He overcame war, poverty, and exile to achieve the American Dream.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my late father, Walter Parfomak, an immigrant from Poland who passed away in 2019. I created it to share historic photos, documents, and commentary with our extended family and to leave his story as a legacy for our descendants. Walter’s journey might also be of interest to others wishing to learn more about the refugee experience in Eastern Europe before, during, and after World War II.

Walter’s story is told here in photographs, documents, and text. It includes information about his ancestry and the political history of his region to help you put his personal story in context. To see the images click above on “Galleries.” The galleries are ordered chronologically, but feel free to jump around if you prefer. To view any image in high resolution, click on it to open it and then click “View Full Size” at bottom right. You can zoom in to see details.

The details of Walter’s story are accurate to the best of my knowledge based on what he told me personally and on historical records. (It is remarkable how many of his recollections I was able to corroborate with my own research from other sources.) However, some parts of the story based only on his verbal accounts may not be 100% accurate. If you find any errors, please let me know. If you have additional images, please share them. There is much more to Walter’s story than what I have included here. If you are interested, just ask. You can write me at pparfomak@comcast.net.

An important note about the images: I have included a number of images from third party sources to help illustrate Walter’s story. As this is mostly a private web site for personal use, and not intended to make money, I haven’t included attribution. Nearly all of the third party images are in the public domain anyway. However, Walter’s personal photos are for the private use of our family only. If you are a family member, feel free to make copies for yourself. Otherwise, the images may not be used without permission.

I hope you find Walter’s story enlightening and inspiring. He continues to be an inspiration for our family and for all who knew him.