Zygmunt Jan Fudakowski

by George C. Fudakowski/Ford, Zygmunt's half-brother

zygmunt with rena 1921
with Rena, 1921
zygmunt 1929

Zygmunt was born in Warsaw on May 12, 1915, to George Fudakowski and his first wife, Janina (Nina) Videl Fudakowska. (The family name Videl is sometimes spelled Weydel or Waydel.) Zygmunt is the brother of Rena Fudakowska Sobanska and the grandson of Zygmunt Joachim Fudakowski.

At the time of Zygmunt's birth, almost a year after the outbreak of World War I, Warsaw was still under Russian control. German troops captured the Polish capital in August of that year and drove out the Russians. Zygmunt's father, a reserve officer in the German military, had taken Russian citizenship the previous year to avoid serving with the German forces. When war broke out, he was forced to flee Warsaw and go to St. Petersburg. Shortly after he left, his wife Nina fell victim to an epidemic of scarlet fever and died. Young Zygmunt and his sister, Rena, went to live with their mother's father, Emil Videl, and her sister Jadwiga.

Zygmunt completed his university degree at age 21, despite 14 months of compulsory military training. He earned his Master's degree at age twenty-two, writing a paper on Commercial Relations between Poland and South Africa. Through a contact with the Polish Consul in Cape Town, he was offered a job there by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He moved from Warsaw to Cape Town in November 1937.

In 1939, German forces invaded and quickly annexed Poland. Zygmunt enlisted with the Polish Army in France and served in the Battle of France of 1940. He was under the command of General Sikorski, the prime minister of the Polish government in exile. He was assigned to the small but heralded 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade led by General Stanislaw Maczek. After the fall of France, Zygmunt escaped and served with the brigade in Britain, which was regrouped into the Polish 1st Armoured Division. He served as an aide-de-camp to General Wladyslaw Sikorski, and took part in the Normandy invasion and subsequent campaigns led by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and US General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

zygmunt in uniform
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On February 26, 1945, French General Alphonse Juin awarded Zygmunt the Croix de Guerre at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

For more details of Zygmunt's wartime experiences, see his Reminiscences, 1989.

While serving in Britain, Zygmunt met his future wife Sheelagh Fyfe-Jamieson. They were married on May 2, 1942, and their daughter Anna Maria was born on April 10, 1943. After the war ended, Zygmunt returned with his family to Cape Town. Their son Dominik was born shortly thereafter.

Zygmunt married Anna Sophie Fluri in 1963.

He died in South Africa on May 6, 2000, and Anna Maria died on April 10, 2013.

An appreciation of Zygmunt's military service and 42-year career as an executive in the consumer products industry is available at the Warsaw Flights Commemoration Committee in South Africa.

Fudakowski-Krajewski family home