History of Polish Community in Brantford Vol. 4
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History of Polish Community in Brantford Vol. 4

When the Second World War broke out the Polish community was ready to come to the aid of country which its parents had adopted. It is unknown for a Pole to be a pacifist. And there were no exceptions in Brantford. One hundred young men and women from the Polish community enlisted. This number was remarkable since these were first-generation Poles who were giving up the opportunity of furthering their higher education and the possibility of becoming future leaders in the Polish community. Three of this number lost their lives in action. They were: J. Czach, Army; A. Zatonski, Air Force; and J. Dubicki, Navy.
At the end of the Second World War it was natural that the surviving young men, having the common bond of war experience should group themselves into a veteran's organization. Thus it was that in 1947 the Polonaise Veteran's Club was organized in Brantford. Mr. Leo Drozd was installed as its first president. Other members of the executive were: Vice-president, Adam Neziol; secretary, Adolphe Wiacek; treasurer, Joseph Dostal.
Besides offering a gathering place for Polish Canadian veterans of Second World War, the Polonaise Veterans became a valuable asset in the youth movement in the Polish community. By sponsoring a program of baseball, basketball and hockey, they aided in the development of a "sound mind in a healthy body" of the Polish youth. This has been one of the Club's main activities. Neither have they neglected the education field. The Polonaise Veterans also have scholarships for their young people attending universities.
The Polish-Canadian veterans have not restricted their activities to their own circle. Cooperating with other veterans' organizations in the city, they have competed annually in golf, softball, cribbage and bowling, winning at one time or another championships in each of these sports.
They also possess a proud record of financial assistance to community projects, as well as an excellent history of supporting the activities of the other Brantford Polish-Canadian organizations. During 1966 the Club's members provided valuable aid to the committee promoting the Commemoration of the Polish Millennium of Christianity in the Brantford area. With Mr. Edward Mech as their president, the Polonaise Veterans were participating enthusiastically in the Centennial program of 1967.
Corresponding to the Polonaise Veterans was the Polish Combatants' Association in Canada, Branch No. 4, an important element in the community life of the Polish ethnic group in Brantford.

Originating in far-away Italy, the nucleus of the Polish Combatants' Association consisted of former soldiers of the Second Polish Army Corps which formed a part of the Allied Eight Army during protest against the Communist regime imposed on Poland, they chose rather to settle in the Free World. These soldiers entered under an agreement with the Canadian authorities, to work for two years on farms. The Federal Government guaranteed at least a minimum wage and reasonable living conditions.

Many Polish ex-servicemen worked out their contracts in the vicinity of Brantford. Problems immediately arose. As there were no pre-set daily or weekly working hours, the farmers paid only a minimum wage which became the maximum. To obtain  some protection these ex-servicemen decided to form a local branch of the Polish Polish Combatants' Association.

Consequently, on February 7, 1947, Branch No. 4 of this Association was established in Brantford despite lack of accommodations for its quarters and the serious problem of transportation which faced its members. Its first officers were: Mr. John Jezowski, president; Mr. Anthony Szymczak, vice-president; Mr. Andrew Michalski, secretary; Mr. Zygmund Drzewianowski, treasurer.

When the terms of the contracts were completed, most of these Polish veterans settled in Brantford, thus giving Branch No. 4 a permanent basis for its existence. As other Polish veterans arrived in Brantford, singly or in larger groups, the organization grew in strength. Also many of its initial problems were alleviated by the cooperation of Brantford's Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 90. This generous action has never been forgotten by the local branch of the Polish veterans. In general, this relationship between the Polish Combatants' Association and the Canadian veterans, a relationship which began on the battlefields of Europe, has always been cordial and sincere.
In 1960 a Ladies' Circle became affiliated with Branch No. 4 of the Polish Combatants' Association. Mostly wives of ex-servicemen, they have been most helpful in the organizational work and social life of the Association.

The Association encouraged financial help and made effort to ensure that its young people through education obtain a better start in life and also, don't forget their Polish language and culture. Social life was not neglected. Clubs, dances, social evenings and lectures kept the young and old busy. Propagating loyalty to their adopted country and the conscientious observance of the duties of Canadian citizenship, it also organized celebrations of Polish national and military anniversaries. Together with the Canadian veterans, the Polish Combatants' aid those disabled in the war, comrades from the field of battle, invalids whose injuries have made them incapable of obtaining useful employment. Remarkable were the fund-raising drives conducted for that purpose by the Polish Combatants' Association in the years 1951 to 1954 inclusive. Using the facilities of Brantford's radio station CKPC, they made their appeal to all the Poles within listening distance of that station. The response of the Polish colony in Brantford and its environs was heart-warming, far surpassing any expectations. Through the money thus raised, packages were sent to war invalids throughout the world. Thus it was in many corner of the world Brantford acquired a reputation as a humanitarian city.

The Polish Combatants' also contribute to the upkeep of the graves of their fallen comrades-in-arms. "Decoration Day" for them is truly a "remembrance day," keeping alive, "on a soldier's honor" the memory of those who gave their lives for freedom. The yearly evidence is there to prove it.

This in short, is how the manifold activities of the  Polish Combatants' Association, Branch No. 4, present themselves, carried out gladly by its members of all ranks, with the full hearted help of their wives in the Ladies' Circle. Their cooperation with all the other Polish organizations in Brantford is well-known. Many a community project was ably assisted by their willing participation in it. The Polish Combatants' Association, Branch No. 4, in Brantford, with Mr. Joseph Pacyk as its president, was carrying that same willing spirit into centennial year.

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Photo Gallery
CLICK HERE to view list with names of all Past Presidents since establishment of the Brantford Polish Mutual Benefit and Friendly Society, from 1927 until now.
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Brantford's Polish Senior Citizens 1967 Centennial Year
Front Row: Mrs. S. Wolski, 88; Mrs. A. Smierciak, 90; Mrs. A Drozdz, 77.
Second Row: Mr. Peter Wiacek, 77; Mr. Stanley Neziol, 93; Mr. Joseph Wiacek, 82.
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