Zofia (Zosia) ZEMANEK
By her daughter, Marta Morton
I want to share with you my mother, Zosia Zemanek's arrival in Persia at Easter time 1942. In her own words written in her diary so many years ago.
One thing stands out: how wonderful and welcoming the Persian people were to the Poles.
April 2, 1942 Zosia Zemanek was just 17 years old.
"Today is already Holy Thursday. We are currently in Teheran, we arrived yesterday afternoon. It’s so lovely here, large houses and fenced in. The heat is terrible. We were in the port of Pahlawi briefly because already on Tuesday we left to go farther. But where? To Teheran the capital. Early on Monday morning we went to the baths. Everything was so well arranged by the Persians, Everything under tents at the edge of the sea (on the beach) After the bath and disinfection I went into town. Lots of everything in the shops. The people are so kind and sweet. At 11 we went about 3 km for an overnight stay. In the desert only sands by the sea. The wind was awful, you couldn’t look. At 4 am was our wake-up call. We’re heading on. We walked for a while to the main road and from there by car to Teheran. We left at 11 and with us there were 18 others. The bus was open so that all along the way we could admire the lovely landscape. With us were three lovely girls, 2 Zosia’s and Stawka. From the beginning were only plains and only in the distance could be seen the mountains.
We travelled through the town of Pahlawi. The Persians are so welcoming/hospitable. They are giving us pies, cigarettes, tea. Totally amazing/overwhelming. From this town we started to travel in the mountains. The road was very winding with beautiful mountains on both sides. Later on one side, mountains and on the other, an abyss with a river at the bottom. It really was beautiful. I cannot describe it at all. It was amazing. We arrived at Kazwin (Qazvin) at midnight. We stayed overnight. They gave us a huge house where everyone slept …. PSK and civilians and some Army. At 8 we left in the same formation. We travelled through Czarasz. At 5 we arrived. Beautiful town, modern houses, lots of trees, people beautifully dressed, lovely exhibitions “aswalt”??? All in all, a beautiful town, a little Paris. We have accommodation past the town and it’s lovely here. I washed my hair and washed everything. But I don’t think we are going to be here very long. We don’t have uniforms as yet. Mama and Dzidusia are moving to the civilian population.
Note: Zosia was deported to Siberia with her mother and sisters - on release she was evacuated to Persia with the Polish Army. She joined the Women's Auxiliary of the Polish 2nd Corps and became a nurse. She was accepted for a nursing course with the Hospital PCK (Polski Czerwony Krzyz - Polish Red Cross) in Teheran and December 1942. The PCK Hospital was renamed War Hospital #4 and she was sent to 3rd Carpathian Division (3 Dywizji Strzelcow Karpackich) in Mossul, Iraq. Polish Land Forces under British Command Teheran, Persia. Her older sister Jadwiga also became a nurse with a similar route. Zosia married Dr. Maciej Zwerz in Italy iun1944.
Copyright: Marta Morton