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Legacy Society member Janusz Subczynski: Survivor of WWII and the Soviet occupation of Poland

Dr. Janusz Subczynski, a new member of IWP’s Legacy Society, appreciates the work IWP does in educating the next generation of leaders for our nation in the field of international affairs and national security. As he observes, “The younger generations in this country are growing in an entirely different environment than I did….  I went through the horror stories.  I can appreciate the danger which exists in the world.”  The study of this history is vital, and IWP students can learn much from Dr. Subczynski’s own history. 

Dr. Subczynski was born in Poland, and his father was a civil engineer.  He had a very good childhood, until one night he found himself on the road escaping from Warsaw with his parents under bomb and machine gun fire.  The Second World War had reached his hometown.  He recalls, “I survived the German occupation, which was very tough, and a lot of people were killed.  Every day, yellow sheets of paper were issued with 50 or 60 names written on them – the names of those sentenced to death.”

Dr. Subczynski and his parents survived the German occupation, though they soon afterwards found themselves under Russian occupation.  Amidst the multitude of murders of Polish people by the Bolsheviks, Dr. Subczynski somehow went through medical school, obtained degrees in philosophy and psychology, and became a surgeon.  He describes his experiences under German and Soviet occupation more fully in his aptly-titled book In the Shadow of Death.  

He traveled to the United States, where he became a neurosurgeon. In the U.S., Dr. Subczynski’s medical career flourished, as he became the Chief of Neurosurgery at St. John’s Hospital in Detroit. He also became a fellow of the American College of Surgery and earned the diploma of the American Board of Neurological Surgery.  After a visit to Poland, he received permission for his parents to join him in the United States.

Meanwhile, “since I was not very fond of communism, especially [that found in] the Soviet Union,” he became involved in the Polish-American organization POMOST.  POMOST means “bridge” in Polish, and Dr. Subczynski remembers, “We accomplished a lot.”  Although there was a death sentence for him and other leaders of POMOST, they broadcast programs in Polish and English from 1982-1996 that described the real situation in Poland, especially during martial law. In addition, with cooperation from IWP founder and president John Lenczowski, POMOST worked to get a resolution rejecting the Yalta agreement to be passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress and signed by President Reagan. 

Although now officially retired, Dr. Subczynski is currently working on his fourth book, which will be about POMOST. 

Of the Institute, Dr. Subczynski comments, “I think that John Lenczowski did the best thing he could do – he is a very unique person.  I have nothing but appreciation for what he has done.  He created from nothing an important educational center which is growing, and is important for the US…. I am thankful to him, and I think the country should be thankful that there is a man who created something like this.”