It’s ok to [Roman Rogocz]…

It’s ok to [Roman Rogocz] Ekstraklasa. (78/100)

The year is 1943, Nazi Germany controls most of Europe, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising takes place, and the largest ever tank battle takes place near Kursk. It was also the year Roman Rogocz was deported to Germany.

Roman was born in Chorzów and grew up playing for AKS Chorzów. He was a talented footballer who had hopes of one day playing in the Polish leagues. But his future plans looked as though they’d never come into fruition when Roman was transported to Germany for forced labour.

The German war machine needed a large work force and man power, but with the war dragging on more ethnic Germans were sent to the front lines with those from occupied countries having to take their place, one of those being Roman. But this plan didn’t work for Roman, he had to get out of Germany.

He made his escape the same year, working his way South. If he was found without identification papers he’d have been jailed, or worse, shot. He made his way through the Alps in Austria and Italy, hiding in forests or behind rocks when there was any activity nearby. He made his way through areas of high Italian and German military activity, sneaking through the front lines towards the Allies. After the risks he’d taken it had finally paid off. He found a section of the Polish Army in the West being led by the Polish General Władysław Anders.

He joined the 2nd Warsaw Division and fought in the Italy Campaign until the end of the war. It wasn’t until 1947 when Roman started playing team football again with Lechia Gdańsk due to a promise he made to a friend in the army to play with him in Gdańsk.

His footballing career may have never happened if Germany won the war, his story may have never been known if he was caught after his escape, and he may have never joined Lechia if he died fighting for his countries future.

He is the only Lechia player to have scored over 100 goals (108), with 28 of those coming in the Ekstraklasa. He retired from football after 15 seasons in Gdańsk, later managing Lechia twice. He died aged 86 after a long battle with illness.

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