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Assaults on Communist Prisons & Detention Centers - Part 2

Author: Dr. Kazimierz Krajewski, PhD

Operations for freeing political prisoners from prisons, concentration camps and UBP [Pol. Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, [Eng. Office of Public Security] and NKVD [The Peoples’ Commissariat for Internal Affairs, [Russian: Народный комиссариат внутренних дел, Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, abbreviated: NKVD ( НКВД)] establishments. 1944 - 1948 (Preliminary assessment)


Operations directed at prisons and UBP establishments:

19 August 1944, Hrubieszów. An AK (Eng. Home Army, Pol. Armia Krajowa) unit consisting of 100 soldiers led by District Commander Captain Marian Gołębiewski, nom de guerre “Stera”, entered the town at night, took control over the prison and released 12 AK soldiers (they also recovered weapons, which were stored in the town and had previously been confiscated from the AK units by the Soviet Army). [7]

August 1944, Zamość (no exact date). A group consisting of six members led by Lieutenant Józef Śmiech, nom de guerre “Ciąg, attacked the prison and released 18 political prisoners. [8]

October 7, 1944, Zamość. A group of four AK soldiers led by Officer Cadet Edward Błaszczak, nom de guerre “Grom”, released 34 prisoners, the majority of them being AK soldiers. The operation was preceded by reconnaissance carried out by two female AK members who observed the prison from the neighboring building situated opposite the prison gate. [9]

October 7/8, 1944, Rzeszów. Unsuccessful prison operation carried out by the AK unit. Premature attack caused the failure of the operation. [10]

October 1944 (the first ten days - no exact date), Sokołów Podlaski. Unsuccessful attempt to destroy the PUBP (Eng. County Office for Public Security, Pol. Powiatowy Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego) office by the district military police unit (Pol. Obwodowy Patrol Żandarmerii) led by Officer Cadet Adam Tutak, nom de guerre “Znicz”, reinforced by soldiers from the local network (approximately 40 people in total), in order to release the AK district chief Major Jerzy Sasina, nom de guerre “Rosa”. The operation was unsuccessful because after the partisans had entered the town, a fight broke out between them and the Internal Forces NKVD (Eng. NKVD Internal Security Forces, Pol. Wojska Wewnętrzne NKWD) unit stationed nearby the PUBP office. The partisan unit retreated with only a few wounded (Major “Rosa” was sentenced to death by the Soviet military court and executed in February 1945). [11]

October 1944 (no exact date). A local AK unit released 5 prisoners from the prison in Krasnystaw. [12]

November 2, 1944, Tarnobrzeg. A daring action by Lieutenant Kazimierz Bogacz, nom de guerre “Bławat”, the leader of the Kedyw of the Tarnobrzeg District (Pol. Kedyw Obwodu Tarnobrzeskiego, Kedyw - Pol. Kierownictwo Dywersji, Eng. Directorate for Subversion) directed at the town prison. With the help of only one liaison officer - Władysława Żarów, nom de guerre “Mała” – he managed to climb over the prison wall, disarm a guard and release 15 political prisoners. [13]

November 1944 (no exact date), Biała Podlaska. A prison operation carried out by a group of nine former OP-34 AK Regiment of Foot soldiers led by Lance Corporal Robert Domański, nom de guerre “Jarach”. Thanks to good reconnaissance carried out by two undercover prison officers, and due to taking the opponent by surprise, the operation was completed without bloodshed. A few AK officers were released, including Lieutenant Aleksander Wereszka, nom de guerre “Roch” whose release was the main aim of the operation. [14]

December 7, 1944, Zamość. The AK unit consisting of a few people led by Second-Lieutenant Tadeusz Kuncewicz, nom de guerre “Podkowa”, occupied the prison and released 19 prisoners. [15]

December 13, 1944, Brzozów. An operation directed at the PUBP detention centre, carried out by a unit selected from amongst officers of the group under the command of Major Draży Sotirovicia (nom de guerre “Warta”). The unit pretending to be handling a group of caught deserters occupied the prison. They released 11 AK officers. 27 Volksdeutsche and Germans were left in the prison cells. The main reason for undertaking this operation was “a leak” in the Brzozów district, as a result of which “Smersh” arrested approximately 150 people. [16]


Operations directed at NKVD and MBP (Pol. Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, Eng. Ministry of Public Security [of Poland]) camps

March 26, 1945, Błudek (Tomaszów Lubelski district). Units led by Second-Lieutenant Konrad Bartoszewski, nom de guerre “Wira”, (30 soldiers) and by Second-Lieutenant Marian Warda, nom de guerre “Polakowski”, (40 soldiers) took control over the NKVD camp, which was a branch of the prison in Zamość. They disarmed 120 guards, executed Commander Major Włodzimierz Konował, a prosecutor and two officers. One officer and a soldier were killed in a brief resistance operation while trying to stop the partisan groups from taking control over the camp. Unfortunately, the prisoners had previously been deported from the camp by the Russians. [17]

March 27, 1945, Skrobów (Lubartów district). As a result of an organised escape action, 48 AK officers managed to escape from the internment camp. The group of conspirators disarmed the guards (they confiscated 2 light machine guns, 12 Shpagin machine pistols and 17 anti-tank rifles). The leader of the rebellion and the group escape was Piotr Mierzwiński, nom de guerre “Wierny”. The fugitives joined the post-Home Army partisan group “Orlik” forming a separate platoon. [18]

April 29/30, 1945, Zimne Wody. The governor of the camp for “internee renegades and traitors”, Lieutenant Alojzy Bruski (former commander of the AK partisan group in Bory Tucholskie) fled to the forest with this guards, enabling the prisoners to escape. [19]

May 20/21, 1945, Rembertów. An operation carried out by the post-Home Army unit from the Mińsk Mazowiecki district and directed at a camp for detained AK officers, guarded by the NKVD unit consisting of 150 officers. In the operation directed at the NKVD camp the following units participated: a partisan unit led by Edward Wasilewski, nom de guerre “Wichura” and a diversionary unit led by Edward Świderski, nom de guerre “Wichra” - 44 soldiers in total (the entire operation was led by “Wichura”). They managed to release approximately 700 out of 2000 prisoners. Approximately 200 escapees were caught in a chase undertaken by the NKVD units. As a result of the fight that ensued between the post-Home Army and the NKVD units, the Soviets suffered significant losses, estimated at 15 to several dozen killed and wounded. The units led by “Wichura” suffered only 3 wounded. [20]

June 2, 1945, Piotrków. An operation carried out by the post-Home Army partisan group led by Second-Lieutenant Stanisław Karliński , nom de guerre “Burza”, directed at a camp where AK officers, Germans and Volksdeutsche were imprisoned. They managed to release a large group of prisoners, including the family of “Burza”. [21]

October 1945 (no exact date), Jaworzno. An unsuccessful attempt at taking control over a camp carried out by an unknown unit, repelled by KBW (Eng. Internal Security Corps, Pol Korpus Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego) and the camp security officers. [22]


Operations directed at prisons and UBP establishments:

28 January 1945, Biłgoraj. A post-Home Army unit consisting of 24 soldiers and led by Second-Lieutenant Konrad Bartoszewski, nom de guerre “Wir”, took advantage of the fact that the opponent’s security system was weakened by severe frost and the absence of a number of guards; the unit occupied the prison and released 65 people. The operation was carried out without bloodshed. Second-Lieutenant “Wir” ordered not to kill anyone, even the most brutal guards and the prison warden. [23]

February 17/18, 1945, Zamość. A successful, internally organized operation for releasing 11 prisoners. It was carried out in cooperation with soldiers from the security squad of the Batalion Ochrony Jeńców LWP (Eng. Battalion for the Protection of Prisoners of War of the Polish People's Army), who were AK soldiers in the Berling’s Army. The guards killed the guard commander, took the keys and freed the prisoners who they had been in touch with prior to the operation, the majority of them being AK soldiers. Captain Stefan Dębicki, nom de guerre “Kmicic”, Major Konstanty Witkowski , nom de guerre “Muller”, and Second-Lieutenant Kazimierz Burski, nom de guerre “Konrad II”, were amongst the released prisoners. Apart from the prisoners, there were 12 guards who escaped from the prison. [24]

March 8, 1945, Łowicz. A temporary militant unit consisting of 11 members who were local AK soldiers and the Grey Ranks (Pol. Szare Szeregi) scouts occupied the prison and released 83 prisoners. The operation was led by Marian Szymański, nom de guerre “Wędzidło”. The action was carried out using a trick by pretending to be a military convoy (civilians with military bands) heading towards the prison. After opening the gate, the prison was occupied by the militant unit. 16 of the released prisoners were later captured again by the Ministry of Public Security [of Poland] (colloquial Polish name for the organisation is “Bezpieka”) officers. Three officers who participated in the operation were sentenced to death. [25]

March 9, 1945, Biała Podlaska. A unit led by “Jarach” occupied the prison again and released 103 prisoners. The operation was carried out without fight or losses. [26]

March 10, 1945, Sandomierz. An escape operation planned and carried out by prisoners from the prison in Sandomierz. The guards were given vodka, which in a natural way “eliminated” them. The group of conspirators got to the corridor through a dismantled chimney, disarmed the drunken guards and took the keys. They opened prison cells and, in broad daylight, released approximately 100 prisoners. [27]

April 17/18, 1945, Limanowa. The Home Army self-defence (Pol. Samoobrona AK) unit led by Jan Wąchała, nom de guerre “Łazik”, attacked the PUBP office and the UB detention centre. With the cooperation of a group of guards who were members of Ludowa Straż Bezpieczeństwa, the detention centre was occupied and 13 political prisoners released. A group of released prisoners along with 11 former PUBP guards formed an independent partisan unit. [28]

April 17/18, 1945, Nowy Targ. A group of the PUBP officers - former partisans from a unit led by Józef Kuraś, nom de guerre “Ogień” - led by a former AK soldier Józef Książka, nom de guerre “Jastrząb” took control over the PUBP office and occupied the city detention centre, killing secret policemen who were part of the operational group sent to this UB field office from Rzeszów. [29]

April 24, 1945, Puławy. A unit led by Lieutenant Marian Bernaciak, nom de guerre “Orlik” (44 soldiers) driving two confiscated Studebaker vehicles entered Puławy where a Soviet garrison consisting of a several thousand soldiers stayed at that time and attacked the PUBP office. The partisans tried to pass themselves as an operational group from Warsaw carrying prisoners, but the guards did not believe them and a fight broke out between them. The building was occupied and 107 prisoners were released (including 6 women). During a violent clash, 5 or 6 UB and NKVD officers and 2 policemen were killed and 5 were wounded. The partisans lost 2 soldiers. [30]

April 24/25, 1945, Miechów. The post-Home Army partisan unit led by Lieutenant Julian Socha, nom de guerre “Dźwig” and Second-Lieutenant Julian Nowak, nom de guerre “Babinicz”, (60 soldiers in total) attacked the PUBP office and released all of its prisoners. [31]

April 25/26, 1945, Jędrzejów. A successful operation planned and carried out internally by prisoners from the detention centre, located in the local PUBP. The organizer of the operation was the AK soldier Sergiusz Janoff. After making the guards drunk (they were given vodka brought from outside the prison), the prisoners took the keys and opened the cells. 22 prisoners were freed. [32]

April 27, 1945, Janów Lubelski. Combined units led by Lieutenant Hieronim Dekutowski, nom de guerre “Zapora”, Second-Lieutenant Tadeusz Kuncewicz, nom de guerre “Podkowa” and Second-Lieutenant Tadeusz Borkowski, nom de guerre “Mata”, took control over the town and occupied the town prison. The prison gate was blown up using explosives. The prison guards were disarmed after brief resistance fight. 15 political prisoners were released. One prisoner who worked for the Office of Security was executed. The unit also disarmed the police detention centre and confiscated goods from economic institutions (from the cooperative and the Tax Office). [33]

April 1945 (no exact date), Lubaczów. The patrol unit from the local group led by Second-Lieutenant Karol Kostecki, nom de guerre “Kostka”, (1 + 3) with the help of the police officers cooperating with the Polish Underground managed to release two AK officers imprisoned in the PUBP detention centre. The policemen drew up a detailed plan of the prison building and passed it, along with the required password, to “Kostka”, whose unit then disarmed the guard and forced his way into the building. [34]

May 1, 1945, Krasnosielec (Maków Mazowiecki district). The NSZ (Pol. Narodowe Siły Zbrojne, Eng. National Armed Forces) unit led by Lieutenant Roman Dziemieszkiewicz, nom de guerre “Pogoda”, attacked the Maków Mazowiecki PUBP office located in this town. 7 UB officers were killed in the fight. 42 prisoners were released. The NSZ unit lost 1 soldier. [35]

May 1-2, 1945, Biłgoraj. Rebellion and desertion of the KBW battalion, combined with an unsuccessful attack on the PUBP office. The attack was repulsed - only 1 PUBP officer was killed and 1 NKVD Soviet officer was seriously injured. The retreating deserters were tracked down near the San river, suffered severe losses and were dispersed as a result of the fight that broke out between them and the unit that was sent to chase them back. Approximately 30 soldiers joined the local WiN units. [36]

May 8, 1945, Kozienice. A post-Home Army military unit released prisoners from the local PUBP office. [37]

May 8/9, 1945, Dąbrowa Tarnowska. A temporary unit consisting of approximately 40 members, led by a former AK platoon commander Tadeusz Musiała, nom de guerre “Zarys”, after a short fight occupied the UB prison and released 76 prisoners. The main reason for initiating this operation was the information that the imprisoned AK officers were going to be deported to the East. [38]


Continue to Part 3


7. A.K Kunert, Ilustrowany przewodnik po Polsce Podziemnej 1939−1945, Warsaw 1966, p. 348.
8. R. Wnuk, Lubelski Okręg AK−DSZ−WiN 1944−1947, Warsaw 2000, p. 269.
9. R Wnuk, op. cit., p. 271.
10. J. Łopuski, Losy Armii Krajowej na Rzeszowszczyźnie (sierpień-grudzień 1944). Wspomnienia i dokumenty, Warsaw 1990, p. 283–295; B. Satalecki, Akcja na więzienie w Rzeszowie 7–8 października 1944 (dokumenty), “Krakowski Rocznik Archiwalny”, vol. 1, Cracow 1995, p. 118–125.
11. W. Piekarski, Obwód Armii Krajowej Sokołów Podlaski “Sęp”, “Proso”. Obwodowy Patrol Żandarmerii 1944–1945, Warsaw 1994, p. 115–117.
12. R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 270.
13. Z.L. Wójcik, A. Zagórski, Na katorżniczym szlaku, Warsaw 1994, p. 41.
14. A. Wereszko, W szeregach walczącego Podlasia. Zapiski oficera Armii Krajowej i Zrzeszenia Wolność I Niezawisłość 1939–1947, Biała Podlaska 2006, p. 185.
15. R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 275.
16. D.M Sotirović, Europa na licytacji. Od czetników Michajlovicia do lwowskiej AK. Wspomnienia oficera serbskiego “Draży”, Warsaw 2000, p. 273–275; Z. Nawrocki, Akcje na areszt UB w Brzozowie (13 grudnia 1944), “Studia Rzeszowskie”, vol. 8:2002 No. 2, p. 29–40.
17. R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 290–292.
18. J. Ślaski, Skrobów. Dzieje obozu NKWD dla żołnierzy AK 1944–1945, Warsaw 2003, p. 107–118.
19. K. Komorowski, Konspiracja pomorska 1939–1947. Leksykon, Gdańsk 1993, p. 38.
20. IPN BU 0148/8, vol. 1, The description no. 81 relating to the group of a sanative nature called Home Army, operating in 1945 in the former Mińsk Mazowiecki district, organised and managed by Edward Wasilewski, nom de guerre “Wichura”; S. Madrak, Akcja Rembertów, “Karta”, No. 2: 1991, p. 89–105.
21. E. Soliński, Działalność samodzielnej grupy KWP “Lasy” pod dowództwem “Warszyca” i jej likwidacja (styczeń 1945 – czerwiec 1946) [in:] W walce ze zbrojnym podziemiem, ed. by M. Turlejska, Warsaw 1972.
22. M. Korkuć, Zostańcie wierni tylko Polsce… Niepodległościowe oddziały partyzanckie w Krakowskiem (1944 –1947), Cracow 2002, p. 421.
23. R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 279.
24. K. A. Tochman, Adan Boryczka. Z dziejów WiN-u, vol. 2, Zwierzyniec–Rzeszów 2001, p. 86–87.
25. Uwolnić “Cyfrę”. Uwolnienie więźniów z więzienia w Łowiczu, collective work, Łódź, no publication date; Piotr A. Kukuła, A oni ginęli dalej …, Łódź 1973, p. 56.
26. J. Kopiński, Konspiracja akowska i poakowska na terenie inspektoratu rejonowego “Radzyń Podlaski” w latach 1944–1956, Biała Podlaska 1998; R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 287.
27. K. A. Tochman, op. cit., p. 87.
28. M. Korkuć, op. cit., p. 239–240.
29. Ibidem, p. 240 –241.
30. AIPN BU 0180/81, vol. 14, The description of the terrorist and robbery group of a sanative nature called AK and WiN, operating in years 1944–1947 […], led by Marian Bernaciak, nom de guerre “Orlik”; R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 302 –303.
31. J. Molęda “Trzaska”, Rozbicie więzienia w Miechowie w 1945r., “Zeszyty HistoryczneWiN-u” No. 24: 2005, p. 137–152.
32. K. A. Tochman, op. cit., p. 95 –86.
33. K. A. Tochman, op. cit., p. 97; R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 303–304.
34. R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 392–393.
35. Cz. Czaplicki, Poszukiwany listem gończym, Wrocław 2004, p. 54–66.
36. R. Wnuk, op. cit., p. 307.
37. M. Turlejska (Łukasz Socha), Te pokolenie żałobami czarne, ed. 2 revised and expanded, London 1989, p. 45.
38. M. Korkuć, op. cit., p. 245–246.




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