Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

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Sapperschild
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Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Sapperschild » Tue Dec 17, 2019 4:59 pm

Hello everyone. A friend is looking for information about his Dad’s service in WW2. He has very little information, other than his Dad was Polish, served with the Polish army for a very short period of time after the Germans invaded Poland, when he was captured and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp, location unknown. He has a picture of his Dad in what appears to be a POW uniform (will try to post to the forum), with the number 152/40 on the picture. His Dad’s name was Boleslaw Walter Kowal, born September 11, 1914, possibly in a town named Reckowo, Poland. Preliminary research tells us that later in the war, many Polish soldiers served with other countries like England, whose records may be available through the Ministry Of Defence in the U.K., but my friend believes his Dad was captured early on, without the chance to join the Brits. Any information you can provide that would steer him in the right direction, would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Sapperschild » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:14 pm

Have come across this site that provides a few options. Unfortunately, my friend's father, like many Veterans, never spoke much about the war and so date of enlistment, capture, liberation etc. is not available. We might suggest he submit request to all of the sites described in this link; http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/polish-ar ... ion-28879/

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Phil
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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Phil » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:13 pm

I must say I'm not nearly as familiar with research into Polish military records but I will have a look-see.
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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Sapperschild » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:52 pm

IMG_0545.JPG
Boleslaw Walter Kowal. We believe this is his P.O.W. picture.
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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by BFBSM » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:34 pm

I would suggest the International Red Cross: https://www.icrc.org/en/archives.

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Temujin
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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Temujin » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:45 pm

In the past, I have tried to do research on Allied POW’s with the German Government. Their cryptic answer to the inquiry was “Do to Allied Bombing in Germany during WW2, no records exist”. I also check with the Red Cross at that time. Their answer was, archival research is the “last priority” of the Red Cross, and could not give me a time timetable of when they could possibly look for any records (and that was years ago, I have received no further answer)

I did a “quick” check with the ICRC (Internationals Committee of the Red Cross) and this is what their website give us in regards to Polish POW’s

Why the ICRC was unable to keep track of Polish POWs captured by German forces.

In September 1939, Poland was invaded by German and Soviet troops.

A large proportion of the Polish army was captured: around 400,000 men by the German forces and over 200,000 by Soviet troops. Until February 1940, the German authorities gave the ICRC lists of the Polish prisoners of war they held, but after that date they stopped.

In 1943, they again began to send these lists, but now only officers were mentioned. What had happened was that most of the Polish soldiers who became prisoners of war were turned i nto " civilian workers " by the German authorities. They were thus -- in defiance of the 1929 Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war -- deprived of their prisoner-of-war status and of the protection this should have afforded them.

Prisoners of war who refused to become " civilian workers " were mostly sent to concentration camps. In this way, the ICRC lost track of a large number of them.

At no time during the war did the USSR give the ICRC lists of Polish prisoners. When, in April 1943, the massacre of over 5,000 Polish officers at Katyn was discovered, the USSR refused to allow the ICRC to take part in an international investigation.

https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/resources/d ... 57jnwv.htm

I will try and see what I can find, but not sure I will have much luck.........BUT, I have a dinner guest coming over this week, he was born in Poland and still owns a home their (I have visited it with him and his family).......I will check with him if their is any where we can try and find out if their is ANY records available, and as he speaks Polish, this could help.....but I do not hold much hope of finding anything

I”ll do the best I can

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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Sapperschild » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:09 am

Thank you Phil and Temujin. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Phil » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:10 am

Searching the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database here,

https://www.ushmm.org/online/hsv/person ... search.php

I was able to find some documents that relate to Boleslaw Kowal born 09/11/1914, attached. I haven't gone through them all, some seem to be in Polish.
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These users commended the author Phil for the post (total 2):
Temujin (Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:05 pm) • Sapperschild (Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:12 pm)
Phil

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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Phil » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:28 am

I'm not sure if some of those documents relate to family, or just others with the surname Kowal that happen to be in the same index.
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Re: Wartime Service information Polish Soldier

Post by Sapperschild » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:48 am

Hi Phil. The first document I opened, although in Polish, contains what appears to be a birthdate of September 11, 1914, so it may indeed be our friend’s Dad. Pretty incredible if this is the case. We look forward to reviewing the remaining files. Thank you so much. Will notify our friend so that he can sign up to this site as well. Thanks again.

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