On this day in 1941, the Hartford Courant ran the story of Middletown man Stephen S. Klimek, who had just before midnight on New Year’s Eve returned to his family home on Bow Lane after spending nearly a year and half in war-racked Poland. What was to be a brief vacation from his work as a toolmaker on Hubbard Street to visit his family’s farm near Cracow in Poland went awry when he awoke to the sounds of low-flying German bombers overhead on September 1. The war had begun.
Denied visa credentials by the presiding German authorities and wanted for arrest by the Gestapo on the charges that he was an American spy, Klipek fled to the U.S. consular offices in Berlin, where he eventually secured passage to Lisbon, and from there, back to the United States. Klipek told of a disintegrating situation in Germany and Poland, where food was scarce and bombing was taking its toll on infrastructure and human life.
Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.