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“It’s good to know more.”

On 7 February 1950, the Fair Sea left the port of Naples, Italy for Australia. Anton Suschinsky was one of those on board. The thirty-five-year-old was heading for a new life. Sixty-seven years later, his children set out to establish their father’s origins and look for traces of him in Europe.

It was in 2014 that Anna-Maria Shaw, Margaret Voight and Dominik Suschinsky first heard of the International Tracing Service (ITS) and immediately decided to put a personal visit to Bad Arolsen on their itinerary. In May 2017, they finally had the opportunity to view the original documents pertaining to their father in the ITS archive. Said documents date from the post-war period and attest to his registrations as a “displaced person” by Allied aid organizations in Bavaria, as well as his emigration to Australia by way of Italy. “The war scattered our family across three continents,” Suschinsky’s children report. “Our father didn’t talk much about what he had experienced. Hardly anyone did. We all have the same problem: we know next to nothing.” To make matters worse, there is different information in the documents. Some give Babruysk in present-day Belarus as his place of birth and residence, others Mińsk Mazowiecki in Poland.

By carrying out research in various archives and the internet and talking to people who remember the events first-hand, the family tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together. When he arrived in Australia, Anton Suschinsky told the immigration authorities he had come to Berlin in April 1942 as a forced laborer and worked in the production of railroad cars. Later he also worked in factories in Frankfurt/Oder and Küstrin. Finally he was liberated by the Allies in Holzhausen in early 1945. At the time, he was working as a farm hand. “We even found someone in Holzhausen who could talk to us about wartime,” Dominik tells us with some satisfaction. He and his two sisters went to the places mentioned in the documents, as well as those their father had talked about.

In view of his silence, Suschinsky’s children were worried about what might have happened to their father during the war. “It’s good to know more. The information at the ITS and in other archives confirms the few things he did tell us,” comments Anna-Maria Shaw. “We’re very happy about that. And we can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are.”