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- Stefan Baliński
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Stefan Baliński was born on August 7, 1927, in Warsaw, Poland, to parents Feliks and Stanisława. When the Second World War broke out, he joined the underground army at the age of 14. In October of 1942, he joined the Polish Home Army and took part in the Warsaw Uprising for its 63 days, first fighting in the Old Town and then in Mokotów, in midtown Warsaw. Following the Uprising, he was a Prisoner of War, escaping from the PoW camp in April of 1945. From there, he was in a transit camp, eventually making his way to Italy, where he served in the Polish II Corps under General Wladyslaw Anders. In 1947, he returned to Warsaw to find his parents, only to find that his family home had been destroyed in the War.
After the War, he hoped to complete a law degree, but having participated in the Warsaw Uprising, encountered difficulties and political resistance under the Communist regime, and was unable to do so. His resistance to the Polish Communist government made it increasingly difficult for him to remain in Poland, and in the late 1960s, he obtained papers to leave the country and made his way to Denmark. From Denmark, he made his way to Canada in 1970, settling in Winnipeg.
In Winnipeg, Baliński launched and led the TV program Polish TV between 1973 and 1976, delivering news from Poland and reporting on local Polish community events in Winnipeg. Next, he became involved in radio, leading the Radio Polonia program hosted by the multi-lingual station CKJS 810 in Winnipeg. He remained at Radio Polonia for 25 years. In that time, he helped develop the Polish program, finding sponsors and supporters. Over the years, under Baliński’s leadership, the program grew in length from a half-hour show to a three-hour show. Radio Polonia delivered content catered to the Polish community in Winnipeg, relaying news, Polish music and cultural content, and information about events in the local Polish community. The program also presented interviews with community members and delivered special programs dedicated to children. Starting in 1987, under Baliński's initiative, Radio Polonia also began to transmit live auditions of Mass from Holy Ghost Church in Winnipeg. Baliński resigned from Radio Polonia in October 1999 following a stroke.
Baliński was a member of the Polish Combatants’ Association Branch #13 (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów / SPK #13) and the Canadian Polish Congress, Manitoba Division (Kongres Polonii Kanadyjskiej Okręg Manitoba).
Baliński received a number of military honours for his service, including the Home Army Cross (Krzyż Armii Krajowej), the Warsaw Cross of the Uprising (Warszawski Krzyż Powstańczy), the Pro Memoria Medal, and the Gold Honour from the Polish Combatants’ Association (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów Federacja Światowa Złoty Odznak Honorowy) in 1995. He also received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II in 1989 for his community service.
Stefan Baliński died in Winnipeg on July 24, 2010.
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