It’s probably the longest-awaited promotion in history.On Thursday, 112-year-old Józef Kowalski, a former lieutenant in the Polish army, was promoted to captain by Poland’s Defence Minister: Tomasz SIemioniak, TheNews.pl reports.
The minister visited the war veteran at the old people’s home in Tursk, western Poland, where he has lived since 1993, to bestow the honour on him.
Kowalski was born on February 2, 1900 in southern Poland (what was then part of the Austrian empire), according to a Defence Ministry press release. He soon enlisted in the Polish army, and fought in a Polish cavalry unit during World War I. He was also part of the Polish army that defeated the Soviets in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920.
However, after WWI, Kowalski seemed to crave the quiet life, returning to his family farm despite studying at cavalry school, according to the AP. He did return to the front in 1939, but spent most of World War II as a German PoW. He returned to farm in his homeland after the war, but abandoned the occupation due to ill health, which forced him into an adult home.
The promotion is not the only honour this veteran of three wars has received. He was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Reborn Poland for his 100th birthday, as well as the Pro Memoria medal of the Union of Polish War Veterans.
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