Album of My Life

Ann Szedlecki was a Hollywood-film-loving fourteen-year-old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Fleeing to the Soviet Union with her brother, she spent the next six years in a remote Siberian outpost, enduring loneliness, hunger and forced labour, but also savouring moments of warmth and friendship. Tender, tragic and also engagingly funny, Ann lovingly reconstructs her pre-war childhood in Lodz and offers a compelling and complex portrait of survival in the USSR and of the diversity of survivor experiences during the Nazi genocide. The reader is drawn to young Ann’s fierce determination, humour and decency as we accompany her on her coming-of-age journey without family and living largely by her wits. Full of rich detail and poignant observation, this is a beautiful rendering of the vicissitudes of one woman’s life in relation to the large-scale historical events that helped shape its course.

Introduction by Naomi Azrieli

At a Glance
Poland; Soviet Union
Soviet labour camps in Siberia
Arrived in Canada in 1953

240 pages, including index

2009 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Gold Medal

Recommended Ages

*Note: If you are affiliated with an educational institution, books can be ordered free of charge. For more information click here.

Photo of Ann Szedlecki

About the author

Ann Szedlecki was born Chana Frajlich in Lodz, Poland, in 1925. After the war, she returned to Lodz to find that every member of her family had perished. In 1950, she married and immigrated to Israel and then, in 1953, to Toronto. Ann Szedlecki passed away in 2005.

I am the daughter of nobody. I have no sisters. I am nobody’s granddaughter or daughter-in-law, aunt or cousin. Who am I? My past is all gone. It disappeared…