The GRG Photo Gallery portraiting Waclaw Jan Kroczek’s visits to semi-supercentenarians
Waclaw Jan Kroczek with Wiktoria Jeglińska (Aug. 18, 1911 – May 12, 2021) of Warsaw, Masovia Voivodeship, Poland
Feb. 23, 2020; Warszawa [Warsaw], Masovia Voivodeship, Poland
Wiktoria Jeglińska claimed to have been born on Aug. 18, 1914 in Lithuania; however, the research conducted by the Gerontology Research Group concluded that her actual date of birth was Aug. 18, 1911. She was half-Lithuanian and spoke that language well, even in her centenarian years. Her person was a symbol of the strong historical ties between Poland and Lithuania. Her life was very difficult, marked by the hardships of two world wars. Despite having no direct family living nearby (the daughter lived in Lithuania) she had many friends she could always count on. Her cheerfulness made everyone around her happy and eager to help her in daily activities. Despite living on the 4th floor, the carers would help her go visit the nearby church every Sunday. Wiktoria Jeglińska passed away on May 12, 2021 at the age of 109. She was the oldest living resident of Warsaw and Masovia Voivodeship.
Waclaw Jan Kroczek with Arnold Leissler (May 21, 1911 – Mar. 13, 2021) of Staw, Lubuskie Voivodeship, Poland
Sept. 26, 2020; Staw, Lubuskie Voivodeship, Poland
Arnold Leissler was born in Germany on May 21, 1911. He was a talented painter and author of memories who spent his final years in Staw, Lubuskie Voivodeship, Poland. I met him there on Sept. 26, 2020. He has lived in Hanover all his life. He was born there, grew up, educated as an architect, started a family and worked there. In 2016, he moved to live with his friends in Poland. Arnold Leissler has been through a lot in his long life. His closest relatives died: son, wife, siblings. He was operated on many times. At the age of 105, he underwent major heart surgery. But he never complained. He enjoyed every day. This was a man who, wherever he went, everyone loved him. Such kindness emanated from him, he did not push away from himself. After retiring, at the age of 75, he devoted himself to his passion, painting. His last painting was created in December 2019 and, like the others, hung on one of the walls of his new home in Poland. He shared a deep bond with his Polish friends he lived with even though they were not related by blood. This is a beautiful and inspiring story showing that neither the difference in language, nor in nationality, can hinder building bonds and mutual love.
In 2021, Mr. Leissler was the oldest living German man. In Poland, he was the second oldest living man behind Stanisław Kowalski (1910-2022). He is also the oldest man in the history of Lubuskie Voivodeship.
Waclaw Jan Kroczek with Col. Kazimierz Klimczak (Feb. 15, 1914 – present) of Warsaw, Masovia Voivodeship, Poland
Feb. 27, 2023; Warszawa [Warsaw], Masovia Voivodeship, Poland
Kazimierz Klimczak was born on Feb. 15, 1914. He joined military school in his early teens. In September 1939, the first campaign of the World War II, he was a member of the “Pomerania” Army which took part in the Battle of Bzura, the largest battle in the campaign, and the largest offensive operation against Nazi Germany until 1941. During this battle he was heavily wounded and he never regained full ability in his right hand afterwards, making him a person with war invalidity status. All in all, it hasn’t prevented him neither from taking part in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, during which, being 30 years old himself, he commanded a unit of very young insurgents, nor it hasn’t prevented him from making it to 109. After the war he married, had two children, and worked as a clerk. He has a very good memory, remembers things from early Interwar period; he’s very alert and interested in world events, listens to the radio, and watches TV. He received many medals and honors for his military service. A hero who defended his country against the stronger invader, during the darkest of days, knowing he could die any day. Mr. Klimczak smoked occasionaly during the war, but he never did after it ended, he drank alcohol in moderation, also occasionally. Even well into his centenarian years, he has been very engaged in consecutive celebrations of the Warsaw Uprising Anniversaries, meeting many important guests during these events, including the incumbent presidents of both Poland and Germany, officials etc. He also took active part in the last, respectively, the 78th Anniversary of Warsaw Uprising, being aged 108. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2003 and later to Colonel in 2017.
Colonel Klimczak became the oldest living man in Poland following the death of Stanisław Kowalski in Apr. 2022. Today, he received a congratulory letter from the Gerontology Research Group, officially confirming his status as the oldest living man in Poland.