Sat-Oh Stanisław Supłatowicz Indianin z Szydłowca Żołnierz Armii Krajowej
Sat-Okh (c. 1920 – July 3, 2003)
Amazing Story Of A Young Shawnee That Escaped Auschwitz, Outfoxed Nazis, And Promoted Indian Folklore.
Have you heard about the Polish Amerindian who fought the Germans in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) and after the war wrote books to popularize Indian folklore in Poland? Exotic as it may sound, that in a nutshell is the story of Sat-Okh which in the Shawnee language means Long Feather.
Our story begins in the early 20th century when a Pole named Supłatowicz ran afoul of the Russian occupation forces in tsarist-ruled Poland and got sent to Siberia. His wife Stanisława followed him there, but he died several weeks after her arrival.
She struggled to survive in the Siberian wilderness and finally took advantage of the chaos that erupted during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to flee the country.
Braving the high seas in several small rowboats, together with 11 other exiles Stanisława embarked on the 80-kilometer (50-mile) voyage from Siberia to Alaska. Not all of her fellow travelers survived the crossing.
From Alaska, Stanisława made her way down to Canada where she found refuge among the Shawnee Indians. There she adopted the Indian name White Cloud and married the chief’s son Tall Eagle whom she bore three children, the youngest being Sat-Okh. Stanisława missed her homeland but it wasn’t until 1937 that word of Poland having regained its independence in 1918 reached her remote Indian camp in the Canadian wilds.
That made her decide to show her then 17-year-old son Sat-Okh her ancestral land. They had planned to spend only six months in Poland but got stranded there by the outbreak of World War II. The Polish-Indian half-breed lived with his mother in the town of Radom, 50 miles south of Warsaw. Thanks to a small secret compartment they made in their flat, a young Jewish girl survived the war.
Stanisław. as he was now known, completed his secondary education at an underground school (under the Nazis Poles were not allowed to go to high school) and worked at a post office. But his non-Aryan appearance made him suspect so he spent a year in a Nazi jail before being sent to Auschwitz.
Together with several other prisoners, he managed to break out of the cattle car transporting him to the German death camp. But he was shot in the leg by a guard while fleeing and went into hiding, nursing his wound for the next six months.
In 1943, Stasiek (short for Stanisław) joined the AK and received the pseudonym Kozak (Cossack). He also took part in many scouting missions as well as attacks on German transports and helped spring Polish prisoners in Nazi detention. His Indian skills made him a real asset to his unit,
An accomplished horseman, the Pol-Indian could also silently creep through a forest and sneak up on the enemy. He taught his fellow AK fighters wilderness survival skills and the Indian way of using a knife as a lethal combat weapon. He also showed them how to outfox their Nazi pursuers by walking backwards through the forest. That sent the Germans off an a wild goose chase in the wrong direction.
After the war, Stanisław did time for his involvement with the AK which Poland’s communist regime regarded as an enemy force. After being released, he was drafted into the Polish Navy and later joined the Merchant Marine and settled in the Baltic Port of Gdańsk
Throughout his life, Stanisław Supłatowicz popularized Indian folklore in Poland by writing numerous Indian-themed adventure books. He also demonstrated Indian handicrafts and gave numerous talks on Polish TV shows.
Sat-Okh was the founder of the Polish Friends of Indians Movement, and in 2000 set up a North American Indian Museum in the northern Polish town of Wymysłów. Three years later death ended his fascinating career.
Under the name Sat Okh, Stanisław Supłatowicz published several autobiographical novels for children in Polish. They were translated into several European languages. The books describe a boy’s childhood and coming of age among the Shawnee in the Northwest Territories in the 1930s. Critics and reviewers of his work have noted that many of his descriptions are of First Nations life and customs associated with an earlier time period and with peoples of other geographical locations.
Ziemia słonych skał (The Land of Salt Rocks) (1958)
Biały mustang (White Mustang) (1959)
Dorogi skhodyat’sya (Roads Merge) (in Russian with Antonina Rasulova) (1973)
Powstanie człowieka (The Emergence of Man) (1981)
Fort nad Athabaską (Fort over Athabaska) (with Yackta-Oya) (1985)
Głos prerii (Sounds of the Prairie) (1990)
Tajemnica Rzeki Bobrów (The Mystery of Beaver River) (1996)