Dr Jozef Kazimierz Borkowski

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of free elections and victory of Solidarity, here’s the story of a Polish soldier who came to Scotland.

dziadek-Dr-Jozef-BorkowskiDr Jozef Borkowski

Dr Borkowski was born in Lwow. He was a good soldier. He fought in WW1 and later joined Orleta Lwowskie (Lwow Eaglets) to fight for the freedom of his home town. He also fought in the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 and then in WW2 in Poland and in France. By 1941 he was in Fife and a member of the First Independent Parachute Brigade that trained in Largo House. He also trained at the Polish Medical School in Edinburgh. He was a loving family man but during WW2 he was separated from his wife, Helena, and their two children for six years.

Thinking it safe to return, Dr Borkowski returned to Poland in 1946. The ship sailed into Gydnia harbour as the army orchestra played  and the returning soldiers were welcomed as heroes by government representatives. He settled into work at MON headquarters (the Polish Ministry of Defence) in Warsaw. But after a few months he was arrested on charges of conspiracy and spying for the British. Everything he brought from the UK was confiscated and he was imprisoned. When he was released he never spoke of this time or his experiences during WW2. He feared for his family’s safety.

After some years Dr Borkowski divorced his first wife and later married Maria. They lived in Elblag where he had a dental practice and where he helped found the Army Hospital. He was a Polish patriot and loved his family. Sadly he died before he could witness the great changes that have taken place in Poland since the success of Solidarity.

Borkowski-driving-licence

This much his family have always known. But after his death and the death of his first wife, they discovered Dr Borkowski’s secret. When the Poles arrived in Scotland, they were welcomed by the locals, particularly the ladies, who helped them learn English and assimilate into their new (possibly temporary) homes. The local women assigned to officers were affectionately known as “the war mums”. Dr Borkowski met Peggy in this way.

Peggy-mother-of-FionaPeggy

Peggy knew that Dr Borkowski was married and that he longed to return to Poland and his family after the war. Despite this, they had a child called Fiona who was born in 1946/7 (presumably after he had left Scotland).  Peggy was confident she could raise Fiona with the help of her family even without him. Dr Borkowski wanted Fiona to take his name but according to local records sadly this doesn’t seem to have happened. Fiona loved Jozef: she wrote and sent photos to Poland but no one knows if these were ever answered.

Fiona-EdingurghFiona

Fiona-(2)Fiona

Now all these years later, Dr Borkowski’s grand daughter, Alicja, is searching for Fiona (and maybe Peggy) but with very little information about them to help her. She has no surname for Peggy or Fiona and no date of birth for Fiona. All she knows is that they lived in Perth.

Fiona-2Fiona

Alicja recently visited the places in Perth and Fife where her grandfather lived and trained.  She is based in London and searching all avenues to find this long lost family member. She longs for her father to meet his step-sister.

If you have any information or can suggest contacts that might help Alicja, please get in touch through this blog initially.

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~ by marysia on 4 June 2014.

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