Polish 2nd Corps
THE FATE OF WAR AND EMIGRATION
Józef Smyk was born on March 1, 1921. in the town of Borysław in the voivodeship of Lwow. His happy childhood and early years of youth were disrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Józef shared the fate of many compatriots who were sent to Siberia by the Russians. After the signing of the Sikorski-Majski treaty in 1941, Józef found a recruitment point and enrolled in the emerging Polish 2nd Corps, led by General Władysław Anders.
He evacuated to Pahlevi, Persia (Iran) with the army. Upon arriving in Tehran, he was assigned to the 8th Heavy Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment as a bomber. With this regiment he walked the following trail: Persia, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt all the way to Italy, where he took part in the Italian Campaign and the famous battle of Monte Cassino.
After the war, he went to England from where he emigrated to the USA in 1951. Returning to Poland - which remained under Soviet domination at the time - was not possible for him, and his family home was located in areas that were no longer Poland.
Upon arriving in the United States, he settled in New Britain and found employment in the Budney Industry, where he worked until retirement. He was a social worker, so he was immediately involved in the life of local Polania - he signed up to Pulaska Democratic Club and the Veterans Association of the Polish Army. In 1975 he received the Medal of Merit of SWAP. In 2016 he received a distinction from Connecticut state rulers as a sign of appreciation for his contribution to the development of the Polonia community.
In 2021 Józef Smyk celebrated his 100th birthday. Unfortunately, the pandemic made it impossible to hold a real reception, but colleagues from the veteran's facility accompanied by his daughter Madeline and journalists from Polonia TV visited the birthday boy at the senior Autumn Lake home in New Britain, where he was living. Although the meeting could only take place "through the glass", there were no shortage of wishes and a loud singing of "200 years" and other cheerful songs accompanied by an accordionist.
Józef Smyk also received the commemorative medal "Pro Patria" awarded by the Office for Affairs of Veterans and Repressed Persons and wishes from the Minister of National Defense M. Tinsel.
12 January 2023, Józef Smyk, a Sybirak, a veteran of World War II, a participant of the Battle of Monte Cassino, a long-time member of SWAP, died in New Britain at the age of 101.
During the funeral the last voice was taken by his daughter Madeleine, sharing a few anecdotes from her father's life and mentioning him in extremely warm words.
After the service, the urn with the ashes of the late Józefa Smyka was transported to the cemetery and laid in the family grave, where the deceased's wife rests.
Original Polish text at: #PAI http://pai.media.pl/pai_wiadomosci.php?id=25498