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On Eagles' Wings

Toronto, Ontario, October 21, 2007

Toronto, Ontario, October 21, 2007
Kitchener, Ontario, May 5/6, 2007
London, Ontario, October 22, 2006
A New Direction
Cleveland, Ohio
Buffalo, October 2009
Building a Simple Display

The "On Eagles' Wings" gathering of the generations took place this past Sunday, October 21, 2007 at the Polish Combatants Association hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Guests from across southern Ontario and even from Montreal, British Columbia and the United States attended.
"I enjoyed the stories and exhibits of others in similar situations and circumstances as my parents. The table-top displays were very well done."
"Thank you from the whole family!"
"It was a pleasure to share stories and personal experiences, not just with the 1st generation but also with the 2nd."
"You need to do this more often."
"Very emotional!"
"Thank you for organizing this. It is very moving!"
"A great experience to learn about what our parents went through."
"What a moving series of stories. Thank you!"
"I really welcome the stories that my own father wasn't able to share."
"A very important event, memorializing the pain and anguish of so many. Thank You!"

Ted and Elizabeth Kay Represent the Survivors
Ted was a cadet during the war, Elizabeth's story is preserved in "Stalin's Ethnic Cleansing"

Sgt. Bill Jones of the Royal Regiment of Canada
Sgt. Jones' "Last Post" Added a Canadian Dimension to the Event

Students from the Polish Students' Association at the University of Toronto provided help at the reception desk, pinning boutonnieres on the survivors and inviting all to sign the guest book and add the names of their family members, who were victims of World War Two, to our Wall of Honor.
The Wall of Honor (also known as the Remembrance Wall) has filled up quite a bit as it has travelled from city to city over the course of three events.
Krystyna Piotrowska-Freiberger of Kitchener provided the "Poles on the Fronts of World War Two" Display while Tom Bakalarz of Scarborough surprised everyone with a magnificent and extensive display of Poland's Orders and Decorations, both civilian and military.
To add a Canadian flavour to the proceedings, bugler Sgt. Bill Jones of the Royal Regiment of Canada, performed during the Tribute.
The Tribute began with a Welcome and some Opening Remarks from the chief organizer, Henry Sokolowski of Mississauga. This was followed by the Tribute and Candle Lighting Ceremony, led by Wanda Sawicka of London, Ontario. The Tribute was repeated in Polish by one of our University students, Jennifer.
The Candle Lighting ceremony seals the bond between the generations and recognizes that World War Two had an effect on the fate of the Canadian-born generations as well.
Henry Sokolowski, as chief organizer, lit the first candle, representing the Polish victims of the war who are no longer with us. Lighting the second candle from the flame of the first were Elizabeth and Ted Kay, teenagers during the war, representing the survivors of the 1st generation. From their candle, Zosia from British Columbia lit the 3rd candle representing the 2nd generation and finally, another Jennifer lit the 4th candle, representing the 3rd generation.
A tray of glass pebbles, sitting by the candles, absorbed the light of their flames and so became a touchable symbol of our event. Stefan Wisniowski of Sydney, Australia, accepted a handful of these pebbles to take with him to event organizers in England and back home to Australia. All attendees were encouraged to take a pebble home as a reminder of the day's event.
Finally, unscheduled Tributes were provided by first, a war bride from Leeds now resident in Toronto, who paid tribute to the memory of her wonderful Polish family and second, by a veteran of Monte Cassino who gave a short speech without the aid of the microphone.
Finally, Bob Gondek,  a veteran of the Polish Second Corps, finished off the tribute with a short speech, reminding us all that sometimes you have to fight for freedom and though the price may be high,  the fruits of the sacrifices are worth it.
Throughout the event, there was a constant chatter as people enjoyed talking to each other and to the other generations. Visits were made to the Museum on the first floor as well as to the restaurant which served up a buffet of "Polish Food."

The "On Eagles' Wings" event will be an informal gathering.
  • Doors open at noon.
  • Restaurant opens at 1:00 pm. 
  • The event will run from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
  • The Tribute will commence at 3:00 pm.
  • Our cash bar will be available to all responsible patrons.
  • Snack food and beverages will be available at a reasonable cost.
  • Dress is casual.
  • The English language will be used for displays and the Tribute.
  • All of Polish descent are invited to attend and participate.


The event will be held in English. We are fully aware that many members of the second and third generations may not speak Polish very well, if at all.

Who is Invited?:

All persons of Polish descent are invited to attend and participate in this event. It does not matter if you cannot speak Polish, nor does it matter if you are only one-half or one-quarter Polish. As long as you have some Polish in you, we invite you to attend.

All Polish survivors of World War Two will be welcomed as our honoured guests.

Bring your friends and family too.

The Displays:

  • Personal histories displayed by both civilian and veteran survivors.
  • Militaria
  • Memorabilia
  • Tom Bakalarz, militaria specialist for the Polish-Canadian Troyak Stamp and Coin Club ( will be on hand to help identify Polish WW2 era documents, medals, insignia and photos. Please take advantage of this unique opportunity and bring your parents' memorablia for identification.
  • Poetry, art
  • Tidbits of history and information
  • Poles in Action During World War Two photo collection.

Survivor Stories

Survivors are encouraged to bring copies of their memoirs or even just outlines of their life history (in any language).

We will be accepting survivors' recollections and memoirs for our collection and possible non-profit publication.

The children of the survivors have also been affected by World War Two, having been raised by parents and grandparents who lived through a brutal war. We are also interested in the stories of the second generation.

Museum Donations 

The Toronto branch of the Polish Combatants Association has a museum.

Should you wish to preserve your WW2 era historical materials for posterity, we will be pleased to accept your donation of photos, documents, uniforms, medals and other memorabilia. Our role is to act as guardians, not owners, of these valuable artefacts on behalf of the donors and their families and in the interest of the Polish-Canadian community.

Alternatively, donations may be made to the Col. Orlinski Memorial Museum and Archive located at the Wawel Villa Polish nursing home in Mississauga, Ontario.  

Significant collections may be donated on your behalf to major Polish archives in North America or Europe. For example, we recently donated one family's large collection of documents to the archives at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University in California. The materials have been made available to scholars for research into the Polish World War Two experience.

Forget-Me-Not Project (Niezapominajki)

Survivors may sign up to be interviewed for our "Forget-Me-Not" project which will further enable us to preserve our heritage. Various students of Polish history will conduct the interviews at times that are convenient to the survivors and their families. The survivors may choose to have the interview video or audio taped. These tapes can then be preserved as a family treasure for many years to come.

Meet and Greet:

Civilian and veteran survivors of World War Two will be present and available to answer your questions. A list follows (some survivors may not be able to make it at the last minute due to health reasons: unfortunate but true):

  • Wladyslawa Boc, survivor of Siberian labour camps.
  • Mr. Marceli Ostrowski, former tail-gunner and bomber pilot with the Polish Air Force in Great Britain and current President of the Polish Combatants Association, Toronto Branch.
  • Mrs. H. Kwiatkowska, former messenger for the Armia Krajowa (Home Army), incarcerated at Bergen-Belsen and Oberlangen following the Warsaw Uprising.
  • Mr. Stanislaw Milczynski, former AK (Home Army) combatant, pseudonym "Gryf", company commander during the Warsaw Uprising, 1944.
  • Mr. Adam Kreutzer, former soldier and current President of the First Polish Armoured Division in Canada.
  • Mr. Bob Gondek, former infantry soldier, 3rd Carpathian Division, Polish 2nd Corps and current National Director for the War Amputations, Toronto Region.
  • Mr. Michael Adamski, slave labourer in Germany, refugee at Wildflecken Displaced Persons (DP) Camp.
  • Dr. Andrew Garlicki, artillery, Polish Second Corps, and current President of the Polish Combatants Association in Canada, Head Executive Board.

The Videos:

The following excellent, English-language documentaries will be played on our large screen TV:

  • 1:00 pm: A Forgotten Odyssey, by Jagna Wright and Aneta Naszynska
  • 2:00 pm: Eagle Media Productions' Europe's Secret Armies: The Polish Resistance (approx. 50 minutes)


The event is free of charge.

The Restaurant:


The restaurant is open weekly, on Thursday nights, for dinner, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm and it also provides catering to the various events held at the hall. The cooking is done by Polish mothers so there are no fancy foods here but rather good, old-fashioned Polish food which may contain meat, butter, sour cream, nuts and other wonderful ingredients.

Directions to the Hall:

Note: The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) becomes known as the Gardiner Expressway east of the Humber River. 

Via Highway 401:

From the west: Take Highway 401 to Highway 427. Head southbound on Highway 427 to the QEW. Take the QEW/Gardiner Expressway east to Spadina Ave. Head north on Spadina Ave. to College Street. Turn right on College Street then right again on Beverley St. The hall is one block south of College St. 

From the east: Take Highway 401 to the Don Valley Expressway (DVP). Head southbound on the DVP to the Gardiner Expressway. Follow the Gardiner Expressway westbound until Spadina Ave. Head north on Spadina Ave. to College Street. Turn right onto College Street then right again on Beverley St. The hall is one block south of College St. 

Via QEW: Take the QEW/Gardiner Expressway to Spadina Ave. then proceed as above.

You may also click the link immediately below to use Mapquest's direction finder.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT MAPQUEST. Search for 206 Beverley Street, Toronto.

Parking on local streets on a Sunday between the hours of 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm, requires the purchase of a ticket from one of the high-tech parking meters. The rate is $1.50 per hour with a 3 hour maximum. The meters accept coins, Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Place the ticket, face up, on the driver's side dashboard.
Out of Town Guests:
Visitors from out of town will be glad to know that the veterans' hall is located in the heart of Toronto, close to the downtown core. To the south lies the Art Gallery of Ontario and to the north the main campus of the University of Toronto.
The hall is readily accessible from all downtown hotels. It is within walking distance of the subway system and just one block away from a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) streetcar stop. The city is also well served by taxis.
Other nearby attractions include Chinatown and the eclectic "school on stilts" structure of the Ontario College of Art and Design. Queen's Park (Ontario Parliament Bulidings) and The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are also within walking distance. The stunning Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the ROM is expected to be completed in the summer of 2007.
City Hall (which once made an appearance on an episode of Star Trek: The New Generation), Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome), home of the Blue Jay baseball team, the Air Canada Centre, home of the Maple Leaf hockey and Raptors basketball teams and the CN Tower are within easy reach.

The Venue:
Polish Combatants' Association Branch #20
The branch had its origins in the Information and Aid Office opened by the National Association Executive in Toronto in late 1948. The purpose of the office was to help immigrant combatants locate employment, apartments, etc. The founding meeting was held on October 3, 1948 with the first meetings held on the premises of Branch #1 of the Polish National Union.
The branch immediately became involved in hosting famous Polish politicians, military leaders and artists. Generals Wladyslaw Anders and Kazimierz Sosnkowski were among those who visited in those early years.
Not forgetting the soldiers of WW1, the branch also became involved in annual ceremonies at the military cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which contains the graves of Polish soldiers who were part of the "Blue Army" of General Haller during that war.
The branch changed the location of its meetings to the parish hall of St. Stanislaw Church, then to the premises of Branch #114 of SWAP at 783 College St. by early 1950.
Melchior Wankowicz, the famous Polish writer, journalist and author of the well-known, 3 volume book Bitwa o Monte Cassino, 1st Armoured Division General Stanislaw Maczek and Canadian Generals Crerar and Simonds all paid visits to the branch.
On September 15, 1956, the branch moved to its current address at 206 Beverley Street, having purchased a building of their own. By 1957 the Women's Auxiliary had been formed and no less than 14 Polish organizations came to utilize the branch as their headquarters. The Association then entered its most productive years, organizing many recurring and special benevolent, social and cultural events during the late 50s and throughout the 1960s. 
By 1961, the branch had grown to 660 members (492 infantrymen, 51 Air Force pilots, 43 Home Army soldiers, 29 paratroopers, 9 sailors, 23 family members and 13 supporting members).
In 1961, General Anders visited once again and in 1964 General Bor-Komorowski participated in the celebrations commemorating the "Anniversary of Great Battles."
The branch received its colours in 1965. They had been designed by the oldest member combatant, Mr. Alfred Birkenmajer, a former soldier of the Polish Legions during World War One.
The need for more room resulted in the decision to build a new building on the same site rather than renovate the aging, existing building. After much work, the new building was ready for occupancy by late 1973 (it took until 1987 to pay off the debt).
Since 1973, the branch continued to be heavily involved in the Polish community in Toronto. For example, the branch hosted a diverse series of events, from the popular "Krakow" pavillion of the much loved annual Caravan Multicultural Festival of Toronto to the World Convention of the Polish Air Force.
More distinguished guests attended events at the branch including Comdr. B. Wronski, Bishop Szczepan Wesoly and Cardinals Wladyslaw Rubin and Jozef Glemp.
More recently in May, 2004, the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino was commemorated by the visit of the General Wladyslaw Anders Army Exhibit, on loan from the Pilsudski Institute of New York. That same year, A Question of Honor authors Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olsen made a stop at the branch during the original promotional tour for their new book.
The most significant event to be held in 2007 took place on March 7, when donors Lionel Goffart and Cpt. Samuel Billich presented the uniform and medals of General Michal Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz to the citizens of Polonia and Poland (represented by the Polish Consulate in Toronto) in a ceremony at the branch. The General's memorabilia is now located in a permanent display at the Museum of the Polish Armed Forces in Warsaw. 
July 2007 saw the branch utilized as a venue by an international touring theatrical troupe participating in the Toronto Fringe Festival, a hugely popular alternative theatre festival encompassing many venues throughout downtown Toronto. Following a highly acclaimed run at the Montreal Fringe Festival, The Ahuri Theatre Company ( presented their production of Yabu No Naka: Distruthted (July 5 - 15, 2007).
During the night of September 29/30, 2007 another huge city-wide artistic event came to Toronto, spreading itself across 125 venues in the city's downtown core. Scotiabank's Nuit Blanche, billed as a "free all-night contemporary art thing" was in town for the second year in a row and built on last year's phenomenal success to draw some 800,000 visitors to the city. Once again the Polish Combatants Association building was utilized as a venue, this time by performance artist McKendree Key of Brooklyn, New York whose unique piece graced the lawn and sidewalk in front of the building. The veterans' hall remained open for most of the night, with volunteers providing support to the artist's crew and refreshments for the throngs of people who were thrilled to visit our beautiful monument to the Polish World War Two experience.

Sampling of Names Associated with SPK Branch # 20 in Toronto
Ablamowicz, T.
Adam, Stanislaw
Aleksandrowicz, J.
Baklinski, Kazimierz
Baraniecki, Jozef
Barankiewicz, Teodor
Barszczewski, A.
Bartkowski, Wiktor
Bauer, Irena
Bauer, Roma
Bieniasz, Marek
Birkenmajer, Alfred
Blayer, Hanna
Bogusz, K.
Burghardt, Wieslaw
Burski, Jerzy
Celejewski, B.
Chalecki, J.
Chelmecki, Jaromir
Chruscicka, J.
Chruscicki, E.
Chylinska, Hanna
Chylinski, Marian
Ciesielski, Z.
Conrad, Lucjan
Czajkowski, Bazyli T.
Czajkowski, W.
Czekalowski, Z.
Czulo, Krzysztof (Chris)
Czyzewski, Witold
Debicka, Maria
Dobiecki, S.
Domagalski, Juliusz
Dukowicz, K.
Dymecki, Albin
Dynia, Albin
Dynia, Halina
Dziama, Tadeusz
Ejbich, Anna
Ejbich, Bohdan
Falkowski, Stefan
Fedorowicz, Eugeniusz
Fedorowicz-Vogelsinger, Irena
Figiel, Danusia
Figiel, F.
Figiel, Mieczyslaw
Fijal, Edwarda
Fijal, Marian
Gajewski, Joe
Galusza, M.
Gaszynski, Antoni
Gertler, Wladyslaw
Giera, Zbigniew
Glasser, S.
Gondek, Zbigniew
Gregalis, J.
Grobicki, Jerzy
Gruchala-Wesierski, Henryk
Gryka, P.
Grzymala-Siedlecki, Piotr
Gutowski, M.
Halko, Lech
Hauke, Z.
Hejka, Janusz
Hladko, Boleslaw
Ives, tadeusz
Iwaniuk, Waclaw
Jagiellicz, Wladyslaw
Janota, E.
Jaworski, A.
Kalisz, A.
Kamienski, J.
Kasprzak, Idalia
Kasprzak, T.
Kaszuba, Maja
Kaszuba, Jan
Kaszuba, Z.
Kawecki, T.
Kicinska, Julia
Kieraszewicz-Martin, M.
Kiersnowski, Olgierd
Kipiniak, A.
Kisiel, Halina
Klepaczko, Z.
Klimaszewski, Kazimierz
Kobylanski, Czeslaw
Kochan, Mieczyslaw
Kogler, R. K.
Korol, J.
Koszutski, Jan
Kott, Jan
Kott, Krzysztof
Kozakowski, A.
Kozera, Stefan
Kozlowski, K.
Kowalczewska, Elzbieta (Miss Caravan, 1980)
Krajewski, W.
Krasnodebski, Z.
Kreutzer, Adam
Krupowicz, J.
Krychowski, Tadeusz
Kuczynski, Z.
Kulesza, Pawel
Kuncewicz, Leslaw
Kwiatkowska, Halina
Kwiatkowski, Andrzej (Wojciech)
Leja, S.
Lesiak, K.
Lewicki, Stanislaw
Lopatto, L.
Lopatto, Witold
Lozinko, Dominik
Lozinko, Z.
Machut, W.
Malatynski, Antoni
Malion, J.
Maslowski, Tadeusz
May, Z.
Mazarczyk, Armandyna
Mech, W.
Menczyk, Z.
Michalska, Helena
Mierzynska, Halina
Mierzynski, W.
Mikocki, Jakub
Milasiewicz, Henryk
Mirecki, Bogumil
Misiak, Adam
Moczulski, Stanislaw
Morawski, Szczepan
Morski, Wladyslaw
Nowaczynska, Maria
Opitz, Tadeusz
Ostrowski, Jan
Ostrowski, Marceli
Palka, Boleslaw
Patynko, Jozef
Paudyn, Ryszard
Pawlowski, A.
Perchal, Jan
Perchal, Wladyslaw (Walter)
Piatkowski, Ryszard
Plater, Jan
Pluta, Monsignor Franciszek
Podkowa, J.
Polatynska, Albina
Poprawa, Mieczyslaw
Posoch, M.
Proszek, Roman
Przedrzymirski, General Emil
Przedrzymirski, Henryk
Przybylo, Michal
Przygoda, Zdzislaw
Rakowicz, S.
Raston, H.
Rejminiak, W.
Rejterowski, Adam
Rogacki, Ryszard
Roll, Jozef
Rosiecki, Ignacy Marceli
Rot, Teresa (Miss Caravan, 1990)
Rozwadowska, Zofia
Rozwadowski, Jerzy
Sadowski, Mieczyslaw
Sambulski, M.
Sarnacki, Pawel
Sas-Korczynski, Alfred
Schmidt, Ludwik
Schneider, Mary
Shopian, T.
Sienkiewicz, J.
Skonieczny, Leszek
Slodkowski, Gustaw
Sobieniak, Janusz
Sokolowski, T.
Sommerfield, Leonard
Stanchly, R.
Starczewski, Henryk
Stefanowicz, A.
Stetkiewicz, Leon
Stohandel, K.
Stohandel, Zofia
Szafran, Stanislaw J.
Szczecinski, Mieczyslaw
Szczyglowski, Tadeusz
Szuster, L.
Szychowska, Stefania (Stenia)
Szydlowski, Z.
Szymanski, H.
Szymczyk, Zygfryd
Swiejkowska, Jadwiga (Jadzia)
Swiejkowski, Borys
Swierczynski, S.
Swietorzecki, M.
Syput, Stanislaw
Taborska, Maria
Talasiewicz, J.
Tarnowski, Andrzej
Tatarski, Jerzy
Tchorek-Kalicka, Joanna
Turzanska-Szymborska, Nelly
Turzanski, Wladyslaw
Tuszynska, Jadwiga
Ujejski, General Stanislaw
Waroczewski, A.
Welnicki, J.
Wieckowski, Erwin
Wielgosz, Julian
Wierzbicki, Andrzej
Wiktorczyk, Jan Waclaw
Winiszewski, F.
Wisniewski, Bernard
Wodkiewicz, Wieslaw
Wolnik, M.
Woloszczuk, W.
Zakrzewski, Roman
Zalewski, M.
Ziolkowski, L.
Znamirowski, Roman
Zylwert, Z.

Sampling of Names Associated with the Polish-Canadian Women's Federation in Toronto (Branches No. 1, 11 and 17)
Ankowicz, Barbara
Berezowska-Kulikowska, Irena
Bielawska, Lucyna
Bielecka, Lota
Bieniasz, Maria
Birkenmajer, K.
Blajer, Hanna
Bogorya-Buczkowska, Iwona
Bonar, Janina
Bulecka, Irena
Czaja, K.
Czarnocka, Danuta
Cieszanska, Maria
Dabrowska, Ewa
Daszkiewicz, Halina
Dobrucka, Jadwiga
Domagalska, Irena
Dziama, L.
Dziunikowska, Wanda
Ejbich, Anna
Fedorowicz, Irena
Fraczak-Giedrowicz, Elzbieta
Galczynska, Paulina
Galdzinska, Paulina
Gaweda, I.
Gebska, I.
Giedrowicz, Elzbieta
Grodzka, Magdalena
Gruszczynska, Zofia
Gruzewska, A.
Guzkowska, R.
Halke, Zofia
Heydenkorn, Anna
Iwan, Renia
Jachtholz, Aurelia
Kaczor, J.
Kaszuba, Maria
Kicinska, Julia
Kindler, Maria
Kisielewska, Leokadia
Kociok, M.
Kocuba, Renata
Kolassowa, Walentyna
Kott-Malachowska, Teresa
Kozlowiecka-Kennedy, Alina
Kozlowska, W.
Kremblewska, Irena
Kwiatkowska, Halina
Labieniec, A.
Laczek, Ludwina
Lepszy, Aniela
Lizewska, Janina
Lubczynska, Irena
Malachowska, M.
Markiewicz, Helena
Matejko, Joanna
Michalska, Ada
Mieszkowska, Irena
Misztal, Helena
Mokrosz-Augenstein, Ewa
Mokrzycka, H.
Norton-Nowakowska, A.
Olbryska, W.
Pachucka, Ewa
Paduch, Lucyna
Peschel, Jadwiga
Pilacinska, H.
Piltz, Juno
Piotrowska, Krystyna
Piskor-Bidny, Lucy
Piwoni, Marianna
Polatynska, Albina
Pommersbach, R.
Popiel, Z.
Prokop, Maria
Pulido-Slomczynska, Halina
Rejer, Mariola
Sas-Korczynska, Ludwika
Senderacka, Zuzanna
Skibicka, Teresa
Skwierawska, Kalina
Sulatycka, Elzbieta
Sultana, Stella
Swierczynska, J.
Szafron, D.
Szczecinska, Grazyna
Szczemierska, Ewa
Sztrumf, Jadwiga
Szufnara, Anna
Szustaczek, Stella
Szuster, K.
Szymanska, Boguslawa
Terka, J.
Tuszynska, J.
Ungar, Irena
Urban, Wlada
Wieczorek, Maria
Wilczynska, Elzbieta
Zakrzewska, J.
Zalutynska, Wanda
Zaranek, Teresa
Zimny, Janina

The Fine Print:
  • Attendees and participants agree to respect the rules of the house.
  • The Polish Combatants' Association reserves the right to deny entry or to expel any attendees or participants at its sole discretion.
  • Measures to ensure the responsible consumption of alcohol will be taken in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
  • Solicitation on the premises will not be allowed.
  • The PCA cannot be held responsible for the cost of parking on city streets, nor any tickets received for parking infractions during the course of the event.
"On Eagles' Wings" (Copyright 2006, 2007)