Chris Porsz biography
Chris Porsz, photographer
I was born in the early hours of January 31st 1953, safe within the walls of Peterborough’s maternity unit, the Gables.
Outside the worst floods of the 20th century visited our shores where ships went down and over 300 people drowned.
A mere eight years earlier my mother Krystyna hovered on the brink of survival and extinction in a Nazi concentration camp. They called the sisters the three beauties, Krystyna, Eda and Regina. They led happy lives in Warsaw but the family would be torn asunder. My mother’s father died in the sewers, her mother Sarah, Regina and her five year old daughter Lillian were murdered in Majdanek concentration camp Lublin. Eda was sent to Siberia by the Russians and it is where my cousin Vicki was born.
My mother’s fiancée, a member of the resistance helped her escape the Warsaw Ghetto but ended up in the infamous Pawiak prison and later Ravensbruck, a women's slave labour and extermination camp near Berlin. Somehow she survived the harsh winter of 44/45. My father, Alfons Porsz escaped from Poland to England to join the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade. Later he fought bravely at Arnhem and married my mother in Germany. Penniless and homeless they came to Peterborough in 1947 and worked hard to put the horrors of war behind them and build a new life.
They first lived in Gladstone Street where the landlady stole their rations. My father worked in the brickyards, then Perkins and was one of their most skilled toolmakers. A great table tennis champion too but sadly developed pre-senile dementia at the age of 48. My mother worked for many years at the Embassy theatre and now at 89 her memory is fading fast.
A uni drop-out, in 1974 I took a temporary job as a hospital porter and thirteen years later was still there. It was pre-seat belt days and utter carnage but good preparation for my later career. In 1988 I joined the ambulance service and after 22 years as a paramedic still find it immensely satisfying and rewarding.
Chris Porsz, July 2010