On January 13, 2020, Stanislawa Chelchowska Szmajter of Farmington, CT, left this earth and the rich tapestry of an eventful life. Born August 25, 1930, to Stanislaw Chelchowski and Felicja Niecin Chelchowski in the small village of Adampol, Poland, Stasia and her siblings had their youthful innocence tragically disrupted by the savagery of war and geopolitics. Shortly after Germany invaded western Poland in a blitzkrieg, Soviet forces marched into and annexed eastern Poland in accordance with hidden provisions of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In February of 1940, countless men, women and children were rousted from their homes and exhiled to eastern USSR and Siberia to work in forced labor camps. The initial journey across the bitterly-cold Soviet landscape to Baranowicze, Belarus, by sleigh was arduous. From there, the family was boarded onto train cars and transferred to a Siberian Gulag near Velsk, Russia. The first of Stanislawa’s young brothers passed there. In 1941, the fate of the Chelchowski family changed once again as they were granted “amnesty” and allowed to evacuate Russia via Uzakstan with the newly formed Polish Army-in-exile. The family escaped Soviet soil and crossed the Caspian Sea to the Port city of Anzali, Iran. Once there, and after successfully combatting starvation and typhus in Tehran, Stasia’s family was split as her older brothers were recruited to the Polish military in North Africa before enlistment in the Italian campaign against Nazi Germany, while she, her mother, sister and youngest brother were evacuated to Kondoa-Irangi, Tanganyika (Tanzania,) where they remained until the hostilities of WWII ended. On August 15, 1948, the four were transported out of Africa aboard the British mail vessel, the Winchester Castle, to Southampton, England, where they were reunited with their resettled brothers. In the years that followed, Stanislawa met and married her husband of 56 years, Konrad Szmajter, in Bridgewater, Somerset, and emigrated to New Britain, CT, in 1952 to begin a new life in the United States. The couple had three children.
Stanislawa was preceded in death by her loving husband Konrad, parents, stepfather; five brothers, Janek, Boleslaw and Zygmund Chelchowski, Zdzislaw and Stasiu Chelchowski/Skarbacz; and one sister, Czeslawa Chelchowska/Skarbacz-Holczimmer. She is survived by her brother Bronek Chelchowski of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, her two sons who reside in Colorado, Edward in Westminster and Richard in Durango; her daughter, Barbara Lipinski and son-in-law Paul Lipinski of Farmington, Connecticut; three grandchildren, Adam, Timothy and Kristin Lipinski; and numerous nephews and nieces and grand-nephews and nieces in the United States, Canada, England, Mexico and Australia.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Duksa Family Funeral Homes at Burritt Hill, 332 Burritt St., New Britain. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated directly at Sacred Heart Church on Friday, Jan. 17, at 9:30 a.m. She will be laid to rest beside her husband in Sacred Heart Cemetery. To share a message of sympathy with her family, visit www.duksa.net .