To Russia with Love. By Carl Bromwich.

HISTORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
2013.
 
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Pioneer camps were resorts for children, situated throughout the Soviet Union and its surrounding satellite states. In the early 1970s there were forty thousand such camps, which catered for over nine million holidaying pioneer scouts.
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THIS IS THE STORY OF CARLS VISIT TO ONE OF THE CAMPS IN THE 1970S
 
 Carl:

In the summer of 1972, whilst my fellow Bradfordian friends were holidaying at the usual Yorkshire resorts of Scarborough and Bridlington, I was instead, being ushered away with 4 other children to the Zubryonok pioneer camp in a forest not far from Minsk in Belarus.

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It was the start of the summer holidays, and I was looking forward to six weeks off school, playing football and cricket in the streets. Out of the blue my father asked if I wanted to go on holiday to a camp in White Russia. I didn't have to think about it, or question him why, “No!” was my reply. He told me that it would be a great opportunity to see how other people live. I changed my mind and agreed.

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My father Kazik, had been a Polish pilot, one of the many that had escaped Hitler’s invasion in 1939. Travelling through Africa, he came to England via France and joined the Royal Air Force. He married a Leeds girl, Elsie, in 1947 and settled in Bradford becoming a weaver in one of the city’s thriving textile mills. I came along in 1961.

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The holiday was organized by one of my father’s Russian friends, Bogdan, and a Polish lady called Irene who became our chaperone.  We met for the first time along with my four compatriots: Christopher, Peter, Alison and Patricia on the platform of the Bradford Exchange Railway Station.

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The girls were older than me, with Christopher & Peter being around my age. It all felt a bit weird boarding the train to Harwich with 5 total strangers, but soon we relaxed and started talking. We all had one thing in common; one or both of our parents had come from Eastern Europe. Peter could speak some Ukrainian and Polish, but for now we were all in the same boat- or train I should say.

 At Harwich, the ferry departed to the port of Rotterdam in Holland, where we boarded a train for Minsk.

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I shared a carriage with Peter and Christopher, whilst the girls had their own next door. A long corridor connected us. Think of the train in the James Bond movie “From Russia with love” and you get the idea. The seats pulled out into two bunk beds, whilst the top bunk was already in place. Christopher bagged it for the first night.

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The train carriage rocked gently, and the hypnotic rhythm of the tracks made sleeping easy, until that is, being woken unexpectedly in the middle of the night. East German border guards entered our carriage, searching under the seats and on top of the bunks. I assume they were searching for contraband, and perhaps found what they were looking for: A month’s supply of chewing gum along with a Beano summer special. I suppose the Bash Street Kids can be seen as being quite subversive! I wonder if their children ever got to read my comic, I never did.

 

Now go to page two top left ..

 

 

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All Rights text and Pictures .Carl Bromwich.

Page adapted by Phil Robinson.

History and Photography Workshop..DO NOT COPY

 

 

 Contact me .. philrobinson005@gmail.com
 
 
 
 

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Morning Assembly ...
 
 
All Rights text and Pictures .Carl Bromwich.
 
 
 
 

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 A Polish lady called Irene who became our chaperone. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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