Historical Library no. 17 Bohdan W. Oppenheim – Diaries of polish air force officer Witek Dowoyna-Sylwestrowicz and his wife Hanka 1939-1946

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Author: Bohdan W. Oppenheim
Title: My aviation. Truths and myths about aviation and other stories
ISBN: 978-83-63539-93-1
Cover: hardback, sewn binding
The year of publication: 2022
Publisher: Lukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation Publishing Houses
Quantity pages: 238
Language of publication: english

Link: https://sklepinstytutulotnictwa.pl/p/20/7672/historical-library-no-17-bohdan-w-oppenheim-diaries-of-polish-air-force-officer-witek-dowoyna-sylwestrowicz-and-his-wife-hanka-1939-1946-biblioteka-historyczna.html

Description: The main part of this volume contains two integrated diaries: one of a Polish airmen Witold Dowoyna-Sylwestrowicz1 (known to everyone as “Witek”) who fought in World War II in a Polish Squadron integrated with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Britain, and the second of his wife Hanna nee Urbanowicz (“Hanka”), who survived the nightmare of the war in Warsaw. Besides the diaries, the volume contains unique biographies of these two people who, after emigrating to the United States achieved high professional positions and created an informal Polish cultural embassy in their modern house in Bernardsville, New Jersey, where they collected a large representation of Polish contemporary art. I am Hanka’s nephew. The Sylwestrowiczes had no children and regarded me as their beloved almost-son. They helped me and my mother and stepfather to escape from communist Poland and emigrate to United States. Later they pampered me with their kindness and never-ending help. During the period 1971-74, I often visited Hanka and Witek in their home in Bernardsville, NJ as I studied at the nearby Stevens Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I continued these visits – already from California – until Witek’s death. Hanka then moved to live with us in California. During these contacts extending over many years, I acquired much of the knowledge about their lives during the war, mainly directly from Hanka and Witek, but also from their war-time airman friends: Jerzy Damsz, Stach Kownacki and Adam Rudzki; and from other members of our family and friends who knew their fate during the occupation. Thanks to this collective knowledge, I organized their shared memories in the form of chronological entries from Witek’s diary and Hanka’s memoirs.