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YouTube |13Apr2012 | Renata Bogdanska (Irena Yarosevych)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBLqCiWqQ9M Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqGTgIMqIV4 Part 2
Ukrainian wife of Polish General Anders
This 22 minute YouTube video outlines the life of Irena Yarosevych
(1917.05.00-2010.11.29) who grew up in Ukraine, was a member of Plast,
an acquaintance of Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, was active in
the Ukrainian resistance movement to Polish domination, became a
singing celebrity, supported the establishment and demise of ill-fated
Carpatho-Ukraine on 16Mar1939 which presaged the start of
WWII, after arrival of Soviet troops on 17Sep1939 she joined Lviv
Opera as Renata Bogdanska and toured Soviet Union with "Lwow Tea Jazz",
married Gwidon Borucki, joined Anders "Gulag-prisoner" Army which was
sent to Italy via Iran, Iraq, Palestine; Monte Cassino film star, after
divorcing their spouses Irena and General Wladyslaw Anders were
married, remained loyal to Polish cause even after the death of Anders
A summary of the video is appended below. In my opinion, it provides a
fascinating insight into the personalities involved in the Ukrainian
struggle for independence -- from WWI, through the Polish repressions
during the 1930s, the attempted establishment of Carpatho-Ukraine in
1938-39, and the beginnings of WWII.
Will Zuzak; 2012.04.14
Renata Bogdanska, or Irena
Yarosevych (1917-2010) as her real name was, a singer and actress,
became a Polish star. Her marriage to the celebrated military leader of
the Free Polish forces in World War II, General Wladyslaw Anders, and
public activities on behalf of the Polish cause, made her a Polish
national icon. Yet, as my research has uncovered, there is a dimension
to her that has hitherto remained concealed or forgotten. In this
documentary video clip in two parts, which contains very rare
photographs and other material gathered from archives, relatives and
friends, secrets about her origins, family and Ukrainian background are
finally revealed. On the first anniversary of her death, this is my
tribute to this remarkable woman and an exploration of the complex
times in which she lived.
Summary Part 1:
Both the grandfather and father,Nykolai Yarosevych (1873-1957), of
Irena Yarosevych were Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests in Badrykivtsi,
Zalischyky district, Ternopil region. Nykolai was ordained in 1897 and
circa 1900 married Olena Nyzhankivsky. She was the sister of composer
and priest Ostap Nyzhankivsky (1863-1919), who was executed by Polish
soldiers of "Haller's Army" after the defeat of Ukrainian ZUNR forces
in May 1919 in Stryi. They had 4 children -- two older girls, son
Anatol (1911) and Irena (May 1917) born in Freudenthal, Austria where
Nykolai was a chaplain in the Austrian Army near the end of WWI.
- In July 1918, the Yarosevych family moved back to Kolomiya, where
Nykolai was a chaplain in the ZUNR Army until their defeat in 1919.
- In early 1920, Nykolai was the parish priest in Sapohiv, Stanislav
region, where his children were enrolled in Plast (allegedly with
- In 1925, Fr. Yarosevych was transfered to Lviv to serve at the
Kulparkiv mental hospital. His son participated in the Plast
Chornomortsi platoon of Roman Shukhevych (1907-1950) in the late 1920s.
Irena was educated by Basilian Sisters and participated in Plast.
- In the 1930s, Irena studied in Lviv at the Ukrainian Business School
and Lysenko Music Institute. She sang in the Yabsto music band and
became close friends with Bohdan Veselovsky (1915-1971) circa 1935.
- In July 1938, Zenon Kossak (1907-1939), a leading nationalist and
Plast leader, was sent to Czechoslovakia to help establish
Carpatho-Ukraine followed by Bohdan Veselovsky in early 1939.
- On 16Mar1939, the Ukrainian volunteers were quickly crushed by
Hungarian troops. Kossak was executed. Shukhevych escaped. Veselovsky
- Following the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 23Aug1939, the German attack
on Poland on 01Sep1939 and the Red Army occupation of Western Ukraine
on 17Sep1939, there are several photographs of the German and Soviet
armies fraternizing. There is one picture of "Polish prisoners of war
taken by the Soviets". These were presumably destined to be the victims
of the Katyn Forest Massacres or sent to the Siberian gulags.
Summary Part 2:
- After the Soviet occupation, Irena was associated with Lviv Opera
House and became Polish singer as Renata Bogdanska in the band "Lwow
Tea Jazz" under Henryk Wars.
- Did 3 tours of Soviet Union and married Gwidon Borucki in civil ceremony.
- After the German invasion on 22Jun1941, touring was limited to
Siberia, where the Polish "Gulag-prisoner" Army was being formed
by Wladislaw Anders (1892-1970). It was sent to Italy to fight under
British command via Iran, Iraq, Palestine (where Menachem Begin and
thousands of Jewish soldiers deserted to fight for an Israeli state).
Thousands of Polish soldiers were sacrificed in the infamous battle of
- Wars, Konarsky, Waszynski, Borucki and Irena left with Anders Army to form a new orchestra.
- After the war (1946), Irena starred in the Waszynski film about the
Monte Cassino battle called Wielka Droga (Great Road) and another
film with Italian stars Vittorio de Sica and Anna Magnani.
- Anders and Irena fell in love, divorced their spouses, married in 1948 and settled in London.
- She performed with Polish Free Radio.
- Irena helped her brother, Anatol Yarosevych, who married in a DP camp
in Landshut, W. Germany in 1946. He emigrated to the USA in 1949 with
his family and sister Tetyana, where General Anders visited them in
- In 1946, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church was liquidated by
Stalin, but Fr. Nykolai Yarosevych remained parish priest at St.
Nicholas church until his death in 1957.
- Bohdan Veselovsky ended up in Montreal, Canada, where he became head
of the Ukrainian Service of Radio Canada until his death in 1971.
- After the death of General Anders in 1970, Irena remained loyal to the Polish cause.
- In 2007, President Lech Kazcynski awarded Irena the "Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta".
- Irena Yarosevych died in London on 29Nov2010 and is buried
alongside her husband, General Wladyslaw Anders, at the war cemetary in