Krystyna (birth name Krescencja) was born in Zarogów. In 1936 her family moved from their small farm in Zarogów for a more prosperous life in the village of Podlipie, county Złoczów, Tarnopol province (now part of the Ukraine). Her parents wanted to be able to afford a good education for their children.
On 10 February 1940 the Russian army deported the family (along with 1.7 million other Poles in Eastern Poland) in cattle trucks to forced-labour camps across the Soviet Union. This Manterys family was taken to Yagshordin, Priludski region, Komi Republic in northern Russia, 200 kilometres south of Syktyvkar. Under conditions of slow starvation and extremes of climate they were forced to work in the taiga forest.
They were eventually released from this bondage after an amnesty for Polish deportees was issued by the Russians 31 August 1941.The family made their way south to meet up with other Polish refugees trying to join the Polish army being formed in Russia. They reached the town of Chirak-chi in southern Uzbekistan several months later in early 1942.
Weakened by lack of food, overwork, hardship and diseases, both Serafin and Celestyna died there within a very short space of time in March 1942 during a typhus epidemic. Their children were then evacuated with the Polish army under General Władysław Anders through Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea to temporary refuge in Isfahan, Iran. On 1 November 1944 they arrived in New Zealand as invited refugees, along with 733 mostly orphaned children, by the New Zealand Government. They were housed and very well looked after in the Polish Children's Camp in Pahiatua.
With her sister Rozalia, Krystyna left the camp to work with Rozalia as a dressmaker in Wellington. Though the second daughter, Krystyna had been directed by her mother (at her death bed in Uzbekistan) to take care of the remaining children, which from that moment she always did with great diligence and effectiveness, herself only 12 years old at the time. She made contact with relatives in Poland after the war and was her siblings' representative, in a semi-guardian role. Krystyna married Piotr Łącki, a “displaced person” from the former German forced-labour camps during the war. They lived in Petone, near Wellington, and raised two children, Jan and Maria (Gawor). She died in 1981 and is buried in Taita Cemetery, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
The full history can be found in the following books: