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BBC - Center for Military Studies - Gerald Kochan


mattm1970 4 | 9
21 Jul 2010 #1
I was contacted last night by a BBC TV reporter regarding the sale of WW2 Polish Memorabilia - specifically in relation to my forum posts about the issues with my Grandfather ( 315 and 307 Squadrons PAF) and the loss of his WW2 PAF Log Book to the Center for Military Studies in Greenville Texas .

I have been contacted by families from The UK , Canada and Europe on the issue and was wondering if anybody else had any stories / information regards this area ? Please feel free to contact me and I will pass on any further information about this emotive issue to him.

Not Great News

Mr. McCarthy, I regret that I have no information to help you.
I am not familiar with The Center of (for) Military Studies or the name Gerald Kochan. I have checked the membership database of Texas Association of Museums. There is no record of the center .

Executive Director
Texas Association of Museums


UPDATE : I was misinformed about the situation, Mr. Gerald Kochan is not at fault. It was incorrect of me to write the thread without checking my facts.Reference: dallas.pl/viewtopic.php?p=2954
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
12 Aug 2010 #2
Might this be of use?

Domain ID:D149668115-LROR
Domain Name:CENTERFORMILITARYSTUDIES.ORG
Created On:06-Nov-2007 14:30:17 UTC
Registrant ID:D119435727756821
Registrant City:Sunnyvale
Registrant State/Province:CA
Registrant Postal Code:94088
Registrant Country:US
Witkowski - | 1
20 Oct 2010 #3
My father Jozef G P Witkowski met Gerald Kochan in 1992 in Warsaw. He lived in Trentham N Staffs UK. He had flown with 308 Squadron. I am Wanda one of his 2 daughters, Ana Jozefina is my sister, and we lost Dad on the 16th August.

more: pennsylvaniaherald.com/2010/07/19/bbc-center-for-military-studies-gerald-kochan/
pgtx 29 | 3,159
20 Oct 2010 #4
btw, thanks for the forum link... useful... ;)
poland_
20 Oct 2010 #5
It is always difficult to know which side of the story is fact, but if Gerald Kochan intentionally tricked FLT Tarkowski a decorated war hero, into falsely parting with his Pilots log book, then that is wrong. The main questions I have here, to what purposes did FLT Tarkowski believe his pilots log book was being used for, when he gave it to Gerald kochan, where is the pilots log book now, and how is it being used to make more people aware of the bravery of the Polish pilots in WW2.
convex 20 | 3,978
20 Oct 2010 #6
how is it being used to make more people aware of the bravery of the Polish pilots in WW2.

PS, my logbook might as well be a child. It lives with me, travels with me, and I would not part with it unless I thought it would contribute to some greater good.
OP mattm1970 4 | 9
30 Nov 2010 #7
Just to make sure you are aware that there is NO physical " Center For Military Studies " in Texas - Mr Kochan has finally admited this in August 2010.

The Address given for Greenville Texas is a PO box at a local Post Office and the listed "Office Number" is actually his home number in Rockwall Texas.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
30 Nov 2010 #8
Just to make sure you are aware that there is NO physical " Center For Military Studies " in Texas - Mr Kochan has finally admited this in August 2010.

So - essentially the things in question have been sold to a private collector?

Must admit, I'm not sure what the problem is.
Witold - | 2
12 Dec 2010 #9
We had a very similar experience with this man.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
12 Dec 2010 #10
We had a very similar experience with this man.

What kind of experience?

Were the things sold, legally, to a private collector?

If so, I'm not sure what the issue is.
Witold - | 2
12 Dec 2010 #11
The issue is that he lied about where the objects were for. He said they would be in a museum sponsored by the US Army. There does not appear to be a physical museum. As part of the verbal agreement he said he would send us bound copies of all the documents he took. Despite correspondence he has not done this.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
12 Dec 2010 #12
Business is business. If the items were sold on the basis of verbal agreements - then - in most jurisdictions, the agreement is worth the paper that it's written on.

(for what it's worth, I'd just report the items as stolen)
poland_
14 Dec 2010 #13
If the items were sold on the basis of verbal agreements - then - in most jurisdictions, the agreement is worth the paper that it's written on.

In PL as well, cases in PL have been won on the basis of a verbal agreement, although most Poles believe if there is no contract, it is outside the law, the times are changing.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
26 Dec 2010 #14
Why are Poles,living in Britain selling family history to a Yank and then complaining they never see the stuff again? Isnt that a bit of a no brainer?

In short there are honourable enough collectors of mil history(i ended up leaving some of the stuff Id bought on a buying trip with a local family because it meant something to them) but its also a trade full of bandits,didnt a bunch of polish lads nick the arbiet mach frei sign?
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
26 Dec 2010 #15
Why are Poles,living in Britain selling family history to a Yank and then complaining they never see the stuff again? Isnt that a bit of a no brainer?

That's what I'm wondering - surely it's pretty damn obvious that collectors, in general, will stash the stuff away rather than display it?
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
26 Dec 2010 #16
well,I didnt,most of my stuff has been widely displayed but...most collectors,your right,will stash the stuff in an attic or spare room.

And if you think passing it on to a museum will get it displayed,forget it,most museums have a warehouse like the one at the end of indiana jones!

Its not that you havent got my sympathies,my own family are trying to trace some log books to RAF fighter pilots too,i hold out zero hope but hey,who knows.
OP mattm1970 4 | 9
7 Jan 2011 #17
Why are Poles,living in Britain selling family history to a Yank ? isthatu2:

Gerald Kochan is an American of Polish decent , he speaks Polish and clearly has rehearsed his sales approach - those that have sold to him are very elderly Poles or the immediate relatives of WW2 Veterans who have recently passed away.

Harry
7 Jan 2011 #18
this is a question that we have yet to receive an answer to and baffles and upsets us to this day.

It rather seems that you have certainly had an answer to that question: "FLT Tarkowski offered the logbook to me [Kochan] in hopes of aiding my efforts to research and to promote the WW2 history of the Poles."

forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=22042

Pity that you don't like the answer.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
7 Jan 2011 #19
So - McCarthy - why haven't you provided Gerald with proof of his dementia and the proof that you're acting as executor of his estate?

Sounds very much to me like someone is mad that his grandfather sold something that he wanted.
Harry
7 Jan 2011 #20
Sounds very much to me like someone is mad that his grandfather sold something that he wanted.

That is exactly what it sounds like to me too.
alexw68
7 Jan 2011 #21
So - McCarthy - why haven't you provided Gerald with proof of his dementia and the proof that you're acting as executor of his estate?

Proof of dementia not required. It's a moral, rather than legal standpoint. What is not only sad, but an unjustifiable side-effect of unregulated markets (be they financial or in traded goods) is a consistent failure by what we will have to call lesser-educated people to act in their own best interests where the value of property (moving or otherwise) is concerned.

Lots of people (several of whom I know) got very rich - and unbelievably arrogant - on this kind of historical parasitism. Should our admiration of their business acumen be entirely without reservation?
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
7 Jan 2011 #22
Indeed - but we shouldn't assume that the grandfather was lesser-educated either. He may simply have seen the money on offer (what's such a logbook worth?) and decided that it was easy money - money for him to enjoy in his old age.

He may even have felt that he was getting money for old rope, as they say.

Should our admiration of their business acumen be entirely without reservation?

Depends entirely on how they went about it, surely?
OP mattm1970 4 | 9
7 Jan 2011 #23
Yes I have provided proof of my position Trustee of the Estate - I did this months ago directly to his solicitor. My Mother , the Executor of the Estate is in protracted discussions with The UK based lawyers that represent Mr Kochan - these talks are continuing.

My post today was merely a continuation of the direction of this post ( by others) about items going abroad - I mention Gerald Kochan as he is the person our family has encountered - there are plenty of other characters out there who have collected items that in an ideal world would stay within the family or alternatively an appropriate museum.

And yes I am "mad" that a complete stranger appeared at the house of my elderly grandfather ( six months away from death ) and left in possession of the most important piece of our family history .That same stranger then bluntly refused point blank to my mothers appeal to repurchase the item back in 2006 ( when she first discovered it was not with all the other personal items that he left HER )

The Grandfather I knew would not have sold it to anybody as he was so insistent on everything staying within the family - so snide comments from others in this forum add nothing to the real debate .

We are not the only family in this position - since my first post I have been contacted by over ten other families both here and abroad - all of whom must just be a bit "mad that his grandfather sold something that he wanted " ( delphiandomine / Harry )
Harry
7 Jan 2011 #24
The Grandfather I knew would not have sold it to anybody as he was so insistent on everything staying within the family

Strange you phrase it like that, given that apparently your grandfather wanted to give the thing away and it was only when Mr Kochan insisted that the item was exchanged for money.
OP mattm1970 4 | 9
7 Jan 2011 #25
My Grandfather was a millionaire - he didn't need the money.

The only person who insists that my Grandfather - who was ill and six months away from his death - wanted to give the Log Book away is the complete stranger who turned up at his secluded house in England and somehow is now in possession of the item.

My Grandmother was adamant that she pleaded with him not to part with the item and despite this he parted with the Log Book - an action that we as a family find upsetting

and baffling.

Hence our confusion as to how or why a person unknown to any family member now has the item in his private collection thousands of miles away from the County he made his home.

I'm sorry "Harry" but if you are trying to get a reaction out of me then you are going nowhere with this.
Harry
7 Jan 2011 #26
the complete stranger who turned up at his secluded house in England

At the suggestion of men who fought alongside your grandfather.

somehow is now in possession of the item.

Not 'somehow': because your grandfather sold it to him in the presence of your grandmother.

my Grandfather - who was ill and six months away from his death

Lucky that a doctor was with him all the time that he was with Mr Kochan.

My Grandmother was adamant that she pleaded with him not to part with the item and despite this he parted with the Log Book

Forgive me for pointing this out but it was your grandfather's log book: it was his to do with as he wanted. You may disagree with his decision but it was his decision. Respect your grandfather by respecting his wishes. And stop bad mouthing a man who appears to have done infinitely more than you will ever do to ensure that the bravery and sacrifice of brave men is remembered.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
7 Jan 2011 #27
There's only one answer here -

If the item was stolen from a man who wasn't in full control of his faculties, then you should inform the police. You've got all the details, it's a straightforward case of theft.

I'm really not sure what posting online is going to achieve.

Sadly, it's all too common that families are left bitter and angry that a family member has chosen to give things to people other than "the person who thought they deserved it". How many families are torn apart after the death of their parents, for example? Seems to be the same old situation here - the family feels they deserve to have the logbook, the grandfather has thought differently.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
9 Jan 2011 #28
Sadly, it's all too common that families are left bitter and angry that a family member has chosen to give things to people other than "the person who thought they deserved it".

this could have happened with ours, a Dress sword should have gone to my grand mother as she always polished it and kept it spick and span for her father,but it ended up going to one of his sons as "family" presumed a sword should go to a male.....the Dress sword has now long since disappeared,who knows where it is,at best a collector may have it as a prize possesion....

On the other hand many veterns have no wish to tell their family anything,remember aside from the "fun" stories they occasionally tell these were the grimmest years of their lives,I only discovered my own Grandfathers huge collection of photos and empheria from his time with 2nd TAF in europe once he had end stage dementia,in our family it was a no brainer where all this stuff went,though I did insist that mu uncle(serving RAF officer) got his medels,medels my grandfather never even took out of the boxes and didnt include any you had to send off for.....

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