(Married name Olbrecht)
Eleonora was born on December 15, 1933, in Sokol, in Lwow province, in Poland.
In 1940, at the age of 7, she was deported to Siberia with her mother Marija, father Jan and sister Leontyna. They were forcibly taken from their home and packed into crowded cattle cars. The cattle cars had primitive bunks at either end, and a wood-burning stove in the middle. There was a hole in the floor for use as a latrine. The deportees put a blanket up around this hole for some semblance of privacy.
Their destination was unknown. The trip took 2 or 3 weeks. Their food supplies ran out and all that they were given along the way was some hot water, and some watery soup. The exact location in Siberia is not known, but the adults were forced to do hard work in exchange for a meagre piece of bread per day.
Released on ‘amnesty’ in the fall of 1941, the family made their way to the southern USSR to find the Polish Army that was being formed there. Eleonora and her sister Leontyna ended up in an orphanage. In 1942, the orphanage was evacuated from the USSR and the sisters spent the next few years in a succession of orphanages organized by the Polish-government-in-exile. According to an archival list called “Children who left the USSR with the 2nd Corps”, Eleonora and her sister Leontyna were at the orphanage in Isfahan and Zouk Mikael in Persia (Iran) and then in Lebanon, and finally at a Polish settlement in Africa.
After the war, an uncle sponsored Eleonora and her family to Canada. They arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1949. This is where Eleonora met Stefan Olbrecht in 1951. They courted for 2 months and were married on June 16th of that year. They were married for over 63 years. They had two sons; Krzysztof and Tadeusz. Eleonora was an avid gardener, and an accomplished cook and baker. She most enjoyed family reunions that gave her an opportunity to share her delicious dishes and baked goods with everyone.
Eleonora (aka Eleanor Najewska-Olbrecht) passed away in Winnipeg
on December 30, 2020, at the age of 87.
Polish: Bronze Cross of Merit, with swords