening to the birds’. Krystyna’s life had a simple regularity.
‘Then suddenly everything changed. It happened without warning and dragged us along with it’ The Russians stripped Krystyna’s family and home apart, transporting them to a Siberian labour camp called Camp Niechodaile. Krystyna’s living conditions changed significantly, there was no comfort or luxury, everyday was long and hardworking ‘those who do not work do not eat’. Months passed and people were going insane, committing suicide as ‘living had lost its meaning’. Krystyna’s family were slowly losing hope, losing Krystyna and losing life itself. Yet Krystyna never gave up hope and was determined that she would survive.
This change was important because it made Krystyna grow as a person; she gained maturity, courage and determination ‘now I needed to be an adult too’. She constantly assured herself and others that everything was going to be okay even though she had little/almost no knowledge of what was going to happen “Don’t worry mama, we must concentrate on keeping together”. This change was also important because it changed Krystyna as well as my outlook on life, showing that we must value our family, friends, home and life because you never know what tomorrow...
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