International Women (Object 118)

Mladejov 1947Today is International Women’s Day. I have recently been looking through a tattered old photograph album from my mother’s youth, and was curious about these photos. She must have taken most of them as she is in only one, as a young woman, and I didn’t recognise any other faces. Then something clicked, and I remembered how she had travelled to Czechoslovakia (as it was then) soon after the second world war, I think with the Young Communist League, to help with reconstruction work. Sure enough, when I gently prised the photos loose from their yellowed cellophane corners, I found the information I needed written in Mum’s handwriting on the reverse:

Mladejov Reconstruction

“Mladejov Reconstruction”

Mladejov girls

“The Girls showing the Boys how it should be done. Mladejov, August 1947”.

Mladejov It’s amazing to see these confident young women, including my mother, boldly fulfilling the post-war principles of  international co-operation and solidarity. There are photos of the local scenery too – this one is captioned “Summit of Tromsky Mountain”

Tromsky Mountain

Summit of Tromsky Mountain

– and this picture, according to Mum’s notes on the back, shows her friends “at the village bathing pools, these are in very lovely glades. Belong to community & cost nothing.”

Mladejov poolsI know that Mum had a wonderful time on her trip (as did my Dad when he visited the same country 3 years later, before they met). I wonder who the other women in the photos are? Not to mention the young men  – like the chaps sitting with Mum in this photo:

Mladejov elevenses

“Elevenses, Mladejov, August 1947” (Mum second from left)

…and the mysterious Abdul:

Mladejov boys

“The Boys – Working! Mladejov”

Written in pencil underneath this inscription, like an afterthought, Mum has written “Abdul in particular.” I would love to know who all these young people were.

I’m so proud to see my mother, or Eleanor Lane as she was then, a strong and confident young woman of 24, working to help her comrades abroad. My Mum: International Socialist.

Happy International Women’s Day, Mum!

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About Hoarder of Babylon

A chartered librarian and curator of my family archives.
This entry was posted in 1930-1949, Communism, Mum, Photographs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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