By Gordon Swoger
The unusual Odyssey of Poland’s nationwide Treasures, 1939-1961 tells the tale of the Polish nationwide treasures –their evacuation from their fatherland lower than perilous stipulations after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and their next removing to western Europe after which to Canada. on the finish of the struggle Polish governments, a Communist one in Warsaw and a non-Communist one in London, vied for keep watch over of the nationwide treasures. ahead of lengthy the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, the RCMP, and the Canadian and Quebec governments all grew to become desirous about the determined hide-and-seek disagreement among the 2 Polish governments. ultimately, in February 1961, the discharge of the ancient treasures used to be negotiated and so they have been back to their place of origin, twenty-two years after their wartime departure. It used to be certainly a protracted voyage home!
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Extra info for The Strange Odyssey of Poland's National Treasures, 1939-1961: A Polish-Canadian Story
Polkowski stayed behind alone to guard the state treasures. Around five o’clock an officer from the British Admiralty arrived with an order for the captain of the Chorzow to sail for France immediately. The captain protested that he could not leave without unloading the valuable cargo he had brought from France. The officer secured a railway freight car to take the treasures to the station and used British dock workers to load the collection onto the railway carriage. The British railway authorities 53 The Strange Odyssey of Poland’s National Treasures, 1939–1961 managed to get this baggage car attached to a passenger train that was leaving for London that night, and Polkowski and Zaleski purchased the necessary tickets to travel to London on the same night train.
Quickly, people began to gather in the bomb shelter that had been prepared in the southwest corner of the castle. Within minutes the first bombers flew over the city and Cracow’s airfield was under attack. The war was on! It was now Sunday, September 1, and the staff at the Wawel spent a confusing, anxious day trying to determine what was happening in the country at large. It would prove to be a very long day of watching 26 Escape and waiting. Later, in the evening, they learned that the airport had been bombed a second time.
The bargeman at first refused to move. He and his 29 The Strange Odyssey of Poland’s National Treasures, 1939–1961 assistant had just completed a two-day voyage with next to no sleep and they were in no mood to set out again. ” With these words the two boatmen moved off to man their barge. The barge set off at precisely nine o’clock. The national treasures from the castle were stored amidships; the Wawel staff and their families could be found huddled together in the stern with their baggage; and the bargeman, Zaleski and Polkowski took their places forward.
The Strange Odyssey of Poland's National Treasures, 1939-1961: A Polish-Canadian Story by Gordon Swoger