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World War II Polish War Hero Cecilia Wilk-Pech (Zagorski)

World War II Polish War Hero Cecilia Wilk-Pech (Zagorski)
90th birthday celebration
St. Casimir Church in Cleveland
June 11, 2017

Cecilia Wilk-Pech (Zagorski) celebrated her 90th birthday and was honored Sunday at St. Casimir Church for her bravery in WWII. Cecilia risked her life to save 3 American soldiers shot down over Germany in 1944.

Young Cecilia

Young Cecilia


Cecilia was also presented a letter from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur on Happy Birthday wishes and a thank you for her service. A display from St. Casimir faithful showed photos and letters that she had received from 4 different Presidents to thank her for her efforts.

Cecilia Wilk-Pech 90th birthday display at St Casimir Church

Cecilia Wilk-Pech 90th birthday display at St Casimir Church


Letter from president Ronald Reagan

Letter from President Ronald Reagan


John, Robert and Ted Kennedy photo

John, Robert and Ted Kennedy




Cecilia had been deported from Poland at the age of 14 and forced into labor working at a farm in Germany. One Sunday as she was filling her basket with berries at the farm, she heard a strange noise in the trees. She became frightened as she saw three men in uniform. She realized they were wearing American Air Force uniforms. The men were shot down the week before. They were tired, hungry and needed help.

Cecilia risked sure imprisonment and death and ran to the village and got clothes from the French prisoners of war. She took food from the farmer’s house and fed them. She prayed that the men would be safe.

Her desire to help and live in the United States was born. When Cecilia arrived back in the forest, the pilots buried there uniforms and Cecilia directed them to a safe passage.

She wondered for weeks if the pilots had made as it as it was too dangerous to stay in contact with them. She was then transferred as a child laborer to Hamburg to wash and clean soldier’s uniforms.

Cecilia during World War II


One year later the war was over. Cecilia said “The day of liberation by the American Army came like a dream. We were human again, not slaves. People were dancing in the streets and screaming in Polish, “Long live the USA.”

By strange coincidence after the war, she went to work as a waitress in an American Officers Club in Paris where she met one of the Pilots she saved. The pilot recognized her and gave her a painting that she still treasures of a girl in a forest, hiding behind the bushes. Soon after, Cecilia and her children came to America and this officer was her sponsor.

Cecilia and her husband James are parishioners of St. Casimir Church.

Cecilia Wilk-Pech and husband James at St Casimir Church

Cecilia Wilk-Pech and husband James at St Casimir Church


Cecilia Wilk-Pech and husband James with John Niedzialek at St Casimir Church

Cecilia Wilk-Pech and husband James
with John Niedzialek at St Casimir Church



Thanks to John Niedzialek for the story and photos.

Here is a video of Cecilia singing the Polish national anthem at Constitution Day in Parma Ohio 2017.



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