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Polish Scout who escaped Nazi death camp, dies at 98

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A clever and "courteous" escape plan. How he remained a cheerful and merry Scout, after enduring the Nazis and then the Communists is remarkable.

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6 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Would this be interesting story to share for a Scoutmaster minute?  Thank you for sharing.

I would tread lightly on this one.  I know we have several scouts that are extremely sensitive to death.  And the holocaust is very traumatic to many, especially if you have anyone with Jewish decent like me.   I would focus on the young man that came to the rescue in Washington, that would resonate better with them, IMHO.

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The activities of scouts in Poland, as in other countries, include camping and earning merit badges. But many Scout troops here remain staunchly loyal to Roman Catholicism and prewar Polish ideals, despite the Communist Party's claim to the leading role in society.

Scout troops have Catholic chaplains, and the Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow is the movement's national chaplain.

''At the moment, yes, younger people's interest is very great,'' said Dr. Maria Hrabowska, a pathologist at the Gdansk Medical Academy and a Scout leader.

The generation over 25 years old, she said, those with martial law seared in memory, is ''in a waiting position, but the younger ones are very interested.'' Scouting's Roots in Poland

Much of Polish scouting's character has to do, arguably, with the movement's roots here.

''Polish scouting was always linked to the independence movement, before World War I,'' said Witold-Lech Rusiniak, another Gdansk scoutmaster.

During World War II, Polish scouts, organized in units called the ''gray ranks,'' fought alongside underground troops against the German occupiers.

After the war, scouting flourished for a time under prewar, non-Communist scoutmasters. But in 1949, with increasing Stalinization, the Government sought to discipline the movement, purging the leadership and setting scouting on a Communist course.

... more  at Source link  and

Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP)

https://zhp.pl/serwis/en/

Edited by RememberSchiff

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One of the reasons why the Nazis feared Scouting, and placed Lord and Lady BP on the "Operation Sea Lion" list of those to be arrested and terminated if the Nazis were successful in invading the UK. If memory serves, BP personally met with Hitler in 1933 or 34 to save Scouting in Germany. Obviously it was not successful as Hitler turn the various Scout organizations into the Hitler Youth, and mimicked Scouting. I've seen copies of the same knife, one produced before the Scouting ban with Scout logo, and one produced after the ban with the Nazi swastika and eagle.

In every country the Germans occupied, Scouting was banned. Lots of interesting tales about Scouts in occupied Europe. I remember reading about some of them in Boys' Life back in the day. In the Netherlands, Scouting's highest heroism award is the Jan van Hoof Cross.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_van_Hoof

 

Edited: BP did NOT meet with Hitler, but sent a letter requesting an audience to discuss the matter.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
updated info

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On 12/19/2017 at 5:58 AM, WisconsinMomma said:

Would this be interesting story to share for a Scoutmaster minute?  Thank you for sharing.

If done right I'd think the scouts might be fascinated. To think that someone wanted to put a scout in a death camp is so far from normal. To think that  Polish scouts were targeted by the Gestapo because they were involved in the resistance. Bravery. The story of escaping and conning the guards. The fact that Piechowski was close to the age of your scouts will make it more believable.

History is full of fascinating stories and schools do a great job of making them boring. Besides, WWII was an important event and this might be the only chance the scouts might hear anything about it.  I'd use it as a SM minute.

I'm not sure what was in the article above but I found information about Piechowski on Wikipedia.

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