Keeping Their Memory Alive...

August 12, 2020

Slawomir Dobrowolski, board member of the local Polish Combatants Association, Fr. Adam Wroblewicz, CR and Adam Sikora, president of the Polish Combatants Association present Fr. Adam with the Gold Combatants' Cross

On July 18th Fr. Adam Wroblewicz, CR was honoured for his passion in promoting the history of Polish war heroes.  He was presented with the Gold Combatants’ Cross by the Canadian Polish Combatants Association.

A number of years ago, Fr. Adam wanted to mark Poland’s National Independence Day on November 11th.  He invited members of his parish from St. Joseph’s Parish in Brantford to come to the cemetery and honour those lost in the war.  Unfortunately few showed up.

“We have a monument for Polish veterans at St. Joseph’s cemetery,” explained Fr. Adam, “so I decided next time to have a special celebration.”

He promoted the event, invited his congregation and brought veterans from the city’s two Polish halls with flags and banners.

“A large number of parishioners showed up and it was very meaningful for me and the Polish people.”

This inspired Fr. Adam to do more.  He added other patriotic celebrations as part of the church services at St. Joseph’s, in particular teaching about the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy were the Polish soldiers played a vital role in driving out the German defenders of the area.

Brantford’s remaining veterans of that battle died recently and Fr. Adam performed their funeral services.

Paul Loyjko was 94 and had fought in the Polish Armoured Division for the British at Monte Cassino. He passed away in April.

4 days later, 96 year old Leon Dubicki, who served with the 2nd Polish Corps 8th British Army during the same battle passed away.

Both of these men had been sent to Siberia and were recipients of the Medal of Monte Cassino, but they met in Brantford.

“They won the battle over German soldiers in 1944 to open roads and liberate Italy,” said Fr. Adam, noting that honouring Polish history has a special importance to Poles.

“We commemorate many important Polish events in our community because people don’t know.  It was forbidden to teach our history at one time.”

So Fr. Adam has taught the history, speaking to his church, groups and school children about Polish heritage and war efforts.

“When people came to Canada, they found a loving country and I would say, for them, it was very meaningful and important to celebrate these occasions because it had been forbidden under the communist government.”

Because of Fr. Adam’s many initiatives in keeping that history alive, the Canadian president of the Polish Combatants Association, Adam Sikora, presented Fr. Adam with the Gold Combatants Cross on July 18th.

Those war veterans still mobile were in attendance with their Second World War colours flying.

The Gold Combatants’ Cross replicates the image of the Battle of Monte Cassino medal.

Congratulations Fr. Adam!