Norfolk Polish Heritage Group
Researching & Celebrating
Norfolk's Polish Heritage & Culture
Polonijna Grupa z Norfolk
Odkrywanie i Obchodzenie Historii
i Kultury Polonii w Norfolk
Summary of Tessa Black's recorded story about her father, Stefan Sajdak
Tessa Black was born in Horsham in Sussex in 1947 and she and her husband and three children moved to Norfolk in 1981 because of her husband’s work. They settled in Swaffham and have lived there happily for the past 38 years. Both her parents were Polish. Her father was Stefan Antoni Leon Sajdak and her mother’s maiden name was Stefania Nitsche.
Stefan Sajdak was born on 27th April 1913 in Kraków, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. His father was a Professor of Classics at Kraków University and later at Lwów and Poznań Universities, so the family moved around and finally settled in Poznań.
After finishing his secondary education my father undertook military training at Grudziadz and was attached to the 17th Cavalry Regiment of Wielkopolska under the name of Boleslaw Chrobry in Leszno as a 2nd Lieutenant Reserve officer.
After completing a Law degree at Poznan University in 1936 he took up a post in a Mining office in Katowice, living in Siemianowice and was attached to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment of the Tarnowskie Góry, known as Sląskie. On the 19th April 1938 he married my mother, who was born on 14th January 1914.
In 1939 World War erupted and my father was called up and his Regiment was sent to defend sites near Rzeszów at Tarnogród, where there is now a museum to honour the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.My father was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war years at a POW Camp in Murnau, Oflag VII A, prisoner No. 15553 in Bavaria, from where he ran a secret radio as part of a covert Intelligence operation. In recognition of this work he was later promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and awarded the Silver cross with swords by the Commander in Chief of the Polish Army, General Bór-Komorowski.
After the POW Camp was liberated by the Americans my father took leave from the army and remained in Geislingen, Germany to care for 2000 Polish refugees at a camp run by UNRRA, where my mother, having escaped from Poland, joined him and worked at the camp as a pharmacist.
They later travelled to Italy, where my father was incorporated into the Polish 2nd Corps No PSZ 1913 504/111 under General Anders and worked in Soldiers Welfare.
In December 1946 my parents found themselves in England at an Army camp for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and the 14th Sanitary company in Slinfold Camp near Horsham, Sussex. He finished his Army career in May 1947, and I was born in September that year. My father worked as an agricultural and factory worker and was never again able to work in his legal profession or return to Poland as ex-combatants were seen as security risks by Stalin’s Communist government and harshly dealt with.
In 1952 my mother took on the management of a pharmacy in London owned by the Relief Society for Poles, where she worked for the next 10 years and where my father was in charge of despatching medicine to Poland. The pharmacy was used as a ‘drop-box’ by agents of Western Intelligence.
My father was Secretary of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment circle in London until his death in 1964 and never took British Citizenship.
Click icon to read PDF summary of Tessa Black's audio recording
Cavalry officers group in P.O.W. Camp Murnau, Bavaria 1939-1945
Click > to hear recording of Tessa Black's story about her father, Stefan Sajdak
Professor Jan Sajdak
Tessa Black's grandfather 1932
Tessa Black's father
Stefan Sajdak aged 18 as a Cavalry Cadet in Grudziądz - 1931
Sajdak family group 1936 with Stefan aged 13 in middle
Tessa Black's parents
Stefan Sajdak and Stefania Nitsche wedding 1938
Ovens where secret radio was concealed for communicating with outside world Murnau, Bavaria 1939-1945
Stefan Sajdak 's Dog Tag No. 15553 from OFLAG VII A
Murnau POW Camp
Secret radio for communicating with outside world Murnau, Bavaria 1939-1945
Click icon to open PDF of
Stefan Sajdak's Certificate of Promotion
for espionage work 1945
Stefan Sajdak Underground Army
ID Card (Front cover) 1948
Stefan Sajdak Underground Army
ID Card (inside) 1948
Stefan Sajdak Service 2nd Corps Identity book (front cover) 1947
Stefan Sajdak Service 2nd Corps Identity book (inside) 1947
Stefan Sajdak ex POW ID Card (front cover) 1945
Stefan Sajdak ex POW ID Card (inside) 1945
Stefan Sajdak 3rd Cavalry ID Card 1946
Stefan Sajdak Alien Certificate of Registration 1949
Stefan Sajdak (left) with General Anders, London 1949
Stefan Sajdak with medals
Tessa Black aged 5 outside parent's pharmacy shop and newspaper cutting about spies 1952
Stefan Sajdak various medals and certificates