Rachubik-Orwicz, Alina

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Alina Rachubik-Orwicz, of Pilot, passed away Thursday, March 8, 2007, at the age of 83. Born Alina Zadarnowska in Pruzana, Poland (now Belarus) on June 2, 1923, she was the daughter of practicing Catholics Aleksander Zadarnowski and Aleksandra Janow.

Ms. Orwicz was among the generation of Poles to survive both the Soviet Gulag and years in exile. Caught in the first wave of Soviet-imposed deportations in 1940, she and her family were imprisoned in a forced labor camp in North Western Siberia for two years. Surviving the hardship, hunger and despair of internment, she was released in January 1942.

Thus began an arduous journey of exile and wandering which took Ms. Orwicz and her family across Siberia, Central Asia, the Caspian Sea (Turkmenistan) and Iran. After spending five months in a Polish Refugee Camp in Teheran, Ms. Orwicz was sent to East Africa, via Karachi (Pakistan). Crossing the Indian Ocean, she arrived at the port of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) in August 1942. A month later, she was transferred to the Polish Refugee Camp in Ifunda (Tanzania) run by the British Government, where she lived, worked and taught elementary school for more than six years.

The War at an end, and unable to return to what was then Communist Poland, Ms. Orwicz was transported through Mombasa (Kenya) to England. There, in 1948, she was reunited with the rest of her family and her childhood sweetheart, Mieczyslaw Rachubik-Orwicz, who had himself survived imprisonment in the Nazi Concentration Camp of Mauthausen (Austria). They married in London in May 1948, where Ms. Orwicz gained employment as a seamstress, until moving to Bristol. In 1956, she, her husband and their two children, Michael and Barbara, emigrated to the US, settling in Garden Grove, California. Ms. Orwicz, who gave birth to her second daughter, Kris, in 1958, devoted her life to her family, repairing their experiences of the “forgotten” Holocaust and exile with her optimism, compassion and love.

On the passing of her husband, Ms. Orwicz resettled to Floyd County. Here, as everywhere else she’d lived, her warmth, combined with her incomparable talents for baking and cooking, brought her countless friends and admirers.

She is survived by her three children, Michael Rachubik-Orwicz (and daughter-in-law, Robin Adèle Greeley) of Cambridge, Mass., Barbara Triplett of Pilot, Va., and Kris Colt (and son-in-law John) of Redmond, Wash.; her grandchildren, Alex Triplett of Boston, Mass., Stacy Noelle Triplett of Roanoke, Va., and Mark Colt of Redmond, Wash.; her sister, Lucia Czekalska (and husband Marian), of Bristol, England, and two brothers, Richard Zadarnowski (and wife Cynthia) and Roman Zadarnowski (and wife Danuta) also of Bristol; and her nieces, Jadwiga Adessian (husband Kevork) of Westminster, Calif., and Teresa Sempruch (and husband Marian) of Biala Podlaska, Poland. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 17, 2007 at Zion Lutheran Church.