BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Congressman Brian Higgins is looking for help finding the family of a local World War II veteran.
In 1940, at age 23, Corporal Henry Mazurkiewicz enlisted in the U.S. Army in Buffalo.
Two years later, he was forced to surrender to Japanese forces in the Philippines, becoming one of tens of thousands of captives forced into the Bataan Death March.
During that time, prisoners marched 68 miles to various prison locations, suffering through harsh conditions, as well as the brutality of their captors.
No relief stops or water were offered to the captives.
Mazurkiewicz became a casualty of the Bataan Death March, dying in May 1942.
Because of his sacrifice, Mazurkiewicz was awarded a Purple Heart. The original certificate was addressed to Jennie Shultz, who lived in Buffalo in 1944.
That certificate was recently provided to Rep. Higgins’ office, and now the congressman is seeking to find a rightful home for it.
So far, Mazurkiewicz’s relatives have not been able to be found.
On National Purple Heart Day, which is observed on August 7, Higgins asked for help from the community.
Anyone with any leads or information on Mazurkiewicz can call (716) 852-3501.