Polish envoy touched again by tragedy
Two children of ambassador, cousin killed in crash
Polish ambassador Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz was planning to be in Poland on Thursday, but he ended up going three days early after learning that both of his children and one of their cousins had died in a car accident.
His children, Michal, 19, and Maria, 15, were in Poland with a cousin from Oshawa, visiting relatives. Their Canadian cousin, whose first name is Sylwia (the embassy in Ottawa didn’t have a last name as of Tuesday), was also in the vehicle that collided with a transport truck and went up in flames. All three died at the scene.
When the members of the Kosiniak-Kamysz family moved to Canada earlier this year, they discovered distant relatives in Oshawa, and this summer the children went to Poland to show Sylwia their home country and to introduce her to extended family, said Sylwia Domisiewicz, the press and protocol officer at Poland’s embassy in Ottawa. “ We just learned today that (cousin Sylwia) was Canadian,” she said.
The accident occurred in Lagow, Swietokrzyskie, about 200 kilometres south of Warsaw, where the ambassador and his wife, Katarzyna, were to land Tuesday.
“The ambassador was supposed to go to Warsaw Thursday for the annual ambassadors meeting, and he was supposed to meet ( his children) then,” Domisiewicz said.
Instead, he and his wife had a short visit from the pastor of St. Hyacinth Polish Church before boarding a plane to Warsaw.
Domisiewicz expects there will be a memorial service in Ottawa for the children, provided the KosiniakKamyszs return to their posting after the funeral in Poland.
“At this point, we don’t know what they will decide to do,” she said. “It’s hard to say, but I expect they will come back.”
Maria was a student at Colonel By Secondary School, and Michal was studying at the University of Ottawa.
This was the second tragedy to have befallen the ambassador this year.
As a high-ranking diplomat in Poland’s foreign service, KosiniakKamysz knew many of those killed when a plane carrying Poland’s governing elite crashed in Russia on its way to Katyn to attend a memorial to mark the 70th anniversary of atrocities in which thousands of Polish prisoners were killed and dumped in unmarked graves by the Soviet secret police in 1940.