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Translation of parts of an

interview by Prof. Patalas

I was born in 1918, in Krzemienna, district of Brzozow, near Sanok. After graduating from a classics high school, I decided on a career in the military. In 1938, I signed up at the Artillery College for Officer Cadets in Włodzimierz. After the first year, I transferred to the Vocational Artillery College for Officer Cadets in Toruń. Unfortunately, I never reached my new school, for in September 1939 the war broke out. With the rank of cadet corporal, I was assigned to the 33rd Light Artillery Division in Wilno.


Because of the tragic course of the September campaign, we were forced to withdraw to Lithuania. We crossed the border and surrendered our guns, minus the locks, to the Lithuanians. We were interned in Rokiskis, where several thousand soldiers were gathered, mostly artillerymen and lancers. The Lithuanians held us there until the Soviet invasion of Poland—that is, until September 17. Then the Russians moved in and took charge of the internees. They immediately began selecting officers and sending them to Kozel’sk, and from there—as we learned later—to their deaths in Katyn. Eventually, we, too, were taken by train to Kozel’sk.

At Kozel’sk, the Soviets began a campaign of propaganda and indoctrination. Every day after supper, politruks [propaganda officers] came for “serious” talks. They tried to convince us that the communist system was the best in the world and encouraged us to collaborate with them. No one believed them, of course, and no one was willing to engage in discussions with them. This continued until the outbreak of the war with Germany.

Then they shipped us up north, to the Kola Peninsula, where we worked building roads. Later they transferred us even further north to Murmansk, where the sun never set during summer months, where the workday was sixteen hours long, and where food was scarce and starving prisoners many. There were some 2000 of us in that camp, mostly officer cadets, NCOS, soldiers, and policemen. Luckily, we did not stay in that cursed place for long……In Totskoye, tents were already waiting for us. We were registered and assigned to various services and units. I found myself in the 6th Light Artillery Regiment. We went through the basic training in Russia, then were transferred by ships to Iran. At long last we could breathe freely. In Khānaqīn I was promoted to 2nd lieutenant and made a platoon leader.

time. When we reached combat readiness, our regiment was transferred to southern Italy and went into action on the Sangro River. In May 1944, we dug in around Monte Cassino. artillery. On May 11, at 11:00 p.m., when the assault started, our 1500 guns roared in unison and hurled a hail of deadly shells on German positions.

When the war was over I decided to emigrate to Canada. I arrived in Canada in 1947 with a group of ex-servicemen; all of us had signed contracts obliging us to work on Canadian farms for two years. farms. I happened to be assigned to a farmer named Walker in Elva, near Melita. I worked for him for six months before my patience and forbearance gave out, mainly because of the long hours of milking cows by hand. I returned to Winnipeg and found a job as a house painter, first for a Pole and then for a larger construction company.

I started singing in the choir of the Polish Gymnastics Association Sokół, and there I met my future wife, Halina….. An opportunity arose to set up my own business so together with Junkierski (and later Wójcik), I opened and ran a Polish butcher shop called “Wawel.”

Kazimierz passed away in Winnipeg on October 16, 1987, at the age of 69 years.

Copyright: Chmielowicz family

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