From There to Here As I Remember It!: An Autobiography
Leonard Szczesny was born in 1931 on the Polish-Russian border to a Polish family. Because in 1933 his father Josef was banished for five years of hard labor to Siberia and was not allowed to ever return to within two hundred kilometers of his village, Leonard's travels started at an early age. In 1937, with his mother Antonina and his older brother Jan, he traveled east to rejoin his father at a new place of employment. World War II broke out in 1939, and by 1943 it became clear that the Russian Army was getting the upper hand. Josef, being an "unreliable element" because of his banishment, decided that his family would have a better chance of living a peaceful life in Poland. On the way, the family had the misfortune of falling into a German roundup providing free labor for the German war industry. The rest is history: forced labor camp, several displaced persons camps, work for American and British occupational forces, and finally emigration to the United States. At that moment fortune returned: job, school, marriage, home, children…and the chance to reflect on the past and a happy ending!