Stanislaw Pleszynski was born on May 6, 1918 in the town of Puzniki. He grew up in a family with father, mother and three sisters. Stanislaw, like most boys, was called up for military service. On 17 September 1939, Stanislaw fought against the Russians during the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union. Stated as a 'military operation' without a formal declaration of war. Just sixteen days after Germany had invaded Poland from the west on September 1, 1939. Poland was fightig on two fronts. The invasion ended on October 6, 1939 with a two way division and annexation of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic by the Nazis and the Soviet Union. Stanislaw was captured and made prisoner of war. He was sent to a P.O.W. camp in Siberia. Released in 1942, Stanislaw left for Palestine (at that time under British Mandate rule). Together with some of his buddies, he joined the British army, which stationed them in South Africa.
Finally Stanislaw arrived in Scotland to follow paratrooper training and entered the The Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. This unit was eager to help their compatriots during the great Warsaw uprising in 1944, but that commitment was never met.
Market Garden or the battle of Arnhem
On September 21st, 1944 during Operation Market Garden, the Polish Parachute Brigade jumped onto their drop zone at Driel. General Sosabowski, commander of the Polsih Parachute Brigade, received orders to get across the river as quickly as possible in order to support the 1st British Airborne Division hold up at Oosterbeek. The plan behind Market Garden was to make a short cut into Germany and ending the war before Christmas 1944. The course of the battle did not go as planned. The English and later Polish paratroopers were taken off guard by the vast German troop presence and the battle was lost. More on the battle of Arnhem can be found here.
Stanislaw was seriously injured at Arnhem by a piece shrapnel that pierced his foot. After his recovery, he ended up in Musselkanaal. Not long after the liberation, he met a Dutch woman with whom he married in 1946. The young couple stayed in Groningen, because returning to Poland was not an option: they were seen as traitors by the communists. The distance from his motherland became even greater after the Iron Curtain was erected. Stanislaw and his wife had four children.
Normal life was picked up and the war was hardly talked about anymore, for him it was over. Stanislaw had been through a lot and there was no aftercare. He went to work in the potato flour factory of M&O (Musselkanaal en Omstreken). After the fall of the Wall, there were plans to see his sisters in Poland again, but time unfortunately caught up with him. Stanislaw died in 1993 and since the call for military service in 1939, he never saw his family or visited Poland again.
Story by Stanislaw's grandson Bas.