Sir, – Further to “Holocaust survivor dies in Dublin aged 87”, News, May 23rd), Jan Kaminski was never sent to a concentration camp. He was not with his family when the large man-hunt for the extermination camp took place in 1942, in Bilgoraj, his native town. He was out and escaped to the woods out of the town. He disguised his Jewish identity and survived working on small farms in villages near Bilgoraj. He happened to be in Lublin, in July 1944, when Lublin was liberated from the Nazis by the Soviet Army together with a Polish division. A Polish officer took care of him, and eventually, in 1946, he arrived in Britain with the 2nd Polish Corps commanded by Gen Wladyslaw Anders. Helped by the Polish community in exile in Britain, he was granted a scholarship to study in Ireland.
Up to January 2013, when some reminiscences were given by him during the Liveline Radio 1 programme, he had never spoken about his Jewish background and his extraordinary story of survival as an orphan Jewish child, in the Nazi-occupied Poland. I put Jan Kaminski’s story on paper, in a form of a long interview, and with his consent it was published in 2014, in the Irish Polish Society Yearbook.
He was one of the founders of the Irish Polish Society and its first chairman. He addressed Pope John Paul II on behalf of the Polish community, on September 30th, 1979. He was an active member of the society’s executive committee, until 2015 when his health seriously deteriorated. – Yours,etc,
Irish Polish Society,