An immigrant’s tale

Nadia Horb learned early how to think on her feet. She was born in 1946 in a displaced persons camp in Germany, where her parents were sent after being uprooted from their home in Ukraine and forced to work on German farms during World War II. As a toddler, she moved with the family to Paris. When she was 11, they decamped for Chicago where, contrary to popular European notions, the streets were not paved with gold.

In America, Horb, the oldest of six children, became a survivalist in an immigrant’s sense of the word. She was the first to learn the new language, the new customs, the mysterious habits and expectations that come with a new country.

Her father–Berezecky was the family name–opened a small grocery store in a Ukrainian neighborhood and depended on his young daughter for her rapidly acquired English language and management skills. The early years were lean. Spaghetti with milk was a typical supper. (more…)