top of page


Jan Warzel was born to Stanislaw and Eleonora Warzel in Leki Dolne, Poland in 1926. As a teen Jan worked on his father's farm. When the Germans attacked Poland in 19, he had to stop going to school in Grade 7. The Germans took over his school and made him learn German. Finally, it got too dangerous to go to school so he stopped.

German soldiers went to his house one day and took him away to dig trenches for the German army. One day there were only two guards on duty and Jan saw a split in the fence and knew he could fit through it, so when the guards weren't looking, he ran through the split. He ran down a hill and through a ditch and the guards started to shoot at him. He lost his shoes because they got too heavy, wet and muddy. He ran to a far away train station.

He got on a train and hid his feet because he was afraid someone would get suspicious, and he would get caught again. After he got off the train, he walked 60 kilometres to reach his home.

When the Russians invaded Poland, Jan was deported to a work camp in Siberia. When the ‘amnesty’ was declared, he was released, and he made his way south to join the Polish army that was being formed in the USSR. He evacuated to Persia with the army, trained in Iraq, Palestine, and Egypt, then sailed to Italy.

Jan first served as a cadet, and later as a soldier, and fought in the Italian Campaign with the Polish 2nd Corps, including the Battle of Monte Cassino.

After the war ended, he emigrated to Canada on a two-year work contract. He ended up working on a farm in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan before moving to Red Lake, Ontario to work in a gold mine. After six years, he decided to move to Winnipeg where he met his future wife, Jeannette.

Jan lived in Winnipeg the rest of his life and worked at Bellows Brothers and at Beaver Construction. He was also a member of the Polish Combatants Association #13.

Jan passed away in Winnipeg on 18 April 2011, at the age of 85 years. He is buried at Holy Ghost Cemetery.

Copyright: Warzel family

bottom of page