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Antoni was born in Poland on September 19, 1919. In 1940, Antoni was forcibly taken to Siberia by the Russians.


In June 1941, Germany turned on its ally, Russia. Stalin then quickly changed tactics and allied himself with the west so that the allies could help him defeat the Germans. This led to the signing of the Sikorski-Majewski agreement that called for the freeing of Poles imprisoned in POW camps and labour camps in the USSR, and the formation of a Polish Army in the southern USSR.

The news of this ‘amnesty’ did not reach every camp, but where it did become known, the men and boys soon made plans to make their way south to join the army. For most, this meant walking thousands of kilometres and only occasionally getting on a train for part of the journey.  Many did not make it, and those who did were emaciated skeletons by the time they got there..

General Anders was in charge of the army, and he tried hard to get the Russians to provide the food and equipment they had promised. When this became more and more impossible, he negotiated the right to evacuate the army to Persia, where the British would provide what was needed.

The evacuation took place by ship over the Caspian Sea to Pahlavi in Persia (now Iran). The ships that were used were oil tankers and coal ships, and other ships that were not equipped to handle passengers. They were filthy and lacked even the basic necessities, like water and latrines. The soldiers and civilians filled these ships to capacity for the 1-2 day trip. When there were storms, the situation got even worse – with most of the passengers suffering sea sickness.

Antoni joined the Polish 2nd Corps, serving under General Anders, and became a heavy artillery specialist with the 10th Battalion. As a decorated serviceman, Antoni fought in many battles including the battle of Monte Casino.

In 1947, Antoni immigrated to Canada from England, eventually settling in Winnipeg, where he was employed in the steel industry until his retirement. Antoni was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, A. Mynarski VC Branch 34 as well as the SPK Polish Combatants Association Branch 13.

Antoni passed away in Winnipeg on September 14, 2001, at the age of 82 years.

Copyright: Karkota family

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