Stanislaw Czaczka

Polish 2nd Corps

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The war started on 1 September 1939, when the Germans invaded from the west, and the situation was  compounded on 17 September 1939, when the Russians invaded Poland from the East.

On 10th February 1940, after the fall of Poland, my entire family were forcibly removed from our home by the Russians, and deported to a forced labour camp in Kazakhstani.

  

After 19 months of hard labour, starvation, and disease, I was released under the so-called ‘amnesty’ and allowed to leave. Along with others from the camp, I set off for the south of the USSR, with the objective of joining the Polish Army that was being formed there. 

After a 12 week journey (on trains, barges, and on foot) through the Ural Mountains and Uzbekistan, we reached the Polish Army (later known as the Polish 2nd Corps commanded by General Anders).  I altered the date of birth on my papers, making me 18 years old instead of 16, so I could join.

The whole corps evacuated to Iran, then moved to Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, and finally to Italy. I fought in the Italian Campaign, including the Battle of Monte Cassino.

I came to England in 1946 on a ship from Napoli to Liverpool. After arrival in England, and was sent on to camps where the Polish Army were stationed.  On being demobilized, I joined the Polish Resettlement Corps and moved to a resettlement camp where Polish dependents, families and ex-soldiers were housed.  I then moved from Marsworth Camp, near Tring, to Dunstable.  This is where I have lived since the war.

Source:  Stanislaw Czaczka at the BBC website: www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/