Henryk Lewandowski with his family from Argentina

Henryk Lewandowski with his family from Argentina
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From left standing: my cousin Nina, the daughter of uncle Matjas, my daughter Jolanta, Patrycja, the wife of Nina's son, I don?t remember his name. Sitting: my first wife Maria, the son of Nina and me. This photo was taken during Nina's visit to Poland. My father's brother, Matjas had agricultural education, not a university degree, he completed agricultural high school. He worked in farming for a short time, then switched to journalism and writing. Because he was a well-known hunting activist, he was in the editorial staff of the 'Lowca Polski' magazine in Warsaw. In the 1930s he was sent to Canada with a group of Polish journalists to write reportages; the outcome of that trip were books by Arkady Fiedler [1894-1985, Polish journalist, writer, naturalist, and traveler], 'Ryby spiewaja w Ukajali' [The River of Singing Fish, 1935; Mr. Lewandowski actually refers to a different book by the author, ?Kanada pachnaca zywica? (Canada Smelling of Pine) of the same year], and a less known one by my uncle - under the name Matgarf - 'Losie i lososie' [Moose and Salmons]. His wife Maria was a daughter of Abraham Sojka, one of the wealthiest men in Poland at the time. They had one daughter, Noemi, or Nina, my age, she lives in Canada, we keep in touch. It wasn't a happy marriage, they split up in 1937 and he went to Rhodesia. Matjas' wife was deported with Nina to Russia, to the polar bears. They came back after the war and moved to Rhodesia; Uncle had them come there, even though they were divorced, and she lived there separately, working as a shop-assistant in a department store. There used to be this 'fashion' in Poland that we should have colonies, and possible locations were debated. There was this state official, Mieczyslaw Lepecki, he was a writer and also Pilsudski's aide-de-camp, and he came up with the idea that vast expanses of land could be cheaply acquired in Rhodesia, so he persuaded people to go there and settle. My uncle was among those persuaded so he moved to Rhodesia. After the divorce Matjas remarried, his second wife was an English Jewish woman, they had a son, his name is Rodes; I've never met him. He's a PE teacher, he lives in Australia nowadays.

Interview details

Interviewee: Henryk Lewandowski
Anna Szyba
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Warsaw, Poland


Henryk Lewandowski
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    Hiding Jewish identity/nationality

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Maria Lewandowski
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after WW II
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Also interviewed by:
USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
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