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UB Propaganda Operation Against Jozef Kuras, Ogien, and his soldiers - Original Declassified Document

Above: Correspondence marked "Secret", between Head of the Department "C" of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs and 2nd in charge of the Krakow's Office for State Security (SB - pol. Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa which superceded UB - Urzad Bezpieczenstwa), Colonel Stanislaw Walach.

"Krakow, April 7, 1965. Secret. Copy Nr. 2. To the Director of Department "C", Ministry of Internal Affairs, Warsaw. I am herewith attaching /as requested/ original documents and photos of "Ogien's" [Major Jozef Kuras's] gang - selected by the representative of the Polish Television (TVP), editor Bratkowski. I kindly request that you make photocopies of these documents and make them available for use by the TV[P]. At the same time, please discern wheter it is prudent to use group photo of "Ogien's" gang /marked Nr. 7, poz. 11/, which because of the nature of the uniforms worn by the gangsters, looks more like a real partisan's unit rather than a terrorist gang. [signed] Deputy Commandant of M.O. Krakow Province / for State Security, (Illegible Signature), St. Walach, Colonel. Issued 2 copies GS/WP, Copy Nr. 1 Recipient, Copy Nr. 2, 2a/2a."


Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" (1915 - 1947)

Major Jozef Kuras and the “Lightning” (pol. “Blyskawica”) Partisans Unit.

“First we fought for the Polish Eagle – and now we fight for his crown. Our motto: God, Honor, Country.” *

*An excerpt from the leaflet distributed by Maj. Jozef Kuras “Ogien” soldiers during April and May 1945, in the cities of Szalary and Nowy Targ.

Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" (Eng. "Fire") Commanding officer of the Polish Armed Underground Unit "Lighning"   During the period of Nazi and, thereafter, Soviet occupation, the Podhale region (similarly to that of the Lublin area), became a battlefield, where both the Polish underground, and the occupying forces utilized considerable manpower during large scale operations. At the outset of the Soviet occupation, one of the largest concentrations of partisan units in Poland, was operating in the Podhale region, and was commanded by Major Jozef Kuras , nom de guerre “Ogien” (engl. “Fire”). In the Nowy Targ county alone, his units disarmed all communist People’s Militia (pol. abbr. MO – Milicja Obywatelska) stations, in addition to those in Zakopane and Szczawnica - and some of those were disarmed more than once. The fear of “Fire’s” partisans, paralyzed activities the communist Polish People Party committees (pol. Polska Partia Robotnicza – PPR).

Kuras imposed taxes on communists, placed patriotic Poles in local government positions, liquidated snitches, and torturers from the UB (pol. Urzad Bezpieczenstwa – Polish Secret Police), NKWD (rus. Narodnyi Komitet Vnutriennykh Del" - Committee for State Security), and other most dedicated lackeys of the new communist regime. The propaganda machine of the Polish People’s Republic (pol. Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa – PRL), left no stone unturned to portray Kuras’s soldiers as a common gang of thieves, and their commanding officer, as a dark character, with hands bloodied by deaths of innocent people, among them Jews. Not surprisingly, these slanderous accusations became grounds of declaring Major Jozef Kuras “Ogien”, and his soldiers anti-Semites.

As noted elsewhere on this website, at the end of the war, and with the rise of the Communists, the Holocaust - or Shoah, as it is sometimes called - proved a gift from the Nazis to the Communists, and especially the Soviets. Intimations by Polish Communists that Polish patriots were implicated in these atrocities were sallied to chill the voices of those who might speak in the defense of them, lest one find oneself speak up for an SS (Ger. Schutzstaffel, Protective Squadron) collaborator. Likewise, the Soviets could - through pervasive innuendo, libels and slanders - venture that their hegemony over the eastern bloc was a bulwark against renewed depredations against the Jews by indigenous populations predisposed towards anti-Semitism.

Many historians are of opinion, that falsification of “Ogien’s” biography was one of the most skillfully conducted propaganda operations conducted by the communists. Despite that however, the memory, and the legend of Major Jozef Kuras “Fire” and his soldiers, is alive today not only in the Podhale area, but also in the entire Poland.

Major Jozef Kuras, nom de guerre “Ogien” (engl. “Fire”)

Jozef Kuras was born on 23 October, 1915, in Waksmund, near Nowy Targ. He was the youngest son of Jozef and Antonina (born Ligeza). He had brothers Wladyslaw, Wojciech, Jan, and Michal, and also younger sister Maria. During 1921-1926, Jozef Kuras attended schools in Wasmund, and during 1928-1933 attended the Nowy Targ Gymnasium. In 1936, he was conscripted into military and served with the 2nd Podhale Rifle Regiment (pol. 2 Pulk Strzelcow Podchalanskich – abbr. 2PSP) stationed in Sanok, and thereafter was sent to the junior officer school of the Boarder Security Korps (pol. Korpus Ochorny Pogranicza – abbr. KOP) in Glebokie, where he was promoted to the rank of a Corporal. After completing the Junior Officer’s School, Kuras was ordered to serve in Slobodka, near Wilno. Honorably discharged from the military, he resumed work on his family farm, and became involved in local politics. In this fashion, he wanted to follow in his father's footspeps, who already in 1923 was organizing local branch of the Polish People’s Party (pol. Acronym PSL) “Piast”. In the mid-thirtees, active under the auspices of the People’s Party (pol. Acronym SL), the branch lead by his father numbered nearly 50 members, which placed it third in the county right after the cities of Nowy Targ and Maruszyn.

During late Spring, 1939, Juzef Kuras was called for several weeks, to participate in military training with the 1st Podhale Rifle Regiment (pol. 1 Pulk Strzelcow Podchalanskich – abbr. 1PSP) in Nowy Sacz, and was mobilized on 24 August, 1939. [Photo below: Jozef Kuras in the uniform of the 2nd Podhale Rifle Regiment (pol. 2 Pulk Strzelcow Podchalanskich) in 1936].

Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" (English: "Fire")   At the time the II World War erupted, Jozef Kuras fought in the ranks of the 8th Company under command of Cpt. Lucjan Swierczewski. The entire regiment, including Kuras’s company engaged the advancing German forces, in Limanowa, Nowy Sacz, Bobowa, Szymbar, Jaslo, Krosn, Dynow, Bircze, Mosciska, and the Janow Forest. On Semptember 18, 1939, two days after the Soviet forces crossed the Polish boarders (as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), and began simultaneous attack on Poland, the staff of the 1st Podhale Rifle Regiment decided to capitulate. Jozef Kuras, and several other officers didn’t choose lay their arms however, and decided to make an attempt to reach France, and continue fighting. After an unsuccessful attempt to cross the boarder, on 14 October, 1939 Jozef Kuras returned to Weksmund. As the German occupation arrived to the Podhale region, the Nazis began their policy of germanification of its population. In case of the inhabitants of the Podhale region, commonly known as “Gorale” (highlanders), the Nazi propaganda bolstered, that they are an ethnically-different, non-Polish population, that shares ancestral roots with the Scandinavian Goths, and thus, are part of the “Greater Germanic Race”.

As a part of the Nazi plan called the "Goralenvolk", not only the "highlander: language was thought in schools, but the inhabitants of the Podhale region, who identified with their "highlander" background, were offered better living conditions, and were encouraged to migrate and work in the Third Reich. The difficult task of combating policies of the "Goralenvolk" was undertaken by the ZWZ (pol. Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej - the Association of Armed Struggle), the Home Army (pol. Armia Krajowa), County representative of the Government Delegate's Office at Home (pol. Powiatowa Delegatura Rzadu), and SL Roch (pol. Stronnictwo Ludowe - People's Party). While united in the principle, all of these organizations operated independently, and such divergence couldn't possibly produce the desired outcome. Only in May, 1941, on the initiative of Augustyn Suski, graduate of the Jagielonian University, and well regarded mentor of the rural youth, and lecturer at the so called rural universities. The consolidation of these efforts culminated in the establishment of the "Tatra [Mountains] Confederacy" (pol. "Konfederacja Tatrzanska"), whose primary goal was armed resistance of Nazi occupiers, and restoration of sovereign, and democratic Poland. The membership in this newly formed consortium, consisted of individuals, who prior to the eruption of the WW II, were involved populist rural politics in the Podhale region; among them Jozef Kuras , nom de guerre "Orzel" (pol. "Eagle"), who became the head of the Tatra Confederacy branch in Waksmund. Because of his involvement, already in June, 1941, the Tatra Confederacy organization in his area, demonstrated considerable success in combating policies of the "Goralenvolk", resisting Nazzi attempts to export strategically important resources, such as lumber, and opposing repatriation of local populations to the Third Reich.

It is among these individuals, that an idea of creating armed, diversionary group operating against the Nazis took shape. Because of the fear of arrest, right from the mement the unit was created, Kuras visited his home only serependitiously, and during nights organized armed operations against Nazi administrative, and economic institutions, including those in Lupaszna, Zaflary, and Odrowaz. His group took part in destroying population lists, inventories of goods to be exported to Nazi Germany, lists of contingents, and also collected money and provisions. As a result of the Gestapo internal surveilance activities, aided by their agent, Stanislaw Wegner-Romanowski, the Tatra Confederacy was destroyed in 1942. From among the units of the Tatra Confederacy, only the unit operating under Jozef Kuras remained intact. At this time however, their members limited contact with local population to a bare minimum.

In 1943, Kuras is dealt a horrific personal blow. On June 29, 1943, the Nazis encircled Kuras’s family house, and murdered his 73-year-old father, his wife Elzbieta, and their 2 ½ years old son, Zbigniew. Through information received from the informers, the Nazis retaliated for the execution of two “Blue Police” men, who were also Gestapo agents. After murdering his family, they burned the house.

Thereafter several hundred SS-men, policemen, and Gestapo personnel encircled the entire village of Waksmund.

Right: Jozef Kuras among supporters of his unit in the Podhale area.

  Jozef Kuras "Ogien" among his unit supporters.

“A part of an expeditionary force encircled houses, and raced all the inhabitants of the village – not excluding the old, the women, or children – onto the cemetery, where they were ordered to lay down with their faces to the ground. All selected [by the Nazis], along with captured partisans, were raced to the school building, which served as place of execution (pol. kaznia). On evening, at 8 p.m., all laying down were ordered to kneel, in order to hear the sentence: 33 persons were sentenced to concentration camps, 5 partisans were sentenced to death” […] They were shot on the spot. Among those taken to the [concentration] camps were ‘Ogien’s’ brothers – Wojciech, and Wladyslaw (a sworn member of the Tatra Confederation” [1]

As a result of this tragedy, and to signal beginning of a new chapter in his fight against the occupiers, Jozef Kuras changed his nom de guerre from “Orzel”, to “Ogien” (eng. “Fire”).

After liquidation of the Tatra Confederacy by the Nazis, the main problem facing Kuras's unit, was of organizational and logistical nature. While not seeing any serious prospects of consolidating the remaining rural populous in the Nowy Targ county, who incidentally, didn't have any armed units in place, Jozef Kuras "Fire", decided to establish contact with the Home Army units operating in the area. On July 10, 1943 in Turbacz, Jozef Kuras met with Home Army officers, Second Lieutenant Wladyslaw Szczypka, "Lech", from Mszyna Dolna, and his second in command, Second Lieutenant Jan Stachura, "Adam". An agreement was made, whereas both unit consolidated, but retained operational autonomy, and fell under command of "Lech", while Jozef Kuras, an officer in charge of economic procurement for the unit. The consolidated encampment of the newly formed uninit, codenamed "Wilk" (eng. "Wolf") existed until January, 1944.

Even though Kuras cooperated with the Home Army, his political persuasion, being that of a populist, differed from the views espoused by the Polish Government In Exile. Almost immediately after the “Wilk” concentration was liquidated, the Nowy Targ populists (pol. Ludowcy) who viewed “Fire’s” unit as “populist” in character, in Spring 1944 incorporated it, with Kuras’s approval, into the People’s Security Guard (pol. Ludowa Straz Bezpieczenstwa - LSB). Despite pressures from the command of the Home Army, The LSB formation would remain as an autonomous organization in this area. During Summer, 1944 Kuras's unit conducted several meetings with Soviet partisans in the area. After approval of the leadership of Nowy Targ’s County Directorate of People’s Front (pol. Powiatowe Kierownictwo Ruchu Ludowego – PKRL), Kuras established a formal contact with the Soviet partisan unit lead by Ludmila Gordienko, “Tania”. While by no stretch of imagination, was Kuras sympathetic to the Soviets, he cooperated with them under the principle of fighting the common Nazi enemy.

After the Warsaw Uprising began, The Nowy Targ ‘s County Representative of the Government Delegate's Office at Home, issued oder to liquidate all Nazi informers in the Podhale region. The order to carry out underground-issued death sentences, was to be carried out by Kuras and his Special Purpose unit. The most important combat operations of Kuras’s unit took place on January 20, 1945 where jointly with units of the AL (pol. Armia Ludowa – the People’s Army), they destroyed a German convoy around Kliszowa. Kuras also cooperated with regular Soviet Army, leading them through difficult mountainous terrain.

As the Nowy Targ area was quickly seized by both the partisans and the Russians, the Germans left the city intact, and on January 30, 1945, Kuras and his unit, along with the Red Army entered the city of Nowy Targ. The war against the Germans, was over for Jozef Kuras, but a new one was about to begin.

The Podhale region found itself in a new socio-political situation. Not only did the removal of the German occupiers took considerable amount of time, but additionally, the Nazi collaborators of various persuasions had to be dealt with. A dramatic population shift began, where for example, people from Wielkoposka, Warsaw, and other regions of Poland forcibly expatriated to the Podhale region by the Nazis, began leave; and so were living local young people who wanted to leave behind overcrowded villages for better jobs and opportunities in the Silesia, or Western Poland. But only few of those who left stayed there, and soon enough, the majority of them would come back, not prepared to deal with new realities, and hardships of living away from their families, and friends. Others would arrive to the Nowy Targ as well. There were those who wanted to make a quick buck, and those attracted by the close proximity to the boarder. And there were others, who affiliated with the new regime, and taking employment with the communist government, were completely oblivious to the local political climate. Arriving were also those, who had to leave Poland for political reasons, as the Polish-Czech boarder was relatively easy to cross after the Nazis left.

The war left an unenviable and morally skewed legacy, whereas production of moonshine resulted in rampant alcoholism, and robberies, and thuggery, were propelled by easy access to weapons. Those who took advantage of this new complicated reality were not only those demoralized by the war locals, who lacked education, skills, or employment, but also those newly arrived members of the People’s Militia, and soldiers of the communist Polish People’s Army. The corruption, fraud, extortion, thuggery, and robberies, were perpetrated by regular soldiers, and high ranking officers of the communist Polish People’s Army alike.

The arrival of the new communist regime, and rumors which began to reach Podhale region, created anxiety, and uncertainty among the local population. Subsequently, they quickly began to develop their own perception of both, the new communist regime, and its methods. Initially, the only governing body in the area, was the military command of the NKWD, under Major Leonid Maslov, and it remained in place after the polish Provisional Government of National Unity (pol. Tymczasowy Rzad Jednosci Narodowej) was created, and the main forces of the Red Army were withdrawn from Germany, in June 1945. It is in this climate, that in the county with no prior communist tradition, the first pro-communist local government is created. The organizers of the new regime had to be brought from outside of the area as well, as it quickly became apparent, that the great majority of the functionaries of the Ministry of Public Security (pol. Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – UBP) had to be brought as well. The local partisans from the BCh (pol. Bataliony Chlopskie – the Peasant’s Battalions), or Home Army (pol. Armia Krajowa – AK) units, were not particularly “suited” to carry out these “new kinds” of orders. The County office of the Ministry of Public Security (pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – PUBP) was still working as proscribed by the “adviser” from the NKWD, who educated polish functionaries in the “new” methods necessary to solidify the power of the communist Polish Worker’s Party (pol. Polska Partia Robotnicza – PPR).

What did Kuras’s life look like in this period?

Immediately after giving away their weapons and disbanding the unit, with blessing of the NKWD’s Maslov, Kuras began to form a new local security organization along with 2nd Lt. Zygmunt Sielecki from the AL (pol. Armia Ludowa – People’s Army). This organization would became a foundation for the establishment of the County’s Office of the People Militia (pol. Milicja Obywatelska, abbr. MO). Because of this fact, both Kuras and members of his unit, became recognized as policemen, and Kuras himself, as de facto commandant of the police in the county. It is necessary to emphasize, that the responsibilities assigned to them, were carried out properly, and were viewed by them as a culmination of their war efforts.

In the beginning of February, 1945, a group of individuals arrived from Krakow, to organize the County Committee of the [communist] Polish People’s Party (pol. Polska Partia Robotnicza - abbr. KP PPR), the County Office of the People’s Militia (pol. Komenda Powiatowa Milicji Obywatelskie – KPMO), and the County Office for Internal Security (pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – PUBP). The task of organizing the local PPR was conducted by its new secretary, Wladyslaw Machejek, while the position of county commandant of the MO was filled by 2nd Lt. Aleksander Karas. The County Office for Internal Security (PUBP), on the other hand, was to be ran by 2nd Lt. Stanislaw Strzalka. We can easily discern that the talks conducted by Kuras with the new “nominees” were not entirely amicable, however, an agreement had to be reached, because on 8th February, “Ogien” went to Lublin with Jan Kolasa “Powicher”, to meet with government officials there. According to “Kolasa” they went to Lublin, because in [their] view [their] government, and [their] partisan’s general command were there”. From Lublin, they went to Warsaw, where the Provisional Government and the Central Committee of the communist Polish People’s Party was earlier moved to. It was also in Warsaw, that the Personnel Department of the Ministry for Public Security presented Kuras with an appointment letter, that directed him to work at the Nowy Targ’s County PUBP office. This appointment letter in no uncertain terms, made him the head of the Nowy Targ’s office of the PUBP.

Not surprisingly, those “nominated” in Nowy Targ, began to feel threatened, and initiated a vetting process of all UBP, and MO members in the area. All those not affiliated with the communist Polish People’s Party were fired, and their places were filled by their own people, who were brought from outside of the Nowy Targ area. At the same time, a baseless investigation into Kuras’s past was initiated, and lead to his immediate dismissal. After his return, Kuras found his position filled by another individual, and left for Zakopane in order to take a position of deputy commandant of the UBP there. Accordig to “Powicher”, they went there, but [were not] impressed with anything”. At the same time, on request of the PUBP in Nowy Targ, the WUBP (Voivodeship office of the Ministry of Internal Security) in Krakow began investigation against Kuras. Among trumped up charges pertaining to the period of Nazi occupation, new ones, such as drunkenness at the MO offices, and “disappearances of weapons” were added. We have to conclude here, that given the fact that Kuras had his own people in Nowy Targ, and Krakow UB offices, he could have known, that a bogus investigation against him was in motion.

On April 11, 1945, Kuras was summoned to the WUBP office, to provide explanation. Realizing that he might be arrested, he decided not to go, and along with his subordinates, headed for the mountains once again.

Jozef Kuras "Ogien" among supporters  

On April 13, 1945, Kuras conducted briefing of his former subordinates, who gathered in the mountains, and announced beginning of military operations against the Soviet Russia, and the communists. Bronislaw Szaokalski, "Herkules", "Ogien's" adjutant remembers, that they had gathered in the Turbacz area, and there "Ogien" gave a speech, during which he said: "we need to begin our fight anew, and this time we will fight for Poland without the communists."

Under the name of "Partisan Unit 'Lightning'" (pol. Oddzial Paryzancki "Blyskawica"), the new concentration of "Ogien's" partisan units, was modeled after prevailing military concepts at the time. During the process of organizing "Lightning", Jozef Kuras applied his considerable experience, acquired in operations against the Germans, and his formal military training obtained prior to 1939.

Photo Above: Jozef Kuras “Ogien” (wearing white shirt, in the middle) surrounded by the “higlanders” – soldiers and supporters of his unit. Second from right, his second in command, Jan Kolasa “Powicher".  

A strict adherence to the military, and conspiratorial discipline, was the only assurance, that the safety, security, and operational readiness of all units, were to be maintained at the highest level. Any insubordination on the part of soldiers under Kuras’s command, was dealt with swiftly, and in several instances, resulted in issuance of death sentences. For example, in February, 1946, Jan Wachala, Wladyslaw Bulanda, Jan Kurtyna, and Weglarz, soldiers under command of Jozef Kuras, committed rubbery near Zabrzeze. During the course of the rubbery, two innocent Jewish merchants, Ignacy Gronowski, and Antoni Wekiera, who made living by purchasing and reselling apples, were murdered. The rubbers stole 140,000 zl, and fearing that they will be recognizedand, they shot both men.

[This incident] prompted "Ogien" to issue a death sentence against [Jan Wachala] "Lazik" [,which was carried out]. Similar sentences were issued against Buland, and Kurtyna – after "Lazik’s" death, both of them fled to Western Poland. The death sentence against murderers of Wekiera, and Gronowski, had not expired even after "Ogien’s" death. One of their associates, testified about this to the UB in 1949, and stated that: [the commander of one of the units, composed of Kuras’s former soldiers, codenamed] "Msciciel" told us, that he would have shot Buland immediately, as he has information, that he was the perpetrator of unjustified shootings of two merchants in Zabrzeze [...] The death sentence for shooting these merchants to death, and stealing most of their money, was already issued against Buland by the commandant "Ogien” himself. This information was received by "Msciciel" [directly] from "Ogien". [3]

According to the documents from the Communist Ministry of Internal Affairs (pol. Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnetrzynych - MSW), released at a much later date, the number of partisans in various units under "Ogien's" command, was estimated to be between 500 and 700 people. The intelligence gathering infrastructure, consisting of curriers, and friendly informers, was very well developed, and was easily twice that number. Subsequently, in 1946 many of the most active, and important partisan units in the entire Krakow voivodship area, fell under command of "Ogien". Similarly to the operational scheme employed by units operating in the North-Eastern part of Poland, under command of Major Zybmunt Szendzielarz "Lupaszka", Jozef Kuras also divided his group into several sizable company-size units. These companies operated independently of each other, and were assigned unique names, and numbers.

Blyskawica "Lightning" Partisan Unit SealAbove, Imprint of the official Seal used by units under command of Jozef Kuras"Ogien" - "Partisan Unit Lightning. AK (Home Army)"  

While commanding officers of each company exerted much discretion, and operational autonomy, they were required however, to provide detailed reports about their activities. They also had to receive approval prior to new engagements. If possible, a meeting between company commanders, and "Ogien", would take place at least once a month.

The entire "Lightning" unit was commanded by the General Staff, consisting of Jozef Kuras "Ogien", and qualified and experienced officers, and trusted confidants in charge of individual companies.

They included: Jan Kolasa "Powicher", second in charge, Jan Bartkiewicz "Smialy", Kazimierz Kuras "Kruk", Franciszek Drozdz "Szpak", and Antoni Wasowicz "Roch". Franciszek Drozdz „Szpak”, and Antoni Wasawicz „Roch” were also in charge of the so called Rapid Enforcement Executive (pol. Komisja Szybko-Wykonawcza), while Stanislaw Ludzia „Harnas”, and Boguslaw Szokalsi „Herkules” served as Kuras’s adjutants.

The Headquarters Security Unit

The Headquarters Security Unit was divided into five squads commanded by "Marny", "Skala", "Ponury","Zajac", and "Smigly"”. The number of soldiers attached to this unit varied between 60 to 90 men. It operated primarily in the region of Ochotnica, and the Turbacz mountain range. The hedquarters were most often stationed in makeshift shanties, moutain cabins (pol. bacowka), and dug-out dwellings located on Turbacz mountain, Kiczora, Stare Wierchy, and Luban. The unit conducted operations mainly in the area of Gorce, and the surrounding localities.

In August 1946, WiN reported to London that "the armarnment of the 'Ogien's' units consists of automatic weapons, mainly of English, and American make, such as ligth machine guns [pol. reczny karabin maszynowy – RKM], heavy machine guns [pol. ciezki karabin maszynowy – CKM], and granade lunchers. [...] In and around Turbacz and Obidowa region, located on moutain-tops are barracks, and the entire area, particularly the roads, remain under control of 'Ogien's' strong units."

1st Company

The 1st company conducted activities mainly in the eastern part of the Nowy Targ county, around Spisz, and in the western part of Nowy Sacz county. This unit consisted of around 60 men. The first commanding officer Eugeniusz Melnyczuk "Lis" fought with "Ogien" since the beginning of WW II. After his arrest by the UB, the command was taken over by Marcin Kubiak "Roman", and after him, by Jan Batkiewicz "Smigly".

2nd Company

The most important area of activities of the 2nd Company was region of Tatra Mountains and around Polish-Slovak boarder, through Zakopane and Koscielisko to Witow and Czany Dunajec.

The number of men in the unit was around 120, and it was commanded by a demobilized officer of the 16 Infantry Regiment, Stefan Ostaszewski "Rysiek". After his desertio on October 17, 1946, the command of this unit was taken over by "Powicher. On this day as well, moved into 2nd Company were soldiers from the 4th Company under "Dzielny". In Noveber, and December, this unit was destroyed several times, and in December, "Powicher" returned to the headquarters of the concentration. The command of the unit fell under his 2nd in command, Jan Zdybalski "Tom".

3rd Company

The 3rd Company was active primarily around Rabka, Chabowka, and Raba Wyzna, however its area of operatons also included portions of the western part of the Nowy Targ County, including the vicinity of the city of Nowy Targ.

  Blyskawica (Lightning) Partisan Unit of Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien"
Above: Headquarters Security Unit of Major Jozef Kuras "Blyskawica" ("Lightning") partisan unit. Summer, 1946.
Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" receiving report at the assembly of the Headquarters Security Unit - 1946
Above:Assembly at the Headquarters Security Unit "Lighting" (pl. "Blyskawica") of Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" (tr. "Fire"). In the photo Major Kuras receiving report. Summer, 1946.
2nd Company of the Blyskawica Partisan Unit under command of Jozef Kuras "Ogien"
Above: Soldiers from the 2nd Company of "Ogien's" unit, commanded by Corporal Jerzy Laurman "Abus"(kneeling in the middle) - 1946.
3rd Company of Major Jozef Kuras "Blyskawica" Partisan Unit
Above: Soldiers from the 3rd Company under command of Henryk Glowinski "Grozny" - . From left to right standing: NN "Janosik", Ignacy Waclawik "Kula", ludwik Balinski "Tur", Czeslaw Stolarczyk "Guc" (standing behind "Tur"), Stanislaw Wrobel "Bimber", Jozef Swider "Pacula", Henryk Glowinski "Grozny", Stanislaw Kaciczak "Bocian", Wojciech Krzeszewski "Baca", Jan Osiecki "Bartek", Adam Domalik "Kowboj". Laying down from left: NN Kominiarz, Antoni Wasowicz "Roch"

This unit was also active in the sounthern part of the Myslenice and Limanow counties, all the way to the county of Nowy Sacz. This unit had around 75 members, and was commanded by the deserter from the WP (Polish People's Army - WP), Henryk Glowinski "Grozny". To learn more about the 3rd Company Unit, Click Here

After his death in combat with KBW on 9 November, 1946, the command was assumed by his 2nd in command, Antoni Wasowich "Roch", who grew up in the Wilno region.

4th Company

Leading this relatively small unit of around 15 men, was 2nd Lt. Edward Radyga "Los". It operated around the boarder of Nowy Targ and Limanowa counties, and in the eastern part of the Nowy Targ county. Because of heavy casualties received during the engagement at Szczewa, on September 26, 1946, the entire Company was consolidated into the Headquarters Security Unit on October 17, 1946.

5th Company

The 5th Company operated in the Western portion of the Limanow County, and had around 60 members. It was lead by Kazimierz Pluto "Skala". Beginning in Fall, 1946, this unit closely cooperated with autonomous, but formally subordinated to "Ogien's" "Blyskawica" unit, partisan units under command of Miachal Duron "Wicher, and the "Wolnosc" unit, under command of Stanislaw Papierz "Sep".

6th Company (The City of Krakow's 6th Company)

While the Krakow's unit of the "Ogien's" concentration of the partisan units was in fact the 6th Company, it appears however, that this name was not used. It's creator, and first commanding officer was Zdzislaw Lisik "Msciciel". It initially operated only in the city of Krakow, and used name Resistance of the Home Army (pol. Ruch Oporu Armii Krajowej - ROAK), and maintained contact with units under command of Franciszek Mroz "Bobr" from Myslenice county. After many attempts, it finally achieved contact with the concentration of "Ogien's" units, and in 1946, it formally fell under command of Jozef Kuras. The command of this unit was taken over by Jan Janusz "Siekiera", who was sent for this purpose from the headquarters of the "Blyskawica" concentration. On August 18, 1946, this unit freed prisoners from the St. Michael jail in Krakow, and also began systematic activities around the city of Krakow, particularly in the Miechow county. On September 20, 1946, while carrying operational documents from Kuras, Jan Janusz "Siekiera", was accidentally captured by the KBW patrol. This incident resulted in a wide-scale arrests of the unit's members. On September 25, 1946, Marian Zielonka "Bil" became the new commanding officer of this decimated by the arrests unit. He remained in this position until the death of Jozef Kuras "Ogien".

7, 8, And 9 Companies

The Companies 7, 8, and 9th consisted of the following units under command of Jozef Kuras "Ogien": The "Zemsta" group (7th Company) had around 30 men, and operated in the Nowy Targ area. It was lead by Zygmunt Wawrzut "Zemsta", and thereafter, by Bronislaw Bubliko "Zar". The "Grot" group (8th Company) operated in the Nowy Sacz, and Limanow Counties, and was under command of Marian Mordowski "Ojciec", and had around 15 men. The "Huragan" group (the 9th Company) was lead by Andrzej Szczypta "Zenit", had around 35 men, and also operated in the Nowy Sacz county.

The name "Huragan" (eng. Hurricane) was shared by another unit which subordinated itself to Jozef Kuras "Ogien" in 1946. It was commanded by Jan Ziomkowski "Huragan", and operated in Nowy Targ, and Nowy Sacz counties. It had around 30 men. Active in the Wadowice county, was another very active unit named "Blyskawica", that was lead by a former Home Army "Chelmn" soldier, Michal Dudon "Wicher, which had about 70 men. There was also a third unit, also named "Huragan" which was active in the Wadowice county which closely coordinated its activities with the "Blyskawica" unit. This unit became part of the concentration of units under control of Jozef Kuras, in August, 1946. Its commanding officers, in order, were Mieczyslaw Sobolewski "Prut", Stanislaw Marek "Orlicz", and Henryk Dolagowski "San". Another very well organized unit under command of Jozef Kuras was the "Burza", which had around 80 men. His commanding officer was Mieczyslaw Wadolny "Msciciel". This unit primarily operated in the counties of Wadowice and Myslenice.

Soldiers from the Mieczyslaw Wadolny "Msciciel" partisan unit.  

In 1946 "Ogien" established contact with the unit of the Polish Army at Home (pol. Armia Polska w Kraju - APK) operating in and around Krakow, and commanded by Aleksander Delman. According to unconfirmed information, Kuras was to be designated a commandant of all APK units operating in the Podhale region, and to be promoted to the rank of a major. Kuras also maintained operational contact with unspecified patriotic organizations in the Slask, Wielkopolska, and Pormorze regions. On four occasions he met with Andrzej Goc, an emissary carrying information between Kuras and Polish Communications Officer with the Polish Government in Exile stationed in Munchen, Germany.

The units under command of Major Kuras, began engagements already in April, 1945. During the Night of April 17, 1945, and April 18, 1945, partisan unit under command of Jozef Ksiazek "Jastrzab" destroyed PUBP in Nowy Targ, killing 4 members of the UB. The following day, on April 18, 1945, "Ogien's" unit disarmed MO office in Bukowina Tatrzanska. On September 23, 1945, unit under command of Mieczyslaw Wadolny "Msciciel", liquidated UB investigator from the Babianice (Chrzanow county). Within the following weeks, the entire MO Station in Babianice was destroyed. The main targets of liquidation were functionaries of the UB and NKWD. It was a common knowledge, that the UB-men, and their superiors ("instructors") from the NKWD, were the most important link in the apparatus of repression of the new regime, and were an armed extension of the communist party.

Above: Soldiers form the Mieczyslaw Wadolny "Msciciel" unit. Standing 4 from the left with his wife, is Ignacy Sikora "Prawy".
Soldiers for the "Jastrzab" unit of Major Jozef Kuras
Above: 1945 - Soldiers from on of the "Jastrzab's" platoons. Standing from left: NN "Sosna", Jozef Ksiazek "Jastrzab", NN "Leniwy", and NN "Wicher". Sitting is NN "Wilk".

The principle of collective responsibility was never applied however, and every instance of liquidation of a communist functionary had to be vetted and supported. This was diametrically different however, when "Ogien's" units were under attack, as for example, during the skirmish which took place on April 28, 1945, during which two NKWD soldiers died by bullets fired by the partisans. The "Top Secret" plans of the UB from this period contain information about losses of the Soviet personnel involved in the operations against "Ogien's" units. One of them concerns "Operation Link" (pol. "ogniwo"), a surveillance operation against former soldiers from the Jozef Kuras units, that was conducted in the beginning of 1950's. It reveals, that between April 18, 1945, and August 1, 1945, 27 members of the NKWD lost their lives during engagements with Kuras's units.

The adversary didn't remain idle, and perpetually conducted operations against Kuras's units. However, despite continuous engagements which lasted until the beginning of June, 1945, NKWD roundups, and subsequent dispersals of the partisan units around the Turbacz area, "Ogien's" units were able to effectively defend themselves. For example, on April 25, 1945, during the action "against 'Ogien's' squad", died another functionary of the Nowy Targ office of the UB, Romuald Rozmarynowski.

The members of the MO (pol. People's Militia - Milicja Obywatelska), were treated by "Ogien" quite differently. He considered their service to be necessary to the society, as their responsibility was to maintain peace, and protect citizens against common thuggery.

  Soldiers from the Jozef Kuras "Blyskawica" unitAbove: Soldiers from one of the partisan units under command of Jozef Kuras "Ogien"

Activities against the MO functionaries, were conducted only, if they were considered particularly dangerous, because of their collaboration with the UB. Activities against entire MO stations (pol. posterunek - station) on the other hand, were conducted only, if and when, they were actively assisting UB apparatus in activities against the democratic underground.

The units of the "Ogien's" concentration conducted number of operations aiming at Slovaks, who advocated consolidation of the Polish part of Spisz and Orawa with Slovakia. "Ogien" His relationship with the Jewish population residing in the area was frequent, as it was frequent with many other ethnic grups residing in this area. Unfortunately, both the tone, and the context of Kuras's activities, vis a vis Jewish population, were profoundly skewed by the colossus efforts of the communist propaganda machine, which for decades controlled any and all information about this period. Not surprisingly, "Ogien" was absurdly accused of anti-semintism, and planned extermination of Jews. This problem is multiplied by the fact, that unsubstantiated, and fraudulent accusation obscured the picture of "Ogien the hero" in favor of "Ogien the villain". It became, in fact, a foundation upon which a fictitious house of cards was built, that only recently began to tumble under the weight of its lies. Even well into the 90's, the public perception of "Ogien" and his soldiers, were shaped to the large extent by the book entitled "In the morning came hurricane" (pol. "Rano przyszedl huragan"), authored by the former First Secretary of the Communist Workers Party in the Nowy Targ county, W. Machejka. Not surprisingly, the views expressed by the "author" offer propagandized version of both the people, and of the events of that period. Further more, its author, a communist propagandist, quotes extensively from the so called "Ogien's Diary", which was, of course, yet another clever invention of the propaganda apparatus of the communist regime.

Without any question, the Jews died at the hands of partisans in the Podhale region, and they died throughout entire Poland. They didn't die because they were Jews however, but because they worked in the ranks of the repressive organs of Ministry for Public Security (UB), or because of their membership in the communist Polish Workers Party (PPR), or because they were UB collaborators.

An excellent example of this is the destruction of the PUBP (pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa - County Office of Internal Security) in Nowy Targ, in April, 1945. The partisans captured all known to them functionaries of the UB, and shot them. They were Gadowski (a Pole), Kozytlo (Ukrainian), Riechel and Burzynski (Jews).

  Soldiers from the Jozef Kuras "Blyskawica" unit
Above: Soldiers from one of the partisan units under command of Jozef Kuras "Ogien"

“Thus, Kuras was neither a 'common Anti-Semite', nor has he suffered from xenophobia. During the Nazi occupation he cooperated with the commanding officer of the "Zygfryd" unit of the AL, whom he knew very well, was a Jew, and according to some reports, [during this time] even conducted operations under his command. 'Ogien’s' people hid Jews in villages, with his full knowledge, and approval. Jews also took advantage of the 'safety net' offered by the partisans – even in the surrounding areas, and some of them were certainly of the ‘opposing political persuasion” [to that of Ogien’s]. […] In one instance [for example,] in the village “L”, he hid his former employer, a Jew, and to make it even more interesting, after the Soviets entered [the area], [he] also [hid] a German, who was an escapee from the Wehrmacht. In the Podhale region, all those in disfavor of the new local [communist] regime could count on him.” [3]

Another example, was killing (February 10, 1946) of Dawid Grassgrun, a leader of the Jewish commune, and also an active functionary in the communist Polish Workers’ Party (PPR) in Nowy Targ. One of the most widely known incidents, in which Poles of Jewish ethnicity were killed however, took place on April 20, 1946. Intending to destroy the PUBP office in Nowy Targ, and moving into that directions, was a 50-men-strong unit of Jozef Kuras's partisans. On the outskirts of Nowy Targ, all approaching vehicles were being stopped by the partisans, and inspected for the presence of UB agents. From among all vehicles that stopped, as ordered, not even a single person was harmed. However, after seeing uniformed partisans on the road, the driver of one of the approaching trucks didn’t stop as requested, and sped up. At the same time, the passengers in the truck, opened fire on the partisans. As it became apparent later, the 5 passengers on board of this vehicle were Jewish, and among them, was a drunk functionary from the PUBP in Nowy Targ. While some speculated, that all passengers on board were UB functionaries, there is no credible evidence to substantiate it. After a brief firefight, the partisans managed to stop the vehicle, and all on board were shot. According to the testimony from the witnesses, it became apparent, that all that these people intended to do, was to illegally cross, the so called, “green boarder”, and to reach Slovakia. They didn’t know who is stopping them, nor did they know whether the uniformed men on the road were the UB, the communist Polish Army, or the partisans. Needless to say, a tragic in consequences incident occured.

The several examples cited above, and countless others stagedby by the UB, including one that took place in Kielce, were skillfully used to orchestrate the communist propaganda efforts. On July 15, 1946, Arthur Bliss Lane, the United States Ambassador to Poland, writes in his cable to the US Secretary of State:

"[The Polish Communist] Government and anti-Government [Democratic Unterground] sources inform us and concur (despite some local evidence to the contrary from Kielce) that pogrom was deliberately planned. [The Polish communist] Government accuses 'reactionary elements' and logically cites dissatisfaction with results of referendum [...] we cannot understand what anti-Government forces could gain by anti-Jewish excesses. In fact, I believe from reliable sources that anti-Government elements have compelled their sympathizers to avoid violence at all cost. [...] Embassy observers are unanimous in believing that [the communist] militia played an important part in Kielce pogrom and members of Government, including Ambassador Lange, have so admitted to me. Antipathy of militia towards Jews probably inflamed by elements within militia and army who resent activities of Security Police and KBW (Korpus Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego - internal security corps headed by Russian General Kiziewicz). Both UB and KBW composed of many Jews of Russian origin. [...] On the other hand, we have evidence that [the communist] Government was aware as early as end of May that disturbance would take place in Kielce. The fact that pogrom was handled by the woyewode Security Police [WUBP - Voivodhship Office for Public Security] and the militia in such an unbelievably inefficient manner, leads one to wonder whether elements in [the Polish communist] Government may not have secretly welcomed the opportunity to be able, both within the country and without, to denounce 'reactionary elements', including Mikolajczyk, the Catholic Church and others dissatisfied with [the communist] Government program. There have been too many cases which have [come] to the Embassy's attention indicating complete disregard of [the communist] Government for human life and for human liberties to eliminate possibility of governmental connivance merely for humanitarian reasons. From treatment which Polish Jews complained to have received in Soviet Union, Soviet Government, which controls minority group in Polish Government, would likewise not appear squeamish in inflicting cruelties on Jews". Source: 860C.00/7-1546:Telegram / SECRET / Warsaw, July 15, 1946- 4 p.m./ Received July 16 - 4:15 p.m. / The Ambassador in Poland (Lane) to the Secretary of State/

For a considerable period of time, they succeded, at least superficially, in portraying all members of the democratic underground (including “Ogien”) as deviants, and Anti-Semites. At the same time, these efforts served as a pretext to retain occupying Soviet forces on the Polish territory, allegedly, in order to "protect the endangered Jewish populations". The absurdity of such assertion is such, that it does not require any commentary, but it could serve nonetheless, as a beginning of a dialog on this difficult subject. The issuance and carrying out of the death sentences against “Lazik”, and his cohorts, is a clear example of Kuras’s unequivocal position, on any, and all criminal activities within his ranks. It is beyond reproach, that in this, and other instances, Kuras issued orders, that were based neither on ethnic, religious, nor national origin. We also ought to point out, that the analysis of specific operations conducted by the partisan forces in the area, refutes such assertions. It has been conclusively established, that in 1946, during “Ogien’s” activities in the Podhale area, a large populous of Polish citizens of Jewish ethnicity remained within his area of operations, including the city of Nowy Targ itself. In this area, "Ogien's" partisans carried out, with relative ease, countless operations, against the highest-ranking functionaries of the UB, and the PPR. These funcionaries were certainly far better protected against partisans' activities, than the unarmed, and defenssless populous. If in accordance with the "official" communist propaganda sources, "Ogien" intended to “pulverize” the Jewish populous, what would the number of the Jewish casualties have been?

On August 21, 1945, the communist government issued an amnesty, but "Ogien" didn't believe in any assurances from the UB, and didn't intend to lay down his arms. In his letter to the UB, he wrote:

"[in regards to] laying down the arms: as a Pole, and [as an] old partisan, I declare: that until the end, I will remain at my post, 'So Help Me God'. I have never been a traitor, and will not become one [now ...] Your efforts are fruitless, and so is your toiling, and your your most clever tricks. [Instead] free the prisoners, whom you torture, and treat like barbarians. Shame and disgrace on you. By your actions, you are bringing destruction upon yourselves ..."

This particular attitude displayed by "Ogien" - who along with his unit grew in authority, and respect - was the reason, that only 11 people appeared before the AK Disbandonment Commission in Nowy Targ city. In the entire county however, the communists achieved a considerable success, and the partisan units in the area were considerably weakened by those who left their ranks. Furthermore, it gave the regime some time, to train and prepare its troops for the fight with partially disorganized democratic underground. The soldiers who stayed with their units in the forests, decided to continue fighting, and in the beginning of December, 1945, they conducted several successful operations:

December 09, 1945 - around 16:30 one of the "Ogien's" units under command of Henryk Glowinski "Grozny" disarmed the MO station in Lupuszna, confiscated weapons, clothes, money, and all documents.

December 12, 1945 - disarmed is the PUBP office in Rabka, death sentence against head of the office, Mieczyslaw Stramca, is carried out.

December 26, 1945 - a patrol from the Maj. Kuras's unit disarmed the MO office in Sawa, near Rabka.

December 31, 1945 - "Ogien's" soldiers disarmed the MO office in Odrowaz

January 19, 1946 - destroyed the MO office in Nidzica, destroyed was archive, commandant was shot.

February 20, 1946 - "Grozny's" unit took over the MO office in Raba Wyzna. While partisans didn't do anything to the Militia men, in front of the building they shot two functionaries of the UBP office in Raba Wyzna, and PUBP office in Nowy Targ.

August 4, 1946 - "Ogien's" 2nd Company engaged combined forces of MO, UB, and KBW near the lift on the Gubalowka Hill - 8 communist functionaries died, while 1 partisan was lightly wounded.

August 18, 1946 - On this day, the 6th ("Krakow") Company conducted one of its most successful and famous operations, during which St. Michael Jail in Krakow was captured, and 64 prisoners were freed. Most of them reinforced ranks of the "Ogien" unit. One week after this event, on August 25, 1946, Eugeniusz Kadrys, a partisan wounded by the UB, was freed from the St. Lazarz Hospital. He was held in the isolation unit, at the surgical ward, and was guarded by UB sentry from the WUBP. During morning hours, 10 soldiers under command of Jan Janusz "Siekiera", at first disarmed the MO guard who stood at the entrance, and thereafter neutralized the MO medic, and the UB functionary. The wounded Kadrys, and another Home Army soldiers from the "Wicher" unit who was held there as well, were loaded onto the truck, and were transported to the safe house in Borek Falecki. In the hospital's garden, shot by the partisans were the WUBP functionary, along with a nurse who attempted to alarm the communists about the operation. Near bodies of those executed, notes baring signatures of "Ogien" and "Siekera" were left.

September 22, 1946 - on road between Witow - Zakopane, partisans from the 2nd Company ambushed 12-men tactical group from the 2nd Motorized Regiment of the KBW, who returning via automobile, from the operation conducted against "Ogien's" units. The vehicle was covered with the machine gun fire - 6 KBW soldiers were shot, 3 were wounded, and the rest escaped.

November 05, 1946 - another daring operation of freeing a jailed partisan, who was guarded by the KBW at the hospital in Zakopane was conducted. Soldiers from the "Powicher" unit, shot two guards from the intelligence unit of the KBW, and freed the wounded partisan.

During the following months, until the end of 1946, the partisans destroyed several dozen MO stations, including those in Czarsztyn, Piwnicza, Szaflary, Ludzmierz, Frydman (the last three were disarmed on the same day), as well as those in Wieprz, Tylmanowa, Lack, Krosnik, and many other communities. According to incomplete materials from between October 1945 and November, 1946, units from the "Blyskawica" concentration conducted around 50 operations against MO, UBP, and SOK stations in the Krakow Voivodship, during which considerable number of functionaries from the UB, NKWD, and those particularly dangerous, or resisting arrest Militia men, were shot.

Among those sentenced to death, and executed by "Ogen's" soldiers were:

On July 25, 1946 - Cpt. Mikolaj Zablocki - NKVD "adviser" for Wadowice county;
On July 30, 1946 - Jozef Glieck-Grabowski Head of the Department III, of the WUBP in Krakow, shot in Makowo Podhalanskie;
On July 11, 1946 - Jan Raclawski - Deputy Warden of the Nowy Targ jail. (See original Death Sentence document below):

Decission about death sentence against RaclawskiAbove: Excerpt from the Death Sentence issued against Jan Raclawski, Warden at the Nowy Targ jail, where many Home Army Soldiers, and political prisoners were brutally tortured, and murdered by the communists. It reads: " Copy - Home Army, Rapid Enforcement Executive, Nr. p. 34. Death Sentence. Based on the investigation and evidence P.O.P., the death sentence is issued against Mr. Raclawski / Warden". The remaining part of this document (which is not shown) reads: for the "faithful and unceasing work" [on behalf of the occupiers, first] during [the] Nazi occupation, and presently on behalf of the communists - [and] for particularly barbaric treatment of prisoners". The death sentence against Raclawski, was carried out on July 11, 1946.  

On August 14, 1946, death sentence was carried out against head of the UBP in Rabka, Wladyslaw Filipiak. After completing the Central School of the MBP, and previous service with the PUBP in Olkusz, Filipiak worked as the section head (pol. odzialowy) at the infamous Motelupich Prison in Krakow.

On August 28, 1946, underground soldiers liquidated functionary of the PUBP in Nowy Sacz, Stanislaw Pyk.

According to the statistics from the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, during 1946, in the Krakow Voivodship, partisan units liquidated 165 functionaries from the UB, and MO. Majority of them were liquidated by the "Blyskawica" unit of Major Jozef Kuras.

Without any doubt, the strongest element of the unit, was its well developed intelligence infrastructure, and support of the local population, which provided information about the communist adversary. In his written situational report for August, 1946, the Head of the Wadowice county civil administrative office (pol. starosta) informs that "the fight with the gangs is impeded by the fact that the local population is undoubtedly supporting them". While leaving for the mountains, "Ogien" didn't take all of his confidants with him, but instead they remained in the UB, and with the MO units, at post offices, transportation, supply, and administrative units. Thus, his intelligence infrastructure, was very well developed and funcioned very efficiently.

Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" among his supportersAbove: Major "Ogien" (first from left - upper row) among soldiers and collaborators of the unit.  

The task of liquidating communist agents, and issuing of death sentences, was assigned to the so called, Rapid Enforcement Executive. The sentences were issued based on information obtained by local cells. One of the adjutants of Maj. Kuras remembers:

"[...] the decision about [carrying out of] death sentence was made by the entire Command of the unit, and never by "Ogien" himself".

Throughout a considerable period of time, "Ogien" conducted very large scale operations. Despite considerable concentration of communist army forces in the area, with an exception of several cities, the entire area of the Nowy Targ county, was in fact under complete control of Jozef Kuras's units.

Further more, despite their presence there, "Ogien" felt so secure in the area, that on occasion, his subordinates would literally inform the Nowy Targ's PUBP office about places the would be staying. Further more, despite their presence there, "Ogien" felt so secure in the area, that on occasion, his subordinates would literally inform the Nowy Targ's PUBP office about places the would be staying.

Without any problems, as if it was a free country, on April 21, 1946, at 2:00 P.M., at the Ostrowsk Parish church, several kilometers from the Nowy Targ, Jozef Kuras wedded Czeslawa Polczykowna. The security of the event, which took place the foot of the Gorce Moutain, was assured by strategically placed machine gun nests, pointing in all directions away from the village. After the wedding ceremony, the festivities took place at the headquarters on the Waksmund Mountain.

During this time, citizens of the Podhale region frequently sought Kuras's help in resolution of even the most minute neighborly disputes.

The UB attempted to utilize many ingenious methods to kill "Ogien" and his soldiers, including the poisoning. One of this plans included introduction of secret police agents into the ranks of the unit, who once there, were to poison the food which was to be served to "Ogien", and his soldiers. Fortunately, this plan failed. The secret police agents were discovered, and shot. Below is a translation of the Top Secret UB document in which this plan is described:

"[...] Czarny Dunajec, 15 July 1946. Top Secret. 'Supplemental Plan of Eradication 'Ogien's' Group, Operating In the Nowy Targ Area'. On July 14, 1946, additional information was received from a former member of the unit / name not stated / ,who was present at the market in Czarny Dunajec [... this agent] reported that "Ogien's"

  Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" with wife Czeslawa (born Polaczyk) in Summer, 1946 Above: Summer, 1946, Kiczora. Jozef Kuras "Ogien" with wife Czeslawa (born Polaczyk)
UB (Urzad Bezpieczenstwa) Top Secret Document desribing plan to poison Jozef Kuras and his soldiers   unit has presently 100 members, and is stationed on the Turbacz [Mountain], and is living a life of a military unit, conducts drills, and military excercises. Taking [these facts] under consideration I decided: after agents are introduced, they are ordered to establish close relationship with the cook, confirm number of field kitchens "Ogien" [has], and at all cause, became close to those who prepare meals. On the following day, they [the UB agents] will receive my order to drop into the supper, which is prepared for "Ogien's" soldiers, a mixture of poisons which contains: 50 parts of cyanide, 20 parts of arsenic, 18 parts strychnine, and 12 parts atropine. After this poison is added [to the food], within 3 hours the soldiers will die. The mission that [the agents] will follow with, will be apprehention, or shooting of "Ogien" himself, and those closest to him. On the night of the planned poisoning, several [UB] patrols are to be moved closer to the vicinity of the Turbacz Mountain. The agents are to be informed, that completion of their mission, is to be signaled by firing of three red signal flares into the air. At this point, the forces [moved earlier into the Turbacz area] will be used to finalize liquidation of the encampment, transporting of "Ogien", and of secured munition stores; all evidence is to be collected. The [UB] forces present, will be used to deal with any resistance from the gang, which may have not consumed food from the common kitchen.

After the Turbacz [mountain] is secured, the encampment site, and its vicinity is to be cordoned off. The [UB] units are to be posted throughout the area for the period of 2 to 3 weeks, and to await for the rest of the gang which operates around Spiesz/Orawa/. [Partisan] units returning to the encampment [area], are to be allowed to pass unopposed, and then are to be eradicated. Lieutenant Madejski, a medical doctor from the [UB] School, is to be brought on board, and to prepare the poison, and chemical compounds. Approved, Deputy in Charge of the Military Intelligence of the 5th Military District. Unintelligeble Signature".

This situation didn't remain stagnate for very long. The UB and KBW was able to take full advantage of seasonal demobilization of the Kuras's units which took part during Winter months of 1946/1947. Serious defeats from the communist forces followed. Undoubtedly, the greatest victory achieved by the communists took place in January, 1947, when the KBW forces encircled partisan unit under command of Mieczyslaw Wadolny "Msciciel" - Wadolny committed suicide rather than to be captured, and tortured by the UB. On February 11, 1947, the patrol of the 2 Company under Corporal Jozef Szczot "Marny" was ambushed and murdered. Corporal "Marny" along with five of his soldiers (among them Janina Polaczyk "Stokrotka" - "Ogien's" sister in law) went to the villa in Krakow that belong to the ZHP (pl. Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego - Polish Scouting Association) District. In this villa named "Smiechowka", they decided to wait the night over. The following morning, the KBW was informed by UBP agent Maria Minczowska vel. "Niezdecydowana", that the partisans were in the building. The villa was immediately encircled by the combined forces of UB and KBW. The operation began with grenades being thrown into the room in which the partisans were sleeping. The exact location of the room where the partisans were sleeping, demonstrates how precise the information delivered by the informer to the UB was. During the firefight, with ensued, Wladyslaw Domiczak "Koliba" was shot and killed with the Dum-Dum ammunition used by the communists, while Andrzej Lasak "Podbipieta" committed suicide. The entire building became engulfed in flames. Those who remained alive, and didn't see any perspective of surviving -"Marny" (seriously wounded in his legs), "Stokrotka" (engl. Daisy), "Tygrys" (engl. Tiger), and Mieczyslaw Zebrowski "Znicz" - surrendered, and exited the burning building. They were ordered to lay face down on the grass, and they were murdered on the spot. The only partisan left alive, was "Ogien's" sister in law, "Stokrotka" who, as an invaluable source of information, was worth a lot more alive, than dead. This operation was conducted under personal command of Major Bronislaw Wroblewski, from the MBP.

On January 22, 1947, 829 men from the Independent Tactical Battalion, and from the 2nd Independent Motorized Regiment of the KBW, were sent into the area were "Ogien's" unit were stationed. They were divided into seven operational units, as well as headquarters, and reserves. Into each unit, the KBW attached functionary from the UBW. The task assigned to each, was to "conduct around-the-clock reconnaissance, and to pursuit, and harras "Ogien's" units". A wide-ranging military, and pacification operation combined with intensified activity of the communist intelligence network, resulted in destruction of units, and arrests of both partisans, and their supporters. Not only was this yet another serious blow dealt by the communists, but it also deepened the sense of despair, and isolation among the partisans, who were already living in unenviable conditions, in the forests. On February 10, 1947, the communists recruited a new agent, who was given code name "Orientacyjny". After three days, he recruited and delivered to the UB another man, who was given code name "Smialy". This man, described in great detail all particulars about the place, beyond the Turbach Mountain, where the headquarters of the "Ogien's" unit were. To this place, on Februrary 17, 1947, he personally brought with him a 100-men-strong unit of the KBW, that was also supported by the UB. This communist expeditionary force was lead by Cpt. F. Dworakowski. At 10 A.M., the following morning, they approached the encampment site, but were unable to surprise "Ogien's" soldiers, and at the distance of 300 meters, an exchange of fire began. While the partisans were able to retreat, one partisan, Jozef Srala "Smak" died. After this encounter, the Headquarters Security Unit, was divided by "Ogien" into several small groups, each containing only few men, and each group was despatched to the villages in the area. Leading only a six-man unit himself, on February 20, 1947, "Ogien" descended from the hills into a small village called Ostrowsk. The six soldiers who accompanied him were: Jan Kolasa "Powicher", Stanislaw Sral "Zimny", Kazimierz Kuras "Kruk" ("Ogien's" nephew), Franciszek Drozdz "Szpak", Stanislaw Ludzia "Harnas", and thier courier, Irena Olszewska "Hanka". It is necessary to emphasize here, that this was not a group of "survivors" as they have been depicted by the communist propaganda, but a group of those most faithful, who remained at "Ogien's" site until the bitter end.

The losses experienced by the the partisans were a result of necessary dispersal that took place in December 1946, and January 1947, and unfortunately, considerably weakened its strength. But this fact by itself, was not synonymous with the destruction of the entire unit. According to Kuras's plans, during the approaching Spring, and improved weather conditions in the mountains, the units were not only to replenish their ranks with new men, but were also to expand the scope, and area of their operations. This plan was never to materialize however, as Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" was betrayed by Stanislaw Byrdak, Antoni Twarog, and Stefania Kruk, who were earlier associated with his unit.

Top Secret Polish Secret Police Report  

The information about location of "Ogien" and his small group was received by the Nowy Targ UB, at around 9:30 a.m. on February 21, 1947. Around 10:00 a.m., a 40-men-strong group from the reserve unit of the KBW, and reinforced by 9 UB functionaries and MO militia men, left for Ostrow. The operation was directed and conducted by Major B. Wroblewski from MBP, Cpt. B Szwajgert, and Capt. F. Dworkowski from WBW in Krakow, and Lt. A Podstawski, head of the PUBP office in Nowy Targ, along with Lt. H Slobczyk from the Boarder Security Corp of the People's Militia in Nowy Targ, and 2nd Lt. E Zawoda from the WUBP in Krakow.

The attack on the house of Jozef and Anna Zagota, in which "Ogien" stayed, began at 13:00. Prior to that, all houses in the neighborhood were surrounded along the three roads forming a triangle. During the initial exchange of fire, "Powicher" along with "Harnas" who became wounded, were able to penetrate through the UB lines, and to escape, while "Zimny", and "Kruk" died, and "Szpak" was able to hide.

Above: "Top Secret. To the Director of Voivodship Office of the Public Security in Krakow, Major Olkowski. Special Report. On 21 February, 1947, at 10 a.m., a meeting with UB agent from the Nowy Targ [office], code name "Orientacyjny" took place, during which he reported that 'Ogien", along with 5 bandits is present on the property of Jozef Stefaniak, a farmer in the Ostrowsko village, [located] 8 kilometers from Nowy Targ. His house is located vis a vis [house of another farmer named] Hudy, and at the distance of 50 meters from the store owned by a German, also a farmer at this village. [...]"  

Unobserved, the partisans were able to make their way into the neighboring house owned by Michal Ostwald. The buildings were set ablaze, but "Ogien" along with "Hanka" managed to reach the next house, owned by Maria Kowalczyk-Pochowa. Entrapped by the communist, he was asked to surrender. He refused, but asked "Hanka" to consider it. After exiting the building, "Ogien" attempted to commit suicide. A shot to the head he inflicted upon himself, didn't however, caused his immediate death - and at the time when he lost consciousness, he was captured. Realizing what a treasure chest of information he could become during the interrogation, the UB attempted to revive him at all cost. He was moved onto the truck, and after the KBW medic began to work on him, he was rashed to the Hospital in Nowy Targ. At that time, the hospital was cordoned off, and guarded by the KBW soldiers. Inside of the hospital, Kuras was guarded by the personnel from the UB, and MO.

Soldiers from the Mieczyslaw Wadolny "Msciciel" partisan unit.  

All efforts to save his life were unsuccessful. Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien", died at 12:20 a.m., on February 22, 1947. His body was removed from the hospital, and placed the yard at the WUPB in Krakow. According to unconfirmed reports, the following day his body was transferred to the Karakow's Medical Academy, as a body of an unidentified man. His place of burial is unknown to this day. Incidentally, “Ogien’s” death coincided with amnesty which was declared by the communists, and these two events combined, had a profound effect on the future fate of both partisan units, and that of individual partisans. Since Kuras’s units were a strictly military formation, they dependent on the authority of their leadership – in this case, that of Jozef Kuras, himself.  However, no contingency plan was prepared in the event of his death, and no replacement was designated, capable of re-consolidating remaining units under new leadership.

Therefore, “Ogien’s” death, was synonymous with disintegration of the “Blyskawica” unit.  It is probably safe for us to assume, that in the absence of such contingency plan, this disintegration would have had happened, if “Ogien’s” death took place during even less favorable for the communist political climate in the region.

Above: 21 February, 1947, Ostrowsko. Jozef Kuras placed on stretchers by the UB.  
Soldiers for the "Jastrzab" unit of Major Jozef Kuras  
Above: 21 February, 1947, Ostrowsko, Wounded Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien", hours before his death.  

Among those who decided to take advantage of the amnesty, were also officers from “Ogien’s” units.   Following their example, many of the rank-and-file soldiers followed. In total, 376 soldiers and 134 supporters of “Ogien’s” units left the ranks of the “Blyskawica” concentration. However, just like everywhere throughout Poland, the communist didn’t intend to honor conditions of the amnesty, and certainly, they didn’t intend to do so in the Krakow region.  Predictably, not long after the true intent of the regime became apparent, scores of those who laid their arms, were arrested, were given lengthy prison sentences, were mercilessly tortured, and in many instances, were simply executed. Such predictable turn of events caused scores of former partisans from “Ogien’s” organization, to rejoin their units in the mountains, and to continue their doomed fight.
Already in March, 1947, individual “Ogien’s” soldiers began their renewed operations against "bezpieka" and their informers, but it didn’t take a shape of organized resistance yet.  In May, 1947, after recruiting 16 men, Jozef Swider “Pacula” reactivated, and reorganized a partisan group, and took up a new nom de guerre “Msciciel” (eng. “Avenger”).  The would operate under the  name “Wiarusy” (The word “Wiarusy” is derived from the Polish word “Wiara”, meaning “Faith”, thus, “Wiarusy”, can roughly be translated as “Faithful Ones”), or 3rd Company of AK, and/or ROAK.  Initially, they hid in the Rabka and Skomielna Czarna area, in the southern part of the Myslenice county. At the end of 1947, the number of members in this unit tripled.  During 1947, the “Wiarusy” group conducted over a dozen operations, during which 7 soldiers from the KBW, 2 MO militia men, and 1 UB functionary were shot. In August, an UB agent code named “Czarny” was liquidated.  In order to destroy the “Wiarusy” unit, communists used combined forces of the UB and KBW, and took advantage of their well established network of agents, and informers.  Terrorized by the secret police apparatus, and fearing the wrath of the communist repressions, the population of the Podhale region was no longer as forthcoming with their support for the “Wiarusy” unit, as it was in the case of Jozef Kuras’s units. Understandably, operations of the newly re-activated units were not as spectacular, as those conducted by “Ogien”. The new, and much smaller units were taking more casualties.
On October 31, 1947, one of the newly formed groups was destroyed, loosing 4 men. On February 18, 1948, during a skirmish with the UB/KBW, the commanding officer of the “Wiarusy” unit, Jozef Swider “Msciciel” was killed.  The command was taken over by Tadeusz Dymel “Srebrny”.  This group operated in the area of Lupaszna, Koscielisko, Bukowina, and Czarny Dunajec.  However, not even this unit was to operate for very long, as on October 20, 1948, during an ambush staged by the KBW forces, “Srebrny” lost his life.  The command of the unit was passed onto the former adjutant of "Ogien", Stanislaw Ludzia, nom de guerre(s) “Harnas”, or “Dzielny”.  Based on the military experience gained in "Ogien’s” organization, Stanislaw Ludzia divided his unit into three autonomous groups. He hoped, that smaller units will be not only be more effective operationally, but will also be more difficult to destroy. Subsequently, the first group operated in the area of Szczawnica-Kroscienko-Obidza, the second in and around Rabka-Rdzawka-Obidowa, while the third one operated in the area of Niedzica-Czorsztyn. At the end of 1948, “Harnas” had 70 men, and a well established net of supporters in the area. In 1948, “Harnas’s” unit shot 13 MO militia men, 1 KBW soldier, 1 confident, and 3 civilians (?). They also conducted several actions against local communist owned stores and cooperatives. In 1949, they shot 1 MO militia man, and 1 UB collaborator. Under direct command of Head of the Department III of WUBP in Krakow, Stanislaw Walach, and overall supervision of Stanislaw Szlachcic, Deputy Director of WUBP in Krakow, the communists mobilized relatively strong contingent of men to combat the “Wiarusy” unit. It consisted of 250 soldiers from the KBW, 60 MO militia men, and UB functionaries. Incidentally, at a later time, Stanislaw Walach will become a literary “writer”, and will play one of the key roles in orchestrating communist propaganda campaign against the democratic underground. Stanislaw Szlachcic on the other hand, will in the 1970’s , hold office of the Minister of Internal Affairs, and also, will become Deputy Prime Minister.

As a result of “operational play” conductged by the UB, the communist secret police was able to introduce its agents into the ranks of the “Wiarusy” unit. The UB agents who “played” the role of representatives of Krakow’s III District of ROAK, were: F. Szlachcic “Major Maciej”, and Marian Struzynski “Henryk”. Under the assumed name of Marian Reniak, the UB agent Struzynski, will later “author” several books, including the “Dangerious Paths” (pol. “Niebezpieczne sciezki”) which portrays “Harnas” and his soldiers in a predictable fashion.

Thus, already in the beginning of 1949, the “Wiarusy” organization was thoroughly penetrated, and during subsequent months additional activities aiming at its complete liquidation were conducted. On July 16, 1949, “Major Maciej” arrived into the vicinity of Rabka, and conducted meeting with three individuals who were interested in escaping to England. Among those, was “Harnas” himself. The ingeniously staged meeting which took place well outside of populated area, was also given additional credibility by the presence of a vehicle barring diplomatic marks of the British embassy. "Harnas" and tow of his soldiers were driven straight to the WUBP building in Krakow, and only by happenstance, they realized that they fell into hands of their enemies. During the firefight that ensued, “Harnas” was wounded, and two of his soldiers were shot dead. Stanislaw Ludzia “Harnas”, “Dzielny” was sentenced to death, and executed at the Montelupich prison in Krakow, on January 12, 1950. His burial place is unknown.

On 17 July, 1949, remaining members of the “Wiarusy” unit were arrested, and thus, by the middle of 1949, the core of the “post-Ogien’s” concentration of partisans’ unit ceased to exist. From then on, it was only a question of time, before all partisans will be captured. In August of this year, the bezpieka arrested 122 collaborators of the “Wiarusy” unit. The death of Major Jozef Kuras “Ogien”, the destruction of the “Blyskawica” concentration of the partisans’ units, and finally, the liquidation of the “Wiarusy” unit, brings us to the end of one of the most important chapters played by the citizens of the Podhale region in their efforts to restore free and democratic Poland.

August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland: Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers killed in action.
August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland. August 13, 2009, Zakopane, Poland - Unveiling of the monument dedicated to Jozef Kuras and his soldiers who perished fighting for sovereign Poland.
 This monument was funded by the Fundacja "Pamietamy".

This valiant effort began in 1939 after combined Nazi-Soviet attack on Poland, and ended with the destruction of the “Wiarusy” unit. Perhaps the greatest testimony to the importance of these efforts, are well documented surveillance activities of Polish Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (SB), which for years monitored, and harassed, not only surviving members from Major Jozef Kuras "Ogien" units , and their families, but also countless others, who cultivated memory about him, and his "Doomed Soldiers".

The names and nome(s) de guerre of soldiers from the Jozef Kuras "Ogien" memorialized on the monument in Zakopane.
Józef Kuraś "Ogień", k. 19 II 1947
Henryk Głowiński "Groźny", k. 9 XI 1946
Kazimierz Kuraś "Kruk", k. 21 II 1947
Stanisław Ludzia "Harnaś", k. 12 I 1950
Józef Sral "Smak", k. 18 II 1947
Stanisław Sral "Zimny", k. 21 II 1947
Józef Szczot "Marny", k. 11 II 1947
Antoni Wąsowicz "Roch", k. 24 II 1948
Mieczysław Adamiec, k. 25 IX 1946
Tadeusz Baliński "Kukułka", k. 1947
Władysław Bem "Szpak I", k. 28 XII 1943
Józef Blacharczyk "Zemsta", k. 1947
Stanisław Bobek "Cichy", k. 15 IV 1946
Stanisław Bochniak "Saper", k. 1 XI 1947
Walenty Bochorowski "Podkowa", k. 21 X 1946
Stefan Bulański "Stary", k. 7 XII 1946
Marian Chraca "Giewont", k.
Eugeniusz Cymbajew “Osa", k. 1946
Tomasz Czyszczoń "Pstrąg", k. 1946
Franciszek Doliński "Śmiały", k. 7 X 1946
Wojciech Doliński "Smrek", k. 7 X 1946
Adam Domalik "Kowboj", k. 24 II 1948
Władysław Domiczek "Koliba", k. 11 II 1947
Józef Dyda "Czarny", k. 25 XI 1947
Władysław Dziura "Pokorny", k. 2 IX 1951
Józef Filip, k. ?
Stanisław Filipowski "Ryszard", k. 29 IX 1946
Wojciech Frodyma "Mucha", k. 17 I 1947
Józef Gabrys "Dolina", k. ?
Jan Jankowski "Groźny", k. 12 I 1950
Stanisław Kamiński "Wilk", k. 22 VII 1946
Jan Karnafel "Lawina", k. 7 XII 1946
Stanisław Klaper "Ciepły", k. 3 II 1947
Ryszard Kłaput "Pomsta", k. 17 I 1947
Józef Kois "Niewolnik", k. 2 II 1947
Tadeusz Kościelniak "Silny", k. 17 I 1947
Andrzej Lasak "Podbipięta", k. 11 II 1947
Mieczysław Łysek "Grandziarz", k. 16 VII 1949
Henryk Machała "Gryf", k. 12 I 1950
Kazimierz Marduła "Tygrys I", k. 11 II 1947
Stanisław Marduła "Cap", k. 3 II 1947
Stanisław Marek "Orlicz", k. 12 VII 1946
Marian Zagrodzki "śbik", k. 31 X 1947
Stanisław Marszałek "Gwizd", k. 12 VII 1946
Marian Mazanek "Mongoł", k. 15 II 1947
Józef Najdek "Orlik", k. 30 IX 1946
Józef Orkisz "Lotny", k. 25 V 1948
Edward Ornat "Lis", k. 24 II 1948
Jan Osiecki "Bratek", k. 9 XI 1946
Stanisław Papierz "Sęp", k. 19 X 1946

Teofil Papierz "Huragan", k. 31 X 1947
Jan Pierwoła "Dratwa", k. 31 X 1947
Ludwik Piotrowski "Jastrząb", k. 15 IV 1946
Edward Polarczyk "Jeleń", k. 27 VII 1946
Adam Półtorak "Wicher", k. 31 X 1947
Jan RoŜak, k. ?
Jan Sałapatek "Orzeł", k. 29 I 1955
Kajetan Samborski "Duch", k. XI 1948
Stanisław Samborski "Bratek", k. 16 II 1948
Edward Skornóg "Szatan", k. 16 VII 1949
Jan Skorupka "Turlikant", k. 16 IV 1946
Mieczysław Sobolewski "Prut", k. 6 VI 1946

Wincenty Sobolewski "Przemytnik", k. 23 VIII 1947
Franciszek Sral, k. 28 XII 1943
Jan Strączek "Tygrysica", k. II 1946
Bronisław Szczepanek, k. 6 XI 1948
Jan Szeliga "Czapla", k. 3 II 1947
Stefan Szwajkowski "Łotr", k. 25 V 1948
Franciszek Śmieszek "Głaz", k. 26 II 1946
Józef Świder "Mściciel", k. 18 II 1948
Władysław Tarkowski "Wilczur" †
Zygmunt Wawrzuta "Śmiały", k. 8 VII 1946
Józef Wolski "Mały", k. 1947
Stanisław Wróbel "Bimber" †
Zdzisław Wyswalski "Rzutny", k. 6 X 1946
Leon Zagata "Złom", k. 12 I 1950
Józef Zając, k. 10 VII 1946
Tadeusz Zajączkowski "Mokry", k. 21 X 1946
Zbigniew Zarębski "Kanciarz", k. IX 1948
Stanisław Zawisza, k. 29 III 1946
Mieczysław śebrowski "Znicz", k. 11 II 1947
NN "Bielski", k. 12 VII 1946
NN "Blondyn", k. 28 IV 1945
NN "Brzeg", k. XI 1946
NN "Chrobry", k. 7 XII 1946
NN "Bystry", k. 8 XII 1946
NN "Gazda", k. IX 1946
NN "Jastrząb", k. 7 XII 1946
NN “Longin", k. 7 XII 1946
NN "Potoczek", k. 6 XII 1946
NN "Stary", k. 7 XII 1946
NN, k. 21 V 1946
NN, k. 6 VI1946
NN, k. 4 X1946

k. - KIA - Killed in Action
NN - Nieznany i Niezidentyfikowany - Unknown And Unidentified.

“The democratic underground was a vanguard of the Sovereign Poland, that fought a difficult military retreat engagement, but there was no longer any place to retreat to”. Dr. Andrzej Paczkowski.

* The Polish National Emblem, the "White Eagle" was stripped of its crown by the Soviet imposed communist government of Poland. In the eyes of the communists the crown represented feudal, "non democratic" political system of the pre World War II Poland. The crowned White Eagle coat of arms was worn by the Polish underground soldiers, and those who fought with the Polish Armed Forces in the West.

(1) Source: "[Underground] War on the mountain tops" (pol. "Walka podziemia na szczytach"), 4th edition, Warsaw, 1980

(2) Source: "Horror Podmalowany", Dr. Maciej Korkuc, PhD, Tygodnik Powszechny, Feb 27, 2008. Dr. Korkuc is a historian employed by the Institute for National Rememberence (IPN), in Krakow.

(3) Source: Wlodzimierz Godlowski, "Jak to z Ogniem bylo naprawde", June, 1998.



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