Ninety-two-year-old American veteran, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Silver Star for gallantry in combat, is attacked through innuendo by the director of the American Varieties radio program. The veteran is falsely accused of collaboration with the Japanese because he survived the Bataan Death March.
If this was an actual news story, you can be sure that Americans, American veteran groups and many high-level public figures would be outraged at the director of this (fictitious) American Varieties program. Advertisers would rightly abandon the program as quickly as possible lest they be associated with such inexcusable and unpatriotic behavior.
While the above is a fictitious story, Polonia has a real-life example of such behavior by Jerzy Różalski, director of the Polish Varieties program, with respect to Mr. Emil Kornacki, recipient of Poland’s highest military honor, the Virtuti Militari, for extraordinary valor at the Battle of Monte Cassino, and the Krzyż Walecznych (Cross of Valor) for bravery in the battle for Monte Fortino. Mr. Kornacki’s actions saved the lives of fellow Poles as well as, indirectly, of Americans, who, thanks to the Polish victory, did not have to participate in the final assault on Monte Cassino Abbey.
Mr. Kornacki is also among the relatively few Polish soldiers who escaped being murdered by the Soviets in the infamous Katyń massacre of 1940. He has never made a secret of having been imprisoned at Ostaszków, one of the camps that held the Polish officers and soldiers subsequently executed by the NKVD. To our knowledge, Mr.Kornacki is the last living survivor of the Katyń massacre in the U.S. and, in fact, in North America.
It is unfortunate that this attack by innuendo has not inspired the outrage in Polonia that such an attack on an American Medal of Honor and Silver Star recipient and Bataan Death March survivor would have generated. Why? Polonia should examine its own conscience on this matter.
Clearly there is a need to contact American veterans groups and the American media about the attacks on Emil Kornacki. If Polonians will not act to protect their own, you can be sure that the Americans will, especially when they find out that Mr. Kornacki’s acts may have saved the lives of American soldiers.
Mr. Jurek Różalski’s malicious attacks against Mr. Kornacki appear to be driven by his contention that many of the less than 300 Polish soldiers survived Katyń by collaborating with the Soviets. He has no basis for his conjecture, yet he is eager to impugn, by insinuation, a genuine Polish hero. The most recent attack occurred on the air on Saturday April 14. (Mr. Różalski’s actual words can be found on ForumDetroit.com, a Polonian blog site.)
Why this insensitive and irresponsible behavior? Perhaps it has to do with Mr. Różalski’s envy of a Pole whose courageous actions showed his willingness to sacrifice his life to save the lives of his fellow Polish soldiers. Perhaps there are other, deeper and unrevealed reasons.
What is clear is that this behavior is inexcusable. There are several questions that we would like to ask Mr. Różalski:
- What gives you the right to make such unfounded and irresponsible attacks on a true Polish hero?
- What is your own military record? How many days, and in what army, did you serve?
- What medals (if any) or other recognition did you receive for bravery inside or outside of the military.
- On what basis were you able to become a member of the Polish Army Veterans Post #7?
- Have you ever referred to yourself as a “Polish patriot in exile?” If so, exile from what?
Mr. Różalski, we would hope that you find more productive and less divisive uses of your valuable time than to try to discredit a true Polish hero, a soldier who placed duty above his own life.