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Stanislaw KRUPA

He was living in in these eastern borderlands of pre-WW2 Poland in 1939, when the Russians invaded Poland 2 weeks after the Germans had attacked from the west.


His childhood was interrupted when, at 10 years old, he and his family were forcibly removed from their home by Soviet forces and forced onto cattle cars bound for Siberian labour camps. They had no idea where they were going and were given lass than an hour to pack. Taking only what they could carry, they had to leave everything else behind.


The journey in the cattle cars was a nightmare. There were 40-50 persons per car, with little food, and unsanitary conditions. A hole in the floor of the car served as the toilet. Stanislaw remembers that they were given water and some watery soup only 2 or 3 times during the weeks long journey.


His family were slave labourers at the work camp for nearly 2 years. Adults had to work in order to get rations of bread to eat. In the end, their survival was due in no small part to the kindness of strangers and for that they were eternally grateful.


Thanks to the Sikorski-Majewski agreement, his family was released from the work camp in the fall of 1941. They were among 115,000 Poles that fled Russia during a brief "amnesty" period in 1942. But the journey from the labour camp to the Polish army forming in the south was another nightmare. Travelling on foot and in trains, the trip took several months.


Stanislaw was carried along with waves of other Polish exiles, at times separated from his family, as they journeyed south to reach the Polish army that was being formed by General Anders. After an odyssey leading through Uzbekistan, Iran, India and Lebanon, he received his grade school and high school education at various refugee camps along the way.

He and surviving family members (sister Stanislawa and mother Alexandra) made it to Canada as refugees in 1949.

Stanislaw passed away in Toronto on May 1, 2016, at the age of 87.

Source: Online obituary

Copyright: Krupa family

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