Once upon a time, just before World War II, a princess lived in Poland and life was good. It was a privileged existence for the upper class, with servants to wait on you and gala balls to attend.
But the country of Poland had a big problem—namely, Germany and Russia. If you know your geography, the princess’s country is situated right between these two giants. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. In Poland’s case, it was not good.
The two big countries met secretly to devise a plan to invade Poland and split it up between them. A few people, including the princess and her husband, had the money and means to escape before the invasion. These were the lucky ones; millions perished during the war.
Here is more of the story from , by Helen Ofield and Pete Smith. “When the Polish peerage was displaced by Nazis and Russians, some were sent to the Siberian Gulag to work in the coal mines. In 1939, Princess Filomena Wojciechowski Sledzinski and her husband, John Sledzinski, fled to Lemon Grove, where they bought a home on 6 acres at 6810 Broadway near College Avenue. She was buried by her home, but when the site became the on-ramp to state Route 94, she was moved to Greenwood Cemetery.”
Princess Filomena was born in Przemysl, Poland on February 10, 1876, and died in San Diego (there was no city of Lemon Grove at that time) on February 2, 1941. She was just over a week from her 65th birthday when she passed away. Until her body was moved to the cemetery, a Polish flag flew over her grave on Broadway.
The princess had barely two years to bask in the California sunshine. Still, the short time here was a far better ending to her life than if she had stayed in her native war-torn Poland. Her husband, John, lived another seven years before his death. They are now buried side by side at Greenwood.
A Lemon Grove urban legend has been put to rest, so to speak. I can definitely say that there is no Polish princess buried under or next to state Route 94. The accompanying picture shows Princess Filomena Wojciechowski Sledzinski’s gravesite in the Rest Haven section, lot 750, grave three, at Greenwood Memorial Park.
Rest in peace, princess.