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Doomed Soldiers In Polish

Anti-Communist Resistance In the South-Eastern Borderlands After 1944 – Kresy południowo-wschodnie po roku 1944.

A Historical Brief: Part 2

”C2” company near Dynowo. In front of the company 2nd Lt. Antoni Wawro nom de guerre “Dziadek”.

Above: ”C2” company near Dynowo. In front of the company, 2nd Lt. Antoni Wawro nom de guerre “Dziadek”.

Facing constant influx of whole partisan companies, as well as single soldiers from the other side of the river San, the “Warta” group rapidly accumulated 1,500 soldiers. All the soldiers were quartered in Polish villages in the square of Leżajsk, Rzeszów, Brzozów and the river San, frequently changing their station. As a result of the redistribution, “B” Battalion was soon transformed into NIE District “L” [Lubaczów] directly underf “Warta” ‘s command. Its commanders were Lieut. Tadeusz Żelichowski nom de guerre “Ring”, cichociemny, and then Capt. Edward Baszniak nom(s) de guerre “Robert”, “Orlicz”. After a reorganization, there were two companies left from the battalion. The magazine “Iskierki” (Sparks) was published in the District. The soldiers of the “L” District filled the posts in Milicja Obywatelska (Communist People's Militia) stations until they disclosed their identities.

The ”Warta” group was, in principle, prepared to relieve Lwów if the city were to go to Poland [it was still believed that this would happen], but the Ukrainians tried to take control of it nevertheless. Polish villages were protected against UPA attacks, struggling against Soviet troops at the same time. A larger battle, however, did not take place. On 15 December 1944, the soldiers of the “D14” company, led by Sergeant Feliks Maziarski nom de guerre “Szofer” performed a bold and successful operation of rescuing a dozen or more local NIE soldiers from the prison in Brzozów, including the Commander of the District, Maj. Andrzej Wanic. The operation was conducted without any losses to themselves.

The soldiers of NIE organisation Lubaczów [“L”] District as a People’s Militia team from Nowa Grobla station. The first from the left – the Commander Capt. Stefan Trenblicki nom de guerre “Jełbicki”.

Above: The soldiers of the NIE organization Lubaczów [“L”] District, as a People’s Militia team from Nowa Grobla station. The first from the left – the Commander, Capt. Stefan Trenblicki nom de guerre “Jełbicki”.

he soldiers of NIE organisation Lubaczów [“L”] District as a People’s Militia team from Dąbków station of Cpl. Maciej Baygert nom de guerre “Przytulski” before marching out on an operation against UPA.

Above: The soldiers of the NIE organization Lubaczów [“L”] District as a People’s Militia team from Dąbków station of Cpl. Maciej Baygert nom de guerre “Przytulski”, before marching out on an operation against the UPA.

On 5 March 1945 in Ujazdy, Capt. Dragan Sorirović “Draża”, the commander of “D 14” company, was accidentally captured by Soviet soldiers when he sustained an injury jumping out of the window of a surrounded house. Local NIE soldiers released him from a hospital in Rzeszów. He was not recognized and disguised himself as a French soldier. In March 1945, the “discredited” Lieut. in time of war, Władysław Śledziński, nom de guerre “Nemo”, arrived from the Headquarters of the NIE Lwów Province and took leadership of the intelligence unit and “Warta” propaganda section. He began with publishing “Raporty informacyjne” (Information reports) for “Warta” Command and then, under his direction, a magazine “Serwis Informacyjno-Propagandowy” (Propaganda-Information Bulletin) was published.

On 15 April 1945, Col. Jan Rzepecki (NIE Commander after Gen. Okulicki was arrested) requested that NIE to be dissolved and a new organization formed in its place – DSZ (Pol. Delegatura Sił Zbrojnych - Armed Forces Delegation), and on 7 May his initiative was approved. Probably on account of this, Lt. Col. “Topór”, who was staying in Cracow, called a meeting of the Commanders of “Warta” battalions on receiving instruction from Col. Rzepecki. He announced and ordered “Warta” units to be dissolved; this happened on 1 July 1945. The orders, promotion and decoration motions, as well as the “Acknowledgements of Service” for distinguished “Warta” soldiers and cooperating civilians, were all signed with this date.

At the end of August 1945, the “Warta” archive was buried in one of the houses in Giewczyna Łańcucka. It was discovered in 1995 when one of the operation participants was still alive. NIE still existed in Lwów, but on 20 May 1945 Lt. Col. “Topór” also handed over the official order to dissolve NIE there, which he had received from Col. Rzepecki. In September, a similar order was given by Lt. Col. J. W. Władyka, the Regional Commander after Lt. Col. F. Janson was arrested. Lwów commanders, together with NIE soldiers, started to leave Lwów and Eastern Lesser Poland, but the move was not completed until November-December 1945.

After the “Warta” units were dissolved, the soldiers started to move in small groups to western areas of Lower Silesia. Col. Franciszek Rekucki was still staying in Cracow and decided to stop his underground activity. Lt. Col. Bolesław Tomaszewski and then most of the “Warta” officers arrived from Lower Silesia to Karpacz. The Delegatura Sił Zbrojnych [Armed Forces Delegation] was in fact dissolved, but on 2 September 1945 a new organization started to be formed in Warsaw – “Wolność i Niezawisłość” [WiN – Freedom and Independence]. Its aims were political, social and educational. This information reached the Jelenia Góra voivodeship, and in September a WiN Province with the Headquarters started to be organized in Jelenia Góra; it was a part of the WiN Southern Region. The management consisted of “Warta” officers. After Col. Franciszek Rekucki withdrew in October, Lt. Col. Bolesław Tomaszewski became the District President. Management of the organization also included Maj. Włodzimierz Białoszewicz (Organizational and Information Director) and 2nd Lt. Władysław Śledziński (Director of Propaganda).

Three Regions were organized: Jelenia Góra [Maj. Witold Szredzki, then Capt. Ludwik Kurtycz] in the South; Legnica [Maj. Edward Baszniak] in the Middle; and Żary [Capt. Jan Lewicki, then Maj. Witold Szredzki] in the North. The activity in the Province was directed externally – its purpose was propaganda and raising awareness, as well as information and intelligence to meet the needs of the organization itself; armed activity was minimal. A bi-weekly magazine, “Wolność” (Freedom), was published (600-800 copies).

A group of cadets from the Polish (Communist) People's Army who joined the NIE Lubaczów District [“L”] units in 1945.

Above: A group of cadets from the Polish (Communist) People's Army who joined the NIE Lubaczów District [“L”] units in 1945.

In June 1946, as a consequence of placing an agent surrounding Maj. Szredzki, UB [Pol. Urząd Bezpieczeństwa – Office of Security] arrested 62 people operating in the District, or in contact with it, which completely destroyed WiN structures. The majority of those who avoided arrest in June 1946 were captured three years later.

Those arrested, including Lt. Col. Bolesław Tomaszewski, were transported to Wrocław to the Voivode Office of Public Security where they were interrogated. Col. Józef Różański himself travelled from Warsaw to participate in the investigation. On 2-3 January 1947, the trial of the main defendants took place in the District Military Tribunal in Wrocław. Lt. Col. Bolesław Tomaszewski and Maj. Witold Szredzki were sentenced to the death, which was then changed to 15 years’ of incarceration; the rest were sentenced to 8 and 12 years’ imprisonment. Read more about Communist torture methods here ...

Meanwhile, from the beginning of November until mid-December 1945, the officers of the dissolved NIE Lwów Province, who remained in touch with one another, advanced from the other side of the river San. Among them there was Maj. Anatol Sawicki, acting Commander of the Lwów Province and Capt. Marian Jędrzejewski, unofficial commander of the city. Having established contact with the command of WiN Southern Region, and possibly the Head Office, they were given permission to organize an Extraterritorial Lwów District of WiN.

Maj. Anatol Sawicki nom(s) de guerre “Młot”, “Cybulski”, and “Kowalski”, took command and organized a group of 7-8 people. “Miasto” [or “Garnizon”] as well as two Inspectorates “Bóbrka” and “Gródek Jagielloński” came under his command. Such an organizational structure [nomenklatura] was the result of the necessity to preserve identity. Regardless of the current address, the new organization wanted to gather people, from the same units in which they had previously worked, as the Home Army and NIE soldiers. It was also a method of protection against UB agents infiltrating the structures. At the same time, it strengthened mutual trust among people who had known one another from their previous encounters. In “Miasto” (City), where the command was taken over by Capt. Marian Jędrzejewski, 3-4 “Districts” were formed: - North “Gdynia” with Commander Capt. Franciszek Garwol nom(s) de guerre “Karaś”, “Tarnopolski” and with five Regions; - East “Kluczbork” with Commander “Dwójka” [it might have been officer cadet Stanisław Kruszelnicki] and with four Regions, including two “country” ones; - South “Zakopane” with Commander Lieut. Zygfryd Szynalski nom(s) de guerre “Tryk”, “Kulas”. The case of the District “West” has not been clarified. “Miasto” was 1,000 people strong and the whole Extraterritorial Lwów District could have included up to 3,000 people.

In January and February 1946, promotion and decoration motions started to be collected. The promotions and decorations were awarded on 20 March 1946 with the date of 15 December 1945. These orders were signed by Col. Władyka - the last commander of the NIE Southeastern Region. It is not known if he was a member of WiN, but he certainly did not belong to the Extraterritorial District. He came to Cracow in October 1945 with a few collaborators from NIE Lwów, such as the Director of Underground Communications, Emilia Maleczyńska, who was carrying the Lwów archive, which was burnt later due to the threat of arrest. The Extraterritorial District had a greater military character than Jelenia Góra Province; one of its tasks, for example, was collecting weaponry. The arrests of the members of the Extraterritorial District began in October 1947 and lasted until April the next year. By the end of 1948, they had reached the officers of the Regional Command. In several trials, taking part in Wrocław and Warsaw from November 1948 until February 1950, several death penalty sentences were pronounced. They were then changed to long term prison sentences. In Marian Jedrzejęwski’s case – to life sentence. During the investigation, Lt. Col. Anatol Sawicki was murdered.

Translated by Karolina Ginalska, Further Editing by Jan Czarniecki

Written by Jerzy Węgierski, Praca Zbiorowa, "Żołnierze Wyklęci. Antykomunistyczne Podziemie Zbrojne po 1944 roku” [Eng. Anti-Communist Armed Underground After 1944], Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen, Warsaw 2002.

This Historical Brief is published here in accordance with the Greater Public Good Doctrine, and is a part of the "Fundacja Pamietamy" [1] and "Żołnierze Wyklęci - Zapomniani Bohaterowie" project.

[1] The primary goal of the Foundation "Pamietamy" is the restoration of the proper social and historical place for the individuals, who during second half of the 1940's, and beginning of the 1950's, undertook armed resistance against the Communist regime in Poland. The goal of the foundation is to commemorate those, who in the name of freedom, and in the name of human dignity, laid on the altar of freedom their own personal and professional aspirations, their personal freedoms, and above all, their lives.

 

 

 

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