Matthew Zajac: ‘I set out to write about my father’s life but discovered his war stories were all lies’

The actor and writer examines what drove his father to weave a false tale of an epic wartime journey from Poland to Inverness

It was some years after my dad died that I discovered he was a liar. I loved him enormously. But he was a liar. I grew up in Inverness where my father Mateusz was a well-liked tailor. He was also a refugee with an East European accent who had fled his village in south-east Poland during the second world war.

Dad had always been a bit vague about his past but I figured that, like many of his generation, he didn’t like talking about the war. It was only when I went to his home village in 2003, now in western Ukraine, that I discovered the stories my father told us about his early years were just that, stories. He told lies about his religion, his family and what he did during the war: they just tumbled out, one after the other.

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