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15 February 2017
From August 1st to October 2, 1944, Janusz, rank of Staff Sergeant Cadet Officer, led his soldiers of the “Orlęta” platoon, part of Gozdawa Battalion, in heavy fighting in Krasiński Square, Old Town and the City Center. Janusz and his soldiers were all Varsovians, born and raised in Warsaw, in the free Second Republic of Poland. Warsaw was their home. They knew the streets by memory and could successfully navigate the underground city sewers to deliver arms, ammunition and food to AK soldiers who were cut-off from all other reinforcements.
For Janusz Załęski defending Warsaw and fighting for Polish independence was natural, and part of his family’s history. Janusz grew up hearing many stories about his patriotic ancestors who fought for Polish freedom. Janusz as a teenager joined 23 Warszawska Drużyna Harcerska “Pomarańczarnia” (Boy Scouts) and attended Gimnazjum i Liceum im. Stefana Batorego (Stefan Batory School) in Warsaw, where his strong sense of duty to Poland was reinforced. During the German Occupation of Poland, Janusz was active in the Polish Red Cross, Polish Underground, Gray Ranks, Szare Szeregi.
After World War II, Janusz did not return to Poland because Communist Police had come to the family home to arrest him. Family warned Janusz to never return to Warsaw. So from 1947 to 1959, Janusz lived in Caracas, Venezuela, working as an accountant.
In 1959, Janusz came to the United States and met Margaret Okon (also from Warsaw, Poland). In 1960 they married and moved to California, where they have lived for 57 years, raising four children, and enjoying ten grandchildren.
Janusz and Margaret never returned to Poland, but they keep all memories of their Polish homeland close to their hearts. They have instilled a strong sense of patriotism and community service in their children and grandchildren, emphasizing the importance of a free, democratic society where all people are treated equally with respect and dignity.
Janusz Załęski and Consul General Brymora
Janusz Załęski and Vice-Consul Ignacy Żarski
Janusz Załęski with the Cross of IndependenceSEE MORE