Being Krystyna: A Story of Survival in WWII

Carol Browne is a talented author who accepted the challenge to step out of her comfort zone and write a biography of a Holocaust victim and all the horrors the young Polish girl was forced to endure. Being Krystyna: A story of survival in WWII is a gut-wrenching short story that will tug at you and won’t let go.

In 2012 when young Polish immigrant Agnieszka visits fellow countrywoman Krystyna in a Peterborough care home for the first time, she thinks it a simple act of kindness. However, the meeting proves to be the beginning of a life-changing experience.

Krystyna’s stories about the past are not memories of the good old days but recollections of war-ravaged Europe: The Warsaw Ghetto, Pawiak Prison, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and a death march to freedom.

The losses and ordeals Krystyna suffered and what she had to do to survive are horrors Agnieszka must confront when she volunteers to be Krystyna’s biographer.

Will Agnieszka be able to keep her promise to tell her story, and, in this harrowing memoir of survival, what is the message for us today?

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Carol Browne regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. Carol writes speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also a ghost blog writer, proofreader, copy editor, and copywriter. Along with a passion for gardening, Carol is an avid animal lover.

Carol lives in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky.Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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What Now for the Gay Community?

The only part of my body that seems to agree with a Trump presidency is my waistline. My waist is finally doing what I’ve been struggling to get the darn thing to do for months now. It’s getting smaller.  But it’s not happening the way I had planned. I’m not exercising more than usual, nor am I restricting myself from high-calorie foods that aren’t healthy.

The pounds are peeling off because since Wednesday morning I don’t have much of an appetite.

I went to bed on election night before the final results were tallied, but the writing was on the wall. I woke up to texts asking how I was doing. And then the frantic calls came in from friends concerned what a Trump presidency means, not only for gay and lesbian people, but people of color, Muslims, women, the sick, and the poor. I just finished reading an article about how Republicans want to get rid of Medicaid and replace it with vouchers, not to mention their desire to privatize Social Security and Medicare. What could possible go wrong?

I am scared for all people who are not rich, have health conditions, or fit into a minority group because those are the ones who are most vulnerable to a Trump presidency. The protests in the streets following Trump’s election night win aren’t a bunch of babies acting out because their side lost. They’re out there because they’re afraid that hate won Tuesday night. (I’m not defending those who caused property damage and spray painted A’s all over buildings. You are anarchists and most likely didn’t even vote. You are NOT what the heart of these protests are about.)

The protesters are afraid of the divisive and hateful rhetoric Trump’s campaign was built around. And the fear is real, and it is valid. If any other Republican from the party’s long list of candidates had won, there may have been frustration, but not this kind of fear. People wouldn’t have taken to the streets, in the thousands, to protests across the country if John Kasich had become the president-elect.

But he didn’t win. Donald Trump did, and now many groups across the country are wondering what this means for them.  I’m a lesbian. And I’m wondering what this means for me.

On the morning after the election, I was lying in bed, reading an article about gay rights and a Trump/Pence presidency. It wasn’t pretty.

Here is a link to that article:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/09/here-is-what-president-trump-means-for-lgbt-rights/

Below is a quote from the above article:

“His running mate Mike Pence has confirmed a plan to dismantle Barack Obama’s protections for LGBT people, as part of an ‘immediate’ review of executive orders issued by President Obama…Also significantly, President-elect Trump has pledged to sign the Republican-backed First Amendment Defence Act, a law that would permit forms of anti-LGBT discrimination on the grounds of religion.”

Is it any wonder that when my mother saw me that morning, and was about to gloat how Trump had won, that I burst into tears so uncontrollably that I couldn’t even talk? There is nothing subtle or more frightening than to hear words, so blatantly filled with hate, directed right at you.

Now is the time for every community threatened by a Donald Trump presidency to come together. History tells us we have been through much worse. We must do all we can to not go back there ever again.  In the meantime, call a trusted friend. Surround yourself with people who make you feel protected.

We’ll get through this together.

 

 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

Election 2016 – Let’s Make Herstory

 

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So this is the day the past year has been leading me to. From the moment I watched the first (out of way too many) Republican primary debate, to the Hillary and Bernie showdown, through Hillary’s emails and every racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and otherwise completely insane statements that spewed from Trump’s mouth. Through all of that, here we are.

Call it Judgement Day.

Call it the Day of Reckoning.

In America, we call it Election Day.

And thank God it’s almost over because my jeans can’t take anymore of the anxiety-fueled binge-eating episodes triggered by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency.  For a while, I was cool about the election, thinking no way could Trump ever win, but then the numbers coming in suggesting a close race. And it’s hard to keep one’s sanity when a man who puts down a former POW for getting caught, stereotypes an entire ethnic group as rapists, brags about sexually assaulting women, fights with a Gold Star family while he had been granted five deferments during the Vietnam War, promises to implement a ban on Muslims, if elected, and mocks a disabled reporter, is in a close race for the US Presidency.

The first of U.S voting centers will be closing in approximately less than four hours. The early polls solidly show Hillary Clinton has the lead, as well as more paths to the needed 270 electoral votes needed to win than her opposition does. I’m anxious to hear the results, as most Americans probably are, but I’m not binge-eating today. I am confident, but not cocky, that my candidate, Hillary Clinton, will be voted as the first woman U.S President.

I live in a divided house. The sooner this election is over, the better.  But the hope that the end results of this crazy election will bring a peaceful transition to this country, with Donald Trump gracefully conceding the race(if he should lose), is a long-shot.

I’m going to do some yoga, with a concentration on deep breathing, before I plant myself in front of my TV to watch the coverage of the intense election. Hopefully, Hillary Clinton gets an early victory because I can’t take much more of this anticipation.

 

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Photos courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net