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The Doomed Soldiers
Polish Underground Soldiers 1944-1963 - The Untold Story

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"The Forest Was My Only Safety” - An interview with Mr. Andrzej Kiszka, nom de guerre “Leszczyna”, and “Dab” the AK-WiN and NSZ Soldier, And Political Prisoner, Who Evaded Polish Secret Police Until 1961.

Only in 1961, after they encircled his bunker, were the bezpieka men from the SB (pol. Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa – Polish secret police) and MO (pol. Milicja Obywatelska – People’s Militia) able to capture Andrzej Kiszka.  He was sentenced to life in prison, as if he was a common criminal.  He was released from jail in 1971.  The court system of the IIIrd Polish Republic refused to exculpate him of  his “crimes”. Andrzej Kiszka, is still awaiting today …

Under what circumstances did you join the largest Home Army – NOW (pol. Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa - National Military Organization) partisan unit, under command of Franciszek Przysiezniak “Ojciec Jan” (engl. “Father John”), operating in our area?

The Capture of Andrzej Kiszka by Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa on December 30, 1961

Photo Above: The capture of Andrzej Kiszka “Dab” on 30 December, 1961 in the forests near Huta Krzeszowska by Polish secret police, the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (abr. SB).


- I joined the underground in 1941.  Initially I was with BCh (pol. Bataliony Chlopskie – The Peasants’ Batalions), and later from October 1942 in AK/NOW. My immediate superior in Maziarnia was Bednarski, and under him I took the oath before the Holly Cross, and the red-and-white [Polish] flag.  It was then, that I decided that I will be faithful to her [Poland] until my death.  It was dictated by my faith and my love for my country. 

Initially, along with my colleagues from NOW we dug up arms [which were hidden] in 1939, and we gave them to the “Ojciec Jan” unit.  After German pacification operations in 1943, I transferred to the unit under [command of] Przysiezniak, and participated in all operations, until the Soviets came in July, 1944.

You joined the People’s Militia (pol. Milicja Obywatelska) after that?
- After the Soviets entered, I retuned to my unit, and reported to the commandant Bednarski, from whom I received orders to join the Militia.  I was to report to him all communications received by the County Office of MO.  In November, 1944, an order came from Bilgoraj, that the lists of those to be sent into Siberia are being prepared, because the NKVD regiment will be arriving to conduct arrests along with the [local] MO unit.  It was a secret, but one of the Militia men (he was in PPR – Communist Party of Poland) told me about it.  I told the commandant of the station, that I am leaving with two of my colleagues from the “Ojciec Jan’s” unit.  I was lucky, because, we found out later, that we were among the first ones on the list of those to be sent into Siberia.  I took my RKM [light machine gun], and immediately reported this to Bednarski.
Later you were in the NZW of Jozef Zadzierski, nom de guerre “Wolyniak”.  After his tragic death in December, 1946, you didn’t lay your arms down, but continued [fighting] in the Adam Kusz “Garbaty” unit.

- The NKVD action didn’t go as planned.  They arrested people who didn’t belong to any [underground] organization, and they were sent to Siberia.  Many of them died there, and those who returned, didn’t live for very long.  Several innocent farmers were also murdered.  It is then, that I decided to join the NZW unit of “Wolyniak”.  His second in command was my friend from the “Ojciec Jan” unit, Adam Kusz “Garbaty”.  With this unit, I took part in all of the operations, including a 10-hour long battle for Kurylowka, against NKVD, and UB.  After the death of “Woyniak”, only few of us were left. 

We were with Kusz, “Garbaty, who in 1947, asked that I reveal myself [to the communists as a part of the amnesty they announced], and I did so.  If this amnesty was to be for real, the rest of the unit was to reveal themselves as well.  However, it quickly became clear, that this is an operation directed at arresting most active members of the underground.  I returned to the Adam Kusza [‘s unit], where I remained until it was destroyed, that is, until 19 August, 1950.

What lead to the destruction of this unit?

  Franciszek Przysiezniak, nom de guerre "Ojciec Jan" Polish Democratic Underground Soldier
Above Franciszek Przysiezniak, nom de guerre "Ojciec Jan".

- In July 1950, “Garbaty” initiated contact with people who [he thought] were, allegedly trustworthy.  They supplied us with money to purchase food, and promised us fake documents, so we could escape to the West.  The “Kapitan” was to be from the District Command of WiN in Lublin.  Through his initiative, in order to maintain contact with the West, a short wave radio, along with two men to operate it were brought into the unit. Unfortunately, we found out, that they were UB agents, and the radio transmitter was used to locate the place where we were staying. On August 15, 1950, the Janow forests were encircled by 3,000 men from the KBW, UB, and MO.  Our commander divided us into two groups, and along with five of my colleagues, we went on our own.  “Garbaty” along with rest of the unit, and the radio operators, went in the opposite direction.  We were escaping into direction of the Lipsk forests (pol. Lasy lipskie), and we were able to pierce through the encirclement, when on the third day, after we went through the swamps.  “Garbaty” knew the Janow forests like the back of his own hand, and certainly was able to pierce through the encirclement. He and his colleagues, had to be certainly murdered by the [commmunist] UB radio operators.

Andrzej Kiszka among democratic resistance soldiers.

Above: Andrzej Kiszka among Polish Anti-Communist Resistance soldiers.

From the moment the “Garbaty’s” unit was liquidated, until 1961, you hid from the communist security apparatus, i.e. in the bunker in the forest.  Who helped you?
- I had a contact with colleagues who collaborated with the forest unit of “Garbaty”.  They were Stanislaw Flis “Czarny”, Jozef Klys “Rejonowy", Stefan Wojciechowski “Bogucki”. The winters were the worst, and it was difficult to hide in barns, because we left too many tracks in the snow.  For this reason we build a bunker in the forest, and under cover of snow we would stay there for three, or four months. Later Jozef Klys and Stefan Wojciechowski were murdered by the UB (pol. Urzad Bezpieczenstwa – Office of Security) from Pilatka [office].  When I was the only one left, I hid in bunkers and in forests. With the help of two trusted people, I built bunker number three.  First, we prepared materials, and then at night we dug up a hole.  We covered it with tree logs, and sheets of tar, so the moisture wouldn’t get inside.  On the top [of the bunker] we planted pine trees and moss. The entrance was built in such way that you couldn’t see it. Inside was a small well, so that the water could be boiled, and a metal bucket served as a toilet.  We also created two openings to allow the air to circulate, and for sleeping I had a bed.  The bunker was built in the area of the Huta Krzeszowska forest inspectorate, near the village of Cismy, on the hill, in a thick forest.  In Ciosmy, I had a contact with two guys, but they were helping me only during the summer months. They didn’t know about the existence of the bunker.  I had provisions for the Winter: potatoes, some macaroni, and bred.  The meat, and the fat were from deer I hunted, and that was marinated.  These provisions would last me entire Winter.  I would cook two times a day on a small alcohol-fueled stove, and for the duration of Winter I had about 40 liters of this fuel.  During the Winter, I would lock myself in the bunker.  I couldn’t leave it, since I would be leaving tracks in the snow.  The bunker was warm inside, and I would sit inside wearing only a shirt, and I had books to read. During one Winter, a small mouse got into the bunker,  and fell into an empty jar from the grease, and she lived in it whole Winter, and I had someone to talk to. I let her go in Spring. I was hiding by myself, and a slew of the UB snitches were doing everything they could to arrest me, or to murder me.  So during the Winter, I would stay in the bunker, and during the Spring and Summer, I was in charge of my forests. They saved me.  All of my collegues who hid in the villages were murdered by the UB, usually as a result of being betrayed [by the comunist collaborators]. And so I survived until the 31 December, 1961.  I spent winter in the bunker.  There was about half a meter of snow [covering it], and the bunker was well concealed.  Based on many years of experience, I didn’t leave the bunker.  Nonetheless, someone had to betray me, because they knew exactly where under a thick layer of snow was my bunker. I heard them clearing out the snow, and digging.  I heard that during the interrogations they didn’t torture people as much as before, and even though I had an arsenal of weapons, I surrendered without a fight.

For your activities on behalf of sovereign Poland you were sentenced to life in prison.  The Supreme Court changed your senentence to 15 years.  As a result of amnesty, you left the prison walls after 9 years.  How were you able to live with a mark of a “reactionary bandit”?
- I left the prison in 1971.  I traveled to my family.  A local parish priest summoned me.  I found out from him, that the UB (Urzad Bezpieczenstwa – Polish Secret Police) were giving him American Dollars and a car, to confess my family and extract from them where I am hiding.  He warned me to be careful of people. I left for Western Poland, into the Szczecin voivodship, where a wife of my deceased brother lived. She had small children and a farm.  I married her.  Despite many difficulties we managed to live, and dream of free Poland.  Not even our neighbors knew about what I have gone through, and after so many disappointments and betrayals, I a was careful.  I knew that the communist regime was watchful, and was interested in what I am doing.
During the IIIrd Polish Republic, the soldiers of the Anticommunist Underground were rehabilitated and decorated.  In your case, both the Polish courts, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg, refused to acknowledge that you sacrificed 29 years of your life for a sovereign Poland.
- It  is a very painful subject for me.  The existing law can only be described as shameful and barbaric.  I am guilty of fighting for the honor of the Polish Soldier.  On October 23, 1954, along with my unit, I went to the Rataj Ordynacki, where Jan Lukasik, a secretary of the communist PZPR party, and before that NKVD collaborator, and UB confident lived.  I intended to rough him up a little and warn him that he better stop handing over information about the underground soldiers to the “bezpieka”.  He slept when I entered, he reached for his revolver which was under the pillow.  I was quicker, and while trying to save my own life, I fired.  According to the presently existing laws, if he killed me it would have been a "Communist Crime" (pol. "Zbrodnia Komunistyczna"). But since it is me who shot him, I became a bandit.  The testimony of witnesses didn’t do any good.  The commanding officer of the NSZ (pol. Narodowe Sily Zbrojne – National Armed Forces) partisan unit, Skamrbimir Socha,  even testified, that since Lukasik contributed to sending scores of Home Army (pl. Armia Krajowa) soldiers  into Siberia, I had a right to carry out a death sentence against him. These were the last orders of the NSZ (National Armed Forces).  When my lawyers exhausted all legal possibilities, Lt. Col. Skarbimir Socha, received from me an authorization to issue a complaint  before the European Court of Human Rights.  The main argument was that no detailed investigation was ever conducted by the IPN (pol. Institute of Public Remembrance) in Lublin.  Another important argument was issuing to me rights of a combatant until 31 December, 1956, by the Commission for Veterans Affairs (pol. Urzad do Spraw Kombatantow).  (In this decision we read, that the period after 31 December, 1956 can not be included because the law considers 1956 to be te cutoff date).  My imprisonment from January 1962, until August 1971, was also recognized as “activities on behalf of the Sovereign Poland”.  The Polish courts however didn’t exculpate me, nor did they ever address the issue of the murder of the soldiers from the “Garbaty” unit committed by the UB in August, 1950. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg reviewed my case, but issued an unfavorable to me decision.  All of my attempts to receive help from the European Parliamentarians whom I asked for help didn’t succeed.  They never even bothered to respond.  For my military service against the Germans I was decorated with the National Action Cross (pol. Krzyz Narodowego Czynu Zbrojnego), and the Partisan Cross (pol. Krzyz Partyzancki).  They don’t give any medals for fighting the communists. So, here you have it – the justice in Poland.
What would you tell those who know about German and Soviet occupation only from the history books?

Andrzej Kiszka, Narodowe Sily Zbrojne, National Armed Forces, NSZ, Soldier.

Left: Mr. Andrzej Kiszka, Polish Anti-Nazi and Anti-Communist Resistance, Narodowe Sily Zbrojne Soldier[National Armed Forces]. [1]

- I am an old man. I am 85 years old.  I finished only an elementary school.  The rest is the school of hard knocks which thought me a lot.  Love your God, because he will give you the strength to survive, and even love people.  God is just.  Love your church, because it has always been, and always will be your pillar of strength. In the underground, in the UB prisons, the priests were [also] always with us [as they were also jailed]. And love Poland, because you can’t live without her.  We were raised by our parents who lived enslaved [by the communist tyranny], but cultivated [free] Poland in their hearts. For her, we were dying, we were tortured, we were imprisoned, and degraded.  Even though my heart is aching from sorrow, I don’t regret those 29 years that were taken away from me.  I acted, as my honor as a Pole, and as a soldier dictated.  I am proud of it.

We thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

[1] Photo source:



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