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Konstanty Bilewicz

Konstanty Bilewicz's escape
Konstanty Bilewicz, photography by Dominik Werner

Konstanty Bilewicz was born on 10th October 1948 in Usedom. His father, Juliusz Bilewicz, was a Deep-Sea Captain and the first river pilot in the Oder; he also was the port captain in Ustka. Konstanty Bilewicz graduated from the Polish Naval School as a radio officer.

In 1973 he decided to leave Poland. He was the subject of painful repressions due to his origin and participation in the events of December 1970 in Gdynia. After several failed attempts he managed to get on board of TSS Stefan Batory and reach Copenhagen. From there he went by a ferry to Malmö, where he asked for asylum. However, he did not stay in Sweden. After some time he decided to join his brother living in Australia. This trip marked the next stage of Konstanty Bilewicz’s professional life. He worked as a jet engine mechanic and later served at a polar station on the Macquarie Island.

In Australia he started a family and he has two daughters. Currently, he lives in Perth.

He was interviewed by Olga Blumczyńska in July, 2014 in Gdynia.

interview excerpts
Everyday attempts to escape
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Lucky boarding TSS Stefan Batory
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The boarding ladder is going up, the vessel is sailing off
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Hitch-hiking to Malmö
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Nightmares abroad
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Relationships with foreigners
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Polish Christmas Eve in Australia
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Relationship with the homeland
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