Bozena BALUT

Bozena Balut’s address to the Polish-Canadian Group titled “Krag Starszo-Harcerski-Tatry” dated November 11,1995.

The address was inspired  by  her parents’ and grandparents’ generations,  and by Polish soldiers serving in the Allied  forces and in  the Home Army..

 

Dedicated to the memory of Jozef  Majcher,  soldier  of  the Polish Second Corps (and my mother’s older brother), killed  in action in Italy in 1944,

 

and Stefan  Jerzy  Zukotynski, Flying  Officer,  RAF, Squadron  300 (and  my paternal grandmother’s youngest brother) shot down over France in 1943.

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Canada may be my country of birth

But Poland holds hostage my captive heart and soul

And you, your generation and that of my parents
Have given me the essence of my identity

A code of  ethics to determine my direction and govern my actions

The impetus and inspiration for my life’s endeavors

And  most significantly

The courage to stand strong and to fight for my convictions.

Passionate Patriots, fighting the foe for Poland’s freedom on all battlefronts,

Unsung and Unknown Heroes,

Their supreme sacrifice deliberately ignored,

Unacknowledged and forgotten

by opportunistic, bloodless and expedient politicians

Modern Day White Knights from

the land of chivalry and nobility,

the first to challenge the enemy and to defend humanity

from the blitzkrieg of he overpowering forces of evil,

Allegiance to our ruthless, exploitative and fickle Allies,

and their subsequent betrayal, indifference and abandonment of

our beloved country in ruins

to a tragic fate of enslavement, degradation and desecration,

Acts of bravery and valour

An unflinching adherence to the spirit of  Christianity

An uncompromising understanding and relationship with the truth

A thousand year tradition of idealism, honour and loyalty

recklessly discounting the heavy toll to be extracted

These were the principles that guided your lives.

Six years of  suffering and the agony of uncertainty

Attacked, trapped and deported by circling invaders

                 from the east and from the west

Persecuted and haunted, tormented and tortured

                 by Satan’s disciples

the attempted genocide of a proud and fearless nation

and to extinguish the eternal flame of Polish nationalism

A proud culture on the brink of extinction,

The aching loss of homeland and loved ones,

The misery and humiliation of prisoners and slaves,

The endurance and isolation of soldiers and

        the solitude and desolation of refugees,

Orphans of  the storm scattered and flung far

        to the outer extremities of civilization,

The trials, tribulations and perils of the Home Army partisan

The heroism and hope instilled by the success of  Zegota

The surreal nightmare horror of Oswiecim, Siberia and Katyn

The systematic executions and massacre of our

        religious, military and civilian leaders

Child martyrs slain on the blood-drenched earth

        of the Warsaw uprising

Fields of  fallen soldiers in the Monte Casino and Loretto cemeteries

And downed pilots in the Battle of Britain

The ultimate sacrifice of the flower of Poland’s Youth 

        on the altar of World Peace

This was your childhood and this was your  youth

The exile’s pain of departure and heart-wrenching separation,

and adjustment to an adopted country,

The acid bitterness of  the final travesty of

vulnerable and vanquished Poland’s post-war destiny

sealed in an evil deal at Yalta

Our homeland deprived and defrauded of

its hard-earned rewards of liberation and freedom

The anguished longing and pangs of nostalgia

for a pre-war Polish way of life

systematically denigrated by

post-war Soviet imperialist troops of barbarians

Observing powerless from afar, across the ocean,

through barriers of censorship,

the world of our childhood dreams, now gone with the wind

The organisation of Polish “harcerstwo”

and our “Tatry Krag”  on Canadian soil,

as a phoenix rises from the ashes of despair and destruction,

in the creation of our immigrants’ Renaissance of

Polish culture and values

The formation of Polish-Canadian families,

and the gathering of a circle of friends in a supportive community

Raised in our settlement of Kaszuby,

the cradle of Polish culture in Canada,

the only place I have known to be my home,

cocooned by protective parents

Canadian-born children of Polish origin,

nurtured and encouraged in an atmosphere of

unconditional love and acceptance for which

nothing was expected nor anticipated in return

except perhaps for our happiness and

perhaps your peace of mind.

This is your today and your future

We, your children, are

your generation’s destiny and legacy

and the keepers of a

proud and pure Poland’s faith.

Tonight’s  banquet is your children’s opportunity

to officially honour you

Please accept our humble tribute to you

as our parents, as members of our family circle, the “Tatry Krag”,

and as guardians of our ancestral history.

As exceptional men and women of  honour,

you have imparted to us, your children,

strength and support,

through the stability and longevity of your association and friendship,

and have served as inspirational role models

to steer the course of our lives by the examples of  yours.

We salute you, your generation and our Polish ancestors.

Today is  Remembrance Day

And for me every day is haunted  by remembrance

And now that Poland is no longer lost

and lives free once again

At long last we may, within Poland’s political boundaries and beyond them,

Publicly honour your generation’s achievements world-wide

And mourn our dead

All of our heroes who did not survive past 1945…