Amaizing People and Stories

Inz Roman Zurowski 

 

Initiator of the project to build 'Dom Polski Zgoda' , President of  PT Zgoda 

 Dec 7th 1913 -  May 23 1989

~~~ Memories of inz Zurowski, written by Mr.  Andrzej Kopczynski, former President of CPC / KPK BC in 1994-96

 

 

In the Summer of 1994 I met Mrs. Alfreda Zurowski, the widow of  Roman Zurowski, in her condo at 1455 Duchess in West Vancouver. In my old notebook I have her phone number, which I got from my friends. In my notebook I have written many details from this meeting, and I can say that keeping it since1994, helped me today to write this story. I  would like to ask anyone who has any more information about Inz Zurowski, to help me update this storry  about one extraordinary Polish Canadian.

 

    My meeting with Mrs. Alfreda Zurowski took few hours, and as of today this is what i remember form that conversation.

 

    The full name of her husband was Roman Kazimir Zurowski. He was born on December 7th 1913, in the Polish family, in the former Polish territories, in Lwow (Lemberg), at that time part of Austrian Empire. His father was construction engineer, and did some building renovations, before he bought a small manor house. In this manor the Zurowski family was living with their children.

 

In 1918 Poland regains independence after 123 years of occupation – partitions by Russia, Prussia & Austria. 

    

    Due the Poland – Soviet war in 1920, the former Polish territories were finally reunited with Motherland, and at that time Mr.  Roman Zurowski was 7 years old.

For first 2 years he was attending a junior high-school in his small town, then he was sent to Lwow to finish high-school. After high-school he was practising in his uncle’s small construction firm office for few years. In 1935 he went to study in Warsaw University – Civil Engineering  Department.  Zurowski married Frederika Schmalenberg in 1938 in Lwow. He had finished 4 years of studies at Universy of Warsaw. On September 1st 1939 Germany invaded Poland. He was 25 years old at this time, and he lost his Polish Homeland again. All dreams we crushed, as the Poland also was attacked by Soviet Russia on September 17, 1939. This was the 4th Partition of Poland.

 

 

    Same as countless Polish citizens Zurowski was forced to slavery work in Germany. Shortly after liberation he found himself in he DP (Displacement Persons) Camp near Hamburg, Germany.

 

    Unfortunately I do not remember the name of  DP Camp, but from the records available now we know that there were 2 DP Camps near Hamburg. Hamburg-Fishbeck DP514 where around 4 thousands Pole were living, of  total of 5800 forced labourers form Poland at the end of 1945. Reading about this camp, and the activities including Polish folks dance groups, my guess is he might have been there.

 

    I'm recalling that Mrs. Zurowski told me her husband was a member of the dance group, he was very active as co-organizer, and the group reached close to 100 person. That time in the DP Camp was unusual mixture of - 3 kinds of „Polish people”; Pole speaking Polish, Pole speaking only German, and Germans speaking only Polish. 

Some DP Camps were existing till 1951. Most of Polish immigration came to Canada in the 1948-1950.

 

    Zurowski and his wife came to Vancouver in 1951, and settled here in British Columbia. Mr. Roman Zurowski got a job in City Hall.

In January 1953 the membership of Polish Friendship “Zgoda” Society rise to 322 persons. The most of new members were Polish Veterans, and DP from England and Germany.

 

    Mr. R. Zurowski beacame a member of PT “Zgoda” in February 1954. As of March 1955 he is the member of Board of Directors. Here is the list of the Board: President Eng. Hermanowicz, V-ce President M.Kopecki, Secretary K.Reklinski, Treasurer Malek, Directors: J.Dynia, J.Grebski, W.Wos, A.Galysa, L.Walach, W.Skulska, J.Kostrzewa, M.Latek, Bober, architect R.Zurowski.

 

Mr. Zurowski was elected on December 18 1955 as the President of the Polish Friendship „Zgoda” Society, and he was reelected in 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 63, 64, 65.

He was the editor of the bulletin “Polak w BC” - periodic printed 4 times a year, he was the architect of plans of Polish Community Center, he raised funds, and was building inspector of the new Polish Community Center at 4015 Fraser Street in Vancouver. The biggest Caltural Centre in Vancouver at the time. 

 

    Also he initiated and created Polish Youth Circle, which  participated in many historical Canadian events, in  the Canada Centennial, Youthorama, Millennium and many times at Kitsilano Showboat Festival. Thanks to some help from Mr. Edward Gacek who came to Canada in May, 1963, I know that the Dance Circle had 8 people in 1963, and the group was growing fast. 

    In 1966 the group was performing at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, on the  Polish Christianity Millennium celebration and there were 150 dancers. There was an orchestra under Dr. Kazun leadership, and Walter Dybinski was a conductror of 25 musicians band. Mr. Zurowski with the Polish Youth Circle was performing in such cities as Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Yukon, where Polish group was on 2 weeks tour.

 

As Mr. Edward Gacek recals, Roman Zurowski was always checking the size of the stage a few days before the performances, and sometimes was measuring the stage, to make sure every performance is as perfect as possible.The dance group performed on all major Canadian Polish Congress BC Branch events, like Hotel Commodore Ball, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and Georgia Hotel Congress Ball. The Polish Folks Dance Group were the pride of Canadian Polish Congress and all Canadian Polish Community.

 

As per his initiative the Flag of Polish Youth Circle was designed and funded, This Flag  was the pride of the young dancers, and the pride of Mr. Zurowski. The Flag was presented at many Polish Youth events at that time. 

 

Kitsilano Showboat Festival events are recorded in the book available at: 

http://issuu.com/vancouverneighborhoodguides/docs/showboat/1

 

Here are the Polish events:

  • June 19, 1969 - Polish Friendship Zgoda Society Youth Circle, and St. Casimir Youth Band,

  • June 24, 1971 – Polish Canadian United Youth,

  • July 1, 1972 – Polish Canadian United Youth, Polish Friendship Zgoda Society Youth Circle,

  • June 20, 1974 – Polish Friendship Zgoda Youth Circle,

 

 Mr. Zurowski was the “heart and soul” of the Polish Youth Circle, where he dedicated enormous number of hours.  He  also was an editor  of the “Youth Circle Bulletin” . All this work for the Polish Canadian community was his passion and life.

 

Today, members of the Youth Circle are over 60 years old, and they are recalling his extraordinary love to Polish community, and Polish folk dances as well as Polish traditions and culture.

 

 He will be also forever remembered as the Executive Board member of Canadian Folk Society (book: „75 Anniversary of the Kitsilano Showboat).

 

Mr. Roman Zurowski died in North Vancouver on May 23, 1989. His final resting place is in the Vancouver Mountain View Cemetery. Next year will be 25 years anniversary of his  death. 

~~~~

 

 

Kilka faktow ktore pamietam z rozmowy z Alfreda Zurowska w jej mieszkaniu:
Pelne imie: Roman Kazimir Żurowski (herbu Leliwa).
on urodzil sie 7 grudnia 1913 roku we wchodniej Polsce w woj. Lwowskie, w niezamoznej rodzinie inzyniera budowlanego, w małym miasteczku, gimnazium skonczyl we Lwowie. Praktyke zaczal w biurze budowlanym u wuja, potem w 1935 roku pojechał na studia do Warszawy. Studiowal 4 lata na wydziale Budownictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego do wrzesnia 1939 roku.... dalej wojna i koniec nauki.
Byl wywieziony na roboty przymusowe do Niemiec, po wyzwoleniu przez Amerykanow przebywal w Hamburgu, gdzie zorganizowal zespół piesni i tańca. Do BC przybyl razem z fala emigracyjna 1948-1950. Osiadł w Vancouver, później pracowal w City Hall jako inspektor budowlany.  W styczniu 1953 liczba czlonkow Zgody osiagnela  322 (zarejestrowanych). R. Zurowski do Zgody przyjety został w lutym 1954 roku.

Od marca 1955 roku wchdzi w sklad zarzadu:
prezes inz. Hermanowicz, v-ce prezes M. Kopecki, sekretarz K.Reklinski, Sekr. finansowy Małek, członkowie zarządu: J.Dynia, J. Grębski, W.Woś, A.Gałysa, przewodn. sekcji budowlanej L.Wałach, przew. sekcji zbiórki pieniędzy W.Skulska, przew.sekcji kult.oświatowej J.Kostrzewa, przew. sekcji Propagandowej M.Latek, przew.komisji rewizyjnej Bober, architekt budowy R.Żurowski.

18 grudnia 1955 prezesem PT Zgoda wybrany został inż. Roman Żurowski. Funkcje pełnił w latach 1956, 57, 58, 59, 60, a następnie w latach 1963-65. Autor, założycieł i wydawca Biuletynu Polak w BC - naklad kilkaset sztuk 4 razy do roku, kwestarz pieniędzy , założyciel Koła Młodzieży, był duszą i sercem organizacji. Młodzi wtedy - dzisiaj już 60-latkowie wspominają jego niesamowite oddanie i setki godzin pracy dla młodzieży i z młodzieżą. 

In 1975 Mr. Roman Zurowski was one of executives  of Vancouver Folks Festival.

 

Here on the picture during the ceremonies. 

Adam Kopczynski, son of former President KPK BC Andrzej Kopczynski  is placing flowers on the grave of Inz Roman Zurowski .  Canada Day 2013 - Vancouver  Montain View Cementary, Fraser Street and 41st Avenue 

 Canada Day 2013 - Vancouver  Montain View Cementary, 

Fraser Street and 41st Avenue, Canada Day was Zurowski's favourite day.