Unsung Heroes of a Tragic Generation
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Professor Emeritus Columbia College Chicago
Publication date: 2021-12-13
Corresponding author
Christopher Swider
LW 2021;99(4):210-217
This is an expanded version of text presented during II International Conference of Association of Polish Physicians in Chicago on 9.30.2019 as a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WWII and the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising [1]. The author, a son of Polish physicians, professor emeritus of Columbia College Chicago, shows – using his parents’ biographies as examples – the fight for humanity itself and for the humanistic values of the medical profession under both Nazi and communist totalitarian rule. He described the way of life of his father – a Polish commissioned military officer, a psychiatrist, prisoner of Soviet labor camps, participant of the Battle of Monte Cassino, organizer of programs of psychiatric care for Polish soldiers and veterans in Italy, England, and the United States. Likewise, he described the life of his mother, a pediatrician working for The Baudouin House in Warsaw, who was rescuing Jewish children from the Holocaust risking her own life. Forced to leave Warsaw, she and her 6‑year‑old daughter illegally crossed the borders of several countries to unite in Verona, Italy with her husband. Sharing a soldier’s life with him, she placed care for their expanding family above her own job as a physician. The publication contains copies of documents e.g. discovered by the author in Russia at the time of making his documentary film “Children in Exile” about the fate of Polish children sent to Soviet labor camps.
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