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Wladek-PΔ28933 : A Polish Paradox by Jerzy K. Kulski. The life story of a Son of Rzeszow –teacher, army officer and a gentleman - born in the Kingdom of Galicia, an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that became an important eastern region of the Second Republic of Poland between the two World Wars. At 12 years of age, Wladek received the highest medal of youth (Liberator of Lwow) from the city of Rzeszow for his heroic military actions to free Poland from unwanted uprisings in Lwow (Lemberg) in 1918/1919. A talented sportsman with the ‘Sokol Spirit’ and a Second Lieutenant with the Podhale Rifles mountain division in the Polish army reserve, he graduated from the Warsaw Central Institute for Sports Education (C.I.W.F.) in 1935 and worked in Poland as a physical education teacher in high schools and as a sports instructor for the army and other institutions before Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded his country on 1 September 1939. He fought bravely for three months on the south-eastern front until the Polish military defence was overwhelmed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet invasion. As a patriot, teacher and officer, he belonged to the resistance movement that helped Polish refugees and military officers escape to Romania and Hungary. On May 18, 1940, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Rzeszow and transported from Poland to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin in Nazi Germany; where he survived five years of Schutzstaffel (SS) brutality, horror, enslavement and forced hard labour as Polish political prisoner PΔ28933. For the next five years, he was the chief clerk at Meierwik Displaced Persons Camp in northern Germany helping Polish and other East European refugees recover from their displacements. He immigrated to Western Australia in August of 1949 with his wife, mother-in-law and young son to give his family a new start in the ‘Land of the Free’ far from the turmoil in Europe. He was the President of the Polish Society of Western Australia in 1953 and 1954 to help Polish migrants adjust to their new way of life. In 1960, he stopped work as a welder and devoted his free time to the organisation of his Polish bookshop, Patria. He became a naturalised Australian and tried to adapt to the foreign culture, language, geography and heat, but his heart and spirit remained patriotically Polish to the day he died. He lived the life of the good Sarmatian and belonged to that rare breed of human known as the Polish Paradox.
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