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Piwniczna - this is the place where a record-breaker among couriers used to set off on the route...

The distance from the town on the River Poprad to Koszyce was covered by couriers in 48 hours. The master in the whole group of couriers was Roman Stramka, who was famous for his several daring escapes from Nazi imprisonment. |A memorial – a boulder in the Dry Valley in Piwniczna was dedicated to him and his fellows. read more

Stramka was born in Ptaszkowa, which was the place where his mother Maria came from. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Nowy Sącz  (the Stramkowie family’s house is still situated at Gorzkowska 28 Street). He trained in the Sandecja sports club, and he was a noted athlete, canoeist, football player, cyclist and skier. In October 1939, he became involved in the organisation of the transfer network to Hungary, the outcome of which was that he  organised a route from Nowy Sącz to Piwniczna and Stara Lubovla together with his friend – Franciszek Krzyżak, pseudonym ”Frantol.”

In the first months of 1940, he registered himself for permanent residency in Budapest, where he was sworn in and provided with relevant false identity documents. In February 1940, he was arrested near Presov. At the turn of May, when he was being transported in a train by the Nazi-Germans, he escaped for the first time: ‘(…) they chained up us all, eighteen people, and attached the chains to one joint chain bolted inside the cattle van. As my hands are thick in wrists and my palms are narrow, I released myself from the chains quite quickly. When only the train started slowing down before the railway station (...), I jumped out of it (...),” he recalled.

On 18 October 1941, he would escape again – this time from the Gestapo’s prison in Nowy Sącz. This was the time of “emptying” the prison by executions and transports of the prisoners to the concentration camp in Oświęcim. The Gestapo officers did not assign him to the transport, as they were planning to execute him in Nowy Sącz. One day, in the evening, a guard brought him his supper and warned him that this was his last supper before the planned execution. When the attic was being cleaned up, he planned his escape. He got on the roof, and then got out of the prison through a drainpipe.

Stramka covered the Nowy Sącz – Budapest route 69 times. After the war, he was a skiing instructor and coach. He became active in such sports clubs as Spółdzielczy Klub Sportowy ”Start” Nowy Sącz, SKS ”Start” Zakopane, Ludowy Klub Sportowy (LKS) ”Poprad” Rytro and LKS Ptaszkowa. In the autumn of 1965, he died at the age of 49, after being injured in a motorcycle accident. You can find his grave in the municipal cemetery in Nowy Sącz at Rejtana Street, section No. 19. On his tombstone, there is the following inscription: ”Decorated with the Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari, a righteous Pole, a fervent patriot, a heroic courier of the Home Army, a friend of young people, an ambitious sportsman, a skiing instructor, a nature lover and a faithful friend.”

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