“In my heart I always had a feeling that I did have a twin brother,” said Lucian Poznanski. He was born to his Polish mother in 1946 after she had been sent to a forced labor camp in Germany, but he had lived all of his life in Poland. At age 69 in 2015, he finally learned the truth.
When Poznanski was drafted into the army at age 17, Poznanski uncovered a previously unknown fact about himself—he was adopted. His adopted mother then confirmed this truth: “Lucian, you are adopted, you are not my son,” he remembers.
“I was devastated,” Poznanski said.
The news broke Poznanski’s heart, but his parents were incredibly supportive. “They were really good to me, they really cherished me,” he said.
It was around that same time that George Skrzynecky, also living in Poland, realized that he was adopted too, and that he had a twin brother who was adopted separately.
In the 1960s, Skrzynecky asked the Red Cross to help him locate his long-lost twin, but they came up with nothing. He then moved to the United States to begin a new life in California.
Documents eventually revealed that Poznanski’s mother had given birth to the twin boys in Germany after she was freed from the labor camp. But she became seriously ill afterward, and was transferred to a different hospital.
According to hospital records, “nothing has been heard of her since.” The boys were put up for adoption by the Polish Red Cross.
As infants, they were adopted by two different families.
“We didn’t know anything about each other because our adopted families never talked with us [about it],” said George Skrzynecky.
“For 70 years, I lived without knowing things, and I was thinking I was never going to find [him],” said Skrzynecky, tears rolling down his face. “But I never lost hope … I was always thinking, ‘One day, I’m going to find my brother.'”
Then, in 2014, Red Cross turned up more details: Poznanski was given documents pertaining to his birth mother and the first information he had ever received about his long-long twin.
There were letters that showed his mother had later looked for the boys to no avail; she was mistakenly not informed of their being sent to Poland, setting into motion this string of events. Their mother died in 1952, years before the brothers realized they were even adopted.
There was also a letter about their father, an American soldier who had returned to the United States before the boys were born.
The news was delivered to Skrzynecky as well, and they arranged to meet each other in Poland.
“When I found about Lucian, I was very emotional. For a while, I just could not stop crying,” Skrzynecky said.
The letter about the brothers’ father had solved yet another mystery; they had heard their father was Polish, or German, or something else. Yet Skrzynecky always had a feeling of going to America, and now he knew why.
“It’s the first such happiness in my life,” Poznanski said through tears.
Wars are terrible things, Skrzynecky said, but one cannot change the past.
The brothers were overwhelmed with joy upon finally meeting after 70 years of separation, with decades of knowing they were cut off from their last remaining family member by blood. Now they are determined to look toward the future.
“It was such a great shock to me,” Poznanski said. “I just can’t believe things turned out so well in the end.”
“Finally we know the truth, and finally we found each other, after 70 years of separation,” Skrzynecky said.