Frisco detective helps track down missing Holocaust uniform

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on April 14, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 15 at 5:08 PM

FRISCO — The son of a Polish holocaust survivor is praising a Frisco police detective for helping him find a sentimental family artifact he had feared was lost forever.

Stanley Sztaba let a friend borrow the prisoner of war uniform his father wore at a Nazi death camp in Germany. But that friend disappeared — along with the treasured uniform.

Jan Sztaba wasn't like most prisoners at the Nazi death camps. He wasn't Jewish. Sztaba was a Polish political prisoner.

When he was liberated, he kept the uniform he wore at Buchenwald.

"I wouldn't sell it even for $1 million, because this is something that you never forget," said Stanley Sztaba, Jan's son. "His wish was, he said, 'When I pass away... when I die... I want you to donate the uniform to the Holocaust Museum."

But Stanley let a Carrollton woman borrow the uniform. She told him she wanted to show it to her friends.

That woman never returned it.

"I tried to call... no answer," Sztaba said. "I knocked on the door... nobody there."

Sztaba went to the Frisco Police Department and talked with Detective C.J. Koski, who is Polish. Koski researched the woman, called her phone numbers, and discovered she had left for Poland.

"It was a letdown when I heard she was in Poland," Detective Koski said. "I thought it was lost forever."

But apparently, the detective's calls worked. The woman returned to North Texas and called Stanley Sztaba.

"She called me and said, 'Why don't you come over? I want to give you your father's uniform back," Sztaba said.

"Without those phone calls, she probably would have sold it," Koski added.

Sztaba has now been able to fulfill his father's wish. He donated the POW uniform to the Dallas Holocaust Museum.

"Without [Detective Koski], I wouldn't be able to donate the uniform," a grateful Sztaba said.

"Amazing. That's all I can say," Koski said. "This has been an amazing experience."

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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