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G. Gerlach Honors Polish Space Exploration With the Kosmonauta
Born on September 15, 1941 in the town of Lipniki in Nazi-occupied Poland, Mirosław Hermaszewski had a tragic childhood. 19 members of his family, including his father, fell victim to the Volhynian Massacres perpetrated against Poles by the partisan Ukrainian Insurgent Army before he was two years old. When the Soviet Union absorbed Hermaszewski’s hometown along with much of eastern Poland at the end of World War II, 4-year-old Mirosław and his mother were forced to move southwest to the town of Wołów. Upon finishing high school, he enlisted in the air force, and by 1965 had graduated from the elite Dęblin pilot’s training academy. Hermaszewski’s military career was admirable, if unspectacular, earning a reputation of dependability in his superiors for the next decade.
Where Hermaszewski’s story really begins, however, is in 1978. The Soviet Union was stagnating under Brezhnev, and unrest was beginning to build in the Soviet-aligned Warsaw Pact states, especially Poland. In an effort to regain the faith of their allies, the Soviets launched the Intercosmos program to send cosmonauts from other Eastern Bloc nations into orbit in Soyuz capsules. 500 Polish applicants were considered before Soviet command decided on Hermaszewski, who was promptly scheduled for spaceflight aboard Soyuz 30 alongside cosmonaut Pyotr Klimuk–coincidentally the first Belarusian in space.
http://wornandwound.com/g-gerlach-honor ... osmonauta/
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