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French Resistance,

Buchenwald Concentration Camp,

1st Polish Armoured Division


A card issued by the French Government after the War identifying Zdzislaw Maszadro as having received the decoration as a member of the Resistance and Voluntary Services.

Zdzislaw Maszadro was born in Poland in 1923. In August 1939, when he was 16 years old, he joined the First Aid Service and the Fire Defence Service. Poland was invaded by Germany from the east, on September 1st, and on September 17th, he escaped the invading Soviet Army and became a refugee in Romania before going to France.

He attended secondary school in Paris between November 1939 and May 1940 when he matriculated. In May 1940 he joined the Polish Army-in-Exile, the 3rd Artillery Regiment in Coetiguidan, Bretagne, France.

On 16 June 1940, France fell and the Polish Army was demobilised at Carpiagne Centre near Marseille. In November 1940, in Vichy France, Zdzislaw went to sixth form college to continue his studies at Villard de Lans near Grenoble. While there, he joined other demobbed Polish men and French men in the Resistance, helping escaped Allied Prisoners of War from Germany to get to Spain and England.

In September 1943, he attended the University of Strasbourg, the Clermont Ferrand Medical School, again in Vichy France. On the 25th of November, he was arrested and deported, along with all the university medical students and professors, to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany.

Buchenwald was set up in 1937 when the first inmates were Germans. When Germany finally took over Vichy, France, everyone from the university was sent there as forced labour. One of the lasting memories of the camp where 60,000 people died, mainly from starvation and exhaustion from working in the quarries, was the methodical manner in which the remains (ashes) of the cremated victims were placed in cardboard containers, stacked on shelves with their names on and then sent home to relatives where an address was known.

On the 11th of April 1945, he was liberated from Buchenwald by the Allied Forces and rejoined the 1st Polish Armoured Division attached to the Allied Forces, and was sent to their base in Scotland.

In September 1948, after being demobbed, Zdzislaw went on to medical school in Galway to complete his medical training. After qualifying as a doctor he took up various medical posts in hospitals in France, Ireland and Great Britain.

Zdzislaw’s family lived in France after the war and his father practised there as a doctor. When Zdzislaw graduated as a medical cadet in Scotland, his father had presided at the ceremony and congratulated him on his achievement. His father was the Commanding Officer of the Medical Corps at the time.

In July 1962, Zdzislaw became a G.P. in South Wales. In 1964, he moved to the Luton/Dunstable area and served as a G.P until his retirement in 1993. He has worked for the S.P.K. ( the Polish equivalent of the British Legion) and has been a guiding light of the Anglo-Polish Association. He was decorated by the French Government with the Croix des Combattants Volontaires, given to members of the French Resistance and Voluntary Forces.

A certificate issued by the French Government after the War identifying Zdzislaw Maszadro as having received the decoration as a member of the Resistance and Voluntary Services.


Source:  Dr. Zdislaw Maszadro at BBC website:


Copyright: Maszadro family

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