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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Alicja Edwards of Eureka

January 18, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Alicja Edwards of Eureka with his Spirit of Montana commendation for her indomitable resolve, strength and courage, and inspiring memoires of the Polish diaspora.

A survivor of German attacks in Poland and forced labor in a Soviet gulag, Edwards overcame the atrocities of war and documented the journey of her family and thousands of other Poles in two books. Edwards owns an antique and art shop in Eureka where she paints, plays the piano, and inspires others.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at https://gianforte.house.gov/contact/email.

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record follows:

RECOGNIZING ALICJA EDWARDS OF EUREKA

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Alicja Edwards of Eureka, a Montana artist, author, and World War II refugee, who overcame the atrocities of war and recorded her family’s journey as part of the historic diaspora of the Polish people.

When she was a teenager, Alicja’s small town in eastern Poland came under attack by Nazi Germany and suffered a brutal Soviet occupation. She and her family were forced into a Soviet gulag where they endured mistreatment, illness, and hunger.

Three years later, Alicja and thousands of other Poles were exiled to Iran. It was there where she met American Army Lieutenant Ernest Edwards who she married in 1945. The couple raised two children, lived in Japan, France, and America, and were married 50 years before Ernest’s passing.

Alicja is renowned for her memoires, And God Was Our Witness and They Called Us D.P.’s, that detail the suffering of her family and hundreds of thousands of Poles displaced during and after World War II.

In And God Was Our Witness, she describes the value of freedom and liberty:

“Priceless Freedom has never been perceived or truly understood by anyone, till it was lost or forcibly taken away. Only then, one becomes aware of the magnitude of its potency and power in directing one's life and fate.”

Alicja is a noted artist and owns an antique and art shop in Eureka, where she continues to paint, play the piano, and inspire others.

Mr. Speaker, for her indomitable resolve, strength and courage, and her inspiring memoires of the Polish diaspora, I recognize Alicja Edwards for her spirit of Montana.