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Boleslaw NIEMIEC

Bolesław was born on April 6, 1904 in Będzin, in south western Poland. He enlisted in the army in Sosnowiec and was later transferred to the 12th Field Artillery Regiment in Złoczów, where he stayed until 1936. He then attended the Artillery School in Toruń, where he stayed until the outbreak of World War II.

He took part in the September Campaign in Jarosław. On September 17, with the invasion of Poland by the USSR, he had to surrender his weapons and all military documentation to the Soviets in Tarnopol.

The Russians sent him to labor camps in Siberia. The journey in the cattle cars was a nightmare. There were 40-50 persons per car, with little food, and unsanitary conditions. A hole in the floor of the car served as the toilet. Boleslaw remembers that they were given water and some watery soup only 2 or 3 times during the weeks long journey.

He was a slave labourer at the camp for nearly 2 years. Adults had to work in order to get rations of bread to eat. In the end, his survival was due in no small part to the kindness of strangers and for that he was eternally grateful.

Thanks to the Sikorski-Majewski agreement, he was released from the work camp in the fall of 1941. He was among 115,000 Poles that fled Russia during the brief "amnesty" period in 1942. But the journey from the labour camp to the Polish army forming in the south was another nightmare. Travelling on foot and in trains, the trip took several months.

Beleslaw was carried along with waves of other Polish exiles, as they journeyed south to reach the Polish army that was being formed by General Anders. After an odyssey leading through a large part of the USSR, he evacuated to Persia (now Iran) with the army.

For the next 2 years, he trained in Persia, Iraq, Palestine, and Egypt.  In 1944, the army set sail from Alexandria to Italy. Boleslaw took part in the Italian Campaign, including the battle of Monte Cassino.

After the war, Boleslaw spent some time in England. Until 1949. He had the opportunity to obtain English citizenship and bring his family to England, but he was so devoted to his homeland that he refused. He left his uniform and a logbook at the Embassy in London, and returned to Będzin, Poland, where he died in 1973.

File from the Index of the Repressed

Copyright: Boleslaw's family

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