Jan Józef Ruszkowski was born in Mława, Poland, on May 5, 1906.
He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Warsaw, receiving the title of civil engineer, a specialist in bridges and roads.
His career was interrupted by World War II, when Germany attacked Poland from the west, and Russia invaded from the east. He was deported by the Russians to a work camp in Siberia, and remained in captivity for more than a year.
When Germany attacked Russia in June of 1941, Stalin became an ally of the west and agreed to sign an ‘amnesty’ that released those Poles deported to Siberia and had them form a Polish army in the southern USSR.
Jan joined the Polish 2nd Corps led by General Anders. The army evacuated to Persia in 1942 and came under British command. They trained in Iraq and Palestine, which was then a British protectorate.
In 1943, Jan married Barbara Irchin, who was also enlisted in the army in the Women’s’ Auxiliary doing communications tasks. Two of their children were born in Palestine: Andrzej Janusz, born in 1945 in Tel Aviv and Alicja in Gaza in 1947.
Among the many military actions that Jan participated in was the Italian Campaign. The most prominent battle was the Battle of Monte Casino in February 1944 - a strategic position that as in the hands of the Germans.
With the rank of captain and with his battalion responsible for disarming mines,, the Polish 2nd Corps won the final victory as part of the Allied forces.
Jan return to Palestine in 1947 and later lived in London for over a year, before receiving information from Argentina, which encouraged him to opt for this destination and not accept the tempting offers he had from the United States.
Thus, in 1949 he arrives in Argentina with his family, and settled in the town of Martinez.
In 1950, he moved to Mar del Plata, where his third son Wojciech was born and begins his professional work as an engineer, joining a major French company that was in charge of the construction of the port of Mar del Plata.
In the middle sixties, when buildings of horizontal property proliferated, he met Demetrio Eliades (who was supported in his projects and investments by Aristotle Onassis) and began a marked activity in the field of construction.
Mar del Plata was the city that had the record in the world for the number of square meters of the highest and important buildings that were calculated by this engineer. Among them: Eden Palace (opposite Plaza Columbus), the Demetrio Eliades, better known as "Havanna" Cosmos Palace and many others that are part of the architectural appearance of the city.
The calculations were made only with a slide ruler, a board, which would now be almost impossible to achieve.
When Demetrio Eliades died, he continued in the Marplatense Building Campaign, giving further impetus to the activity and participating in reinforced concrete designs of a numerous housing complexes.
In 1963, he co-founded the Society of Poles in Mar del Plata and was an active member of the community.
He was an immigrant who contributed to the development of Mar del Plata and only earned a modest retirement. His last years were devoted to the family.
He died on February 25, 1987, but his work remains a testimony to Mar del Plata, although the municipality does not formally recognize the work of one of the most prominent immigrants who set foot in this city.
Source (in Spanish):
Jan and his wife, Barbara Irchin, in Palestine 1943.
Their childrten: Wojciech, Alicja and Andrzej
Jan with fellow architect Józef Ciechomski (on the left) and an unnamed architect in the center.
Jan in his 80s
Copyright: Ruszkowski family