The Polish-Canadian Students’ Association and the Polish-Canadian Business and Professional Association of Windsor will host an exhibit at Leddy Library this weekend, sharing the story of Jerzy Radwanek, a Polish pilot and member of the Camp Resistance Movement.
Radwanek was detained by the Gestapo, Nazi secret police, during his attempt to smuggle clandestine documents for the resistance. He was transported in December 1940 from prison to the concentration camp, Konzentrationslager Auschwitz (KL Auschwitz), where he became “Number 7782.”
“Jerzy fought for a free Poland,” said exhibit coordinator Jerry Barycki. “He was a hero to whom the famous words symbolizing the Polish Nation match — God, honour, and homeland.”
The exhibit features rare documents and photos from the Institute of National Remembrance and the Auschwitz-Birkenau National Museum in Oświęcim, including letters written by Radwanek.
Organizers say it is critical to document and gather testimonies of the atrocities that took place in these camps.
“The number of witnesses to these crimes against humanity are decreasing as they pass away,” said Julia Zalewski, a fourth-year political science student at UWindsor. “It is necessary to record their memories through artifacts and evidence, to remember all the victims — over six million lives that were lost in Poland during the Second World War.”
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Jerzy Radwanek’s birth.
“May the story of Jerzy Radwanek’s life bring back the memory of many, many others who just like him, in extreme conditions, when the world was aflame, remained human and were able to offer help and support to others,” said Barycki. “His is a story of the past that mustn’t be forgotten.”
A public ceremony will open the exhibition at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29, in the Leddy Library. The exhibition will remain on display in the Student Research Collaboratory until Dec. 4.