Joseph Marmash was actively involved in the resettlement of Ukrainian post-War refugees as farm workers in Maryland during the late 1940s, and his papers have many letters from refugees or in relation to particular refugee cases. This is one of the more curious of these letters. Although it is undated, it was probably written in 1949. The writer identifies himself only as "Alex", and he gives his address as "HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment/APO 403-A" (as best as we can make out) stationed in Grafenwöhr, Germany. A quick check of the roster on the 18th Infantry's website doesn't show anybody named Alex during that time period.
What is curious about this letter is that he is asking for help in the resettlement of the Kapustynsky family, to which he feels very close "because they took care of me, when the Russians took my family to Siberia." This most likely happened in western Ukraine, because he indicates that "Mr. Kapustynsky was a former judge in Galicia." Therefore, it could only have occurred after the annexation of western Ukraine into the USSR in 1939, but before the Nazi invasion of 1941. However, the letter also implies that Alex lived in the US and spent time in Baltimore ("Are there any changes in Balto. since I was there?"). His written English is also quite good, though with a noticeable "accent" (to which he admits in the postscript: "I hope you will understand my English.")
So, here we have a number of mysteries. Who was Alex? Why was his family exiled? How did Alex escape getting sent to Siberia, and, even more amazingly, how in the world did he manage to get to the US during wartime?
Can any of you genealogy experts and history sleuths out there help shed some light on these mysteries? Feel free to put any information you manage to find in the comments below, or (if you're shy) contact us directly.