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Boleslaw CZUBAK

Translated from parts of an interviewby Prof. Patalas

Boleslaw was born in Wadowice, near Krakow. His grandfather, on his mother’s side, was a very affluent man. He was a descendent of the Fidelus family, which had come to Poland from Spain. He bought a large estate in the Stanisławów region from Count Jabłonowski. That’s where Boleslaw’s mother grew up. But he spent most of his teenage years at a boarding school in Krakow, not at home, which he visited only on major holidays.

After passing the matriculation exam at a Krakow high school, he signed up for the Officer Cadet College attached to the 19th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Lwów, and later served his apprenticeship in the 48th Regiment in Stanisławów. On graduation in 1938, he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant, which was rather unusual and clearly intended as an encouragement to pursue a professional military career. He  did not stay in the army, though, but remained loosely associated with it until the war, working as an instructor at the Cadet Corps in Lwów. When the war broke out, he was called up in the second wave of mobilization, to the 48th Regiment in Stanislawow.

Captured by the Russians, he and his colleagues were put on a train to Siberia. At one stop, he asked for permission to go to the station and bring some hot water for the sick. Out of the guards’ sight, he managed to get some civilian clothes from the railway men and hid in a nearby bakery. This saved him from certain death, for all his friends from that train were later murdered in Katyn. In a civilian disguise, he worked hus way towards the Romanian border. He was again arrested by the Russians and sent to Siberia.

Released by the ‘amnesty’, he reached Lugovoye, where a part of the Polish army was being organized, and from there to Krasnowodsk and on to Persia. He was assigned to the 26th Regiment and moved with it to Palestine. He was assigned to the Officer Cadets College in Kirkuk, where he taught topography and military tactics.

Once again, he was transferred to Palestine, then to Egypt, and finally, as a deputy commander of the 3rd Company, to the Italian front. On the Adriatic Coast, his company took thirty-two prisoners without even once using their guns. This surprise attack was the last thing they expected. Thanks to that coup, they were the first to break through into Ancona. That exploit won him the Virtuti Militari Cross.

After the war, Boleslaw emigrated to Canada on a two-year work contract.  Once the contract was completed, he went to school to improve his qualifications and took accounting and medical first aid courses. For a while, he worked on a ship as a steward. At one point he applied for an American passport and got it without much trouble. He found himself in San Francisco, where his medical courses helped him get a job as an ambulance worker. Later he landed a good job as an accountant and was eventually promoted to superintendent of the planning department, with twelve people working for him.

After retiring, Boleslaw returned to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Copyright: Czubak family

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