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Leeward Donates Historical Diary to Vermont Library

The Leeward Charitable Foundation recently donated a diary belonging to Lionel Victor Thorogood who was the Bandmaster (November 1918) on board the USS Vermont (BB20), a Connecticut-class battleship and the second ship of the United States Navy named after the 14th state. The ship entered service with the Atlantic Fleet in March 1907. Shortly after she entered service, Vermont joined the Great White Fleet for its circumnavigation of the globe in 1908-1909. She made trips to Europe in 1910 and 1913. Thereafter, the ship became involved in interventions in several Central American countries, including the United States occupation of Veracruz during the Mexican Revolution, where two of her crew earned the Medal of Honor


Historical Bell


USS Vermont (BB20)

 During the United States’ participation in World War 1 from April 1917 to November 1918, Vermont served as a training ship for engine room personnel. From November 1918 to June 1919, she made a series of trips to return American soldiers from Europe before being decommissioned in June 1920. She was sold for scrap in November 1923 according to the terms of the Washington Navel Treaty. Her bell currently resides at the Vermont State Capitol in Montpelier Vermont.


Sailor's Diary Donation

The diary was part of a donation made to The Leeward Charitable Foundation. Leeward felt that it was appropriate to donate the diary to the Historical Archives at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont, where it now resides. The ​​Kellogg-Hubbard Library was grateful to receive the diary as part of their archival collection. When historical donations are made to Leeward, we make every effort to reconnect the item(s) to their appropriate historical communities. 

Sailor's Diary

Salisbury Thrift Store Donates Item To DACHAU Concentration Camp Memorial

One spring day in 2013, Shauna Werner was shorting donations in the Salisbury thrift store she helped to build. In a donated box containing several things, one particular item caught Shauna’s eye. It was made of metal, round in shape, about 4 inches in diameter and relatively flat. A name and several dates were stamped on the front. Above the name was the word “DACHAU” and “KREMATORIUM”. “As soon as I saw the inscription, I felt this item had a special story to tell. I knew Dachau was the name of an infamous Nazi concentration camp, but it wasn’t clear how exactly this item was connected to that horrible place. ” explained Shauna.

Shauna tried looking the item up on the internet. She invited trusted antique dealers to look at it. She even asked someone who had specific knowledge of the Holocaust to have it inspected. Despite her efforts Shauna was unable to identify this peculiar donation. “I put the item in a safe place in the hopes of someday solving the mystery” said Shauna.

Last week Shauna and Rob where on a trip to explore the famed Christmas markets of Germany. One of the stops on their vacation was Munich just 20 minutes from the notorious Nazi labor camp. I thought we might have a chance to visit Dachau, so I brought the item with me to Germany” explained Shauna.

On December 7, 2023 Shauna, with her husband and friends booked a guided tour of the Dachau Memorial. Upon arriving at the Memorial, their tour guide Alex, arranged to have the item looked at by Anja Henschel a researcher at the Dachua Museum. “I believe your item is of great interest to Anja, she became very energetic as soon as she saw it” Alex reported. Anja asked that the item be left with her while Shauna completed the several hour tour of the facility.

While Anja continued her research, Alex led Shauna’s group on a chilling tour of this terrifying symbol of The German National Socialist Workers Party (NAZIs).

As the tour concluded, Shauna, Rob and their friends were invited into the museum’s research area where Anja was waiting for them. “Welcome back, I hope you found the tour informative. I am please to tell you that I have confirmed the origin and purpose of the item you brought with you today. Your item is the lid to an urn that held the ashes of a prisoner of the Dachau labor camp. His name was WLADISLAUS POLASKI. He was a farmer from Warsaw Poland.

He was arrested by the Nazis sometime early in the invasion of Poland. It appears that he was originally held at the Mauthausen labor camp but later transferred to Dachau on August 15, 1940. On March 27th, 1943 WLADISLAUS POLASKI was shot at the DACHAU Concentration camp for “Resisting The Power Of The State”. His body was cremated three days later. We believe his ashes were placed in the urn and sent to his wife/family in Poland.

Anja also explained that relatively few prisoner remains ever left the grounds of the camp. “For that reason, lids such as the one you brought are very rare. In fact, we have never seen one before at Dachau. I am very surprised and excited to see this artifact.”


(Left-right) Shauna Werner, Anja Henschel, Rob Werner

Donated Item

Before leaving Shauna and Rob signed the documents transferring ownership of the urn lid to the Dachau Memorial Museum on behalf of the Leeward Charitable Foundation. Anja promised to keep the couple inform as to where it the museum the lid would be displayed.

“It was actually quite emotional” Shauna Explained. “I’m amazed to think that the Urn lid was stamped at Dachua 80 years ago, sent to Poland, traveled to America, languished on a thrift store storage shelf and is now back in Germany. I am so happy that it might help to educate people about this very dark period in human history. At the same time however, I’m very saddened to think about Wladislaus Polaski. What was he like before the Nazis? How he must have suffered at Dachau. The heart break his family felt when they received the urn. I hope now his name might not be forgotten.”

About Our Foundation:

The Leeward Charitable Foundation operates the Leeward Light Charitable Thrift store in Salisbury, MA. Proceeds from the thrift store are donated to several area food pantries, home heating assistance programs and other important local charities.

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Leeward Charitable Foundation Donates $110,000 in 2023 to Local Charities

Salisbury, MA – December 22, 2023. The Leeward Charitable Foundation hosted its annual holiday luncheon at the Blue Ocean Music Hall. The purpose of the luncheon was to recognize and thank the many volunteers and employees who help the charity continue its mission of feeding, clothing and comforting neighbors in need.

During the luncheon the management team announced it had donated $110,000 to several local charities including Our Neighbors Table, The Pettengil House, Community Action of Haverhill, The Boys and Girls Club, The Rockingham County/Seabrook Food Panty, Community Service of Newburyport, Jeanne Geiger Center and several more.

The audience was moved with comments made by Ron Daubach who thanked Leeward for the support the family received after their son Drew was severely injured in a bicycle accident on February 14, 2023. Leeward helped to raised over $34,000 for Drew’s recovery and ongoing support. “I don’t think you know how special your organization is,
its more than what you do, it’s who you are. Rob and Shauna would often say that Drew is part of the “Leeward Family”. I know what that means now and it’s incredible!” said Ron.

2024 will mark Leeward’s 15th year serving the northern Essex County Community. “We are always proud to donate to these incredible charities. This year however we had a particularly important purpose. We needed to help Drew get back on his feet. We are so encourage by the progress he has made since the accident on February 14, 2023” explained Rob Werner President of the Leeward Charitable Foundation, Inc.

The Werner’s also recounted their recent trip to Germany. While near Munich, they were able to return a rare piece of holocaust history to the Dachua Memorial Museum.


For more Information

Visit: holocaust-history-returns-to germany/article_2286a2d4-9e9c-11ee-8c91- cf7e19448dcf.html

The Leeward Charitable Foundation operates the Leeward Light Thrift Store located at
126 Bridge Rd Salisbury, MA 01952. Since 2009, The Leeward Charitable Foundation
has donated over $3 million dollars to local charities who provide services that feed,
clothe and comfort neighbors in need.

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