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Home/Welcome

Welcome to my Family War Letters blog. I started this blog in order to keep friends and family updated on my progress as I work my way through three years worth of my dad’s war letters.  The plan is to scan and preserve all of the documents and read them along the way. Written between January 1943 and February 1946 during WWII, the letters chronicle the experiences of my father, Anthony Murawski, and his brother, Stanley Murawski, of Albany, NY while they served in the Army Air Corps. The letters also tell of the experience of his family back home. For the most part the letters from home are written by his sister, Anna Lubinski (nee Murawski). Additionally, there are letters from other family members and friends both on the home front and in the service. This will be a long project as my father and his family were prolific letter writers.

Dad in his uniform during a break at Basic Training in Miami Beach

Dad in his uniform during a break at Basic Training in Miami Beach

I don’t know what I will find as I go through the letters. In discussions with my mom (who read through the letters nearly 20 years ago), she advised that the letters are fairly mundane and simply deal with the day-to-day life of ordinary soldiers and wartime Americans. For me, that is the beauty and wonder of this project. Although seemingly mundane, what I do expect is that the letters will show a personal side into what life was like at a time when a nation experienced shared sacrifice in order to combat a common foe; the hopes and fears, the concerns and prayers of a family separated by distance in response to world events. That said, I am already finding interesting things like my uncle’s ideas for a “sky suit” and his account of the time one of the famed Doolittle Raiders gave a lecture when he was stationed at Great Falls, MT. There is even a letter where my aunt relays the news to my dad that a local jeweler was arrested as a spy.

This is not a “document dump” where I simply post the hundreds of letters online. Doing so would do no service in honoring the memory of those who penned them. Instead, as I am reading the letters I will be summarizing the correspondence back and forth and providing excerpts as necessary to glean the color and voice of those whose first hand experience the letters reflect. At times I will include my own thoughts as well as images and links to other resources to provide additional information and perspective.

If you have relatives that were a part of Albany’s thriving Polish community during the war years, and they may have known the Murawskis of Orange Street, there is a chance that they may have written to my father or have been mentioned in some of the letters. There is a search bar to the right of this page where you can enter their name to see if they are mentioned. If you find a relative and have additional information or photos of these people that you would like to share I would be happy to include it as they are part of the story as well and deserve to be remebered. You can always contact me by submitting a comment on the page where you find them mentioned.

This tribute is dedicated to my father Anthony, his siblings and their parents. It is also dedicated to all who serve and their families who sacrifice for the safety and security of our nation. I ask your patience as this project is being fit in between other priorities and obligations, but rest assured it will be completed.

It all starts with The Box, so if you are new to this blog and want to catch up from the beginning you can click anywhere on this paragraph to go to the first post and work your way through until you are current.

Thank you for stopping by.

-John Murawski


5 Responses to Home/Welcome

  1. Mike Murawski

    I thank John for taking on this project (and Deena for living with and supporting it!!). I suspected these letters existed, but had no idea who had them or where they were. I would guess that other parts of the correspondence exist elsewhere. I have many other pieces of documentation of Dad’s life accumulated over time, but they are not well organized and very few are personal letters. After my Dad’s sister Anna passed away, Judy Farrell (Anna’s daughter) mailed me a collection of precious one-of-a-kind photos she found in Anna’s papers of Dad dated from grade school (1930) through the Philadelphia Murawski’s visits to Albany (1970’s). Some of these are World War 2 related and I’ll scan them and get them to John for his use on this project. I think there was even one of Stanley and Anthony together in uniform.

    Many years ago (late 1980’s) I mailed in a request to get copies of Dad’s military service records. I received a letter back indicating (but not confirming) that they were probably part of the records lost in the 1973 fire in the archives facility in St Louis. Meanwhile, it appears they are recently reconstructing some of it (see story at link). At the time, they had no record of Dad, perhaps that has changed. As far as I know, Dad never filed for any medical issues with the Veterans Adminisration, so files won’t exist there.

    Due to all that, the best preservation of this time in Dad and his family’s life is in these family letters, photos and records. Let’s all support John in this, but also remember his focus is 1943-1946.

    http://www.stripes.com/news/the-painstaking-effort-to-recover-millions-of-burned-military-service-records-1.233869

    Mike Murawski

  2. Jeff Kreger

    You have inspired me to go through my fathers letters.

    THANKS!

  3. Mark Miskiewicz

    John,
    Thank you so much for sharing my father Stanley’s war letters. My dad never spoke of the war. All I knew was that he was somewhere in China in the Army Air Corp. He said he “flew a desk”. When my dad passed away in 1997, I tried to get his military records but they were destroyed in the record center fire. The letters have given me insight into some of what he went through.

    • John

      Mark,
      My dad never really talked about his war experience too much either. He spent some time on Guam late in he war and all he ever said about it was that he “polished pineapple cans”. Although the letters are somewhat self censored (they really took the “loose lips…” mantra to heart) there are still some things that are able to be gleaned from them; like their impressions of the greater world, Army life, and reactions to their exposure to the kinds of people who they may not have known growing up in Albany’s Polish community. I hope you find things as fascinating as I have.

  4. Susan Murawski Nelson

    This is from my cousin, John. I always had such fun with you when you drove from Philadelphia, PA to visit out family in Albany, NY. I am so appreciative of this project that you are doing.

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