Michael Pollek

Born: 24th February 1954

Reading, UK

Date of interview: 13th July 2006

Map showing where Michael Pollek came from

You said that you couldn't speak English, what language did you speak-

We spoke nothing but Ukrainian at home. I remember when I was I think nine, again I was quite shocked 'cos I'd never heard my father have this kind of an outburst, because generally, both my father and mother and generally Ukrainians, and I know I'm generalising but Ukrainians have a respect for authority, and I think most foreigners do have this, in my opinion sometimes a little bit too much fear of the uniformed person, but if you get somebody with an identity card they give more respect, but this particular time my school inspector came round to say that there was problems with my English reading at school and they asked my father and mother what help did they give me with reading English and my father said 'I can't read Ukrainian, let alone English, why do you think I send him to school?' [laughing] And my mother was the only one that was literate, my father couldn't read or write. And I was shocked and horrified by his outburst but I must admit I absolutely agree with him. That's why he sent me to school.