- Julian Bussgang is the son of Jozef and Stefania Philipp Bussgang. He was born in Lwow, Poland on March 26, 1925; his older sister Janina was born in October, 1923. He grew up in a religiously progressive Jewish household with many Catholic friends. His father was a prosperous businessman. Immediately after the German invasion of Poland, the family decided to flee to escape the Nazis and the bombardment of Lwow. The family piled into the car belonging to Julian’s aunt and uncle and drove south to Romania . They arrived at the border town of Kuty on September 17, 1939 to discover officials of the Polish government also evacuating across the border. The following night, they crossed into Romania after Julian’s father bribed a border guard who allowed them to pass. From there they made their way to Bucharest and joined Julian’s aunt and uncle in a hotel. Julian and Janina first enrolled in a French high school but then attended a Polish school established by the refugee community. They were among the few Jewish students; most pupils were the children of former Polish government officials or military officers. Over the next few months, the Romanian government came under increasing pressure to ally itself more closely with Germany. Julian’s parents foresaw that Romania would not remain a safe haven and looked to immigrate elsewhere. His aunt and uncle managed to get to Portugal and eventually made their way to Cuba and later the United States. Though it was normally quite difficult to obtain a visa to Palestine, Julian’s father learned that there were a limited number of capitalist visas for people with enough assets, and he was able to qualify. After receiving Palestinian visas, the Bussgangs took a train to Constanza, and from there they boarded a ship that brought them to Haifa in March 1940. The family settled in Tel Aviv. After the collapse of France two months later, the Polish government-in-exile decided to evacuate all its personnel to British territory. Julian was surprised when many of his classmates from Bucharest suddenly arrived in Palestine. His old school then reconstituted itself, and for the next two years Julian attended the Polish High school in Tel Aviv with both Catholic and Jewish Polish refugee children. His mathematics teacher was former Prime Minister of Poland, Janusz Jedrzejewicz. Julian’s mother became active in the Polish Refugee Social Services and Activities Group and a part-time volunteer for the Polish Red Cross in Palestine. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Polish refugees and prisoners in the Soviet Union were granted permission to form a new Polish unit under the command of General Anders. Anders’ Army became the 2nd Corps of the Polish Army and part of the British Eighth Army under General Montgomery. It traveled from the Soviet Union through the Middle East and arrived in Palestine just as Julian was completing his high school studies. Many of his classmates, both Catholic and Jewish, decided to enlist. Julian enlisted on August 10, 1943 at the age of 18. His sister Janina joined the Women’s Auxiliary. Julian attended officer’s school in Gedera and trained with a light tank unit in the Sinai desert near the Suez Canal. Julian was one of approximately 1000 Jewish soldiers who fought in Italy with General Anders. After arriving in Taranto, Italy in February 1944, Julian joined a light anti-aircraft artillery unit and fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino, which secured the American break-out in Anzio. After the war many Polish soldiers felt betrayed that the Allies did not recognize the independence of the Polish government-in-exile and permitted the country again to fall under Soviet rule. Very few soldiers opted to return to Poland. Julian remained in Italy working with displaced persons. Then, the army sent him along with other soldiers to continue his education at the Politecnico di Torino. Later they were evacuated to England where he studied at the University of London. His parents and sister soon joined him in England. He received his B.Sc. (Engineering) degree from the University of London. Julian immigrated to the States in 1949 and went on to receive his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University.
[Source: Carole Garbury Vogel: We Shall Not Forget: Memories of the Holocaust. Temple Isaiah, Lexington.]