Polish war vets honoured
Staff photo by Rob Beintema
A special event was held at Wawel Villa in Clarkson to recognize residents
who were veterans of World War II. Jan Ciechanowski, Vice Minister of
Veteran Affairs for Poland, one of the Polish and Canadian dignitaries
attending, pins a medal on Barbara Rabenda who took part in the Warsaw
A group of Polish World War II veterans was honoured last Friday in
Mississauga to mark the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino in
Italy.The 10 veterans honoured, three of whom fought at Cassino, are
residents of Wawel Villa Seniors Residences in Clarkson, where the ceremony
took place. Members of provincial and federal governments and other
dignitaries also attended the event.
Speaking in Polish, Walter Lizon, who emceed the event, said, "We have
residents in this home who fought in World War II for the safety of Poland
and for the safety of the world."
Lizon is vice-president of the Polish retirement home and president of the
Canadian Polish Congress.
The Battle of Monte Cassino took place from Jan. 17 to May 18, 1944. The
town and abbey of Monte Cassino stood in the Allies' way of reaching Rome.
The Allies, including Poles and Canadians, fought a bloody battle against
the Nazis for four months in the town before emerging victorious. On May 18,
Polish soldiers entered the abbey and hoisted the Polish flag over the
One of the veterans honoured Friday was Edward Jawlosiewicz, who fought in
"It reminded me of (the battle) and it brought tears to my eyes," said
Jawlosiewicz, 84, a recipient of the Cross of Valour and Cross of Monte
Cassino. He drove an army ambulance during the war and served in the Middle
East and Italy.
The ceremony included Polish war songs and poetry, and the veterans were
also given medals and certificates. The medals were presented by Jan
Ciechanowski, Poland's vice-minister of veteran affairs. Letters of
thank-you were also read from both the Canadian and Polish governments.
The Polish Ambassador to Canada, Piotr Ogrodzinksi, told the gathering that
Canadians and Poles are continuing their military tradition of working
together. As they fought together at Monte Cassino, they now continue to
fight together in Afghanistan, the ambassador said.
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