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Polish Underground Soldiers 1944-1963 - The Untold Story

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Zolnierze Wykleci

The Destruction of the National Military Union Detachment of Adam Kusz, nom de guerre “Garbaty" (Hunchback) - August 19, 1950

(Pol. "Rozpracowanie i likwidacja oddzialu NZW Adama Kusza ps. „Garbaty” - 19 VIII 1950")

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Part 2

According to the agreement between Kusza and "Jelen", the next meeting was to take place on March 16, 1950. In the meantime, in order to make it impossible for "Garbaty" to verify "Jablonski's" "legend", Captain Gorlinski decided to move "Opal" who was cooperating with Bezpieka to the Lublin area. They prepared 12 safe houses in the area controlled by the WUBP [Pol. acr. Wojewodzki Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego - Eng., Voivodeship (County) Office of Public Security] along with sets of blank identity papers prepared by the MBP [Pol. acr. Ministerstwo Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego - Eng., Ministry for Public Security]. According to Garlinski's plan, during the next meeting "Jablonski" was to try to get from "Garbaty" at least the list of his collaborators, whose names were to be used in the identity documents. He was also to let "Garbaty" know, that the provisions requested by the partisans will be delivered to them after their departure to Katowice. From there they were to be moved in two to three-men groups to the Western Poland. Each one of the soldier was to carry only side arms.

Tadeusz Haliniak, nom de guerre “Opium”. Pre-World War II photo.  

The next meeting attended by Miksza and in the company of "Jablonski", took place on March 17, 1950 in the forest near the Zofianka village. Adam Kusz, Tadeusz Haliniak "Opium", and another soldier from the unit of Mieczyslaw Pruszkiewicz (nom de guerre "Kedziorek") named Mikolaj Malinowski, (nom de guerre "Mikolaj") were waiting at the edge of the forest. During their conversation at the campfire, an argument erupted because "Mikolaj" recognized "Jelen" as a partisan from the "Zapora's" group code-named "Wampir" who took part in the rally in support of the communists. He also reminded everyone about the fate that befell "Zapora" and others who were to be moved to Western Poland.

This put an end to "Jablonski's" desire to complete his mission, but it didn't have an negative effect on the ongoing "Bezpieka's" operation. Simply, the partisans didn't stop their contact with the communist agents. It resulted from many months of Miksza's activities during which he gained credibility among the resistance. Malinowski, however, gave "Jablonski" a condition, which was to liquidate UB functionary named Skubik, who was perceived as being particularly dangerous to the resistance. They parted "Jablonski" paid 25, 000 Zloty to Kusz, and agreed to meet again on March 30, 1950.

Above: Tadeusz Haliniak, nom de guerre “Opium”. Pre-World War II photo.

The March 30th meeting didn't take place, probably because by then, the "Garbaty's" unit already left the Lublin area. This wasn't detrimental to the UB however, because in this fashion "Jelen" wasn't nominated to become Klysia's second in command, and the communist security apparatus could obtain identities of the resistance members. After being told by Miksza that, according to the order from the "top", Klys was to become his second in command - and as such he had to prepare a list of members of the resistance and their belongings - he stated that he is not allowed to do so without "Garbaty's" knowledge. He also requested more money for the unit, which at that time, had grown to 20 people.

Franciszek Przysiezniak, nom de guerre "Ojciec Jan"  

Under these circumstances, the UB operation that seemed to be in full swing lost its momentum. There were several reasons for that. The first one was the “Mikolaj’s” condition to liquidate the UB functionary, that the UB seemed too have overcame by planting false information through “Jablonski” with the partisans that Skubik was in fact, resistance’s mole in the UB. Additional reasons were the reluctance of “Garbaty’s” subordinates to leave the area where they had developed their own collaborators. Then, there was the issue of the transfer of the unit, and their inability to take photos for the false identity papers. The UB had to develop new plan in order to bring their operatives who were to man the short wave transmitter that was to be brought into the unit.

On May 20th, both agents met with "Rejonowy, but this meeting didn't bear any results. They were told by somebody, that Adam Kusz and his unit was in the Rzeszow area, and would return only after Zielone Swiatki holyday [7th Sunday after Easter Sunday]. They were also told that for the time being, Miksza was not admitted into the unit. While carrying orders of the secret police, "Jablonski" mentioned the delivery of the radio transmitter, but was to reveal further details about it after Kusza's return.

The next meeting of "Jablonski" and "Jelen" with "Garbaty" took place only after June 10, 1950. It took place again in the forest near Zofianka village.

From left: Aleksander Sochalski “Duch”, Lt. Mieczyslaw Pruszkiewicz “Kedziorek”.

While in the meeting, the communist agents witnessed the delivery of supplies to the unit. "Jablonski" said, that as a sign of being recognized for their efforts, the "top", decided to assign to them a particularly important mission of protecting a radio transmitter. [Adam] Kusz agreed. He also agreed to their other conditions, that is, development of a defensive plan to protect the transmitter that was necessary to concentrate the units in a single location, and building special bunkers. In order not to bring any attention to themselves, the unit was to suspend all military engagements. They were to be compensated 100,000 Zloty in order to maintain the unit.

August, 1950. Adam Kusz “Garbaty”, Tadeusz Parylak “Czarny” and Tadeusz Haliniak “Opium” near radio transmitter.

August, 1950. Adam Kusz “Garbaty”, Tadeusz Parylak “Czarny” and Tadeusz Haliniak “Opium” near radio transmitter.

After this meeting "Garbaty" and his unit moved away from the Lublin area, so the next meeting didn't take place. The particulars about the date to transfer both the "operators" and the radio transmitter, that is July 14, 1950, were thus agreed without "Garbaty" presence. The meeting on that date never materialized. This was because of problems experienced by the Department II of MBP which was readying its operatives for this operation. They were unable to master the operation of the transmitter, and after the date of the transfer lapsed, they agreed that the messages would be transferred in French, a language spoken fluently by one of the "radio-operators". This language was well known by the functionary who was to receive messages. The partisans were to be told that transmission in the French language was to prevent eavesdropping by other radio stations.

On July 14th "Jablonski" left for Janow Lubelski in order to explain reasons for the delays with the transfer of the transmitter. He explained himself citing communist army movement in the area that could have endangered the entire operation. In order to ease the suspicions of the resistance members, "Jablonski" delivered two false identity papers, and another batch of 5,000 Zloty. He told the partisans that the transmitter would be delivered on July 25th.

On this day, "Jablonski" brought the two "radio operators" code named "Robert" and "Sosna" and the transmitter to Janow on the truck with civilian plates. From there, via horse and carriage and accompanied by one of the men from the "Garbaty's" unit, they were brought to the partisan's camp.

At this point the involvement of the communist agents practically ended. At the moment "radio operators" arrived in the unit, the security apparatus would receive all necessary information, such as number of men, names of resistance collaborators, armaments, etc.

Andrzej Kiszka remembers:

"These two with radio transmitter were with us for almost a month and knew everything about us. They asked Kusza how many people we could arm in an event of military confrontation. He said, about 80 [people]. They would transmit from time to time, and we were waiting to be smuggled to the West."

This is what the reports sent by the transmitter contained:

"Transmission Nr. 538, 9:00. Narrow gauge railway is at the distance of 2 kilometers in the southerly direction, that is, in the direction of Szklarnia. We can hear barking of the dogs in that locality very well. The colleagues were taking photos yesterday. 'Adam' [Kusz] sleeps with us at night. We go to sleep around 10. I forbid 'Stary' to try to gain information [from the resistance members] because he is doing it very unskillfully, and I am afraid raising suspicions."

"Transmission Nr. 539, Time 11:45: Yesterday 'Stary' wanted to venture deep into the forest, but the colleagues didn't allow us. 'Stary' explained that he wants to go and pick mushrooms. We are 10 kilometers from Janow."

The precision of the transmitted information would decide about the decision to begin the liquidation operation. The communist agents were to receive this information via radio. After receiving a "go" they were at all costs to separate from the unit.

On August 19, 1950, the roundup began. The area where the unit stationed was encircled by units of the KBW [Pol. abr. Korpus Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego - Eng., Internal Security Corps]. After conducting reconnaissance the partisan unit was divided into two groups. The first one consisted of Kazimierz Zabieglinski, Andrzej Kiszka "Dab", Andrzej Dziura "Stryj", Stanislaw Lukasz "Marciniak" and WLadyslaw Ozga "Bor". The second unit consisted of Adam Kusz "Garbaty", Wiktor Pudelko "Duzy", and Stanislaw Bielecki. Outside of the encircled area were Jozef Klys, who was sent to the village in order to buy a pig; and Tadeusz Haliniak "Opium" who went to Szarzecze to meet with "Jablonski". "Opium" was to transfer to "Jablonski" information about people and resistance locales in Rzeszow and Bydgoszcz.

  “Garbaty” and his soldiers in 1950. From left: Adam Kusz “Garbaty”, Michal Krupa “Wierzba”, WIktor Pudelko “Duzy”, Tadeusz Haliniak “Opium”.
Above: “Garbaty” and his soldiers in 1950. From left: Adam Kusz “Garbaty”, Michal Krupa “Wierzba”, WIktor Pudelko “Duzy”, Tadeusz Haliniak “Opium”.

At 5:00 an assault group of KBW, lead by "Jelen" as a guide, began to move towards the partisan encampment. But, "Jelen" got lost. Under these circumstances Capt. Augustyniak who lead the force gave order to develop into a line formation and advance towards the village of Lazek Gierlachy. During the search of the forest a fight ensued, during which Andrzej Dziura nom de guerre "Stryj", a partisan in "Garbaty's" unit was mortally wounded; One of the KBW soldiers died as well. After temporarily disengaging from the communist forces, the partisans attacked the KBW line formation in the vicinity of Szklarnia where, during the exchange of fire, Adam Kusz "Garbaty", and WIktor Pudelko "Duzy" died. The roundup lasted all day. There was one more skirmish during which two KBW soldiers were wounded, and partisans lost two of their RKM machine guns. After dusk, the communist forces left the forest and reinforced the encirclement, which was unsuccessfully attacked by the partisans several times during the night.

Soldiers from the Adam Kusz “Garbaty” unit in summer 1949. Standing from left are: Wiktor Pudelko “Duzy”, Michal Krupa “Wierzba”. Sitting are: Tadeusz Haliniak “Opium”, and Adam Kusz “Garbaty”.  

On August 20th, the KBW assault group entered the forest again, and while combing through it discovered two bunkers, and an encampment, which it destroyed. In one of the bunkers built specifically for the radio transmitter, the KBW soldiers found 22 PPS machine guns, and one small caliber rifle. On this day, the partisans attempted to pierce through the encirclement once again but, after heavy fighting resulting in one KBW officer was shot up, they were forced to retreat again. On the third day, at 8:00, the KBW began to comb through the forest while tightening the ring. They found and shot Wladyslaw Ozga "Bor" who was hiding under a moss. Later, another partisan hiding by a tree stump was also found who was also shot. At 20:00 hours, the operation was over.

Right: Portion of the map (WIG 1933) where “Garbaty’s” unit fought its final battle with Communist UB/KBW assault forces. The red dot indicates location of Szklarnia, in whose vicinity the partisan group was encircled and attacked. It is where the commanding officer of the partisan group Adam Kusz “Garbaty” died.  
The red dot indicates location of Szklarnia, in whose vicinity the partisan group was encircled and attacked. It is there, that the commanding officer of the partisan group Adam Kusz “Garbaty” died.

During the operation five partisans died: Adam Kusz "Garbaty", Wladyslaw Ozga "Bor", Andrzej Dziura "Stryj", Wiktor Pudelko "Duzy", and most likely Stanislaw Bielecki. Only four partisans were able to successfully pierce through the encirclement. They were:


Soldiers from the Adam Kusz “Garbaty” unit in summer 1949. Standing from left are: Wiktor Pudelko “Duzy”, Michal Krupa “Wierzba”. Sitting are: Tadeusz Haliniak “Opium”, and Adam Kusz “Garbaty”.

Andrzej Kiszka, nom de guerre "Dab" - he hid from the communist regime until his arrest on December 30, 1961. He was sentenced to life; later changed to 15 years. He was incarcerated in Strzelce Opolskie and Potulice. He was conditionally released from prison in August 1971. He moved to Szczecin Voivodeship where he lives to this day.

Michal Krupa, nom de guerre "Wierzba" - was sent on a reconnaissance mission, and avoided encirclement. He was apprehended by the communist forces on February 11, 1959 in Kulno, was sentenced to 15 years. He was imprisoned until 1965. Michal Krupa died on August 24, 1972.

Stanislaw Lukasz, nom de guerre "Marciniak" - successfully pierced through the encirclement, and later hid from the communist regime with Jozef Klys, and Andrzej Kiszka. He committed suicide during UB roundup in Wolka Ratajska in 1952.

Kazimierz Zabieglinski - successfully pierced through the encirclement. He outed himself to communist authorities in 1956.

The KBW assault group lost three soldiers, and had six wounded, among them an officer. The fate of the secret police "radio operators" is unknown. According to some reports they were shot dead by the partisans when the roundup operation began.

At the same time the operation in Lasy Janowskie bagan; an ambush was setup in Zarzecze where Tadeusz Haliniak "Opium" was to meet with "Jablonski". On August 20th five secret police functionaries from the Lublin's WUBP entered the property of Jozef Murat where the meeting was to take place and set up a trap for Haliniak. When he arrived and approached the house, he was troubled by strange silence and retreated. Then, the UB functionaries opened fire and seriously wounded him in his stomach. Wounded, "Opium" was transported to the hospital in Nisk where he died the next day. His remains, along with the remains of other partisans were buried in an unknown location.

The unit of Adam Kusz "Garbaty" was one of the last Democratic Underground units operating in Poland after 1944. Its activities were limited to survival, warning communist snitches, and liquidating collaborators of the secret police. Despite that, the communists assembled not only a very large force to liquidate it, but they developed a considerable net of agents and informers to penetrate it. In June 1950, no less than 40 informers and 5 full-time secret police began what would become one of the most complex operations aiming against the Democratic Underground. Penetrating "Garbaty's" unit was one of the most important operations supervised directly by the Department III of the Ministry of Public Security.

During this operation six partisans perished. Other members of the unit had to hide until their arrest or a suicide. [see Communist torture methods for more information]. The history of this unit is only an example of the fate that befell countless soldiers of the Democratic Underground who took up arms to liberate their country for the Nazis, and continued it after 1944 against new occupiers. They remained fateful to Poland until the very end.

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