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English Section

Polish WWII veteran dies at 94

08.04.2021 08:00
Capt. Wacław Butowski, one of the last living veterans of the Polish Army’s 1st Armoured Division in World War II, has died at the age of 94.
Wacław Butowski, pictured in 2018.
Wacław Butowski, pictured in 2018.Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

He was born in 1926 in Starogard Gdański, a town in northern Poland which under German occupation was annexed into the province of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia.

Drafted into the Wehrmacht in January 1944, Butowski served in southern France and Normandy.

In August that year, he escaped from the German army and surrendered to the allies. He joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West and fought in Gen. Stanisław Maczek’s 1st Armoured Division as it liberated Breda and other Dutch towns.

He was seriously wounded in April 1945.

After returning to Poland in 1947, Butowski, who had studied violin as a child and teenager, resumed his musical studies.

He played the violin in the Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra until his retirement in 1981. He also directed a choir and an amateur orchestra at the Union of War Veterans in the Polish coastal city of Gdańsk.

He died in Gdańsk five days before his 95th birthday.

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