During our stay in Pahlevi, father visited us daily. He was with his detachment in a different location, but their living quarters were similar to ours. He told us that, during our transport from Russia, he was on the same ship as we were, but he was below deck and it was so crowded there that nobody was allowed to go on deck where we and the majority of the civilian population were located. We did not meet him until after our arrival.
After staying on the beach in Pahlevi for about three weeks, we were loaded onto open trucks and began our trip to Tehran. The road was going over the Elburz Mountains, very steep and rugged mountains that separated the Caspian Sea from the rest of Persia.
We stopped for the night at the town of Qazvin where we were fed and spent the night sleeping on the floor, in a building that looked like a school. Next morning we resumed our journey and, after a rather uneventful trip, we arrived in Tehran.
In Persia, the Polish authorities started to compile lists containing the identities of the refugees. Usually, some verification was required to establish one's identity, such as two witnesses, or some written document.
Soon after we came to Tehran, father was discharged from the army. After a short time of being with us, he got a job in the Polish hospital in Tehran. As soon as we got to Tehran, I renewed my insistence on joining the army. My parents objected: there was a school being formed and they said that I should go to school rather than to the army. After many discussions, I agreed to go to school.
Finally, sometime in the middle of December, we were loaded onto transport ships and away we went to Italy.
Our teachers were recruited from the camp population and they did the best they could to put some wisdom into our heads.
12th Podolski Lancers Regimental Badge.
We formed a small group of young boys and girls and did the things that teenagers do: we played volley ball, went to Tehran to the movies together and went for walks and so on.
Our new stop was a large British encampment in Quassassin, near the town of Ismaila. There I took the opportunity to visit the pyramids.
The name Podolski is from the Podole region in Poland, where the Regiment was stationed before the war. I was very glad that I was assigned to the lancers regiment. Throughout the history of Poland the cavalry was the pride of the army.
Tehran 1942 Civilian Camp. L - R Halina Szafranska, Marysia Wawrzynowicz, Romuald Lipinski.
During that time we had the opportunity to go to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other places known to us from the Bible. In recognition of our odyssey, the Church considered us to be pilgrims and we were given the right to receive the Silver Cross of Jerusalem (for £3.00). We were supposed to be in high school for five months. But soon after we started our classes, the orders were changed. After six weeks we were sent to our regiments and with some British troops we participated in big exercises that lasted two weeks.
British Encampment in Quassassin.
Embarking for journey from Egypt to Italy.
The Egyptian Pyramids.
Tehran 1942. L - R Irka Szmidtowna, Romuald Lipinski, in background Irka Jozwinowna & the Polish teacher.