Please welcome Luc Bartkowski to the group.
Luc, the experience of war wounded many people, not only physically but also
psychologically. Your father would not have been alone in this.
To find out more of the history, I have a few suggestions for you.
The village of Lorki (located at 19°45' E - 53°22' N) appears to have been
well within the German occupation zone, as opposed to the Soviet one.
If your father was deported to Siberia, it would have probably been because
he was a "refugee" who had moved east ahead of the advancing Germans, and
found himself under Soviet occupation after September 17th, 1939.
To check the databases of deportees (which is far from perfect), your
father's name and birthday would be helpful. If his name appears, it will
reveal the camp he was sent to.
Some USSR deportation survivors did end up in Western Europe.
Regarding the First Armoured Division, the Polish Army was formed in the
USSR in late 1941 and a large part of it evacuated to Persia in 1942. It
was called the SECOND CORPUS. The Polish FIRST CORPUS was already stationed
in the UK, after evacuating from a defeated France. Some of the Polish men
men were transferred from the Second Corpus, by then in the Middle East, to
the First Corpus in the period 1942-1943. Many of these were aspiring
aviators, as well as other men being transferred for various reasons. They
travelled to England by ships criss-crossing the Atlantic to avoid U-boats.
For example, the Empress of Canada was one such ship that did not make it.
Here is the story from http://www.greatships.net/empresscanada.html
In November 1939, after 200 Pacific crossings, Empress of Canada was
requisitioned for trooping. On 1 March 1943, she left Durban with about 1800
people on board, including 400 Italian prisoners of war and 200 Poles who
had been released by the Soviet Union after Germany invaded. On the night of
13-14 March 1943, she was torpedoed twice by the Italian submarine Leonardo
da Vinci about 400 miles (640 km) south of Cape Palmas and sank within 20
minutes after the second attack. There were 392 fatalities: 340 passengers,
including a majority of the Italian prisoners, 44 crew and 8 gunners. The
survivors were taken to Freetown and, from there, resumed their trip to
England on the "Mauretania". (Sources: Haws' Merchant Fleets; Bonsor's
North Atlantic Seaway; Williams' Wartime Disasters at Sea.)
Anyhow, Luc, you can find out about your father's military record as well as
some personal information from the Polish Army records office. Please visit
and follow the
And please do let us know what you discover! it may be useful to other
members of the group, now and in the future.
From: "Luc Bartkowski" <lubartko@...
As you can see by my last name I have Polish ancestors. In fact my father
was born in Poland in 1924, in a small village called Lorki. This place is
located right in the middle of the imaginary line Gdansk - Warsaw. My
grandparents came originally from East Prussia and bought before the second
world war a farm in Lorki. It seems that my grandfather has fight with the
Germans during WW1 in France where he lost a leg. My grandfather died before
the start of WW2.
My father told me and my mother only a few stories about his life during
WW2. He was not proud about that period. My mother told me that he even got
rid of his medals. It seems that he was also deported from Poland to Russia
(Siberia) in the beginning of WW2. What I do know for sure is that he
somehow arrived at Scotland to join 1st Polish Armoured Division, under its
commander Gen. S. Maczek, part of the 1st Canadian Army in the 21st Army
Group. I do have some photo's of that period, including his stay in
Scotland, a few combat photo's and some photo's of the liberation of Breda.
At the end of WW2 the 1st Polish Armoured Division arrived at Willemshaven
in Germany where my father stayed until 1948. In 1948 my father went to the
Netherlands where he received the Dutch nationality from queen Wilhelmina.
He married my mother, a Dutch girl, in 1959.
You might understand that I have a few questions:
1) Is it really true that my father was deported from Poland to Russia.
Information on the Internet only publish about creating an Polish army in
Persia, which has later fought in Africa and Italy, but was not part of the
invasion in Normandy. Other information on the Internet is about Poles who
traveled via Romania to France. I can not imagine that my father, at the age
of 15 in 1939, joined armed forces in France. So what is the story of my
2) What Russian camp was my father located? Are there any pictures or
written stories about that camp?
I hope to get some additional information by joining the Kresy-Siberia
group. Unfortunately I do not speak the Polish language.