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Associate Professor Emeritus Jan Jozef Solecki taught Russian Language and the Economics of the Soviet Union in the Department of Slavonic Studies at UBC from 1964–1984. Solecki was born in Inner Mongolia to a Russian mother and a Polish father. Their famly lived among 10,000 Polish people the Russians had sent to Manchuria to construct a railway. Growing up, Solecki and his brothers boarded at a Polish high school in the nearby province of Heilongjiang. In 1939, Solecki won a Polish scholarship to study in Hong Kong where he soon mastered English. He served in the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps 1941-1946 and was a Japanese Prisoner of War in Hong Kong (1941-1943) and in Japan (1943-1945). After the war, Solecki completed a B.Comm. from the London School of Economics and found a position with the British Foreign Office in London. In the early 1960s he immigrated to Vancouver, Canada and ended up teaching at UBC until 1984. His married his second wife Lina (Pauline) in 1980 with whom he enjoyed travel, opera, and the beginning of his retirement years. In 1998, he wrote Escape to Life, an account of the efforts of Chinese patriots to liberate inmates from a Japanese experimental medical camp in Northern China. Solecki also wrote a book of eleven short stories presenting his experiences as a fighter and prisoner of war in Hong Kong and Japan and other life experiences, entitled "Bitter Cherries."

Born: 1919
Died: 2011