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Rep. Houlahan and her father talk roots in Ukraine

Originally posted in the Daily Local

EASTTOWN — Andrew C.A. Jampoler, proud father of U.S. Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th, of Easttown, talked of his escape in 1943 as an infant from what was then Lwow, Poland, and what is now Lviv, Ukraine, and where Russia has recently invaded.

“Central Europe is a turbulent place in the world and it has been for centuries,” Jampoler said. “How many wars were fought over exactly where the borders were?”

The self-described “vigorous” 80-year-old ended up in New York City as a four-year-old with just his mother and grandmother. All but one of the rest of his family were never heard from again.

From the city of Lwow, flight was made possible with counterfeit documents furnished by a brave Roman Catholic priest.

When the family’s Warsaw hideout was compromised, his father was a music student at the famed Lwow Conservatory.

“I was left on the steps of a church and adopted by Polish Catholics in Lublin, East Poland,” he said.

His mother and grandmother spent the rest of the war working on a pig farm in Bavaria as laborers. His grandmother after the war returned to the church neighborhood where they had left Andrew and asked questions. After four days of intense arguments with his new family in Lublin four-year-old Jampoler was reunited with his mother and grandmother and the three obtained immigrant visas to ship off to America.

During July of 1946, grandmother, mother and Jampoler set sail on the S.S. Marine Perch for America. The immigrants rode the seas to U.S.A. The vessel shipped POWs to Europe from America and on the return trip immigrants rode to America.

All the youngster remembers about the trip was eating canned peaches for the first time.

Mother and grandmother never talked about war times, likely so as not to create PTSD in the youngster. From third to 12th grades, he attended boarding schools, which prepared him to become a scholarship history student at Columbia College in NYC where he joined the NROTC.

Like many, Jampoler is furious with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He has launched a criminal attack on a population living their lives peacefully,” he said. “It’s a horrific outrage.

“Putin is a war criminal. He is challenging the notion that political change is to be accomplished peacefully at the will of the people.”

Houlahan visited Ukraine about 15 years ago and recently again with the Foreign Affairs Committee. She also visited the church where her father was left as a child in Poland. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran and served during the Cold War.

The congresswoman and her father see parallels between the Cold War era and today.

“We see a confrontation between Russia and the West that threatens world stability and world peace,” he said.

Houlahan has worked hard to help Ukrainians defend themselves. She said that the war is looking like it will last much longer than most anticipated and she said it is now time to better equip and train Ukrainian fighters.

“The war is not just about our shared humanity and the world order, although that should be enough,” she said. “But it also impacts us here at home as well as adding further shocks to our already fragile economy.”

Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat, grain, fertilizer, oil and gas.

“Peace in Ukraine will help with inflation and supply chain stability,” she said.

In the navy for 24 years, Jampoler searched for Russian submarines flying patrol planes and served a year on the ground in Vietnam.

Congresswoman Houlahan became a “Navy Junior”’ and attended 12 schools.

Later, Jampoler worked in the aerospace industry and since 2000 has written eight books on maritime history.

Houlahan has officially been sanctioned by the Russian government.

“(This) is a proud day for me and my family,” said Houlahan. “We don’t need the history books to be written to decide who is on the right side of this war — we are seeing it unfold before our eyes clear as day.

“Putin is a war criminal, and I’m glad to have led efforts that have drawn his ire. In fact, this latest move has only strengthened my resolve and the resolve of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to support Ukraine, our NATO allies, and European partners.”