Oct. 27, 1919 – March 16, 2013
Irena Wilczynski of West Seneca, who was twice captured by Nazi soldiers during World War II, died Saturday in Mercy Hospital. She was 93.
Born Irena Wozniak in Rozan, Poland, she would fondly greet people saying, “I am a World War II survivor,” according to her children.
A year after initially escaping her Nazi captors, she was caught again and relocated to Germany, where she was a forced laborer for more than three years.
She met her husband, Antoni, in Scotland, where they served in the Polish Resistance Army after the fall of the Third Reich. After living in London for five years, they emigrated to the United States in 1951, with, as Mrs. Wilczynski told others, “their son and two suitcases to their name.”
The family settled in Buffalo, under the sponsorship of Mrs. Wilczynski’s cousin, the late Walter Urbanski.
From the early 1960s until the mid-1980s, Mrs. Wilczynski ran a popular business on Stanislaus Street on Buffalo’s East Side: I. Wilczynski Tailoring and Dry-Cleaning. Well-known in her community, it wasn’t unusual for her customers to be invited for lunch and stay until dinner.
Recently, Mrs. Wilczynski stopped by a new bakery in Snyder, opened by a granddaughter, to impart her many years of knowledge as a skilled cook and business owner.
Her husband died in 1991.
Survivors include a son, John; two daughters, Haline Waliger and Elizabeth LaMacchia; and two sisters in Poland, Waclawa Jankowska and Maria Sawicka. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today in St. Adalbert Basilica, 212 Stanislaus St., Buffalo.