In memory of Marian Gorzkowski


"Phoning you I am whispering so I do not wake you up"

Marian Gorzkowski (26.01.1915-17.08.1992)

When we arrived in NZ in 1963 we met many wonderful people, amongst them was Marian Gorzkowski together with his wife Beb and their son Antony. He fought in the Warsaw Uprising and was awarded a Virtuti Millitari. Marian was a tall, handsome man with bushy eye-brows, with a friendly smile and always willing to help. He was an active member of the Polish Association in New Zealand particularly in The Polish Ex-Service Men's Association.

In the Uprising he fought in the battalion called Stefan (05.09 - 03.10.1944), which was created from soldiers evacuated from the Old City. Marian known as ‘Szary’(Grey) was the second in charge of one of the company made up of 20 soldiers and led by sub-lieutenant Kowalski. Their headquarters were at the church of St Alexander at ul. Książęca 21.

Marian came to NZ in the 1950’s and established a house cleaning business called – ‘Ahead’. He rode a motorcycle wearing his characteristic long black leather coat and took us on trips in his van charcteristically smelling of cleaning fluid called ‘Swipe’. His van was covered with the 'I like Swipe’ logo and he gave away buttons with the same sign.

Marian had an enormous sense of humour and there are many anecdotes about him; in Wellington he had a contract for cleaning parliamentarians government-owned houses which had to be totally cleaned at each change of occupant following the election. Marian used to say: ’ have an easy choice for whom to vote, as I always vote for the opposition’. He and Beb were extremely sensitive to the needs of others and were always helpful. Marian was involved in the running of the Polish radio programme in Wellington and gave many lectures about the Warsaw Uprising in order to save the memories of the historical times in which he lived.

He returned to Poland already very ill where he died and he is buried at the Powązki Cemetery.


Przemek Dawidowski

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