Love Without Bread


Jesus was asked, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority” (Matthew 21:23)? We are no different when it comes to seek help or understanding. We have experts and specialists on everything, even weather predictors. With one of them, nature played havoc and he asked for a transfer to another region because the climate did not agree with him. I have experienced that change because of bread. The Russians transferred me at the age of nine to the Germans, with my family, in January 1940 to another region, where we had to raise bread for the Nazis. It was because of our familiarity with farming, customs, technology and language, that we were traded back to Germany. The people from the Reich did not qualify.

Religious persecution drove my ancestors from Belgium, France and Holland to Lutheran West Prussia during the Reformation. After the thirty-year war, the area turned Polish and Roman Catholic. Our name was on record in a Lutheran Church in a town, which had turned Polish, two years after Fredrick the Great. Both of my mother’s parents came from the same area. The Germans returned my mother’s mother to the area where she was born and she died there four years later. She was taken to the Ukraine, when she was two years old. Both my grandfathers were born in the Ukraine, so was my father and I. My Great grandfather, from my father’s mother’s side fled from France. Most of his people fled to Ireland. After we were shipped out, the Soviets demolished our buildings and turned our farm and the surrounding area into a military shooting range. My parents, with a dowry of one thousand Rubbles in gold, bought twenty acres of land. They built a new home, a barn, a blacksmith shop and they even purchased equipment and tools. My parents were debt free. We moved into the new home, when I was one years old. My mother’s parents also moved in with us, when their son secretly sold their home. Then, he went to Canada in 1929. Mother’s father died, not believing, that his son had swindled him out of his home. Before we were shipped out in boxcars, a Ukrainian family had taken over our home and land. We had become homeless and without a country, citizens of a nation that no longer existed, and my two years of Polish education had ended. My grandfather’s service of chief executive of Bereznev was forgotten. My father’s two years of service in the Polish army, and his service on the front against Germany in September 1939, were also forgotten. 

During this time the Poles rewarded our people with imprisonment, torture, and even death. The Polish bandits did not believe that Father was in the army, but they did not take our mother away on their first visit. Mother took us three boys and we went into hiding, until the Soviet army delivered us from these killers, which trampled our friend, a teacher in the Polish school to death. Grandmother stayed in the home and the evil people came every night demanding where her daughter and children had gone. She was never told where we were hiding. That experience, alone, should credit me with some eligibility. I also should mention, what happened to me before the war began. The Polish children threw stones at me and called me, “Hitler,” of whom I knew absolutely nothing, nor did my mother, when I asked her. They accused me of stealing from friends, who gave me an apple. They also accused me for pushing my Polish friend into the mud, although I was nowhere near the lad. His father made my father punish me severely with his belt, while the boy pretended to cry and his father grinned. He had his eyes on my beautiful mother. I believe God protected us from falling into their evil hands. When the Russians arrived and they learned that they were friends with the Germans, these hateful people lived in fear, but no one of our people sought revenge, we were all anxious to leave that area. Only one German wanted to stay, but his family would not let him. These Germans had a taste of Russian justice and Siberia during World War I, and they had no desire to live under Soviet communism. They knew what had happened to the starving Ukrainians under the management of Stalin and his comrades.

The year 1945 became the most memorable and trying time. It was the second time that we were escaping from the Russians. Our flight began on January nineteenth in the morning and it did not end until fall in the American Zone. We lived, like Gypsies, in a covered wagon. The reason the Red Army did not overtaken us, on that day, was because we left the refugee track and followed a troop of soldiers. Our father alertly noticed that a troop of soldiers turned off a side road and he decided to follow them. They, too, were retreating and we followed them into evacuated Breslau (Wroclaw) and across the River Oder. The Russians did catch up with us when the Americans turned the province over to Stalin. Our alert father, put us back on the road, and we escaped, while the Soviets were moving in. Our father already had found a forty-acre farm that, no longer, had any heirs and the farm could be bought. We settled in, prepared, planted and seeded the land. My parents, who had Siberian experience, did not stay to harvest under communism. We sought refuge in the American Zone.  In time, we found another farm and raised our own bread. But the fear of expanding communism, and the prospect of being banished to a Siberian underground incarceration, drove my family to Canada. I ended up in the U.S.A. It was the freedom to owe and manage your own land that drew me to these shores. I came to Canada as a farmhand and as a wood worker. It was, when I lost the use of my hands, that I pursued my studies in Canada and the USA. I met my wife fifty-five years ago, raised a family and earned my bread. As soon as we were able to save a dollar, we did acquire some land and raised corn and vegetables. We befriended the neighbor’s dog and he kept the raccoons out and we harvested and canned corn that lasted several years. That, of course, was against our modern health regulations regarding aging.

I have had twenty-one years of farming experience and five years living with fear whether there would be food on the table. During the time that Poland and Germany collapsed, money was worthless and bread was scares. People traded everything for food, including their dignity and honor. My horse and I took mothers from the railroad station to a farming community, where they sold themselves to feed their children. It was our horse, that sustained us for a year and then the horse died unexpectedly and we were without work and without bread. Father found ways to build things. He took them to merchants, who had compassion with us. We were fortunate enough to find people, who had something to spare and we did not ask where they got the bread they could share with us. Father never gave up looking for another farm. He did again find a small farm, and again we raised our own bread. And it was the farmer, who helped us the most during these hard and harsh times, because he trusted in his land to multiply his labor. The farmer is a sublime example of “cause and effect.” He reaps what he sows and he has a place where he can sow his seed. Most people in the world, no longer, have a place where they can plant or sow.

I have been for sixty-three years a student of cause and effect. It is a formula mentioned in Hammurabi, Moses and Jesus. The Apostle Paul simplified it with this statement, “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). It also means, “that with the measure we measure, we shall be measured” (Matthew 7:2) and “what we expect of others, we ought to expect of us” (Mathew 7:12). In my generation traveling alone has gone from horse and buggy to the stars; from the bow and arrow to intercontinental missiles; from the simple bullet to the hydrogen bomb of mass destruction. I saw, with my eyes, how two small planes descended on Bereznev, where my grandfather was at one time the executive for our county for seven years. They threw two bombs and heavy smoke filled the sky. That night we hid for the last time. The planes delivered us form death, but also they inflicted death on the Polish garrison. We stayed in a park in Dresden, while we fled from the Russians, just a few days before it was destroyed. I collected pieces of iron among the ruins in Kassel. What the Germans allowed Hitler to do to others, they received back a hundredfold. It was not about a supper race; but about bread and land, known as “Lebensraum,” that put men like Hitler and Stalin in the driver’s seats. The allies shrunk Germany after World War I. It exploded in their faces, and they have never been the same. America has not won another war since. America is, no longer, feared or respected. It has made many sacrifices of human lives and material and harvested nothing. It used the big stick instead of bread. America has tried the bread policies, but her arsenal does not convince the hungry. Her own claim to greatness depends on the people that subdue and nourish the earth to grow bread. The disappearance of the small farmer is approaching high noon.

My final qualification is my education. I am no longer a simple farmer, but a man with three post college degrees, and two are above PhD’s. I have enough studies for fifty books and 900 articles on my Blog. I am able to do literary work in ten languages. I have studied history, philosophy, psychology, biology, religion, and languages. My two final dissertations were four hundred pages and my final examiners were men from Oxford, Pontificates Institute of Rome and Yale. I have been a minister, a teacher (from kindergarten to PhD’s) and also I am a writer. I have witnessed, with my eyes, human failure to avert cause and effect. And yes, I too have lost a sister and my grandfather and great grandfather in the German refugee camps. We do not know how they died and where they were buried. My brother and a friend, both were ten years old when they were killed by autos. The Soviets killed my father-in-law and my wife also lost two brothers, one of lack of disease and the other in war, and together we also lost a grandson. We were seven siblings, two have died; out of the five, with the exception of one, four are handicapped due to illness and accidents. A fire disabled me, when I was earning my bread. I have qualified, the hard way, to talk about the need for bread.