Władysław Dziedzic


He was born on 3rd February 1903 in Zbaraż. After finishing elementary school in Zbaraż and the II Gymnasium in Tarnopol in 1924 and after serving one year in the 6th Regiment of Heavy Artillery, he started studying at Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov. In 1932 he got a doctor’s diploma and in 1935 he became a doctor of medicine. He practiced in several internal diseases clinics, surgery clinics and in obstetric and women’s diseases clinics. In 1935 he moved to Upper Silesia to Orzesze and started to work as a railway doctor. Here he met Elżbieta Synoczek – a nurse who came from Katowice, he married her in Orzesze on 24th June 1936. A year later he moved to Katowice where he became a doctor of Health Maintenance Organisation in Ligota. His daughter was born then and her younger sister Halina two years later.

At the beginning of August 1939 he sent his wife with his daughters to his parents because he was afraid of possible consequences of the outbreak of the war. We reached Zaraż by train. There the war found us, we didn’t have any contact with our father, only then his letters started to come. (…) On 28th June 1940 the Soviets came to our house and ordered to pack our things: “Sobirajsa z wieszczami!”(…) there were 50 Poles in the carriage, the doors were closed from outside. The journey was very long, finally we reached Selikdar Ugolnyj in the Yakutsk region. (…) I was three years old and I looked after my one-year-old sister, my mum worked all day cutting down trees in the taiga to provide us with at least a little food. Despite this we were hungry – his daughter Danuta recalled.

At the same time in Katowice Władysław Dziedzic was arrested by the Gestapo on 20th May 1940 and on 26th May 1940 he was transported to the Dachau concentration camp. At the beginning of 1941 we found out about the arrest and taking our father to the camp. After the announcement of an amnesty for Poles, my mum decided to get to the south near our home, Poland. (…) we set off on a journey which lasted a few months. We went by train, by water, we walked. We begged for food. In Kazakhstan or maybe in Uzbekistan, my mum got sick with typhus and went to hospital. Two Polish sisters took care of me and my sister but they soon left us with a Kazakhs family and they continued their further journey to Buzułuk. When our mum got better she looked for us for five weeks. When she finally found us, the family we lived with didn’t want to give us back. They didn’t have their own children and my mum actually stole us when they were working in the fields. They finally got to the forming Polish Armed Forces. We all were in a deplorable condition, in rags, without money. My mum survived an unimaginable nightmare because I and Halinka were more and more ill. We had ulcers on our necks and faces, we suffered from otitis and conjunctivitis, we had whooping-cough. (…) My sister, although she was three, couldn’t walk because of rickets. (…) When my mum was refused to join into the group for the evacuation from Russia, a doctor helped her, he passed the three of us by the side entrance to the place where there were people to leave (…). We reached Krasnowodsk by train, and by ship – Pahlawi in Persia. We were saved.

Elżbieta Dziedzic with her daughters were evacuated from Persia to India, and then to Africa – to the Koi camp by Lake Victoria in Uganda. There her older daughter Danuta suffered from a severe form of malaria and they had to go outside the malaria area to the Rongai camp in Kenia. Two years after the war in 1947 my mum got a message from my father through the Red Cross. It turned out that he had been released from the Dachau camp on 22nd September 1940 and then evacuated to Dąbrowa Górnicza. My mum, although she was strongly advised against going to Poland, decided to come back. Not long after that, after seven years of separation, my father welcomed us at the railway station in Czechowice Dziedzice. Władysław Dziedzic during the war was a member of the Home Army, he provided conspiracy groups with medicines and dressings, he also issued certificates which allowed people to avoid transportation to Germany for forced labour. After the war he worked as a doctor, he died in 1984.