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94-year-old B.C. man honoured for role in Polish underground during WW2

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Polish war resistor honoured'
This is BC: Polish war resistor honoured
A 94-year-old Coquitlam man is being honoured for his heroics during the Second World War. George Piros was a member of the Polish Underground. And the Polish president recently visited him to say thank you. Jay Durant has the story on This is BC. – May 14, 2024

A 94-year-old B.C. man who served in the Polish underground is being honoured for his heroics during World War II.

It wasn’t your average afternoon get-together at a Coquitlam couple’s apartment.

During a recent trip to Vancouver Polish President Andrzej Duda and the country’s first lady visited George Piros.

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This Is BC: Coast Salish artist carves out successful career

Piros was just 13 when he joined the Polish resistance during the Nazi occupation, risking his life working as a courier, delivering resistance papers around Warsaw.

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“Almost every day was executions somewhere. A hundred people here, a hundred people there,” said the now 94-year-old Piros. “Sometimes it was our friends, or sometimes it was someone who you knew.”

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Arrested during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, Piros spent the rest of the war in a German Labour camp.

“Lie on the floor, no beds, just straw, one blanket,” he recalled.

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Piros and other members of the resistance have been honoured here in Canada, receiving the Polish Gold Cross of Merit.

But during this recent visit, there was no talk about the war, just some casual conversation between Piros and the president of Poland.

“He was asking when we came here and how was our first few years in Canada,” said Piros. “We went to the balcony and looked around. The weather was beautiful. It was really nice.”

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Sharing some tea and cake and having a relaxed chat in their apartment, it was a quiet tribute to a man who, eight decades ago, showed so much bravery as a boy.

“Having someone from Poland, after so many years. Someone is still thinking about it,” Piros said.

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