Henryk Lewandowski at the National Youth Olympics

Henryk Lewandowski at the National Youth Olympics
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This photo was taken during the National Youth Olympics, which were held in Warsaw to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the People's Republic of Poland in 1954. After the war I returned to Zamosc, Father took over the brewery. I was 16 at the time. I started to think about school. I felt bad in Zamosc, walking the streets; none of my friends survived, the few who were in Russia were not to return until later, and back then, in 1945, there was no-one around. I wanted to become politically active, but didn't want to stay in Zamosc, I didn't get along well with my father, which was my fault. He lived with Wanda, and I was angry at him for finding someone so quickly. I only understood years later my reproaches had been unfair - he was only 37, he was a young man. One factor might have been the rumor I heard, that he'd been fooling around with that Wanda woman back before the war. Never mind. She did help him survive the war. I decided to leave the house in the end, moved to Lublin and became a member of the Fighting Youth Union. I stayed with Halina for some time, she was finishing her studies at the Lublin Polytechnic, she was 27. I started an evening school in Lublin. I completed four grades of elementary school before the war. Here you completed two grades in one year, I finished the third and the fourth and passed the lower standard exams. I went to the gymnasium ran by the Workers Universities Society in the Staszic Gymnasium building, on Raclawickie Avenue in Lublin. I worked in the youth movement, we were creating sort of a paramilitary self-defense force; I completed a non-commissioned officer's course, I was an instructor for some time, and later the chairman of the Municipal Board of the Fighting Youth Union in Lublin. At the end of 1947, after passing my exams, I decided to move to Warsaw, to work in the National Board of the Union and to study on. I became a student of the Political Science Academy. The course lasted three years, I got my under-graduate degree there and then they transferred me to Zielona Gora, I was made the deputy district commandant of the Sluzba Polsce organization. In 1951 I was transferred back to the Warsaw branch of Sluzba Polsce, and in 1952 SP spun off a new organization, the Village Sports Clubs Association. I was there, I've brought the association into being, I'd worked there for 15 years, until 1967, when I started to work for Gromada, a hotel operator and tourist agency; in Gromada I spent 25 years short one month.

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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Also interviewed by:
USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
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