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Josef Olechowski was born to a noble Polish Catholic family on March 6, 1898 in Łódź, Poland (at that time part of the Russian Empire) to Marcin Olechowski and Baroness Josephina von Plötzke and died on September 29, 1984 in Toronto, Canada.
He was a Polish patriot, lawyer, veteran of the 1919-21 Polish-Soviet war, Polish intelligence and secret service case officer 1929-38 (in charge of counter espionage against the Soviets) and politician. He was elected to the Polish senate in 1938.
Upon the invasion by Germany on September 1, 1939, Olechowski was charged with moving a large part of Poland's gold reserves to the safety of Hungary. Having done that, he returned to Poland to help with the fight against the German and (later)Soviet invasions.
Captured by the Soviet NKVD in January 1940 (together with his wife and daughter), he was sent to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow. His wife and daughter were sent directly to imprisonment in Siberia. His son remained in Warsaw in the Polish underground and was eventually captured by the Gestapo for aiding the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto. Released, for unknown reasons, he was later re-captured during the Warsaw Uprising and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp.
Under Stalin's orders, probably because of his counter-espionage familiarity with German-Soviet itentions, Olechowski was kept alive. Later transferred to the Soviet Gulag, he was released in 1942 as part of General Władysław Anders army. He reunited with his wife and daughter and was sent to a Polish refugee camp in Kenya. He was unable to return to a communist run post World War II Poland due to a warrant for his arrest by the communist regime.
After the end of World War II, Olechowski moved to London and then on to Canada. He worked extensively to publicize and have the Russian/Soviet authorities acknowledge their role in the Katyn massacres as well as other Russian and Soviet atrocities against imprisoned Poles, especially the lesser known Augustów roundup and the Ostrashov the latter incident in which Polish prisoners were place on barges that were sunk in the White Sea.