The Polish-American Community of Camden NJ in World War II

From the pages of
Camden, N.J. August 31, 1943


 Service Flag Unfurled by St. Joseph’s Church at Impressive Rituals

          Sacrifices being made by Camden citizens of Polish descent were emphasized yesterday when a service flag was unfurled by St. Joseph’s Church, Tenth and Mechanic Streets, with 1150 men and women in the service being honored.

            A year ago a service flag with 450 stars was unveiled. Yesterday Mayor Brunner pinned gold stars on five mothers and one brother of men who had made the supreme sacrifice. Also honored was the mother of a seventh service man, a Japanese prisoner.

            Tears trickled down the cheeks of men, women, and children as the master of ceremonies, Adolph Kmiec, called the roll of six mothers and a brother. Four youths of the parish are known to have lost their lives; two are missing in action and another is a prisoner of the Japanese.

            The record reads:

            Sgt. Gustave Dziengowski, son of Mrs. Stella Dziengowski, 1476 Louis Street, killed in an airplane crash near White City KS, January 12, last.

            Pvt. Walter J. Koscianski, son of Mrs. Antonia Koscianski, of 966 Bulson Street, killed in action on February 6, last in North Africa and buried in Algiers.

            Pvt. John Lozowski, U.S. Marine Corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Lozowski, of 1143 Sheridan Street, killed in an airplane crash, marine Base, Atlantic Field NC, April 8, last.

            Staff Sgt. Roman Drapinski, brother of Adam Drapinski, of 1468 South 10th Street; died of injuries received in premature explosion of dynamite at Camp Campbell KS on July 18; father died of starvation after German invasion of Poland, mother somewhere in Europe, another brother prisoner of the Nazis.

            Joseph Piotrowski, U.S. Navy, Machinist Mate First Class, son of Mrs. Jessie Piotrowski, of 1343 Chase Street, survivor of Pearl Harbor attack by Japs. Listed as missing on the cruiser Helena in the Battle of Kula Gulf in July.

           Second Lieutenant Leopold Poduszczak, U.S. Air Corps; son of Mr. and Mrs. Boleslaw Poduszczak, 1105 Lowell Street, missing in action since July 26 when he participated in an air raid over Hanover, Germany.

            Lieutenant Bruno Ulak, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ulak, of 914 Atlantic Avenue. Nothing is known of his whereabouts. He was taken prisoner by the Japs at Corregidor.

            Also honored by the mayor were mothers with four and five sons in the service.

            Congressman Wene, of the Second Congressional District, joined with the mayor in paying tribute to the war mothers. Wene spoke of the atrocities heaped upon Poland and its people when it was invaded by Hitler’s hordes four years ago next Wednesday.

            The flag made by the Sisters of the church, was unfurled between the church and the parochial school after a Solemn High Mass was celebrated in the church, which was crowded to the doors. Priests officiating at the mass were Rev. Leon S. Winowicz, Celebrant; Rev. Lawrence Faber, Deacon; Rev. Henry Blaszcynski, Sub-deacon; Rev. Aloysius Busch, Master of Ceremonies; Joseph Budniak, Thurifer. The sermon was preached by the Right Reverend Monsignor Strenski, pastor of the church.

            Monsignor Strenski also blessed the flag before it was raised by Private S. Szymanski.

            The choir sang the National Anthem before unfurling the flag. Fathers Winowicz and Faber assisted in the flag raising.

            One mother and a mother and father were called forward as being the parents of five sons in the services. One group included Joseph, Frank, Chester, Edward, and Walter, sons of Mrs. Frank Matyjasik, of 1407 South 10th Street. Another group comprised these sons of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Matera: Chester, Edward, John, Joseph, and Sigmund.

            Four-star parents included Mrs. Mary Kopakowski, of 1452 Mount Ephraim Avenue: Edward, Raymond, Thomas, and William; Stanislaus and Angela Niedzwiecki, 1206 Morton Street: Joseph Edward Stanley, and John; Joseph and Sophia Kwoka, 1258 Mechanic Street: Frank, Walter, Stanley, and Edmond; Michael and Antonia Skedzielewski, of 1443 South 10th Street: Edmund, Michael, Karl, and Francis.

            Wojkowiak-Laskowski Post, American Legion color bearers, stood at attention throughout the exercises. Walter Uliase, attorney, recalled that a group of Polish citizens came to Camden about 70 years ago to found the present Polish colony. He said 20 years later they founded St. Joseph’s Church. He pointed out that the Poles had a free government before the Magna Carta and their original constitution was similar to the Four Freedoms enunciated by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill in their Atlantic meeting at the beginning of the war.

 Tribute to Parish

             Uliase paid tribute to the parish for its sacrifices to help win the war. He said one-tenth of the membership is in the armed forces and hundreds more have gone into civilian defense. He lauded the skilled mechanics of Polish descent who are working in Camden industries. He said they are doing everything possible to build ships and other equipment to beat the Axis.

            Mayor Brunner prayed for a free Poland. He said the Polish people are happy to think they have a God-given free country here.

            “The day of retribution is not far away,” the mayor declared. “The gangsters will have to pay for the suffering they brought upon the entire world. I feel proud as mayor of our Polish section of the city. It has always been peace loving. Your people are thrifty. They are buying their homes. They don’t buy war bonds and sell them. They struggle to keep up their payments.”

            “We are on our way to victory. We hope the job will be well done. Camden has a quota of $5,000,000 for the third war bond drive, which begins September 9. We are going to exceed that quota. It will be with the help of you men, women, and children buying binds and stamps to make sure that we bring about that victory for which we are hoping and praying.”

            “It will be four years next Wednesday 3when the world was startled and Poland momentarily stunned by the realization that an enemy who ever before the onslaught, posing as a friend, pounced upon a peaceful people with weapons and military might,” Congressman Wene said.

            “The invasion of Poland cost that nation 2,500,000 dead. The same proportional loss to our country would be 9,700,000. Another 500,000 have been deliberately starved to death. Since 1939 more than 2,000,000 Poles have been sent to Germany in forced labor. Another 1,600,000 have been uprooted from their homes and sent into ‘no mans land.’ Some 1,500,000 were deported to Soviet territory. So the total casualties number 8,000,000 victims.”           



St. Joseph Parish Of Camden NJ WAR MEMORIAL