Cllection of photos provided by Paul Matylonek: This is my mother's (Wladyslawa) journey from Eastern Poland to England via Valivade, India. My mother was born near Drohiczyn, Poland. When the Russians invaded during WWII, my mother's parents, Jozef Gawel became a soldier, and her mother Katarczyna Babiacz and her children were taken by the Russians to a slave labor camp near Arkhangelsk, under harsh conditions. After the war, with the death of their mother, Kartarzyna Babiacz, my mother and my Aunt Zosia were separated from their brothers, Csez and Francisek on a train heading to the southern area of the USSR, prior to their evacuation to the Middle East with the Polish Army. The Polish authorities sent my Mom and her sister Zofia to a Polish Settlement at Valivade near Kolhapur, India. THey reached the camp via Uzbekistan, Persia and Pakistan. They arrived there in early 1944. My mom was 18 years old. After India's declaration of Independence, my mom found herself in Middlesbrough, England. There, she met my Dad, who was also Polish and they immigrated to the USA on the SS United States, now docked in Philadelphia. These photos not only document that journey, but also document my mom's brothers in Outdshoorn , South Africa, and her other brothers and sisters in Poland and the USA.
The enclosed photos from World War II experiences of the members of the Gawel and Matylonek families - including life at the Valivade Polish Settlement in India, and service in the Polish Second Corps. Materials were provided by Paul Matylonek and uploaded by Krystyna Szypowska.