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STEFAN AND LENA NORBLIN

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Stefan Norblin
(1892-1952)
and
Lena Zelichowska-Norblin
(1910-1958)
World-renowned artist was born in Warsaw to Stanislaw Norblin and Bronislawa Piasecka on June 30, 1892. His illustrious career had his varied works exhibited in many European countries before WW2. As a side note, Stefan's mother Bronislawa Piasecka was one of Maria Sklodowska-Curie's teachers. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he and his wife, acclaimed actress Lena Zelichowska, fled their beloved home Kaskada in Warsaw, through Bulgaria and Iraq to India where he had been commissioned to design the Art Deco style furnishings and to paint the massive murals for the Maharajah of Jodhpur's new palace Umaid Bhawan. In 1946 they traveled with their 2-1/2 year old son Andrew, to San Francisco bringing with them 25 paintings and hundreds of sketches, and attempted to establish their careers in a new land. Andrew donated the paintings in 1975 to The Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, which now has them on long term loan to Polish Museums. With illness and blindness imminent, and not wanting to burden his family, Stefan committed suicide near Lake Merced on August 12, 1952. His grave was unknown until July 2012, when Caria Tomczykowska, President of PACF, discovered that he had been interred at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma. The urn with his remains will now be taken to Warsaw for a full State Funeral on October 12, 2012 and placed in the Norblin family crypt at Powazki Cemetery. That same day will see a plaque unveiling at the site of their home Kaskada and the Opening of another Norblin Exhibit at the Poster Museum at the royal summer palace, Wilanow.
Lena Zelichowska was born in Warsaw on August 10, 1910 to Jerzy Zelichowski and Henryka Fronczak. An acclaimed actress, Lena has been likened to Marlene Dietrich, with her singing and acting talents and enormous charm. Leaving behind a dozen well-known films, recordings and a successful career, she and her husband Stefan Norblin fled Warsaw in September 1939. The biggest joy in her life was her son Andrew, now living in San Jose, who was orphaned at 14, when she died of a massive heart attack on August 28, 1958 in San Francisco. He had been told by his caregivers that his parents' ashes had been scattered and was duly surprised to be informed that they were both in Colma. Lena's grave was found four days before her anniversary at Olivet Cemetery.
Her ashes will now be placed with her husband's remains in Warsaw at Powazki Cemetery on October 12, 2012 at 11am.
At the upcoming Norblin exhibit in Warsaw, a special section of the gallery will feature screenings of her films, playing her recordings and showcasing a kaleidoscope of her pictures. Husband and wife reunited after sixty years.
http://www.sfkrakow.org/Default.aspx?pageId=835174&mode=PostView&bmi=1092549

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 7, 2012
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