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Family Tree--Jozef (Joseph) Budzik (Poland-United States)
Family Tree--Piotr Budzik (Poland-Canada
Family Tree--Stanislaw (Stanley) Budzik (Poland-United States)
Family Tree--Wiktoria (Victoria) Budzik (Poland-United States)
Family Tree-Jakub Budzik (Poland)
Jan Tobias and Marya Gut
Marya Gut Moves to Canada
Peter Budzik's Childhood
Piotr Budzik and Helen Tobias
Piotr Budzik's Life in Poland
Piotr Budzik's Memoir 1917-1942
Starkville Mine Disaster--Newspaper Accounts
Wlasnwolski Family Tree
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Piotr Budzik's Memoir 1917-1942
I was born in Klokowa in the province of Tarnow, on June 28, 1902. My father Jakub Budzik was also born in Klokowa on July 12, 1856. My mother was Katarzyna Wlasnowolska. I was baptized in a church by the name of All Saints, in the village of Plesnia, near Tarnow, Poland.
On November 30, 1917, at the age of 15 years, I left home to go to Slask Opawski, to my uncle Wojciech Wlasnowolski's homestead and workshop in Dobroslavic (Czechoslovakia) via the Deblin railway. There I was apprenticed to first learn the blacksmith's trade and later the metalworker's craft. I received my journeyman's diploma in Hrabimi (Czechoslovakia) on the 28th of October, 1919, when I was 17 years old. I also obtained a diploma "A Teacher's Lecturing Certificate #248 dated from October 1, 1916 to October 1, 1919". This diploma was equivalent to a one year course entitling me to teach this trade. This diploma was signed by my uncle, Master Wlasnowolski.
I left Dobroslavic on the 30th of June, 1920, when I was 18 years old, as a result of a disagreement with my uncle, the Master, who without any good reason wanted me to work long hours even on Sunday. I therefore travelled to Marowskiej Czfrawy (Czechoslovakia) where I worked for two weeks.
On July 15, 1920, I left for home. For the following two weeks, I helped my Father on the farm as it was the harvest season.
At this time, Poland underwent a great trial. The Russian Bolsheviks wanted to transform all of Europe into Communist states, and attacked Poland in order to walk over her dead body to reach the rest of Western Europe. A call went out throughout the whole country to everyone who could carry a rifle, to join the struggle and save the threatened European civilizations and Christianity.
On July 30, 1920, at 18 years of age, I voluntarily applied to serve in the Polish armed forces through P.K.U. (Powiatowa Komisja Uzupelnien--a Government Commission responsible for acquiring additional forces in times of national emergencies) in Tarnow.
On August 9, 1920, I was sent to the front lines occupied by the Bolsheviks, and was there assigned to the Polish Volunteer Battalion under the command of Major Lubienski from Zorawy. We travelled from Tarnow by train through the following places:
From Deblin we marched through:
Took the train from Ostroleki through:
Rudnik on Sanem
Lwow (where we stopped)
We were billeted in Kleparowie and for the next two weeks we underwent military training before being sent to fight in the front lines.
On Sunday the 6th of September we reached the front line trenches. The rain was pelting down and we were soaked to the skin. To make matters worse the weather showed no sign of improvement. That night the Lieutenant in charge of the 2nd company ordered me to go to the Command Battalion near the village of Cerkwi.
For two hours I plodded through deep mud until, finally, totally exhausted, I reached the Battalion. I brought with me orders that the Company was to attack the enemy, at a town called Kazimierz, at 8 o'clock the next morning. When the attack took place, the surprised Bolsheviks retreated. We then proceeded and established our new base at the town of Glszanica. Here I was placed in charge of the Battalion by Major Lubienskim. At Glszanica we were joined by a new Lieutenant. At 3:00 a.m. we marched until we reached the town of Bauczyn at about 10:00 a.m., where we took a much needed rest. Here the troops were assembled and Major Lubienski spoke to us and praised us for the hardships we were enduring. He told us how to profit from the present rest period, as we were to brace ourselves for more severe hardships in the future. We began by washing our clothes and undergarments as there were in a terrible condition. We had to soak our legs before we could remove our trousers as these were stuck to our skin.
That evening, before going to sleep, an alarm sounded, and in ten minutes we were assembled into columns ready to march into battle. As it turned out the Bolsheviks had broken through our front lines and established themselves around the town of Firlyowski.
When we arrived at Firlyowski, Major Lubienski gave orders to fix bayonets on our rifles. Slashing a path through the brush, we made our way to the very edge of the enemy camp. The camp was aglow with fires and to avoid being seen, we were ordered to attack immediately. We gave out a huge war cry and engaged in hand to hand combat. The sky was lit up from the cannon and rifle fire. Surprised by our daring attack, the Bolsheviks became disoriented and ran in all directions and became mixed in with our troops.
After the fighting had died down, in the morning we came across a mass grave. It was a most horrible sight. In front of a rail line, in a dug out area, lay 37 naked corpses. These were bodies of Polish soldiers that belonged to the 10th Company of the 16th infantry Regiment from Tarnow. These soldiers were attacked by the Russian cavalry (Cossaks). They tried to defend themselves valiantly to the very last, but were eventually overwhelmed. The remaining soldiers were taken prisoner and their uniforms and undergarments removed. They were then brutally massacred by Russian sabres. To look upon these mutilated bodies was far worse than any imagined horror. Dismembered heads with brains splashed all over the ground, disemboweled torsos, cut off hands, arms and legs were scattered all around. The Polish Commanding Officer of these soldiers, who had gold teeth, was lying naked with his stomach ripped open. His gold teeth were torn out by some Bolshevik using a bayonet or a sabre. That evening we buried our Polish brothers in arms, our heroes, and we will never, never forget the gruesome scenes we had witnessed that day.
In the aftermath of the battle of Firlyowski, the Bolsheviks only attacked us once. This attack was repulsed with superhuman strength, as we were avenging the barbarism that was carried out on our troops, while it was still fresh in our minds. Even though there were no further attacks, the Bolsheviks nevertheless continued to fire on us sporadically.
In our advance against the Bolshevik Army we passed through the following towns and villages:
Bialy Kamien--Pow. Zloczow
Kraemieniec (gory i skaly)
Kropolowka (1 Baon)
Bykowce (a stopover of 5 weeks)
Warunkoce (a stopover of 16 p.p.)
In Warunkoce I was appointed staff officer to Stanislaw Pudlakiem, the Colonel of the first Battalion, that was attached to the 16th unit of the 6th infantry at field post 28. Other officers included Lieutenant-Colonel Steczkowski (Adjutant) and Captains Mikulowski and Palewicz.
On the 25th of October, 1920, the Russians called for a truce. At this time I was sent with Colonel Pudlakeim, with orders, to the demarcation line of the first Battalion which was located in Ostropolu. We travelled through the following towns and villages:
After we finished carrying out our formal duties I returned to my regiment in Warunkowach. On November 7th we left Warunkowiec and marched through the following locations:
Kuncza (Here I received a letter from my brother Leon inviting me to his wedding)
Toki (November 18 on the Ukrainian border)
Skalat Nowy (quartered in a presbytery, leaving on November 26, 1920)
Lipianka (near Podwoloczysk)
Dragonowka (a big village)
Poczapince (near Drogonowki--we quartered in p.p. Bury)
On December 12, 1920, at Pozaspince I was released from duty and sent to join my unit by the Personnel Staff Officer of the 16th Regiment, Lieutenant Gradzinski. I went on foot to Tarnopol, where my travel papers were issued. From there I went by train travelling through the following places:
In Tarnow I was discharged from the army on the 18th of December, 1920. From the date of my discharge to November 20, 1921, I worked with my father in managing his farm and homestead.
On the 29th of November, 1921, I found employment in the Head Machine Shop of the Polish National Railways (P.K.P.) in Tarnow, where I worked as a metal worker, and ranked as number 11 on the pay scale. My gross income from November 29, 1921 to December 30, 1922 was 750,186.00 Polish Marks. From January 1, 1923 to December 31, 1923 I made 21,487,630.00 Polish Marks.
At this time in Poland there was general inflation at such a rapid rate that salaries had to be updated monthly, and even then they could not keep up with the increase in the cost of living. As a result, Polish organized labour called a general strike oon July 1, 1923, which involved not only workers but also the police and army. The worst clashes with authority took place in Krakow.
On December 3, 1923, I was called upon again to serve in the army. This time I had to leave my job at the Railway Machine Shops. On December 1, 1923, I received an army call-up card assigning me to the 5th division of the regiment of armed cavalry in Tarnow.
The Commanding Officer of this P.K.U. unit was Colonel Hoborski. The leader of the 5th P.S.K. unit was Colonel Echbar. Leading the 1st cavalry squadron was Captain Liszko. Leading the 2nd cavalry squadron was Captain Torowicz. Leading the 3rd cavalry squadron was Captain Lempicki. I was assigned to work with all three of the above squadrons and was given a horse named Fotograf No. 797.
On January 9, 1924, I was given the responsibility of shoeing the horses of the first cavalry squadron. In addition we had to perform the following military exercises: horseback riding on Wednesday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and marching Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We also received training under Captain Brcza, Chief Sergeant Glazikowski, Corporal Wilk, the Head of the Shops, Seargent Smid, and the army veterinarian Captain Kogut.
On July 1, 1924, the first Cavalry squadron was sent to Bochnia as a permanent posting, but I was sent back to join the third squadron in Tarnow so that I could assist and support the Veterinarian Captain Kogut. At this time the Head of the third squadron was Colonel Lomnicki, the Chief Sergeant was Loch, the Corporal was Tarnowski and the Head of Shops was Przybylowski.
The Veterinarian Captain Kogut was promoted to the rank of Major. He was truly a cultured and pleasant man, who was very interested in me and tried to talk me into making the army my permanent career.
On the 29th of August, 1924, our regiment went on manoeuvres which took place at Gornym Slasku (Northern Slask) in the vicinity of Przeczynskim. for the purposes of the manoeuvres I was assigned a mare named Herezje No. 338. From Tarnow to Oswiecimia we went by train and from Oswiecimia on horseback through the town of Bierun, finally setting up our quarters in the countryside of Urbanowice.
The entire 5th Brigade carried out military exercises until September 15, 1924. The Brigade was made up of the following Regiments:
2 Regiments of Light Cavalry
3 Regiments of Lancers
5 Regiments of Cavalry Rifles
8 Regiments of Light Cavalry from Krakow
5 Divisions of Mounted Artillery from Lulka
A military march was held on the fields of Irkanowice. The march past was performed for the Polish General and included representatives of Turkish and French armies.
On the 20th of September, 1924, we left for Oswiecima and by 7:00 p.m. we were already in Tarnow. The 3rd squadron, acting as honour guard, presented the Regimental Standard to the Commanding Colonel, after which we all retired to our barracks.
On our return from military manoeuvres, I again worked as a blacksmith shoeing the horses of a newly arrived platoon. In the meantime I was paid 130 zloty as a gratuity for working so hard on their behalf. On the 15th of September, 1924, I was transferred from Colonel Przybylowski's workshops back to working under Warrant Officer Seweryn Smid.
On December 5th, 1924, I went to see a doctor because I was feeling weak. The doctor examined me and sent me to a Regional Hospital in Tarnow because of problems I was having with my stomach and bowels. The military doctor treating me was Captain Mandel and the nurse was named Grauczynska. I was released from hospital on February 10, 1925.
On March 5, 1925, I went before Squadron Commander Captain Liszka with a request for an increase in my food allowance, which was granted. My monthly salary at the time was 52 Zloty. On April 6, 1925, I obtained a fourteen day leave of absence (from April 9 to April 22, 1925) from Colonel Rozwadowski.
After my leave, I was sent on a study course by Major Kogut for a period of four months. The course on horse shoeing was given in Krakow at the Military Hospital for Horses (No. 5) under the jurisdiction of Regiment No. 133, starting on May 13, 1925. The names of the officers at the school were as follows:
Chief Veterinariam was Lieutenant Colonel Iwaszkiewicz
Veterinarian Lieutenant Colonel Molicki
Teacher of Veterinary Theory Captain Przybylo
Staff Sargent Samon
Warrant Officer Migdal
The end of the course was followed by a two day examination (September 17/18, 1925). I was examined in front of a Commission made up of both military and civilian instructors. The results of my examination were very good. According to a written document dated July 17, 1923, of the D.O.K. (No. V.L.4128/V) I was assigned to the senior cavalry rifle unit under the command of the Okregowego Szpitala Konii No. V (Hospital for Horses No. 5) (under order number 257 II) from September 21, 1925. The order was signed by Colonel Malicki (Veterinary Doctor) the Headmaster of the school. On September 21, 1925, I left Krakow to join my regiment in Tarnow, where I was employed in the workshops until October 12, 1925. On October 10th I was transferred from the Active to the Reserve Army. On the following day (October 13th) I was released from the army.
On my return from the army, I looked into the possibility of getting my old job back at the State Railway Company Shops in Tarnow. I had to apply to their Head Office in Krakow. However, hard as I tried, my attempts came to no avail due to the fact that the Railway Company, at this time, was downsizing in an effort to economize. As I could not find any employment opportunities now or in the near future, I made the decison to seek work outside of Poland. In April of 1926, I requested my rightful share of the estate left me by my mother in her will, specifying that I was to receive 700 Austrian Crowns upon her death. I made this request through my brother Leon. My mother (nee Katarzyna Wlasnowolska) had died on September 8, 1908, when I was six years old. The money was converted into Polish currency amounting to 735 P. Zl. and after signing the appropriate forms, I was able to collect it from the Notary's Office in Tarnow.
On receipt of my inheritance I made all the necessary arrangements for my departure from Poland. I obtained my passport No. 33552/26 (valid for one year) dated June 18, 1926, from a local magistrate in Tarnow.
I left home on June 20, 1926, at the age of 24, and bought my Steamship ticket in Krakow from the White Star Line.
On JUne 25, 1926, I boarded a small ship named Smolensk from Gdansk to London, England. I landed in London on June 29, 1926, and then made my way to Liverpool. I left Liverpool on July 2, 1926, on the steamship Megantic (14,878 tons) and arrived in Quebec City on July 10, 1926. In Quebec I bought a railway ticket to Winnipeg. However, I got off the train in Montreal at Bonaventure Station, and after thinking it over, decided to stay in Montreal. It so happened that I ran into two of my army friends in Montreal, Jan Nowak (who presently lives in Chicago) and Josef Kolczak (who later died in a railway accident in Lachine) who influenced my decision.
My first job in this city was at Peck Rolling Mills Ltd. at 27.5 cents an hour. I was hired on July 16, 1926, and worked until October 1, 1926. My total earnings during this time amounted to $158.73.
On October 2, 1926, I obtained employment at the Victor Talking Machine Company of Canada Ltd. Here I earned 40 cents an hour plus overtime. Up to January 1, 1927, I made a total of $227.48. I worked for this company until April 3, 1929, when I left because a friend, Alexander Wronski, told me that the company he worked for, the Montreal Locomotive Works Ltd., was looking for people with my trade expertise.
In February 1927, I met a girl named Elena Tobias, the daughter of the Swierzynski family who lived at number 359A Grand Trunk Street in Montreal. We became engaged on Sunday February 27, 1927. Our wedding took place on Saturday April 23, 1927, at 3:00 p.m. at St. Joseph's Church, which was French and located on Richmond Street. This church was shared with the Polish parish named Holy Trinity. Our wedding ceremony was performed by Father Vincent Helenowski assisted by Father Sosny who was French. Our wedding was attended by my brother Joseph from Shelton, Connecticut, and my sister Victoria from New Haven, Connecticut. We had not seen each other for some 15 years.
My wife was born on December 10, 1908, in Starkville, Colorado, U.S.A., in the county of Trinidad, where her father Jan Tobias worked in a coal mine. He died in a mine explosion in 1910. After his death his widow Maria (Elena's mother) took her three children and returned to Poland to her native village of Bochnia. Later she came to Montreal, Canada with her children. They left Poland via the port of Bremen on September 30, 1911, aboard a ship called George Washington and landed in New York City, U.S.A. on October 9, 1911. Elena was registered in the ship's manifest as "Helena Swierzynski" for reasons I will explain later. Travelling on this same ship were two brothers, Joseph (the elder brother) and Wladyslaw (Walter) Swierzynski. Maria (Elena's mother) married Wladyslaw after arriving in Canada.
On June 9, 1927, I took out a life insurance policy for $1,000.00 coverage for a period of 20 years (London Life Insurance Co.--Policy No. N152084). We moved from my wife's parents home on November 26, 1927, into our own dwelling at 2143 Grand Trunk Street.
On Sunday March 4, 1928, at 4:00 p.m. a daughter was born to us and we named her Irene. She was baptized in the Holy Trinity Church (Kosciele Swiety Trojcy) by the Prelate Dr. Helenowski and her godparents were Jan Bromirski and Stefania Kostecka.
On April 4, 1929, I obtained work at Montreal Locomotive Works Ltd. as a tool and a cable maker at a salary of 55 cents an hour plus bonuses, where I worked steadily until December 13, 1929.
On December 20, 1929, I obtained part time work delivering sacks of coal for the Elias Rogers Co. at a salary of 35 cents per hour. I worked there until March 12, 1930.
On December 4, 1929, after an 8 month pregnancy, my wife gave birth to a still-born son. We buried him the following day (December 5, 1929).
On March 12, 1930, I was rehired at Montreal Locomotive Works Ltd. where again I worked until May 13, 1931, when I was laid off because of lack of company orders.
At this time in North America there was a great economic crisis called "The Depression" as was never seen before. On June 1, 1931, I was hired by the Victor Talking Machine Co. at the same job I previously had, and at the same salary of 40 cents an hour.
In the year of 1930 I met Ludwik Viktor, a former Captain of the Polish Army, who was an Engineer by training and who worked for a company called Dominion Engineering. He put his heart and soul into organizing The Polish Army Veteran's Association in Montreal. I joined this group at their first meeting in 1930, and during the years 1931-32 I was elected President of this organization.
On October 27, 1931, General Gustav Orlicz-Dreszer, President of the Warsaw League of Maritime Nations, came to Montreal. It was a really significant and historical occasion for the Polish Montreal community, as this was the first Polish General who ever came to Canada. At the "Dom Polski" a big banquet was held in his honour, and on entering the banquet hall, he immediately shook my hand. Our daughter, Irene, who was three years old at the time, was privileged to present him with a heart-shaped wreath made of red roses on behalf of the Organization of Polish Veterans in Montreal. She made such a heartfelt impression on him with this speech: "Dear General, please accept this gift with all your heart as it is offered to you from the bottom of the hearts of the Canadian Polish Veterans". The General was so moved that he laid the wreath aside, took Irene in his arms, gave her a big hug and showered her with kisses.
At the initiative of Captain Viktor an appeal was made to all the Polish organizations in Canada to send delegates to a convention to be held in Toronto on November 3rd and 4th, 1931, to establish a centralized organization to be called "Federation of Polish Associations in Canada." This was agreed to and Captain Viktor became the first President of this organization. I represented the Organizing Committee at this convention.
On July 11, 1931, I applied for my Canadian citizenship papers and took the oath of allegiance at the Circuit Court. I received my citizenship certificate (No. 88965 series A) on February 17, 1932, from the Secretary of State in Ottawa.
On Monday April 11, 1932, at 4:30 in the morning, my wife gave birth to a son whom we named Piotr Tadeusz (Peter Thaddeus). He was christened at the church of Our Lady of Czestochowa, near Montgomery Street, on May 1, 1932. His Godparents were Edward Roszynski and Kathleen Tobias. On April 21, 1932, we moved into a new home, an upper triplex, at 2047 Gascon Street. In the year 1932, as President of the Polish Veterans Association, I acted as press secretary for the Federation of Polish Associations of Canada, and attended their convention held in Windsor, Ontario, on November 11-13, 1932.
On May 8, 1935, thanks to the recommendation of the Polish Canadian Consul, Mr. Marlewski, I obtained a position in the offices of Gdynia Ameryka Line at 740 Windsor Street in Montreal. My starting salary was $15.00 per week.
On September 20, 1933, I received a final military commendation from the District of Tarnow (through the office of the Polish Consulate in Montreal), which consisted of a memorial medal for service during the war of 1918-21, inscribed with the words "Polska Swemu Obroncy" (Defender of Poland). The accompanying certificate of authenticity was numbererd 13841, and was issued by the P.R.U. in Tarnow.
On August 5, 1933, I went on a visit to the United States to see my sister Victoria in New Haven, and my brothers Joseph in Shelton, and Stanley in Derby, Connecticut. I had not seen my brother Stanley since he left our family home in Poland some 24 years ago. I returned to Montreal on August 8, 1933, bringing back with me some wonderful memories of my family visit.
The third reunion of the Federation of Polish Associations in Canada (Z.P.K) took place on November 23-25, 1934, in Hamilton, Ontario. To this reunion I went as a Montreal delegate. From Gdynia Ameryka Line I received $10.00 to cover my trip expenses. At this convention I met a Dr. Tarasiuka (a priest and a true patriot) with whom I was invited to a dinner attended by Consul Markowski, Mr. J.K. Flis, Mr. Likora, and the Association's lawyer Mr. Dublinski from Winnipeg. I was also invited to a gathering, by my close friend Mr. Flis, that included the Consul-General of the Polish Republic, Jerzy Adamkiewicz, Consul Jan Pawlica, Consul Markowski, Father Dr. Tarasiuk, the president of the Association, Mr. Dubinski, the secretary, Mr. Sikora and finally Captain Victor.
In November 1934, I became a member of the White Eagle Society in Montreal. This Society held their meetings in a hall called the "Dom Polski" (Polish House) located on Frontenac Street.
On December 8, 1934, I went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the first time taking a group of passengers who were scheduled to go on a Gdynia Ameryka Line passenger ship called "Kosciuszko". On this ocean liner I was to be the tour guide for passengers travelling to Poland. (On March 17, 1934, my weekly salary was raised from $15.00 to $17.50.) To fulfill this role, I applied for a Canadian Passport in order to be able to travel outside the country. A Canadian passport was issued to me by the Department of External Affairs, in Ottawa, dated December 6, 1934, valid for 5 years. However, in the meantime, the Head Office of Gdynia Ameryka Line, in New York, reversed its decision to hve me as passenger tour guide, so I never got that opportunity.
The second time I went to Halifax with passengers was on January 23-27, 1935, to board the liner "Pulaski" which left Halifax for Poland on January 25, 1935. On March 15, 1935, I had to leave for Ottawa to arrange matters involving passports. The third time I left for Halifax was on March 21-25, 1935, accompanying passengers destined for the liner "Kosciuszko" that landed in New York. It sailed on March 23, 1935.
On March 19, 1935, I had to go to the United States (St. Albans, Vermont) to meet passengers traveling from Poland on the liner "Kosciuszko" that landed in New York. These passengers were escorted from New York to St. Albans by Mr. Komer from our New York office.
On April 20, 1935, I again left for Ottawa to resolve some passport issues with the Polish Consul-General.
The fourth time I went to Halifax was on April 25-29, 1935, this time with passengers travelling on the liner "Pulaski" that set sail for Poland on April 27, 1935. During this time in Halifax, I stayed at the Nova Scotia Hotel.
On May 26, 1935, our daughter Irene (7 years old) celebrated her first communion at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church on Montgomery Street.
On June 22-24, 1935, I went with my wife and family to Ottawa where we stayed with the Kozlowski family at the Polish Consulate. Ottawa is a beautiful city and we had an opportunity to tour it in detail. We visited the Parliament buildings including the Peace Tower, the gardens of the Governor General, and the National Museum. The wife of Consul Adamkiewicz graciously obtained permission from the Minister of Finance to take us on a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint. Later she drove us to the train station for our trip home. We travelled on free rail passes courtesy of the C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway).
From the 8th to the 14th of September, 1935, I had a week's paid vacation, that I spent with my brother Stanley in Derby, Connecticut.
On December 9, 1935, I went to New York to escort Canadian passengers who arrived from Poland on the passenger ship "M.S. Pilsudski" on December 10, 1935.
On March 1, 1936 my weekly salary was raised from $17.50 to $22.00 by order of the Director of Gdynia Ameryka Line in New York, Mr. Roman Kutylowski.
On March 15, 1936, I took out life insurance on my wife with the Prudential Assurance Company Ltd. of London, England. (Policy No. 3714539 for a period of twenty-five years).
On May 27, 1936, I went to New York to meet Canadian passengers who arrived on the "M.S. Batory" on her maiden voyage to North America. It was really a wonderful and very moving experience to see this ship being welcomed by all the other boats and ships in the harbour of New York. These ships had their sirens blaring away, as a way of greeting this new foreign vessel to American shores. On the "Batory" I met General Gustav Orlicz-Dreszer, General Wieniawe-Dlugoszewski and Bishop Niemira.
From June 16 to 25, 1936, Eugene Budzik, son of my brother Stanley from Derby, Connecticut, stayed with us for a short visit.
On Monday August 10, 1936, at 5:10 p.m., my wife gave birth to a baby girl that we named Joanna (Joan). She was baptized on September 5, 1936, at the Polish Church Matka Boska Czestochowska on Montgomery Street. The priest who christened her was Father Blazej Szymaszek (a Franciscan) and her godparents were Wladyslaw Mizgala and Anna Rozynska, my wife's sister.
On September 10, 1936, the motor vessel "M.S. Pilsudski" arrived in Montreal. It was a historic occasion as this was the ship's first visit to Canada. The welcoming ceremonies were magnificent. The ship was visited by some 7,000 persons in one day. On Sunday September 20, 1936, a mass was celebrated on the deck of this ship by Bishop Deschamps of the Montreal Diocese. The "Pilsudski" sailed from Montreal harbour on the morning of September 21, 1936.
M.S. Pilsudski, Montreal, September 20, 1936
M.S. Pilsudski, Montreal, September 20, 1936
On October 21, 1936, I left for Sydney, Nova Scotia on Gdynia Ameryka Line's business. My arrival was announced on the local radio station thanks to our company local agents, J.A. Young and Co. There, among others, I met Father M.L. O'Connell, pastor of the Polish parish, who learned to speak Polish and was dedicated to serving the Polish people. Father O'Connell called a meeting of his parishioners to give me an opportunity to establish contact with them. At this meeting I gave a talk explaining the purpose of my visit and furthermore I tried to encourage the parents in the audience to instill in their children the love of their Polish heritage and their ancestral language from earliest childhood. The results were amazing as my ideas were overwhelmingly accepted. After a time Father O'Connell notified me that a Polish class was established and that the children were eager students. He thanked me for awakening the enthusiasm for keeping Polish alive in the community. When I returned to Montreal, I searched for Polish school texts, which I sent to Father O'Connell also thanking him for extending his kind hospitality during my stay in Sydney. The journey from Montreal to Sydney was 1,001 miles. The trip lasted two nights and one day (one way).
On September 22, 1936, the 4th convention of the Federation of Polish Associations of Canada took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This convention lasted until September 29, 1936, after which I returned to Montreal. I went as a delegate of the White Eagle Society, and at this convention I was appointed Vice-President of this Federation. Another delegate from Montreal attending this convention was Mr. Julian Topolnicki. In Winnipeg, I met many delegates from other Associations and this also added to my fond memories of Winnipeg. During the course of this convention I had the opportunity to visit the Palace of Archbishop Alfred A. Seenote along with a small delegation. The Archbishop was a true friend of the Polish people, and the Polish Government had presented him with a cross entitled "Polonia Restituta" (Restored Poland). The Archbishop was extremely pleased with our visit, and when he spoke to us, his knowledge of both Polish history and of its people was remarkable. He holds the Polish nation in very high esteem, and actually considers himself half Polish.
In Winnipeg I also met Father Zielonka, a priest and a patriot, who is one of the "Wrzesienskich Dzieci" (Children of Wrzesienskitch) who under the Russian occupation fought for the preservation of the Polish language by conducting secret underground classes. He invited me on Sunday for dinner at the rectory, along with Father Gulczynski, a delegate from Toronto, and Mr. Topolnicski. After this vist, we went again to see Major Czasnego, Lieutenant Colonel Grocholskich, and Lieutenant Colonel Michalskich. Consul Bielinscy also arranged a wonderful banquet where all the delegates were entertained and everyone had a good time. The distance from Montreal to Winnipeg is 1,357 ;miles.
On Saturday November 21, 1936, we were visited by Father Joseph T. Grzelinski, a Missionary of the order of St. Vincent de Paul, from Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He was a very good friend, who had been the Vicar in the Church of the Holy Family in Tarnow, Poland. After this he was posted to China and later sent to the United States. It is appropriate for me to add that this man is a truly dedicated priest, who has a wide range of knowledge of the world and of life in general. He is a gifted speaker and gives wonderful sermons. He conducted a mission at Our Lady of Czestochowa church from November 8 to 22, 1936.
I had a week's vacation from the 17-25 of July, 1937, and so I got in touch with Father Grzelinski who arrived in Montreal on July 19, 1937. The following day, we left together for Quebec City where we spent two days touring this oldest city in North America. On July 21, 1937, we went to the famous shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre where we visited both the church and the Cyclorama--an artistic painting in the round of Jerusalem and scenes of the Crucifixion. On July 22, 1937, we spent time in Montreal taking a few pictures and visiting important sites, after which we made our sincere farewells, with promises to see each other again in the future.
On October 1, 1937, I left for Halifax with passengers sailing on the M.S. Batory, which departed Halifax on October 3, 1937. I returned to Montreal on the morning of October 5, 1937.
On January 1, 1938, Gdynia Ameryka Line raised my weekly salary from $22.00 to 27.50.
On February 3, 1938, I was nominated for the post of Commissioner of the Superior Court for the district of Montreal and on March 10, 1938, I was formally sworn in and received my Commissioner's diploma and official seal of office.
On April 19, 1938, I escorted passengers to Halifax for their journey on the M.S. Batory. This time I met Dr. Leon Michalski, a delegate from the League of Maritime Nations, who was visiting the United States and Canada (Montreal) on matters pertaining to ocean traffic and maritime operations. We had a very pleasant discussion over a glass of Polish beer, until the ship's siren blasted out the signal for all those on board, not leaving for Europe, to disembark. At our parting, Dr. Michalski gave me his lapel pin (L.M.K.) (Ligi Morskie i Kolonalnej) and kissed me heartily. Wishing Dr. Michalski a pleasant voyage, I took leave of the ship and returned to Montreal on the morning of April 22, 1938.
On May 22, 1938, our son Tadziu was taken to the Children's Memorial Hospital in Montreal for an operation on his tonsils and adenoids. The surgery was successful and on May 25, 1938, we brought our beloved son home.
Over the Easter holidays (April 17, 1938) we were visited by my brother Stanley, his son Eugene, daughter Genevieve and my brother-in-law Frank Trytko. They came up from Connecticut, U.S.A., by automobile. We had a most pleasant visit that brought us great joy, as we celebrated these holy days in a wonderful family atmosphere.
On Sunday June 26, 1938, my wife and I went to Cowansville, Quebec, to visit Mrs. Janina Viktor and were also invited to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Olpinski. That same day we returned to Montreal having traveled on rail passes issued by the C.P.R
On July 1, 1938, I went to Prescott, Ontario, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the loss of a Polish Major, Mikolaj Gustaw Szuka, in the 1830 uprising. He served in the American army, and fought against the British in battles that took place between Prescott and Windmill, Ontario.
In 1938, I had two weeks paid vacation, from July 16 to July 30. I spent this time with my family in the United States. I spent 4 days at my sister Victoria's house in East Haven, Connecticut, 6 days at my brother Stanley's house in Derby, and 4 days at my brother Joseph's house in Shelton.
On Sunday July 24, 1938, my nephew Eugene (Stanley's son) took me to the Bridgeport Flying Club at Mollison Airport where, for the first time, we took a flight that lasted about ten minutes. On Monday July 25, 1938, we spent time at town Beach in Milford, Connecticut, by the ocean. My daughter Irene, who accompanied me on this vacation, spent most of her time with her aunt Victoria and her cousin Lucy (Victoria's daughter). On July 30, 1938, I traveled to New York City to meet my dear friend Father Joseph Grzelinski, where we chatted for three hours. After this I left for Montreal, picking up my daughter, Irene, at the New Haven railway station where she was waiting in the company of Uncle Frank, cousin Lucy and cousin Eugene. Here we were happy to have a few minutes to make our heartfelt goodbyes.
The 5th convention of the Federation of Polish Associations in Canada took place on September 29 to October 1, 1938, in Montreal.
On April 15, 1939, a new manager from the New York offices of Gdynia Ameryka Line replaced Mr H.M. Levine. His name was Dr. Stefan Rosicki who had served in the office of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs and had been the Polish Consul in Buffalo, New York. From the beginning our relations were cordial.
I took my two week paid holiday, with my wife, visiting family in the United States (Connecticut) from August 5 to August 18, 1939. During this period we visited the New York World's Fair and spent a day (August 7, 1939) touring the Polish pavilion in detail and other pavilions including those of Russia, Italy, France, Romania, Canada and the United States. The rest of our vacation was mostly spent at the ocean beach at Milford, Connecticut. In the meantime we had the opportunity to visit my niece, Sister Chryzanta (a nun) who is the daughter of my brother Stanley. She took us on a tour of a Polish school in New Haven, Connecticut, where she is a teacher. This vacation, I can easily say, was the best holiday ever spent with my wife and family.
On October 1, 1938, I registered for an eight month course called "Actual Business English" at Sir George Williams College in Montreal, at a cost of $25.00 plus the cost of text books. The course took place twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It ended in May 1939, and I received a final mark of 67 (a passing grade but only average).
On August 7, 1939, our dearest friend Mrs. Janina Viktor (nee Wisniewska) departed for Poland on the M.S. Batory from New York.
The 1st of September, 1939, is a momentous date in the history of the world. On this day at sunrise, at 4:45 in the morning, the German army attacked Poland without prior declaration of war. Polish soil was excruciatingly damaged under the weight of countless heavy German Panzer tanks that destroyed everything in their path. German aircraft, on this first day, started bombing Warsaw and all major rail lines. The enemy aircraft also strafed defenseless farm labourers working in the fields. The Polish army fought bravely, although it was not as well equipped with advanced military technology as was the German army. There were incidents where the Polish Cavalry, on horseback, was engaged in combat with German tanks.
On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union gave Poland a treacherous stab in the back by attacking Poland at its eastern border, just like their barbarous partner Germany, again without any formal declaration of war. As Poland was being torn apart by her two enemies, further fighting proved to be futile. For the fourth time in history Poland was divided by her rapacious neighbours. The Polish government went into exile in Romania. The Polish army also went to Romania and later to Hungary.
England declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, since Poland and England had signed an accord of mutual defense on London on August 25, 1939. On this same day France also declared war on Germany. England and France could not provide Poland with active assistance at this time because they were not prepared for "lightning" military action.
The President of the Polish Republic, Professor Ignace Moscickiogo, went on the air to broadcast the following message:
"My fellow countryment, last night our historical enemy fell upon Poland. I declare this to be true before God and history. At this critical time I ask all citizens, with the deepest conviction, that the whole nation join the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army to defend our Freedom, Independence and Honour and to repulse our invaders, like no other time in the recorded history of Polish-German relations. I ask that the entire country, blessed by God, in this fight for justice and sacred rights, will unite with the army and march into battle and to final victory."
Warsaw defended itself for 27 days until the water supply lines were destroyed and food and military supplies were all depleted. The city of Paris, France, surrendered to the German Army on March 13, 1940.
Because of the war, the offices of Gdynia Ameryka Line were closed, and as a result I was released from my employment on September 30, 1939. I had worked for this company 6 years, 4 months and 22 days (From May 8, 1933, until September 30, 1939). During this time I earned $7,117.48.
On September 30, 1939, I obtained a job in the bureau of the Canadian Postal Censorship Department in Ottawa. I was paid a salary of $25.00 a week with a $30.00 monthly allowance for the upkeep of my family in Montreal. On May 4, 1949, I moved my family from Montreal to Ottawa where we took up residence in an apartment at 205 Fifth Avenue. The apartment building was owned by Mr. W. Russell White.
On April 1, 1941, I was upgraded to a civil service salary category III, which translated into $1,800.00 per year plus a cost of living allowance of $11.91 per month. The promotion to category grade III was a recommendation by the civil service commission. From June 1942, the Censorship department came under the Department of National War Services Directorate of Censorship.
On February 21, 1940, I personally met the famous Polish tenor, Jan Kiepura, at the invitation of the Polish Consul-General Viktor Podolski, in Ottawa. On April 10, 1940, I was introduced by Consul-General Mr. Podolski to General Josef Haller who came to Ottawa representing the Polish Government in Exile in London, England.
On April 27, 1940, our son Tadziu received his first communion at the Polish church, Matka Boska Czestochowska, in Montreal.
On JUne 21, 1940, the President of the Polish Republic Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz and the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army Wladyslaw Sikorski left France for England. At the railway station in London they were met by King George VI.
In August 1940, a requirement for registration of all residents of Canada called the National Registration Regulations, 1940, was enacted, and my wife and I received the following Registration Certificates:
P.B. Ang. 14/40 Electoral District No. 134 Ottawa West Polling Division No. 172--Post Office Department
H.B. Ang. 19/40 Electoral District No. 134 Ottawa West Polling Division No. 146, Corpus Christie School
On December 24, 1940 (Christmas Eve), my wife and I were invited to share "Oplatek" with the Polish Consul-General, W. Podolski.
On January 2, 1941, were were invited to the home of Janostwa Pawlica, the Polish Consul-General in Ottawa to celebrate the New Year.
On January 12, 1941, we had a friendly visit from Henry Zaniewski and his wife (he was the Councillor of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also the head of the Civilian Chancellory Office of the former Polish President, Professor Ignace Moscicki). They were accompanied by Mieczyslaw Malinski (the former Polish Consul in Cairo, Egypt) and Dr. Adam Switkowski (the former Polish Consul in Zagreb, Yugoslavia).
On April 5, 1941, we attended a party hosted by the Polish Consul-General, Viktor Podolski, in honour of the visit of General Wladyslaw Sikorski and his Adjutant, Captain Zamojski. On July 24, 1941, we were also invited by the Polish Consul General to a gathering in honour of a visit by a member of the Polish Army Mission, General Bronislaw Duchem.
On October 18, 1941, my dearest friend and office colleague, Henryk Zniewski died of a heart attack. I attended his funeral in Montreal.
On December 29, 1941, I saw the English Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as he drove through the crowds at 10:10 a.m. on Nicholas Street. He was in Ottawa attending high level meetings.
On January 3, 1942, we threw a small party and invited the Polish Consul-General, Wiktor Podolski, the former Polish Consul in Cairo, my office colleague Mieczslaw Malinski, Miss Geraldine Beaulieu (the daughter of the Deputy Minister of Postal and Administrative Services), engineer Roman Nowakowski along with his wife, and finally our neighbours Flora and Paul Blais.
On March 1, 1942, I attended a reception given at the Polish Canadian Club in Ottawa, in honour of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs in London, Dr. Edward Raczynski.
On July 15, 1942, my wife and I were invited to the home of Engineer Wladkow, where we spent a lovely evening together.
On July 21, 1942, my friend Janek Flis and I attended a session of Parliament, following which we were invited to the offices of a Member of Parliament, Thomas H. Ross (Parliament Building Room #520) where we met the Federal Minister of Labour, the Honourable Humphrey Mitchell. The Member of Parliament from Hamilton, Mr. Ross, invited us for breakfast in the Parliamentary restaurant, after which we took a few photos as souvenirs. Later the Minister, Humphrey Mitchell, sent Irene his autographed picture as a keepsake.
This memoir was translated from the original Polish by Peter Thaddeus Budzik. The original is in his possession.
Tarnow, December 20, 1920.
"The exact transcript on taking the oath for service in The Polish Army during the 1920 war between Poland and the Bolsheviks."
Peter Budzik, born on June 28, 1902, in Klokowa, in the region of Tarnow, and province of Malopolska.
Regarding the call to defend our country on July 3, 1920.
I applied to the Supplementary Military Command in Tarnow on July 30, 1920, and was assigned to the 16th Regiment. On August 3, 1920, I left for the front with the Volunteer Battalion, commanded by Major Lubienski. I arrived there on August 9, 1920. While serving on the front I was assigned to the 2nd Company, and later was transferred to the Regimental Command where I served as a Regimental liason officer. The Commander of the 16th Regiment was Lieutenant Colonel Steczkowski.
On December 12, 1920, I was transferred to our unit's Staff Officer (16th Regiment) Lieutenant Gradzinski, to a unit in Tarnow where, on December 8, 1920, I was granted leave for an indefinite period.
I approve the above transcript.
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