A Journey

Sophia Ruger

Robert Seckscinski, has a complex family history. His grandfather, Walter, guided his family out of Russia during the communist revolution. Sekscinski is a born United States citizen because of his grandfather, who worked in the United States and provided for his family for essentially his entire life.

As you may know, emigration and immersion into a new culture is challenging, and Seckscinski’s family struggled to stay stable in the United States. The journey was also a challenge, Seckscinski said it was “extremely hard! My grandpa Walter had to sell all of his belongings, and avoid Russian guards that confiscated expensive items off of people at gunpoint. He also had to provide shelter and food for his family while traveling with nothing to their name.”

During the Russian revolution, it was hard for people to travel through the country without being stopped by guards and harassed for money. Seckscinski’s grandpa was not tolerant of the country’s new use of totalitarian tactics to control its citizens. So he and his family were willing to take risks during their travels. Seckscinski even mentioned that Walter’s wife stitched money into the lining of her coat to hide from guards that would seize anything of value. 

Almost every cent they had went to simply getting out of Russia and Germany, as Hitler was just named Chancellor of Germany a few months prior. Once they reached England, which was one step closer to the United States, they had to bribe an English official to take them on a boat overseas to America. The boat was commercial, and Seckscinski’s ancestors shared space with many live animals.

Seckscinski’s mother was 15 at the time, and “her two siblings were actually born here[in the US], but they migrated from the US to Russia when they were children, then back to the US again when they were young adults,” said Seckscinski. His grandfather Walter was not born in the US, so he still needed to get his citizenship. Seckscinski’s mother was born in the US, and so was he.

Seckscinski’s family struggled with their choice of where to settle mainly because they had to leave behind their whole family in Russia. My grandfather explains that he did not know a lot about the culture from his homeland, because his family had fully immersed themselves in American culture. As I said before, Russia was going through a communist revolution which tore the family apart. Walter had a constant battle with his brother, who was a communist general. 

My grandfather Seckscinski has never taken his freedom for granted. He said moving to the United States “offered a lot of opportunities for my family, and it is a free place.”

I keep in mind the hardships Walter and his family went through to get here, and I am thankful I am a born United States citizen.