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authority records
Ogniwo Polish Museum Archives

Zwierzchowski, Jozef (Joe), 1902-1999

  • CA-OPMA-AR-08
  • Person
  • 1902-1999

Jozef was born in the Grabina powiat of Plock, Poland, on September 12, 1902. He arrived in Quebec on June 23, 1928. He resided in Gerald, SK, before moving to Winnipeg in 1935. In Winnipeg, he worked as a barber, initially operating out of a barbershop in the Dufferin Hotel.
Over his career as a Master Barber, Jozef operated out of various locations, including 241 Dufferin Ave, and later, Joe’s Barber Shop at 408 Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg.
Jozef was a member of the Holy Ghost Parish Church in Winnipeg, the Independent Order of Foresters Court No. 763, the Manitoba Master Barbers Association, the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 34, Mynarski V.C., and the S.P.K. Polish Combatants Association, Branch No. 13.
Jozef died in Winnipeg on September 3, 1999.

Zurad, Adam Jozef, 1915-2004

  • CA-OPMA-AR-13
  • Person
  • 1915-2004

Adam Jozef Zurad was born on February 15, 1915 in Budziwoj, Rzeszow, Poland. During his school years, the family relocated to Drohobycz. He completed high school education and military service, initially assigned to artillery but later reassigned to the infantry officer cadet college in Kielce. He was then sent to the 4th Legionnaire Regiment in Kielce, where he was assigned to a communications platoon.
In 1939, Zurad entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Lwow while simultaneously working in Boryslaw. In August 1939, he received his mobilization papers and was ordered to report to Drohobycz to the 6th Podhale Regiment. He took part in the September campaign. Following German occupation of Poland, Zurad escaped via Hungary to France, where he joined General Maczek’s Division. He took part in the defense of France and remained there throughout most of the Second World War. After the Allied invasion of France, he was assigned to the 10th Hussar Regiment of the 2nd Corps. He trained in Egypt, taking part in the assault on Bologna in Italy.
Following the end of the war, Zurad was recruited by a Canadian commission looking for agricultural workers and emigrated to Canada.
He signed a two-year contract to work on sugar beet farms on the Canadian prairies. He worked on various farms, including cattle farms, then was employed on the construction of the military base in Shilo. He was then employed by CNR in Winnipeg and performing line maintenance in British Columbia. He eventually settled in Winnipeg, and was active in the Polish community. He was a member of the Holy Ghost Parish, a founding member of the Polish Combatants’ Association Branch 13, and a member of Sokol Choir. Zurad also took part in Polish amateur theatre. He resided at the Polish Manor.
Adam Zurad died on March 17, 2004.

Zdrojewski, Lucja,1909-1992

  • CA-OPMA-AR-10
  • Person
  • 1900-1992

Lucja was born on October 31, 1909, in Minsk, Poland, to parents Jozef and Rozalia (nee Juszkiewicz) Gerjatowicz.
She completed her nursing education with the Polish Red Cross in 1930 in Lwow (Lviv). From 1930 to 1939, she was enlisted as a nurse in the District Corps No. VI, working at the Lwow Military Hospital in the radiography laboratory.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, she made her way through Hungary to Parthenay, France, where she worked as a nurse at the temporary hospital beginning in 1940. Later in 1940, she relocated to Dunfermline, Scotland, and resided in various locations in Scotland for the rest of the war. From 1945 to 1947, she was part of the Polish Auxiliary Territorial Services (ATS). Under the auspices of the Polish No. I Corps, she worked in No. 2 Polish General Hospital “Sefa” in Dupplin Castle, Scotland until 1946 and received The War Medal 1939/45 for her service there. Lucja married Henryk (Henry) Zdrojewski in Perth, Scotland, on August 4, 1945. She was released from the ATS Polish Resettlement Corps in 1948 in Edinburgh.
Together with her husband, she immigrated to Canada in 1950, arriving in Halifax on February 8th of that year aboard the Empress of France, and made her way by rail to Winnipeg, where they settled. Lucja received her Canadian citizenship in 1955.
She was active in the Polish community in Winnipeg and was a member of the Polish Canadian Women’s Federation Branch no. 7.
She died in Winnipeg on July 12, 1992, aged 82 years.

Zdrojewski, Henryk, 1900-1969

  • CA-OPMA-AR-11
  • Person
  • 1900-1969

Henryk was born in Warsaw, Poland on November 20, 1900, to Teofil Zdrojewski and Maria (nee Ropelewska) Zdrojewska.
Henryk was a mechanical engineer. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Henryk made his way through Hungary to France with the 1st Grenadiers’ Division, a Polish infantry formation raised in France in 1940, and took part in the Battle of France in 1940. From 1940 to 1946, he was stationed at various posts in Scotland as part of the Polish Forces in the United Kingdom. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Transport Company, 3rd Infantry Division at Crawford in June and July of 1940, then as 2nd Lieutenant in the Transport Company, 1st Independent Rifle Brigade, Polish I Corps, in Biggar and Ladybank, from July 1940 to December 1942. From 1942 to 1946, he was part of the 7th Workshop Company, 4th Infantry Division of the Polish No. I Corps, in Alloa, Chirnside, Coupar Angus, Broughty-Ferry, and Banff Military Camp. He received the War Medal 1939/45 in 1946. Following the end of the war, he was part of the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC), residing in Banff, Kinross, Dunfermline, Alness, and Edinburgh between 1946 and 1948. He was formally discharged from Polish Resettlement Corps in 1949.
Henryk married Lucja Gerjatowicz in Perth, Scotland, on August 4, 1945. Together with his wife, he immigrated to Canada in 1950, leaving Liverpool on February 1st and arriving in Halifax on February 8th of that year aboard the Empress of France. They made their way by rail to Winnipeg, where they settled.
In Winnipeg, Henryk was employed as the manager at Traders Building Associates Ltd. He was a member of the A. Mynarski V.C. Branch 34, Royal Canadian Legion.
Henryk died in Winnipeg on August 18, 1969.

Wiewiora, Celina

  • CA-OPMA-AR-16
  • Person
  • 1946-

Celina Wiewiora was born on February 21, 1946, in Kielce, Poland. She immigrated to Canada in 1993 with her son and daughter, sponsored by her husband, who had preceded them and was living in Winnipeg. She worked as a machine operator at Winnipeg-based clothing company Nygard.

Wazny, Wladyslaw (Walter), 1927-1996

  • CA-OPMA-AR-03
  • Person
  • 1927-1996

Władysław Ważny (a.k.a. Wladyslaw Wazny, Walter Wazny), was born on Aug 18, 1901, in Huta Różaniecka, Ruda Różaniecka, Poland, to parents Agnieszka (nee Krzyszycka) and Karol Ważny. He had four brothers (Kazimierz, Benedykt, Ludwik, Adam) and three sisters (Wiktoria, Franciszka, Katarzyna).

During the First World War, he was a Sergeant in the Polish Army and fought in the Battle of Lemberg (Lwów) in 1919.

Władysław Ważny left Poland via the Port of Danzig and emigrated to Canada in 1927, residing for some time with the Zaborniak family. On April 16, 1931, he married Victoria (nee Wazny) of Melrose, Manitoba, and they settled in Oak Hammock, Manitoba in 1934. Wladyslaw worked as a farmer and also did construction work in the city of Winnipeg. Wladyslaw and Victoria had four children: Erik (Barbara), Robert, Evelyn (Leon) Prucyk, and Jane Wazny. Władysław and Victoria Ważny resided in Oak Hammock until 1995, when they moved to Selkirk, Manitoba.

After his arrival to Manitoba, Wladyslaw maintained correspondence with his parents, brothers, sisters, and numerous nephews, nieces, and acquaintances in Poland, some of whom were born after his departure to Canada and whom he had never met in person. He collected the letters they wrote to him for over six decades. The letters together tell the story of the members of the Wazny, Rebizant, Kudyba, and Bundrya families over many years, depicting their relationships, struggles, and joys. Especially of note are the letters relating to the Second World War, which detail some of the hardships endured by residents of Huta Różaniecka. The letters also remain as a testament to the village of Huta Różaniecka, depicting the stories of its people when it was still a thriving community.

Wladyslaw Wazny was the last of his immediate family to survive, passing away on October 13, 1996.

Polish Women's War Relief Committee, 1939-1949

  • CA-OPMA-AR-06
  • Corporate body
  • 1939-1949

The Polish Women’s War Relief Committee (a.k.a. Polish Women’s Relief Committee, Komitet Polek Niesienia Pomocy Ojczyźnie) was formed by Zwiazek Polek [“Polish Women’s Association”] in Winnipeg on October 20, 1939. It was certified by the Polish National Relief and Defence Committee in Canada Fund and authorized to solicit and make collections on its behalf on December 5th, 1939. The Committee collected, sewed, organized, prepared, and shipped shipments of material goods (including clothing, foodstuffs, and cigarettes) and financial aid to displaced or war-devastated Poles during and following the Second World War. Between the years of 1939 and 1947, the Committee helped hundreds of destitute Polish families and individuals, many of whom were displaced across Europe and had suffered the complete loss of their material goods and property, and many of whom had also lost family members in the War. The Committee also organized shipments of cigarettes and other foodstuffs or necessary material items for war-injured Polish soldiers convalescing in England, and in many cases, organized shipments of goods to their families still in Poland. Finally, the Committee aided hundreds of Polish war orphans through shipments of food and clothing. The Committee’s aid was guided by letters of appeal it received from Poles during and after the War. Awareness of its services was often spread by word of mouth in Poland, as evidenced by the letters in this collection.

The Committee was headquartered at various locations over its primary operating years. The majority of the committee’s activity was centred in the home of its President, Katarzyna Rybak (which was the medical office of her husband, Dr. Frank Rybak), located at 359 Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg. The Committee also received correspondence at 848 Main Street, and at 618 Stella Avenue.

By 1947, most of the operations and activities of the Committee had wound down, and the final records were created in 1949. It is currently unknown whether the Committee officially shuttered or ceased to exist after its main operational functions were complete.

Panaro, Mary Adamowska, 1902-1989

  • CA-OPMA-AR-01
  • Person
  • 1902-1989

Mary Adamowska Panaro was born Maria Adamowska in Czernowitz, Bukovina, Austria, on August 8, 1902, to Polish parents Stanisław Adamowski (1876-1925) and Bronisława Dąbrowska Adamowska (1881-1916). Her father emigrated to Canada in 1910, while Mary, her mother, her aunt Julia Dąbrowska Zaokopna, and her younger brothers Mieczysław (Norman) Józef Adamowski (1908-1969) and Bronisław (Ben) Adamowski (1909-1914), joined him in Winnipeg in 1911. Mary lost her younger brother Ben to a street accident in 1914 and her mother in 1915. Her father died in 1925 following a long battle with tuberculosis.

Mary completed Grades 3 to 7 at Holy Ghost School in Winnipeg, grade 8 at Strathcona School, and grades 9 and 10 at St. John’s Technical High School. She graduated in Commerce. She received certificates in Cost Accounting, Business Administration, and Personnel Administration.

On April 19, 1927, she married Peter Anthony Panaro (1902-1983) of Winnipeg, and on January 1, 1930, gave birth to her only child, daughter Norma Beatrice (in some records, Bernice or Berenice) Panaro Dietz (d. July 11, 2017). Mary and Peter were divorced in 1933.

Mary’s professional career began in 1918, when she began work as a stenographer at the law offices of Hyman & Cherniak, where she worked until 1919. From 1920 to 1925, she was a secretary at the Polish Consulate in Winnipeg. From 1925 to 1929, she was employed by the Cunard Steamship Company as a secretary and later, as an accountant. In 1930, she began her 36-year-long career with the Winnipeg law firm Aronovitch & Leipsic in the Real Estate and Insurance divisions, where over the years, she held the roles of secretary, accountant, credit manager, and office manager, as well as licensed agent in the General Insurance division.

After experiencing the aid and kindness offered to her and her family by a social worker following the loss of her mother, she vowed at a young age to give back to her community. From early adulthood, she was active in the Polish community, in the newcomer and settlement community, and in war relief efforts. As a teenager and young adult, she was involved in the young Polish community, helping to organize various cultural and social activities, as advertised in Winnipeg’s Polish newspaper, Czas Polish Press.

She was a member and Secretary of the Marshall Pilsudski chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.). During and following the Second World War, she contributed to, collected, and helped to pack shipments of food and clothing to needy European families through I.O.D.E. and through the Polish Women’s War Relief Committee. In 1946, she met the first train carrying Polish veterans from Italy, and worked to organize a reception in their honour. In 1949, when the Council of Social Agencies asked Catholic Sisters of Service to organize a reception centre for young Polish women arriving from displaced persons camps, she helped arrange social and cultural activities and material help for the women. She was also involved with the settlement committees assisting Hungarian refugees in 1956 and Czechoslovakian refugees from 1967 to 1969. She also taught English to newcomers following the Second World War.

Mary became a member of the Welfare Council of Winnipeg, named to a committee created to assist immigrants and refugees arriving in Winnipeg from war-torn countries. She was asked to represent the Catholic Women’s League on the New Canadians Committee of the Council of Social Agencies, from which the Citizenship Council evolved, and was a part of the developments in that evolution. She was present at the meeting on November 30, 1951, when the New Canadians Committee decided, with encouragement from the Welfare Council, resolved to reorganize and adopt the name Citizenship Council of Manitoba, of which she became secretary in 1952. She was elected to the executive of the Citizenship Committee in 1956. She chaired the nominating committee charged with recommending officers to lead the new Citizenship Council of Manitoba, which became independent from the Welfare Council in 1957. She served as treasurer for the Council for many years. Following her retirement from Aronovitch & Leipsic, she became heavily involved with the Citizenship Council, and in March 1969, she became its first official staff member, holding the role of Executive Secretary. Along with the Centre’s President Sonja Roeder and its volunteers, she prepared the newly acquired International Centre Building for occupancy. The building was used for festivals, socials, movies, lectures, and cultural events. In June 1969, after the provincial government asked the Centre to welcome 300 Filipino women, Mary launched the longstanding tradition of the Centre’s Saturday morning coffee parties, which provided an opportunity for Winnipeggers to meet with newcomers over a cup of coffee. Each party began with the lighting of a candle by the host and the newest arrival to symbolize a coming together in friendship and understanding. The coffee parties were particularly meaningful to Mary. She established links with refugees and newcomers from all over the world, earning her the title of “International Mother.” She retired from the International Centre in 1976.

Mary was a founding member of the Polish Canadian Women’s Federation Winnipeg branch (#7), formed in 1962. She held the roles of President of the Winnipeg branch (1966) as well as the Vice President for Western Canada of the National Council (1975-1979). She also initiated the 3rd of May luncheons. She was involved in the Polish Handicraft Guild in Winnipeg, and helped to organize the 1963 Polish folk art exhibit.

She was also heavily involved with the Catholic Women’s League, holding the positions of President on local, Diocesan, and Provincial levels, as well as of Vice President and Treasurer on the national level. She was awarded a National Life membership in the League in 1961.

Mary created the Polish Women’s Business Group of Winnipeg in 1960. She was a member of Save the Children, the Personnel Association of Winnipeg, the Canadian Citizenship Federation, the Citizenship Court Committee, and an Executive member of the Polish Refugee Assistance Committee. She worked as a volunteer for United Way of Winnipeg. She was the Citizenship Chairman of the Canadian Polish Congress and a Director and Committee Chairman of the Holy Spirit Credit Union. She was a founding member of the SHARE Mental Health Program and Treasurer of the Nicolas Copernicus Quincentennial Committee.

Mary’s community involvement was recognized in 1970 when she was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award from the City of Winnipeg and the Golden Medal of Merit from the Canadian Polish Congress. She was also awarded the Nicolas Copernicus Quincentennial Medal in 1973 and was named a Provost of the Order of the Buffalo Hunt by the Province of Manitoba in 1982. She was awarded an Honorary Lifetime membership from the Citizenship Council of Manitoba and was nominated for the YWCA Woman of the Year award in 1983. On June 20, 1983, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (Investiture at Rideau Hall on October 5, 1983). In 1984, she received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the City of Winnipeg and was named an Honorary Member of the Polish Gymnastic Association (Sokol).

Mary Panaro died in Edmonton, Alberta, on June 14, 1989, while attending the national meeting of the Polish Women’s Federation.

Prepared by Marta Dabros, Nov. 2017.

Nicolaus Copernicus Observance Committee Inc. of Manitoba

  • CA-OPMA-AR-12
  • Corporate body
  • 1970-1975

The Nicolaus Copernicus Observance Committee Inc. of Manitoba (NCOC) was formed in 1970 under the auspices of the Association of Polish Priests in Manitoba. The organizing members were Msgr. Z.A.J. Baczkowski of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Rev. M. Trzaskoma of Arborg, Manitoba; and Rev. Jan Sajewicz of East Selkirk, Manitoba. The Committee was incorporated in 1972. The NCOC was created with the goal of commemorating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik) in 1973. Under the leadership of Committee President Z.A.J. Baczkowski, the NCOC quickly expanded its membership and established strong links within the Polish community in Manitoba, across Canada, and in Poland, gathering strong support for its mission. The NCOC also established strong links with the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and the Faculty of Science at the University of Manitoba.
The Committee was especially successful at soliciting funds (totaling over $30,000), which it used to commission the creation of a solar telescope donated to the Planetarium at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature.
In 1973, the Committee organized and hosted a number of events to observe the quincentennial anniversary of Copernicus’ birth, including:

  • A Wine and Cheese reception at Winnipeg Planetarium (Jan. 14, 1973)
  • A concert of Polish Renaissance music at the University of Manitoba School of Music (February 16, 1973)
  • “Celebration Copernicus” event at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (Feb. 18 to Apr. 1, 1973)
  • A dedication ceremony commemorating the donation of the solar telescope and the Copernicus Room at the Planetarium, which was attended by Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden (Feb. 18, 1973)
  • A reception at Manitoba Government House attended by Lieutenant Governor William John McKeag (Feb. 19, 1973)
  • A poster contest for Manitoba schoolchildren on the theme of Copernicus organized by the NCOC’s Educational Advisory Subcommittee
  • The naming of Copernicus Hill in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Manitoba and a naming ceremony (Sep. 15, 1973)
  • A ceremony in honour of Dr. Wilhemina Iwanowska , director of the Astronomical Observatory in Torun, Poland (Oct. 19, 1973)

The Committee was headquartered at 254 Arnold Avenue in Winnipeg. Its membership and Board of Directors featured many prominent members of the local Polish community in Winnipeg, including Mary Adamowska Panaro (Treasurer), Stan Millan (Finance Chairman), Stan Wujec (Convenor of Finance), J.J. Marek, Walter Turek, and Ronald Januszkiewicz. Its honourary members included Laurent Desjardins, Ben Hanuschak, Mayor Stephen Juba, Judge Peter Taraska, and Henry Duckworth.

Maslanka, John Henry, 1923-2012

  • CA-OPMA-AR-14
  • Person
  • 1923-2012

Jan was born on January 10, 1923 in Trembowla, Poland, to Wojciech and Agnieszka Maslanka.
During the Second World War, Jan was a Military Engineer/Sapper, serving with the 5th Sapper Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division of the Polish Army. He served in the Polish II Corps in Italy, and saw action at Monte Cassino, later receiving the Monte Cassino Commemorative Cross on June 19, 1945. Jan was enlisted into the Polish Resettlement Corps in 1947 and released to the Reserves in 1949 in order to work as a tailor in Nottingham, England. He was officially discharged from the Resettlement Corps in 1949. In February 1950, sponsored by his brother Ignacy who had already emigrated to Winnipeg, Jan departed for Canada via Liverpool. He sailed from Liverpool to Montreal on the Franconia, departing on June 29, 1950 and arriving in Canada on July 6, 1950. Jan married Jozefa (Josephine) Drapala on October 4, 1952. He obtained Canadian Citizenship on June 22, 1956. He was a member of the Canadian Legion British Empire Service League, A. Mynarski Branch #34. He had one child, son Chris, together with his wife Jozefa (Josephine).
Jan died October 25, 2012 and was interned at Holy Ghost Cemetery in Winnipeg.

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