Wanda’s War: A young woman’s story of trauma, immigration & forced labour
Published by: Goose Lane Editions
This daring novel tells the extraordinary, untold story of Wanda Gizmunt, a young woman caught up in the turmoil of war and the trauma of displacement.
What does it mean to be exiled? For the landmarks of your past to disappear?
In 1943, Wanda Gizmunt was ripped from her family home in Poland and deported to a forced labour camp in Nazi Germany. At the end of the war, she became one of the millions of displaced Europeans awaiting resettlement.
Unwilling to return to then-Soviet-occupied Poland, Wanda became one of 100 young Polish women brought to Canada in 1947 to address a labour shortage at a Quebec textile mill. But rather than arriving at long-awaited freedom, the women found themselves captives to their Canadian employer. Their treatment eventually became a national controversy, prompting scrutiny of Canada’s utilitarian immigration policy.
Wanda seized the opportunity to leave the mill in the midst of a strike in 1948. She never looked back, but she remained silent about her wartime experience. Only after her death did her daughter-in-law assemble the pieces of Wanda’s life in Poland, Nazi Germany, and finally, Canada. In this masterful account of a hidden episode of history, Faubert chronicles the tragedy of exile and the meaning of silence for those whose traumas were never fully recognized.
About the author
Marsha Faubert is a Toronto-based lawyer with a lengthy history of public service in the administrative justice system in Ontario. She has worked as a litigator, an arbitrator, an adjudicator of appeals in workplace injury and disease claims, and as the director of a provincial tribunal. Wanda’s War is her first book.