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Translation of parts of an interview by Prof. Patalas

Tadeusz was born to Maksymilian and Ludmila, on July 04, 1925, in Jablonow, Poland.

The Germans invaded Poland from the west on 1 September 1939, and the Russians invaded from the east on 17 September 1939. They divided Poland between them.

Tadeusz was only fourteen, and his brother Kazimierz even younger, so both of them stayed at home when the war broke out. His father worked for the railways, and he came back two weeks after Poland’s defeat. His brother Leon also returned from a military hospital in Warsaw. For a while only Maks was missing: he was an officer cadet in the Polish army, was captured, and sent to a German POW camp.

In June 1940, Tadeusz was sent as a forced labourer to a farm in Germany. He worked for a farmer, a Bauer, for three years. There were two  boys from Grudziądz on that farm:farm: Tadeusz looked after the horses, and the other boy looked after the cows.


In 1943 Tadeusz was called up before a German recruitment commission. In July of that year, he was drafted into the Arbeitsdienst, an organization similar to the Polish Youth Labour Corps. The Germans sent them to an island in the estuary of the Panemünde river, where they were making their v-1 missiles.

In November of that yearhe turned seventeen and was immediately called up for regular military duty. He was assigned to the infantry and sent for training to Fulda in Bavaria and then briefly to France. The German army was full of people like him, Poles from Pomerania, from Silesia, and even from western Poland. When they were in our own company, they spoke Polish, and their German commanders had no objections. In fact, relations among ordinary soldiers of Polish and German origin were quite friendly.

Stationed near the swiss birder, Tadeusz escaped along with some if his colleagues. They were taken by boat to Naples and by train to the south of Italy. They could finally bathe, put on new Polish uniforms, and feel Polish again. Without much delay, they were assigned to various services. Tadeusz  was selected by Lieutenant Jasiriski for the armoured cavalry. They moved to Matera, and then to Galatona, Calabria, and Gubio. He  went to officer cadet college and trained as a driver, radio operator, and gunner. Afterwards he was assigned to a regiment of the Carpathian Lancers. In the end it turned out that all the training was for nothing, for the war was over. He was transferred to Macerata and a while later to Scotland.

Tadeusz learned through a friend from Grudziądz that his parents and one of his  brothers were killed during the Soviet offensive at the end of February 1945. His brother Maks, after being freed from the Oflag, had joined a guard unit of the Polish army. Kazimierz was in the German army and has been sent to Africa, where he was taken prisoner by the Allies. Later he joined the division of General Maczek. He was already fighting the Germans when Tadeusz was still one of their soldiers. Kazimierz earned the rank of platoon leader and the Virtuti Militari Cross [the highest Polish military distinction].

Tadeusz' brother Maks had been in Canada since 1947, and he sponsored his coming to Canada in August 1949.

In Winnipeg, Tadeusz married and started a family. He was a member of the Polish Combatants Association, No. 13 and a proud Sargeant-at-Arms. He was also a member of the Polish Canadian Legion No. 34,  the Polish amateur theatre, and the Sokół choir. At one of the choir rehearsals he met his future wife, Stefania. They were married in 1952 and had four children: Teresa, Ludwig, Barbara, and Urszula.

He got his first job at Weststeel in St. Boniface, but from 1951 until retirement he was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Tadeusz passed away in Winnipeg on January 6, 2000, at the age of 74.

Copyright: Wojciechowski family

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