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A Mass of Christian Burial for Anna Szczepaniak, a retired University at Buffalo employee who spent part of her youth in a Nazi work farm, will be offered at 9:15 a.m. Monday in St. Paul Church, Delaware Avenue and Victoria Boulevard, Kenmore, following prayers at 8:30 in Amigone Funeral Home, 1132 Delaware Ave. Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.

Mrs. Szczepaniak, 77, of Kenmore, died Friday (Oct. 19, 2001) in her home after a sudden illness.

She was born in Lwow, Poland, and came to the United States in 1952 after World War II, with her late husband, Chester, whom she married in 1945 in Germany, and three infant daughters.

They moved to Buffalo, where she worked for the UB Student Services Bureau.

During World War II, Mrs. Szczepaniak was abducted by Nazi forces and spent five years in a work farm. But her family said her life later turned into a microcosm of the American dream, with all four of her children leading successful careers and grandchildren attending prestigious colleges.

She was active in Polish community organizations, including St. Stanislaus Community Center and the Women's Polish Circle of Western New York.

She enjoyed playing cards and was known for her Polish cooking skills.

Outside of her family, relatives said, Mrs. Szczepaniak was most proud of her American citizenship.

"I would never raise my family in a country where their freedom could be taken away like mine was as a child," she once said when asked about returning to her homeland.

Survivors include three daughters, Maria Barner of Greenwich, R.I., Kris Niefer of Cummings, Ga., and Chesterine Stevenson of Buffalo; a son, Thaddeus of Grand Island; two brothers, Paul and Peter Krolik, both of Poland; and eight grandchildren.


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