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Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (NSZ – National Armed Forces) the second largest (after Polish Home Army – AK – Armia Krajowa) underground organization of the Polish Underground State. Established on September 20, 1942 as a result of merger of decimated by the Nazis Military Organization Lizard Union (Organizacja Wojskowa Zwiazek Jaszczurczy) and National Military Organization (pol. Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa), it had nearly 100,000 men and women in its ranks and conducted operations as a fully autonomous military and political force in Poland.
From among the political command of the National Armed Forces alone, 60% of its members died during direct combat operations against the Nazis, in German jails, and in concentration camps.
As a result of the Unification Talks, in March 1944, the National Armed Forces became part of the Home Army retaining however, its own political character and military structure. During the period of Polish People’s Republic the history, accomplishments, and contributions of the NSZ to the Allied cause were subject of particularly intensified communist propaganda efforts such as falsifications, libel, and slander. Along with participants of the Polish-Soviet War of 1920, its members were denied rights of combatants. These rights were reinstated in 1990's and its members were recognized as combatants. Individual members of National Armed Forces and their family members were persecuted, brutally tortured, and murdered by the communist regime. Members of the National Armed forces and their families are credited with saving lives of countless Jews. Many Jews had served in the ranks of National Armed Forces, such as: Calel Perechodnik, Wiktor Natanson, Captain Roman Born-Bornstein (chief physician of the Chrobry II unit), Jerzy Zmidygier-Konopka, Feliks Pisarewski-Parry, Eljahu [Aleksander] Szandcer, nom de guerre "Dzik", Dr Kaminski, a physician who served in the NSZ unit lead by Capt. Wladyslaw Kolacinski, nom de guerre "Zbik", and many others…
Zwiazek Jaszczurczy (ZJ-NSZ - Military Organization Lizard Union) began its operations against Nazis already in 1940, and had intensified its intelligence activities during 1941-1942. The area of the Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete, as well as the territory of the Third Reich was divided into well developed intelligence net areas that included: Berlin, Brandenburg area, München, Silesia, Bavaria, Westfalen, Ruhr Basin, Hamburg, Bremen, western and eastern Pomerania area including Krolewiec, and Gdansk. On the territory annexed by the III German Reich particularly active were cells in Gdynia, Starogrod Gdanski, Poznan, Wloclawek, Ludz, Gniezno, Bydgoszcz, and Znina. The ZJ-NSZ intelligence unit “West” collected military, economic, defense, and communications intelligence, as well as information pertaining to the morale and/or views on the war among German civilians and soldiers on the front.
The leadership of the central intelligence command unit in Warsaw was directed by Witold Gostomski, his second in command Stanislaw Jeute, and Jan Jachowski - Jeute’s second in command. In addition to the military branch, the ZJ-NSZ also operated propaganda department directed by Wladyslaw Pawlowski and a legal department directed by Zygmunt Lada. This legal department was responsible for manufacturing false identity papers and other documents used through out Nazi Germany and Generalgouvernement. These false documents allowed members and couriers of ZJ-NSZ to move throughout occupied territories and within the entire Nazi Germany as well. The members of the Zwiazek Jaszczurczy intelligence unit “West” were recruited from among young college and high school men and women, as well as individuals sent to the III Reich as force laborers, prisoners of war working in armament factories, railroad personnel, shipyard workers, sailors, and medical services personnel.
Among many accomplishments of the intelligence unit “West” which played significant role in the outcome of the II World War were: obtaining information about Nazi aggression on Greece, obtaining a date of attack by Afrika Korps led by Erwin Rommel on Alexandria, establishing the location of Nazi battleship “Tirpitz" , establishing the locations of ultra-secret Nazi V-2 rocket manufacturing facility in Peenemünde, and others.
ZJ-NSZ operatives obtained information about construction of German submarines in Gdynia, Gdansk, and Elblag shipyards. A microfiche along with the report was sent to Warsaw and contained among other things, details of submarine engines’ capabilities. These were obtained from agent-sailors from the tugboats “Jaguar” and “Jantar”. One of these experimental submarines embarking on its test voyage was sunk along with the entire technical staff by explosives set by the NSZ sabotage unit. A sabotage operation against “Monte Olivio”, a passenger vessel converted into troop carrier was also conducted and resulted in the death of 200 Germans. The intelligence unit "West" of ZJ-NSZ established location of test-site of German V rockets along with their precise drawings and dimensions. ZJ-NSZ managed to infiltrate its agents into the Deutsche Kiel repair shipyard in Gdynia in order to ascertain the number and types of vessels being repaired there and the extent of their battle damage – this allowed them in turn, to locate the battle ship “Gneisenau” which escaped the British navy amidst the Norwegian fjords seeking to destroy it. They also managed to ascertain that Zaklady Elektrotechniczne in Bydgoszcz manufactured components for V-1 and V-2 rackets. Additionally, hiding places in train cars were developed and used to distribute underground publications and propaganda materials throughout Nazi Germany and occupied Europe.
The liquidation of the intelligence unit “West” became of such importance to the III Reich, that already at the end of 1940, the Gestapo created dedicated unit, known as the SS-Sonderkommando ZJ [ger. Special Unit ZJ], in order to stop its sabotage and intelligence activities. In December 1941 the first wave of arrests of the NSZ / Zwiazek Jaszczurczy's agents began.
The Berlin cell was lead by Boguslaw Wojciechowski, aided by Miroslawa Kocowa, who also acted as a courier between Berlin and central command in Warsaw. Directly with Wojciechowski collaborated: Halina Konieczna, Jozef Baranski and Witold Dyczynski who was a head of the intelligence center Berlin-Tegel. As a result of snitching by one of the collaborators of the Berlin cell, on 18 February 1942, the Nazi secret police arrested their leadership in Berlin along with the remaining co-conspirators. In relation with these arrests, detained was also head of the Hamburg-Bremen cell, Edward Konieczny.
An attempt to warn Warsaw headquarters and W. Dyczynski in München, led the German secret police on the trail of Zwiazek Jaszczurczy and its activities. In February 1942 Stanislaw Jeunte and his closest collaborators were arrested. Among those were: Jerzy Pawlicki, Henryka Veith, Maria Gostomska, and Boguslaw Szczepanik. In March and April 1942 Nazis liquidated large and active cell organized in October 1940 by Andrzej Eliaszewicz in Gdynia and lead by Stefan Hensel. Arrested along with S. Hensel were additional seven agents, and Zenon Narojek, a courier between Gdynia and Warsaw. In April 1942 Nazis also liquidated large intelligence cell in Wloclawek lead by Andrzej Reksinski. Along with him arrested were more individuals, and little later Janusz Konieczny who was linked directly to the Warsaw headquarters and who established cells in Wloclawek, Gniezno, Bydgoszcz, and Znina.
Particularly active on the III Reich territory was Wanda Wegierska, a member of the headquarters, who also doubled as a courier. As a result of her activities, an intelligence cell was established in Luckenwalde (south of Berlin) where many Polish slave laborers where concentrated, and also in the area of Westfalen, Ruhr Basin. Antoni Ingielewicz, head of this cell was arrested in March 1942. At the end of April 1942, these intelligence cells operating in Westfalen, Ruhr Basin areas were liquidated by Nazis. During the last leg of the wave of arrests, Wanda Wegierska was also captured.
On 27 February 1942, arrested were members of the cell in Poznan, Wladyslaw Stepczynski and Boguslaw Jakubowski. Following their arrests, captured were also photo lab technicians employed by a German firm Foto-Stwener, Zbigniew Mizera and Marceli Gonia, and along with the Leon Mucha, employed by the H. Cegielski firm. The arrests also took place in the leadership of the legal department of the Zwiazek Jaszczurczy. In February 1943 in Cracow, a collaborator of ZJ-NSZ, Jerzy Meisner, responsible for distribution of underground publications was also arrested. Among publications distributed by Meisner were: “Wolna Polska” [eng. “Free Poland”], “Zolnierz Polski” [engl. “Polish Soldier”], “Insurekcja” [eng. “Insurrection”], “Dziennik Polski” [eng. “Polish Daily”], “Szaniec”, “Na zachodnim szancu”, and others.
At the end of 1943 alone, 80 individuals were arrested. The Military Tribunal of III Reich, German military laws, more rigorously expanded during war, dealt with those arrested mercilessly. From among dozens of arrested, only 3 individuals (among them one German national) were found not guilty. The others were sentenced to lengthy imprisonment, and the half of them were sentenced to death. The names of the agents of the intelligence unit “West” sentenced to death and executed by the Nazis by decapitation at the Moabit prison in Berlin, are immortalized on a commemorative plaque at the St. Brigida's Basilica in Gdansk, Poland.
"For the soldiers of the Zwiazek Jaszczurczy of the Narodowe Sily Zbrojne [National Armed Forces] Intelligence Unit "Zachod" who gave their lives for Poland fighting [Nazi] occupiers between 1939-1943. Put to death by beheading at the Moabit prison in Berlin were:
Baranski Jozef - Age 31
Rev. Dr. Binnebesel Brunon
Czerwik Stanislaw, Age 21
Dobryniecki Ryszard, Age 21
Dominiak Antoni, Age 31
Dyczynski Witold Wilhem, Age 17
Duszynski Jan, Age 22
Gonia Marceli Jan, Age 19
Hensel Helena, nee Paul, Age 51
Hensel Stefan, Age 22
Hofmanski Bernard, Age 17
Ingielewicz Antoni, Age 24
Jagodzki Stanislaw, Age 20
Jeute Stanislaw Ludwik, Age 32
Kalek Czeslaw, Age 22
Kawecki Franciszek, Age 31
Kocowa Miroslawa, nee Byczyniak, Age 34
Konieczna Halina Marion, Age 21
Konieczny Janusz Zbigniew, Age 20
Koperski Tomasz, Age 29
Marciniak Czeslaw, Age 23
Meisner Jan Mieczyslaw, Age 32
Mizera Zbigniew, Age 22
Mucha Leon, Age 22
Napieralski Kazimierz, Age 24
Norojek Leon, Age 22
Padlewski Jerzy, Age 29
Pieczynski Czeslaw, Age 38
Pieczynski Jan, Age 34
Przybylski Ignacy, Age 36
Reksinski Andrzej, Age 21
Sauer Marian, Age 47
Stepczynski Wlodzimierz, Age 22
Szultz Leon, Age 21
Tomanek Jan, Age 23
Trabski Witold, Age 23
Veith Henryka, Age 28
Swiatopelk, Age 20
Wojcik Andrzej, Age 50
Wrzesinski Wiktor, Age 24
Wyzuj Zygmunt, Age 21
Zarembski Jerzy, Age 20"
Above: Commemorative plaque at the Saint Brigida Basilica in Gdansk, Poland.
Following the wave of Nazi arrests, the intelligence unit “West” ceased to exist. One would hope that their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of her other faithful sons and daughters will not be forgotten in their native Poland?
National Armed Forces Holy Cross Brigade (Brygada Swietokrzyska Narodowe Sily Zbrojne - NSZ) - Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camp in Holiszow.
Antoni Bohun-Dabrowski, Commanding Officer of the Holy Cross Brigade reminisces:
"As World War II drew to close, I commanded the Swietokrzyska Brigade [Holy Cross Brigade], which had made its way between the German and Soviet lines in Czechoslovakia. After months of hardship, my unit stopped in the small village of Vshekary, hoping to join the forces of George Patton.
When we arrived in Vshekary, members of the Czech underground informed me and my adjutant that the Germans had constructed a concentration camp for women a few miles away. It housed a thousand prisoners. Among the inmates were 280 Jews, housed in heavily guarded barracks surrounded by high-voltage wire. There was no way for them to escape.
I decided that something had to be done to liberate the camp. On May 4, 1945, members of the brigade scouted German positions to determine the kind of opposition we could expect. The next day, I ordered the entire brigade on full alert, beginning at 6:00 a.m. It was not an easy matter to liberate the camp since my unit encountered heavy German machine-gun fire. But thanks to the element of surprise, many of the SS-men were taken off guard and were eating lunch at the time of our attack.
After my unit overran the bunkers and a munitions factory that was part of the camp, the Germans surrendered. We took two hundred SS-men and fifteen woman prison guards into captivity.
Needless to say, the inmates cried with joy that they were now free. The courtyard of the camp was filled with emaciated bodies, dressed in striped prison clothes. But the joy was tempered when my adjutant informed me that two nearby barracks housing the 280 Jewish prisoners, were cordoned off by two rows of high-voltage wire. I ordered the German commandant to turn off the voltage. When I asked him why these Jews were isolated from the other prisoners, he replied that he had orders from Hitler to set fire to their barracks before the Americans could liberate Holiszow. When I pursued the matter further and inquired whether he intended to execute Hitler’s brutal orders, the German demurred, saying he was an officer of the Wehrmacht and did not intend to carry out the orders.
When the doors to the Jewish barracks were opened by members of my brigade, the scene that greeted us was one of absolute horror. The Jewish women were skeletons, barely able to stand. From the buildings themselves, the stench of human waste and decomposing bodies was indescribable. One Jewish woman hugged me and handed me a bundle, wrapped in newspaper. She said, “I was fortunate to hid a few dollars from the Nazis. Please take them for saving my life.” Of course, I did not take the money. I told the woman that our reward was the satisfaction of knowing that so many people had been saved from virtually certain death at the hands of the Germans [...]"
NSZ - National Armed Forces (pol. Narodowe Siły Zbrojne) - Introduction
This website will contain investigative reports, research articles, operational reports, and profiles of individual soldiers and units of the NSZ, National Armed Forces(pol. Narodowe Siły Zbrojne) - an anti-nazi, and anti-communist patriotic Polish underground organization operating on the Nazi and Soviet occupied territory of Poland during and after II World War.
"[...] how difficult is to account for the names of all those who perished fighting an inhuman power [...] for in these matters, it is necessary to be precise, and one can not forget even one of those being counted [...] after all, we are the keepers of our brothers [...] therefore, we have to account for each and every one of them, and we must call each and every one of them by their name [...]". Zbigniew Herbert: "Mr. Cogito and the necessity of precision"
"When your detractors become too irritating, call them fascists, Nazis, or anti-Semites. Repeated enough times, this perception will became a reality in the eyes of the public opinion". Joseph Stalin, 1943.
It is difficult to consider the tragedy of heroism and betrayal without telegraphing a strong point of view on the subject.
And so we come to NSZ(Narodowe Siły Zbrojne; Eng: National Armed Forces), which tenaciously fought both the Nazi and communist Soviet forces during World War II and thereafter, in Poland. Both adversaries were more than eager to co-opt such people as they could find to support them, and the Soviets found many to support the puppet regime they installed after the war. These people, many part of the nascent UB(Urzad Bezpieczenstwa; Eng. Public Security; Polish Communist: secret police), had no qualms about assassination and torture, much less deception, slander and libel in suppressing genuine patriots.
One slander stands out above the rest, however - that NSZ was anti-Semitic and implicated in the Holocaust. Poland and much of Slavic Europe has been poorly understood in the West. The Pogroms of the Czars are widely know of course, and it is assumed from this that the "Slavs hate the Jews". Some Slavs do, of course, but lost in the narrow confines of the Kremlin is a large region that offered Jews refuge and collegiality. When Henry IV of England, Phillip II of Spain, and others were driving Jews to exile and death, rest and renewal came in these eastern and "uncivilized" lands. Not uninterruptedly, for sure, but with sufficient tolerance and mutual interest with the populace to grow and prosper.
As the Nazis fell back from the Red Army and the Nazi death camps were opened, the communists saw their chance to portray patriotic Forces, including the NSZ as "in league with the Nazis". This served to mollify the West as campaigns of suppression and extermination against these forces were conducted. The west had HOPE of a free Poland; the Communists had agents, soldiers and a political staff with the WILL to see that that did not happen.
Hope and acquiescence meant that the death of western soldiers and the desolation of western cities would finally be at an end; military actions could be diverted to occupation; and troops mustered out to rebuild the civilian economy - all desirable goals. The Communists capably kept this western inertia undisturbed, obscuring the cost to those allies left in the Soviet sphere. It wasn't till in 1953, that "Captive Nations Week" was proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in formal recognition of this state of affairs.
Thus, the Communists in the "Warsaw Pact" had free rein to advance anti-Patriotic propaganda "linking" these forces to atrocities against the Jews - by the simple expedient of saying they were linked.
"Link", itself is a word of art, and a rather malicious art at that. It may mean a decisive statistical proof of causation. It may mean simple guilt by association. "A knows B, therefore A at the least approves of everything B does." And it may mean that someone has simply used the two elements in the same breath.
We can not disprove every "link", but we can and will disprove many allegations of atrocity, citing not only the document of allegation, but also theproof of falsity.
Above: Soldiers of the National Armed Forces Holy Cross Brigade (pol. Brygada Swietokrzyska Narodowych Sil Zbrojnych) in Holiszow [Holydsov/Holiszowa/ Holiszow/Holleischen], the Czech Republic. During many engagements against Nazis, the Holy Cross Brigade liberated prisoners of Nazi concentration camp in Holiszow. Among the freed prisoners, were 280 Jewish women. In the photo: 1. Colonel Antoni Bohun-Dabrowski, Commanding Officer 2. Major Ruskin, 3. 2nd Lt. Zygmunt, 4. Capt. Step, 5. Mieczyslaw.
In order to save condemned to death by the communists NSZ (National Armed Forces) soldier Jerzy Zakulski, Maria Bernstein, a Jew who survived Nazi occupation because of his efforts, wrote to the communist court 1947:
"Jerzy Zakulski, formerly residing with his now deceased father Ludwik [Zakulski], at 7 Saint Kinga Street [pol. Ulica Swietej Kingi 7] in Krakow Pogorze, provided me with shelter in his apartment when I escaped with my 3-year old child during night from the Ghetto [...] After some time they managed to secure a safe place for us at the Zofia Strycharska’s [his wife's family] place, where along with my child I survived in [the city of] Myslenice until the end of the war. I am furnishing this statement under oath, because I am grateful to them for saving my life while endangering their own lives. (-) Maria Bleszynska (formerly Bernstein)[...] Emil Stapor, Notary."
Right: Jerzy Zakulski, nom de guerre "Rudolf", "Borejsza", "Czarny Mecenas", National Armed Forces soldier who saved Jews. Zakulski, was arrested on 23 October 1946 and was executed on July 31, 1947 by Polish secret police, the Urzad Bezpieczenstwa.
Among Zakulski’s Polish Secret police interrogators were Adam Humer, (real name Umer) famed for his sadism and cruelty. Zakulski’s interrogations were directly supervised by Col. Jozef Rozanski (real name Josek Goldberg), and Maksymilian Litynski-Lifsches (real name: Maks Lifsches).
Between Two Enemies ...
Left: "Ilustrowany Kuryer Codzienny" [Eng. "Illustrated Daily Courier", Krakow, Wednesday, September 27, 1939, Nr. 257.
"'Warsaw Capitulates', 'Ribbentrop in Moscow Again'
More evidence of German-Russian collaboration.
Berlin, 27th September . On the invitation of the Soviet government, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the III Reich, von Ribbentrop, travels to Moscow to discuss political issues related to the [joint military] campaign against Poland.
Moscow, 27th September . At 8 PM, local time, the Russian media announced that on Tuesday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the III Reich, would be arriving in Moscow on invitation of the Soviet Government; this announcement was rebroadcast at 11:30 [PM]. It caused consternation in foreign diplomatic circles. Another visit of the German Minister of Foreign Affairs [to Soviet Russia] is evidence of an unwavering German-Soviet cooperation, whose foundations will shape the future of Eastern-Europe […]
Traveling via “Condor”-make, “Grenzmark” aircraft, the Reich’s Minister of Foreign Affairs is on his way to Moscow.
Berlin, 27th September. At 9 AM, on Wednesday, on invitation of the Soviet government in Moscow, and accompanied by the Ambassador of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Berlin, Aleksandr Sekhvarov, and the Legislative Secretary of the Soviet Embassy, Pavlov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, von Ribbentrop, flew [to Russia] from Tempelhof Airport.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is accompanied by the Undersecretary Gaus, the Legislative Aid Schnurre Henke Kordt, the Deputy Chief of Diplomatic Protocol, Haienn, as well members of his personal staff. The Soviet Military Attaché Belyakoff, and other embassy officials bid farewell to those departing from Tempelhof […]
The Russians Report Capturing 30,000 Polish Soldiers.
Moscow, 27th September. Moscow’s radio broadcasted military announcement of the General Staff of the Red Army about its [military] activities in Poland: Units of the Red Army are still continuing to move towards the line of demarcation, and deployed its forces in Osowiec, Chełm, Zamość, Rawa Ruska, Sambor, and Turek. During the liquidation of the remnants of the Polish army in the occupied territory, 30,000 [Polish] soldiers were taken prisoner, among them, 25,000 in the area of Brześć [eng. Brest-Litovsk] near the Bug River.
The Russian march towards the demarcation line continues.
Moscow, 27th September. The Russian General Staff announced the following communiqué about its operations in Poland on the 25th of September: During its march towards the demarcation line, on September 25th, units of the Red Army occupied the cities of Suwałki and Goniądz, as well as the line along Suwałki-Goniądz-Surach-Janów (30 km South-West of Brześć Litewski); Opalin-Dubienka (both cities located near the Bug [river], 24-30 km South-West, or South-East of Chełm), Komarów- Ławsik (15 km South-East of Rawa Ruska); Podgąciki (25 km North-West of Sambor); Uniatycze (10 km North-West of Drohobycz; Rybnik (40 km South of Stryj); Kossijów, 50 km South-West of Stryj). In the Western part [of then Polish territory, now] Belarus, and Western [then Polish territories in] Ukraine, military operations to clean up the remnants of Polish military units continues.
In celebration of clearing [the Polish forces] in and around the demarcation line, a military parade of German and Red Army units was received by the commanding General of the German forces [General Heinz Guderian] and representing the Red Army units, Brigadier-General [Semyon] Krivoshein. The parade took place in front of the former district capital building. Photo above: [Russian & German commanding officers] receive the parade. Photo below: Armored vehicle of the Red Army, in front; left, German motorized infantry..
Berlin, 27th September. General Staff of the German Army announces: Our units are approaching the demarcation line established with the Soviet government. Yesterday, dispersed by the German Army and advancing units of the Russian Army, units of the 41st Polish Division and 1-st Cavalry Brigade were taken into captivity ... More about Soviet-Nazi Invasion of Poland in 1939 Here ...
An Introduction by Dr. Bohdan Szucki, MD, nom de guerre "Artur".
Dr. Bohdan Szucki, is a former member of the NSZ (National Armed Forces), and serves as the president of the National Armed Forces Ex-Servicemen Association. An avid hunter, Mr. Szucki, is a doctor of toxicology who also maintains the official Polish language website of National Armed Forces. The text that follow was published by Mr. Szucki under the title "Wspomnienia Partyzanta NSZ" ["Memoirs of NSZ Partisan"].
Historical events are depicted, among other means, through the remaining documents, or other surviving material evidence. Among the remaining written records, which allow us to familiarize ourselves with past events, the greatest value is attached to various written chronicles and memoirs. These sources are usually created during the time these events take place, or immediately after their cessation. The value of such written materials is even greater if it concerns events observed by the author at the very time they occur, before various commentaries and generalization create a false picture of these events.
The second source of reference are various accounts and written sources such as memoirs. These sources are often very valuable and useful, but have to be particularly closely scrutinized, verified, and compared to other sources. The credibility of such accounts can be swayed in several ways, most importantly through conscious falsification of facts, attribution of facts to oneself in order to attain a specific end; for example material enrichment, or as a result of carrying out an order or request of persons or institutions to which one is subordinated. What is at stake here is verification or explanation of behavior of an entire group of individuals, or behavior of a single individual who simply stands out.
Above: Dr. Bohdan Szucki, nom de guerre "Artur", NSZ.
The purpose of writing many such "memoirs" during the post World War II period was to "validate", or to "proof", preconceived notion about, e.g. "subordination" of the Democratic Underground organizations of the Polish Underground State to the "capitalists," who according to these conjectures were "reactionary", and thus hostile. The creation of such texts was directed by communist activists who were part of the PPR[pol. abr. Polska Partia Robotnicza - Polish Workers' Party], and GL[pol. abr. Gwardia Ludowa - People's Guard], and later PZPR[pol. abr. Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza - United Polish Workers' Party]. The new "heroes" were created while the democratic opposition was discredited and its distinguished record appropriated by the newly created "idols".
This pathological phenomenon was of course prevalent throughout the entire period of existence of the People's Republic of Poland[pol. abr. PRL - Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa]. Therefore, we want to alert the reader that such "memoirs" do exist, and that one has to be particularly careful while viewing such sources as an authoritative historical record; and thus, you are encouraged to view them carefully, and critically.
It is understandable, as it can be attributed to the less than noble character of a human nature, that one writing memoirs succumbs to the temptation of validating his own actions, or exaggerating his own accomplishments. While in itself it should be reprimanded, it can be excused if such accomplishments are true. The greatest value of memoirs is that they preserve history of events, even those less significant, and allow us to acquaint ourselves and to understand actions of those who by taking part in such events were part of the history itself. It is important that the description of circumstances, of thinking processes, and the descriptions of behavior of individuals and of groups being a part of a lesser or greater entity is given.
There are of course many more reasons to write memoirs, even those describing more obscure and less significant events. For this reason alone, we encourage and appeal to you - please write your memoirs and preserve them.
There is one danger that awaits us however - the memory can be faulty. However, if we avoid the pitfalls of absolutes, manage to verify facts, and consult with other participants of these events, it is highly probable that the outcome of our writing will produce an objective account of these events. While doing so however, one has to constantly bear in mind that he has to remain critical of existing sources and of his own memory.
There are various ways of chronicling own own memories of war. The majority of published memoirs are written chronologically. The author usually devotes some time to the pre-war events, then describes beginning of the war, then the occupation, his life and activities on the occupied territory, then the German retreat, the movement of the Soviet front [through Poland], then the Soviet occupation, and then the period of the PRL [Polish People's Republic]. Lastly, and most often, he or she will conclude by writing about his or her own imprisonment.
The chronology of written memoirs is divided into two distinct periods of time and place. The first one is devoted to the Nazi occupation, that took place between September 1939 to summer of 1944, or winter of 1945. The second chronological period is explored by those who from 17 September 1939 found themselves under Soviet occupation (also known as the First Soviet Occupation), then from 22 June 1941 to 1944 under German occupation, and then again under Soviet occupation, this time known as the Second Soviet Occupation.
If at some point I embark on writing more exhaustive account of my life, it will certainly not be written in any chronological order.
During the half-a-century domination, or more accurately occupation of Poland by the Soviets, the communist propaganda sought to prove and to convince the new maturing generations [of Poles] that Europe (perhaps, even the entire world) was saved from the Nazi domination by the Soviet Union alone, which then maintained this equilibrium by protecting "working class of villages and cities" against the "capitalist exploitation". It asserted, that by doing so under the leadership of the Soviet Union, and its extraordinary leader, Joseph Stalin (who was eventually superceded by subsequent First Secretaries of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and their counterparts in other occupied countries of Easter Europe), it established the only "just" system of "communist social justice". This propaganda dominated every sphere of life [in the Eastern Europe]. Naturally, for various reasons, the period of the Second Word War was very important to them, and as such exploited; particularly in the literature, and in the so called "historical research". In this fashion, the collective consciousness of society was subjected to propagandized mythology , and even blatantly falsified events and biographies. The "accounts of witnesses" of "historical events" were usually chronicled by paid [full-time communist] functionaries, toiling as "professional writers".
Above: National Armed Forces medallion "Ryngraf" depicting Holy Mother of Czestochowa worn by Bohdan Szucki, "Artur" during Nazi and Soviet occupation of Poland.
Above: Communist propaganda poster entitled "NSZ [National Armed Forces] is your enemy". 
Above: Communist propaganda poster entitled "Kain and Abel". 
In this fashion , during the Soviet occupation, a voluminous and varied body of work dedicated to the period of WWII was produced. It was supplemented by motion picture, radio shows, TV shows, plays, fine arts such as paintings, sculpture, music, and other by-products of that period.
Left: Communist propaganda poster entitled "We will sweep Fascism out of Poland " (pol. Z faszyzmu Polske oczyscimy") 
When the brutal intervention of Soviet area omnipresent censorship was limited, but not entirely eliminated, new compilations of works depicting events of World War II created by those opposing Soviet Union and communism began to appear. However, to this very day these individuals have very limited access to Television, radio, or motion picture studios. For this reason, the written word plays such a critical role. The publishers are more independent and more willing to provide a platform for voices of those who present the "unsanctioned" version of history that differs from that of various cultural establishments.
Being intimately familiar with the realities of war, and in particular with the realities of armed underground combat, and after clear-sighted, calm study of memoirs written from the perspective of democratic underground - that is other then those written by the communists writers - I reached a conclusion that the prevailing number of these memoirs were, and are written according to a schema developed by and imposed by the Soviet propagandists. It primarily concerns such concepts and subject matters as: the "past and immediate aims of war", the definition of the term "Enemy", the definition of "strategies and tactics of partisan warfare in the Polish realities", the meaning of the word "Betrayal", the meaning of the term "Ally", and the lack of acknowledgement for the prevailing legal status quo having basis in the elementary precepts of the laws of the II Polish Republic.
The explanation of the concepts and terms above is necessary for those writing their memoirs because it can save them from the well camouflaged and sophisticated communist propaganda, while for the reader - who knows the realities of war only from the existing literature and a handful of sensationalized spy action movies - it will provide a guide to the understanding of meaning and motifs guiding the conduct of the underground partisan warfare. Similarly, it will aid in gaining proper perspective and understanding of the basics differences between the Democratic Underground and the communist units created and controlled by the Soviet Union.
The very concepts to which I alerted the reader above could easily became subject matter of a separate and very much needed compilation or of specialized scientific conference. One is also encouraged to note that many of these subjects have already been touched upon and were defined on the pages of already existing monographs or articles. They are however, scattered throughout various publications, and as such there is an unfortunate void of not having a single exhaustive study on this subject matter.
While embarking on writing an account of events in which I took part as soldier of the National Armed Forces during II WW, I began to debate which events I should write about. As a result, it forced me to ask myself more critical questions. Why should I write about this and not the other event? Which criteria should guide me through such selection, and in what order should these events be written? Which one of these events is more important than the other, and why? Which events are characteristic of the period of time of which I was to write?
Above: Narodowe Sily Zbrojne [National Armed Forces] unit under command of Captain, Waclaw Piotrowski, nom de guerre "Cichy" (engl. "Silent") - sitting in the middle wearing beret. Photo taken in the Lublin area in 1943.
If one dedicated only but a single written page to describe only one day or one night of the period in which we were to take part fighting for freedom, one could easily create one or two volumes each containing thousands of pages. But, these volumes could be written only by those who didn't perish earlier on all theaters of World War II, or in the Nazi chambers of torture and concentration camps, or in the Soviet forced labor camps or in the "Inhuman Land" of which Katyn became a symbol, or in the dungeons of Urzad Bezpieczenstwa (the Polish Secret Police).
This period was a direct result of events that began on 1st and 17th September 1939. It truly is difficult to say when this period really ended. Perhaps it still continues? Throughout the years that ensued the goals and methods of one side [of the conflict] or the other changed.
Now after this theoretical pondering let us touch upon concrete events.
A historical account, by its very nature, furnishes primary facts, and then depending on the predisposition of the author either narrows or expounds that historical account.
In his study entitled "Okreg Lubelski Narodowych Sil Zbrojnych 1942-1944" (eng. "The Lublin District of National Armed Forces 1942-1944") published in the first volume of the "Szczerbiec Library"(3), Marcin Zaborski writes:
"In the beginning of February 1944, the Regional Headquarters (pol. Komenda Okregowa, abbr. KO) [of National Armed Forces in Lublin] were subject to serious security breach, known as Zmigrod 'whisper' [pol. 'wsypa zmigrodzka'] . As a result, two officers [of National Armed Forces] were arrested. The first one was an influential member of the Regional Command, Captain Lubinski, nom de guerre 'Franek Lubelski', the other was Lieutenant Franciszek Balik, nom the guerre 'Franek Warszawski' who acted as courier between Regional Headquarters and the General Command. While the exact circumstances of Capt. Lubinski's arrest are unknown, it is known however, that Lt. Balik was arrested in Lublin at the railroad station immediately upon his arrival from Warsaw. Capt. Lubinski lived on the 2nd floor at 8 Zmigrod Street in Lublin, and the 3rd floor was occupied by family of another member of the Regional Command, Lieutenant Antoni Goralczyk, nom de guerre 'Konrad'. The arrest of Capt. Lubinski necessitated evacuation of individuals living on the 3rd floor, which also happened to be one of the Regional Command's safe houses. The Goralczyk family moved to Slowianki from where via horse and cart they were transported to Wilkolaz by Officer Cadet Bohdan Szucki, nom de guerre 'Artur'. The movable belongings of the Regional Command, among them the archives, were personally removed and secured by head of the Regional Command Major Broniewski who escaped dressed up as coach-man of his own carriage. [Later under the assumed name General 'Bogucki' he would become Commandant of the entire National Armed Forces]  Shortly thereafter, on the 3rd floor of this locale (it was a rental flat) shared by Lt. Goralczy's sister-in-law, Waclawa Kisiel, the Nazis arrested group of young members of the Szare Szeregi (eng. Grey Ranks - Polish Scouting Association. Both Captain Lubinski and Lt. Balik were incarcerated at the Gestapo building on the Universytecka Street and at the [Lublin] castle. They were both murdered during interrogations on 16 February 1944. Neither one betrayed anyone". 
This very succinct and dry account of the events that took place in the beginning of 1944 in Lublin consists of the following threads: the security breach at the locale at Zmigrod Street, the arrests, inhumane interrogations,horrific death of participants, and the evacuation of survivors. Each and every thread of this account carries in itself heavy burden for those who participated in these events. As such, more detailed and broadened description could easily serve as a source of a sensational book or a screen-play.
The fate has it that I became one of the participants of these dramatic events. Despite the fact that 58 years had passed since, I vividly remember these several dozens of hours during which I carried out an order to move the family of Lt. 'Konrad' out of Lublin. This order was not particularly complicated, but full of surprises, since unexpected events that ensued, and the scenery of this winter night became deeply embedded in my memory. After all, I was destined to take part in far more dramatic events which required quick thinking, calmness, a certain dose of bravery, and determination. Perhaps, at some point I will return to those events in my memoirs as well, but I don't want to unnecessarily embellish my narrative with any overtones of "heroism". It appears to me that the phenomenon of creating, usually by a 3rd party, accounts of acts or deeds of individuals or entire groups commonly referred to as heroic, usually takes place post factum.
"I took part in many extreme situations and know for a fact that I was never thinking that I was participating in anything heroic. During these moments, one most often simply thought - Don't get killed". Apart from that one would feel certain determination [to survive]. But above all, the most difficult task of all was to overcome one's own fear. You have to be afraid, but just as you would overcome pain, you also have to rationally overcome your fear. An organism stripped of pain sooner or later dies under trivial circumstances.
But, let us return to our narrative. Marcin Zaborski briefly reports: "via horse and cart [more accurately by sleigh] they were transported to Wilkolaz by Officer Cadet Bohdan Szucki, nom de guerre "Artur". There really is nothing extraordinary about any of this, but how did it really happen?
"We were stationed in Bystrzyca near Zakrzowka. The Winter was pretty snowy, and it was somewhat cold. After the breakfast, a junior officer found me and told me that I have to immediately report to the commanding officer (Captain Waclaw Piotrowski, nom de guerre "Cichy"). I found out that this evening I had to report to Captain Jozef Jagielski, nom de guerre(s) "Niebieski", "Ryszard Karch" at his quarters at the mill in Wilkolaz. Before that I had to report to "Aunt Luda", who run a well known to me safe house.
Known to us under the nom de guerre "Little Aunt", or "Aunt Luda", Mrs. Ludwika von Kleist was a great patriot who was wholeheartedly involved in the underground activities. Her house was singularly devoted to conspiratorial activities throughout Nazi occupation. For her, the war ended only when our units were dispersed. She survived the first communist repressions somewhere in the Krakow area and returned home at the end of 1945. She was an extraordinary woman. She was single, unwavering, had an aristocratic German name (she traced her ancestry to the Kurlandian aristocracy), but she always emphasized that her mother was [a Polish woman], with a last name Kuncewicz[owna]. [Miss von Kleist] particularly idealized Saint Jozafat (Jan Kuncewicz) who was her ancestor. I know that is my responsibility to preserve the memory of "Little Aunt" from being forgotten. [Throughout the occupation], hundreds of individuals had passed through her house - from simple soldiers to generals, and well-known politicians. But this is another story in itself.
Above: Ludwika von Kleist, nom de guerre "Little Aunt" during cropp harvest in summer 1942. Photo by Bohdan Szucki.
So, in the late afternoon, after traveling via familiar roads, I arrived at the hospitable, safe house near the forest. I undressed the horse in the stable and fed it fodder that was always stored at a ready. In the house a pleasant surprise awaits me. After all, I will not have to travel several kilometers via foot because "Niebieski" is waiting for me at the table sipping tea. I am receiving orders to leave by sleigh for Lublin this day. From there, I am to bring three people, and to transport them back via side roads to the "Little Aunt's" house. I will be accompanied by familiar acquaintance Edward (Edziu) Poleszczak, nom de guerre "Piwosz" who will be dressed up as waggoner and will provide security. I have a right to refuse, because while at a first glance this mission is straightforward, it can nonetheless, be risky. Before deciding, I need to speak with "Piwosz". We decided to go. He is responsible for the sleigh and directions until we reach the road nearest to the [city of] Lublin. I will take over the command (all together, there will be five people returning ), and will be familiarized by Captain "Niebieski" with watchwords and contact locations. We decide that even though we are forbidden to do so, we will carry side-arms and grenades with us.
Edziu has a Nagant [model M1895 revolver 7.62x38mmR], some spare ammunition, and one hand grenade, and I will carry Nagant, and a Vis [automatic pistol 9x19mm], a backup clip, and a hand grenade. Our mode of transportation will be a pair of fresh horses pulling a simple sleigh strewn with straw and two seats made of whisk covered by a blanket. The sleigh has an affixed identification plate that states that it is belongs to the neighboring farm, and is owned by a certain Mr. Telezynski.
Officially, we are employees of that farm and carried with us fake ID papers (ger. Kennkarte) issued by the local rural municipality in Wilkolaz. These ID papers bore our fictitious names. We are transporting one bag of potatoes, an assortment of vegetables, and a large basket full of eggs covered with chaff. In case of some sort of interrogation by the Germans, the people in-the-know and the owner of the farm will testify that both the horses and the sleigh were stolen by unknown armed individuals. During our trip back, we are not to present any documents because our passengers may already be wanted [by the Germans].
We quietly hid our arms under the front seat. Later after the supper [our "Little"] "Aunt" bade us farewell by crossing us with a Holy Cross, and so we left. Edziu "drove" and I sat facing in the opposite direction. The horses felt that the reins were held in the hands of waggoner who knows his business. For the time-being we were traveling through the roads that we knew, and we avoided villages or [inhabited] buildings as much as possible. We knew, that the land property in Klodnica housed Germans, and that barracks In Niedziwiedzica were occupied by German youth volunteers (known as "Junaks") performing work on the railroad truck. [We also knew that] they were guarded by heavily armed crew of the so called "Dark Ones" (because of the color of uniforms they wore). While the commanding cadre of this unit was German, the soldiers were, for the most part, recruited from within ranks of former Soviet prisoners of war. The were mostly of Ukrainian and Asian background, and were commonly referred to as "Kalmuks". These units had very bad reputation.
Before our departure, "Niebieski" and I carefully studied the map. There were two sensitive places [requiring our particular attention]. The first one was crossing of the railroad trucks linking Lublin with Demblin, and the second was the entrance into the city via road that was not likely to be covered with snow - just as the road leading into the town. It will be also necessary to ride by the barracks, and thus there was a great probability that we will meet German patrols. These problems will have to be resolved by ourselves on the spot. For us "men of the forests", the city was a foreign and dangerous environment. None of us knew Lublin very well. We outlined a simplified plan of entering the city. I had to memorize the address, the look of the house, the surroundings, the watchwords, etc. It was forbidden to carry any drawings or notes. How well I had remember all of this can be attested by the fact that after 50 years I found that place without any difficulties, even though, the surroundings had changed considerably ever since. (My son Piotr took my photo in front of the house that I was to locate in the background of falling snow, just like 50 years before).
Even though we had some time, we were riding pretty fast. We wanted to reach Lublin in the morning, but not too early. Perhaps, there will be other vehicles rushing towards the city [we hoped]. Edziu pays attention to the road and to the foreground, while I am observing the rear and the right side. We are often riding cross country. In the morning I noticed a fox playing at the distance and then another one. I suggested that we approach them at a distance of shotgun shot, jus as it would be done while hunting from a sleigh. The first fox didn't allow us to approach it any closer than at a distance of 100 meters, but we managed to pass next to the other one at mere 30 paces. So, in this fashion I hunted for foxes during the war. Despite the fact that not even a single shot was fired, among my other hunting memories, I consider this particular hunt to be one of the most successful.
We managed to safely cross the railroad tracks somewhere between Motycz and Konopnica. Its daylight. We can't appear to look as if we are hiding or avoiding contact with other people. The road [to Lublin] is also increasingly more difficult. There are more and more houses, fences, and all sorts of road crossings. We make a decision: we are going towards the road linking Krasnik with Lublin. As we predicted, there is very little snow on the road. We are glad that the skids are not covered with steel. We are making slow progress moving on the side of the road. As we are approaching the Garrison, there is an unpleasant moment of danger. We can see soldiers moving about and see sentries keeping watch. God, how close they are. How difficult would it have been to get this close to them in the forest [we think]. We are not used to this sight. Nobody paid any attention to us and we calmly turned onto the road leading towards Warsaw. We are riding towards Slawnik. The contemporary reader needs to be reminded that during the period being described here, the garrison in Lublin was located well outside of the city limits. Similarly, the present area occupied by the Millenium Parkway (pol. Aleja Tysiaclecia), used to be meadows, swampy grasslands, and ponds. Along the road to Warsaw were scattered single floor homes surrounded by gardens.
I am silently repeating the address [of the house we are to reach] and the watchwords. Past the intersection we descend downhill, and pay particular attention to the left side of the road. Here it is - a narrow street [we are looking for] - with a long single-floor wooden building that overlooks the street and resembles an industrial workshop . Across the street on the other hand, on the hill located is a small, single floor building with dark shutters and window frames, fenced off with a wooden fence. It all corresponds with my [previous] instructions. Now I am to enter the workshop building from the back. It is to be a workshop manufacturing shoes. Sure enough, in a rather large hall I can see dozen shoemakers. According to my instructions, while responding to the question asked by one of the men, if I can be helped with something, I respond that I came to get some sole leather, and that I brought some potatoes with me.
What became apparent was that there was a two-fold method of maintaining security in place. The shoemakers knew absolutely nothing about what was taking place. Thus, in the event of breach, the security of the real safe house where Lieutenant "Konrad" and his family [awaited to be evacuated] would have been maintained.
But at this particular moment I knew nothing about it. Maintaining my composure, I asked this older shoemaker to follow me to the hallway. I want to figure out what is going on, and if necessary, exit without araising any suspicions by stating that I got the wrong place. As we are entering the hallway, the door opens and an older man enters. He is wearing a sheepskin coat and begins to greet me as if we've known each other forever, and then asks me with disbelief how I could forget the correct address. - Don't worry - he says - Everything is fine, I am glad you made it [...] and leave these potatoes with these gentlemen, I already got some yesterday. I say goodbye to the shoemaker, and Edziu carries out the bag of potatoes. We exit and the stranger asks me if I brought the eggs. I respond - a whole basket. We shake hands, the watchwords were exchanged. We proced to introduce ourselves. Edzio moves the sleight further down the street, and feeds the horses. They are in good shape. Lieutenant "Konrad" suggests speedy departure, but leaves this decision to me. I agree. We'll grab something to eat on the road. We carry bread and beacon with us.
Two people exit from the house on the hill: a heavier-built woman, and a young man - they are the "Konrad's" wife and son. We leave the eggs and vegetables behind. We place some sort of packages with personal belongings on the sleigh. There isn't much of it. "Konrad" and his wife (Mrs. Maryjka) sit in the back. They are dressed warm, but we give them some blankets. Their son Julek (later nom de guerre "Jur") sits on the front seat facing the back. Edziu and I sit in front, but I am sitting on the left side. Our weapons are hidden in straw in the seat. By a different road, through small gardens, small grass fields, and passing loosely scattered buildings, we travel towards Konopnica. We bypass the road and the garrison. Past the railroad trucks we make a stop in some sort of small abode. Officially, we are traveling to procure food for our relatives in the village, and we are bartering a little. Our hosts are very nice, and the presence of a woman and young boy with us is reassuring. They don't ask too many questions. During these times an unwritten rule was that the less you knew the better. Our horses got a drink of water, and are rested. We can continue.
It starts to get dark. It is uneventful. We don't speak much. Only from time to time "Piwosz" and I make some comments. We have been for way longer than 24 hours of stress and intense concentration. This monotonous ride helps us relax. We are feeling confident and safe. What can happen to us now, we think? The night and an open field are our friends. The Germans don't venture here during the night. After all, we are approaching the area familiar to us with our own posts in the area. Once we leave behind Niedrzewica on the left side where the German units are stationed, we can feel completely safe.
And here we had violated the first partisan's safety rule - there is no such thing as a certain and safe situation - you always have to be alerted and be prepared for the worst. Because we were relaxed and felt safe, our central nervous system asked for what's due to it - it need to rest. We began to snooze - and ultimately - fell to sleep. Luckily enough, our horse found some sort of road, and left to their own devices happily ran in the direction of glimmering in the distance buildings.
I am awaken by a loudHalt! and a strong reflector ligh lighting up some sort barbed-wire entanglement and closed gate guarded by soldier wearing black coat and armed with an MP [German MP40 machine gun] dangling at his hip. I am immediately sobered. I hear "Piwosz's" whisper:Shit, Kalmuks, Niedrzwica, and behind him I hear voice of nearly fainting poor Mrs. Maryjka. We immediately stop, and I shout to the guard in German -Easy my friend! We got lost. We are traveling to the neighboring property. I feel surprisingly calm and composed. Under the sheepskin coat and under the belt I have a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol; under my hip I can feel the bulging grenade, which I hide inside of the packet. - Edziu, this is an order, I'll get off and negotiate, and you at the right moment, on my command get the hell out, and run for the "Little Aunt's" place- I say. I can hear "Konrad" saying -I have money and can speak German.Seeing that I am jumping off the sleigh, the "Dark One" shouts: Halt! Stoy! [Translator's Note: "Stoy" is a Russian word meaning "Stand stil", or "Don't move"] This changes the situation a bit. He isn't German and surely doesn't speak German.
So I begin our conversation in Russian. Fifty years ago I spoke this language nearly as well as any native Russian. I explain to him that we are traveling to the property in Kodnica ( I say that on purpose because I know that German units are stationed there, and he most likely knows that as well). I tell him that we got lost, that we are in a hurry, and that we are late. I plead that he doesn't keep us too long. I offer him a cigarette. I feel that we had established some sort of line of communication. But the "Dark One" is some sort of stubborn martinet. He explains that he can't let us go on his own, that he will open the gate and we will enter the guard-house, and there the German officer will make the decision if we can or cannot leave, or if we will stay overnight, because it is not safe to travel during the night. He tells me that they received information that a large gang [underground Polish partisan unit] travelled nearby. And it is at this very moment that the life of the "Dark One" hang by a hair. I am trying again. If he will not agree to let us go, he won't open the gate. The sleigh sits about a dozen meters away. I loudly ask "Konrad" in German, if he can pay him 500 zloty. (I think that the value of money tat that time was worth as much as it is worth today). I speak to the "Dark One" - You didn't understand. He ["Konrad] says that he'll gladly give you 500 zloty because his is in a hurry, or go and get the officer. He'll have a drink with the German, will give him some money and you will be standing here getting your butt froze. You better take the money, while he is still offering it to you, and we'll get going.It worked. He approaches the sleigh, sees a woman, proper identification tag affixed to the sleigh, gets at ease, and takes the money. Edzio turns the sleigh around, I jump on, and we are on our way. What happened next was as if it was taken straight out of lousy B-rated action movie, but it is exactly what happened, and I really can't help it.
We rode for maybe 30 meters at the most and then suddenly from the darkness emerged silhouette of a man with a [Soviet] PP machine gun under his arm, and we hear loud - Halt! Stoy!I feel the cold butt of my Nantgan in my hand. In situations like this I always prefer revolver over semi-automatic hand gun. But on this evening God's Providence was with the "Dark Ones", and so it was with us. From the gate we hear in Russian:Mkhail, everything is fine. Let them go.While passing him I wished him good night. Mikhail was certainly returning back to the station from one of several abodes in the area. He was lucky. We certainly wouldn't be able to negotiate with him.
When some time ago I was telling this story to a young man who grew up on movies about cowboys and gangsters, I heard: - And you didn't shoot him? No, I didn't, and I am glad. To kill a man is a great responsibility - a very great one. This is the last resort, but how does one know what that last resort is? Maybe we will take up this subject again at some point when I will describe situation when unfortunately I had to shoot. During that particular situation it was necessary that I shot very accurately.
We are moving again. I am still thinking how could it have happened. We were probably too confident of ourselves. We are looking for familiar roads. The moon starts to shine. We know where we are. Our passengers start to relax. We feel certain satisfaction that after all we were all in one piece without any exchange of fire of which the outcome is always uncertain. Only a few more kilometers and we will reach our destination. I apologized to our guests for these unnecessary complications, but there is never anything certain about any of this. They know. I think that underground activities conducted in the urban environment are more stressful and more dangerous than our "forests" activities. But, maybe the "City" conspirators think exactly the opposite? I knew some for whom spending the night in the forest was absolutely petrifying. For us however, the forest felt save and accommodating.
"What the hell" - says Edzio and points to something on the road ahead of us. Indeed, on the right side of the road some sort of dark object is flying towards us. It is suspended about 2 meters over the snow-covered ground. We stop, and this ghost is moving closer, and closer suspended in the air. Just to be sure, I jump off the sleigh. Even though both of us are well armed, I feel little alarmed. Irrational phenomena always creates a certain anxiety. Suddenly our horse on the right begins to act nervously and then begins to neigh. It all becomes clear in a moment - we hear approaching sound of gallop. In the moonlight I can see a white saddled up horse. It is the saddle that is this "dark ghost". Against the white snowy background and the light of the moon, the contours of the horse are completely invisible. I am trying to stop him but he continues galloping right past us.
We have a short consultation. This was a saddled horse, so there are some people out there from whom he was escaping. Who are these people? I am remembering warning given by the guard in the Niedrzwica that there is some sort of "gang" in the area. If this was one of our own units in the area I would have known about it. Maybe it was an AK (pol. Armia Krajowa - Home Army - Polish Patriot: military) unit that was passing by, or maybe this horse escaped form the patrol of one of the posts in the area? There were AK and NSZ posts located in this area. The communists didn't venture here. I decided that we continue. The forest is nearby. We will move in the safe formation, that is, I will be leading about 150 meters ahead of the others. In the case of danger, Edzio is to reach the nearby Marianowka, where our post is located. What works in our favor is that we know this area very well. Lieutenant "Konrad" doesn't want to spend the night in Marianowka, because he has to urgently meet with Captain "Niebieski".
We pass through the forest without any difficulties. I am walking parallel to the road on which the sleigh is travelling. I know this forests very well. I am listening intently and look for human footprints. There silence all around. After we pass the forest I jump on the sleigh and we quickly approach the road leading to the ramp over the railroad trucks. Once we pass the tracks, we are near Obroki, and there, the "Aunt Luda" house.
Before the railroad trucks, at the fringe of forest there is a farm - a house, some farm buildings, and a large fenced farmyard. As we approach closer, I noticed something different about this place.
Rather than seeing an open, unobstructed and white contours of the square-shaped farmyard, it is dark. It is too late for us to turn around. An armed man carrying machine gun runs onto the road and screams- Stop, or I'll shoot.I hear "Piwosz" mumble: Yeh, you'll shoot, you dummy, wan't you.Mrs. Maryjka have had enough - the poor thing fainted. The Lieutenant is trying to do something, to move her a bit. I can see that it is a partisan unit, but it is not lead well - there is no security. With a tone of professional Officer Cadet I responded - Shut your mouth, and immediately get a doctor or a nurse. I t worked, just as it would work in any army.
After few moments the guard returns with some middle-age woman dressed in sheepskin jacket girded by a belt with a holster, long boots, and a white-and-red armband baring black letters W.P. [abr. Wojsko Polskie - Polish Army]. She is followed by soldier carrying a first aid bag. Within few moments, Mrs. Maryjka starts to come back, and I am trying to convince this polite and intelligent woman wearing sheepskin jacket that we are only few kilometers away from Obroki, and that we will not wait here getting cold. She has so many sleighs, so maybe they could escort us. Unfortunately, we have to wait for the train to pass, and then we can go. It all becomes clear - they want to derail the [German] train. I am sure that they are one of the Home Army units.
I know that any operations between the railway stations in Lesniczowka and one in Wilkolaz are prohibited. It is dictated by the safety of the localities located along these tracks whose inhabitants were very much involved in underground activities. I don't have to wait for very long. A courier arrives horseback with an order- The operation is canceled, we are pulling back.While starting to leave, Edzio and I tease the unfortunate guard -Hey soldier, did you by any chance loose your horse with a saddle? Horse, is just a horse, but what a shame about that saddle. What, did you see it? - Oh yeh, we did, but you want be able to catch up with him.
In a matter of dozen or so minutes we reach the "Little Aunt's" house. I say my last words of goodbye to the Lt. "Konrad's" family - that will be our last words to each other for many years to come. I report to the awaiting us Captain "Niebieski" the completion of our mission. The Aunty serves us supper, if I remember correctly, she served us eggs with bacon. Edzio turns the sleigh around and leaves to take them back to the farm, and I drug my sorrel and leave to find my unit. It is about 24 hours since these events began. Because of the magnitude of the entire war as a whole these events are so insignificant, that at one point in the future the historian will write about them in a single sentence: From Slawnik, via horse and cart they were transported to Wilkolaz by Officer Cadet Bohdan Szucki, nom de guerre "Artur". True. It is very simple, isn't it?
Nearly fifty years after these events took place, on May 9, 1990 I received a letter. It began with the following words:
My Dearest, beloved Artur! Bohdan, my friend [...] I don't even know how to tell you about this [...] something happened. Something that I can't imagine would have ever happened in my wildest dreams. There was a Holy Mass for the soldiers of the Narodowe Sily Zbrojne [National Armed Forces] - for those soldiers who after all existed, and who fought against the enemy wherever he was. It is unbelievable. After so many years, so many years, that the human capacity to endure it found itself on the edge of abbys [...]
Your letter my Dearest Artur (I prefer to call you this way) reminds me of times during which - for us - for the young people who valued only our Poland. What times, what times they were - not understood by our young minds - and I often feel, not even fully understood by our commanding officers . This does not mean that all of those we knew were without a blemish - this is strictly a military assessment. I am not using the term "political", because it can be judged only ex post facto, and as such would not be honest [...] But these are the conversations to be had well into the night. I think that along with your wife (I say hello to the unmet wife of an extraordinary man); I know you well Artur, she doesn't even know who you were). [...]
I don't know if you feel the same way, that both of us (you and I) who after all weren't afraid of that many things then (a little bit because of our character, or because of our somewhat misunderstood love for our Country), that after so many horrible years we have something to return to? But [return] to what? I think that you are the same Artur for whom we awaited like for salvation in Slawnik (I don't even know if I would find this place today, or find where it was)- [...] one could ask us: What do You (you with a capital letter "Y") want; what do you want to do? Do you only want to reminisce? Are You concerned about this new Poland as much as you were concern about her before? Has it changed?
See, my Dearest Artur, you have awaken ghosts. [...] My father's ("Konrad's") funeral on September 19, 1985 was attended by "Juhas" [Bruno] Sychowski and "Niebieski" (Jagielski), and I made some contacts (our families are from the Pomorze area). This is all little "complicated". I don't know if even today we can openly write about it all. [...] Dear God, if only your wife knew who you were then; but I will tell her - he was out of this world - (will you tell me, I hope, that you were sometimes afraid too?). Dear Mrs Szucki (I don't know your first name), please believe me, Artur was unreal. I don't even know if he knows that himself. And this is exactly what makes it so extraordinary. I am looking forward to our meeting [...].
I have you and those dearest to you as close to my heart as it is possible.
Your Julek (Korporal "Jur")
I quoted excerpts of this very private letter not only as an addition or continuation of the description of the events by another participant of these events, but also because it contains many interesting treads which in some respect offer additional explanation of the times that shaped the identity of our generation. I didn't omit, as quoted here partially, descriptions of myself. One has to reminded that these impressions were formed by at that time a young man, who then for the first time saw real member of the underground, and he saw him under unusual circumstances. Later I had an opportunity to show "Jur" the ropes of the underground life. So, in some respect I was an authority of sorts to him. The emotional state expressed with the words in the letter: "Artur for whom we awaited like for salvation in Slawnik" had to have profound effect on some of the opinions expressed here. "Jur" asks me in his letter, if I was ever afraid? Of course, Julek, I did, most often before operations were to take place. During operations I tried to concentrate as much as I could on completing the mission: don't get killed, save your ammo, try to shoot first, if you have no other choice - This is it. This is the entire philosophy.
The Needs of the Underground Army
In his accurate and exhausting study about the political background of the National Armed Forces, Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski succinctly describes the National Armed forces as follows:
[...] one fact has to be emphasized in particular. Despite an extraordinarily difficult situation brought by the [Nazi] occupation, an extremely potent and self-sufficient army having in its ranks nearly 100,000 men was created - above all it was accomplished entirely on their own. This organization was free of external influences, completely independent, and was not financed by any of the participants in the conflict. The NSZ [National Armed Forces] were independent politically, materially, and ideologically, and were not subordinated to any foreign decision-making entity. Because of their high morale they were resistant to any outside ideological pressures.
While the NSZ was not financed by any of the combating sides, it doesn't mean that just as any similar organization of this type it didn't have to relay on materiel, and on finances in particular, to cover its operational activities. The procurement of materiel was not hap hazardously left to just any unit, but was a part of strictly controlled, directed, and closely monitored initiative. A surviving Special Executive document from 1 December, 1942, that is from the first period of the NSZ activities and issued by NSZ officer, Col. Ignacy Oziewicz, nom de guerre "Czeslaw" addresses these were issues. It reads:
a/ Procurement of weapons and money
b/ inspection of readiness of units to continue diversionary activities
c/ protection of civilian populations against banditism 
The part III of these instructions, entitled the "General Directives", among other things states:
a/ according to operational directives, the commanding officers are to direct surveillance activities of facilities [...] After analysis a plan of action will be chosen [...] specifically [against]:
1. financial [entities] - banks, treasury buildings, safes at the factories and industrial plants operated by the Germans, armored vehicles carrying money. In each instance the amount of money appropriated cannot be lesser than 100,000 Zloty [...]
- appropriated money is to be, in its entirety, transferred to the commanding officer of the NSZ; according with the needs, part of the money is to be transferred to tactical units.
- The weapons or equipment will be assigned by the commanding officers of the District based on needs. 
This particular directive encompasses 4 written pages, and to this day impresses us with its versatility, precision of directives, and its care for safety of both those who were to carry these orders out, and the civilian population at large.
Naturally, the above cited directive, was not the only document directing this wide-reaching and varying activities aiming at procurement of materiel necessary for the continuing growth of the organization. Another important source of financing activities of the National Armed Forces were voluntary taxation, sales of beautifully engraved small commemorative bricks [pol. "cegielki"], donations, and others.
Aside from forming and readying its human infrastructure, that is the creation of well trained military cadre, the newly forming Underground Army required procurement of arms and ammunition, development of means of communication and transportation, and creation of supply chains. The creation of such supply chains was of particular importance as its immediate functioning was necessitated by the existing and growing partisan units. There were two primary means of supply:
The first consisted of individuals who owned land. Farmers who were members of the underground themselves and other villagers would eagerly share their food and fodder with soldiers among them when those took quarter at a specific village or in the nearby forest. Of considerable value in this respect, were large land properties whose owners were very often deeply involved in the underground activities themselves. For example, in the Lublin area, the profits generated by a chain of land properties in Grabow which was co-owned by Major Zygmunt Broniewski, commanding officer of the III District of NSZ were almost in their entirety donated to the needs of the National Armed Forces.
The second source of supply was the German supply chain, that is, their stores, businesses managed by the German administration which included distilleries, beet-sugar factories, dairies, land properties, and others. Similarly, the content of the forced contingents [pol. Kontyngenty] required from farmers by the occupying German administration were often appropriated before they ever reached the German occupier.
The activities against the German supply chains created not only serious problems with food provisions for the occupying German forces, but at the same time allowed sustenance to local underground units without creating unnecessary burdens on local populations
This brief overview aims to educate our contemporary reader the even during the time of war, during the occupation, and without well developed and secured communications one would never even fantasize of such grand-scale fraud and misappropriation affairs taking place in the contemporary leadership circles [of Polish government] - I am writing this in 2003. After deeper analysis one can reach a conclusion that it isn't all that unusual. For the present contemporary governing elites (at various levels) are after all political formations descending directly from PPR, GL, AL - one only aught to read through the surviving archival documents of these pro-Soviet organizations or read through various "memoirs" of their leading personalities.
During the time of occupation I took part in many types of operations of which primary or secondary goal was acquisition of materiel for the organization.
Now I will describe one specific operation that I consider to be exemplary. Its successful completion demonstrates adequate prior preparation of several local rural cells, their discipline, punctuality, and professional responsibility. Unfortunately I don't remember the exact date, but it took place at the end of September 1943.
The immediate objective of the operation was the transfer of goods held in stores near the railroad station in Wilkolaz (Zdrapy) and stored there several tons of oats. These stores consisted of several long barracks that were for the most part equipped with ramps. The oats was loose and not stored in bags. The operation could take place only at night and couldn't take any longer than several hours.
The Wilkolaz railroad station is located to the east of the village having the same name, near the railroad tracks linking Lublin with Krasnik and on the property of small village named Zdrapy. In this area, the railroad tracks run in the north to south direction. About 10 kilometers to the south is located railroad station in Krasnik, which housed a considerably strong German garrison. The nearest railroad station to the north is in Lesniczowka, and it is located at a distance of about 7 kilometers. From there the tracks continue to Niedrzwica and to Lublin. Between Krasnik and Wilkolaz village, at several hundreds of meters west of the railroad track and running nearly parallel to it, is a road linking Krasnik and Lublin. Under the overpass in Wilkolaz, this roads moves to the east of the tracks and continuing on this side it nearly reaches the municipality of Niedrzwica Duza. The building of the railroad station in Wilkolaz, the rail platforms, and the stores are located to the west of the tracks. The approach to the building of the station was (then from west) via gravel road leading away from Krasnik-Lublin road, and from the east, on the other hand, it was an unpaved country road that lead under tracks.
The armed protection for the operation was provided by the partisan unit "Znicz" (Leon Cybulski) and several squads from NSZ organizations from the surrounding villages. They were equipped with 3 Polish RKM [pol. abr. Reczny Karabin Maszynowy], Model 28 machine guns [based on the Browning Automatic Rifle 7.92x57mm], several other machine guns, and several semi-automatic rifles, and grenades. The unit was also supported by a horse-back reconnaissance unit with its primary mission being reconnaissance and communications. I belonged to this reconnaissance unit and fell under command of the commander for this operation Captain Jozef Jagielski, nom de guerre "Niebieski". The unit was transported via horse and cart, which during the conduct of the operation are located to the east of the tracks. An integral part of the security was provided by a unit consisting of dozen or so men, which at a specific time was to take over the railroad station building tn Lesniczowka. This unit was to hold the building, to control the telephone exchange, and the rail switches. In this fashion, a system of warning and protection against possible German attack with a help of rail transport from the direction of Lublin. We were to be informed of impeding attack from the direction of Krasnik by monitoring telephone communications from railroad stations controlled by us in Wilkolaz and Lesniczowka. Similarly, our patrols advanced to the west were responsible for notifying us about any approaching trains from Krasnik. The most probable routes of German counter-attack were: the Krasnik-Wilkolaz roads (to the west), through village of Pulanowice (from the south), and the Wilkolaz-Zakrzowek road (from the north-east). The anticipated arrival of the German expeditionary force would not be missed by our advanced patrols overlooking the Krasnik - Lublin road. Over half of our unit manned the area between the road and the tracks. Our southern flank provided security for the village of Pulankowice, while the northern flank reached the WIlkolaz-Zakrzowek road. The remaining span of the road from the north-east was watched and reinforced by our mobile patroles. The remaining forces provided security of the stores, and if necessary would maintain continuous movement for the carriages arriving and leaving with their cargo.
As I mentioned above, the primary goal of this operation was to remove content of the German stores, and the second, equally important aspect of it, was to test the readiness and the tactical capabilities of our underground organization, specifically: to test our ability to mobilize and to coordinate large scale transportation infrastructure and to test the readiness of our armed units in the Wilkolaz and Zakrzowek area. Thus, while on the one hand it was a military exercise of sorts that was to test our ability to maintain secrecy throughout a considerably large area, a strong possibility of military engagement with the enemy nonetheless existed.
I am writing about this in some detail, because I took part in preparations for this operation. I also want to educate the reader about few aspects of our activities that were to be part of our future large-scale underground operations of which the ultimate goal was to liberate our nation. Maintaining the security for the entire operation was very important, but from the military perspective, this operation was not particularly complicated. The movement of the transports could take place only in the easterly direction, because the crossing of the Krasnik-Lublin road was not particularly dangerous even in the case of unanticipated breech of security. The easterly direction had however, one negative ramification - that this, we had to travel over the railroad crossing allowing only one carriage to pass at a time. All of these details were well planned ahead, and subsequently precisely carried out. Groups of individuals assigned to loading oats into bags would rotate accordingly, and then under the watchful eyes of security details the bags were loaded onto waiting carriages and left to the previously determined storage locations. Individuals other than the participants of the operation who found themselves in the area were temporarily detained in waiting room of the railroad station building and were released upon completion of the operation.
The operation began around 9 p.m. and started with taking over railroad stations in Wilkolaz and Lesniczowka by our armed units and by securing the telephone exchange. The station-masters, and other individuals of whose intentions, based on our intelligence reports we were uncertain, were isolated in one of the storge buildings. The entire operation lasted around five hours.
After this operation the "Znicz" unit moved into the Boza Wola and Szklarnia area where it stayed put awaiting German reaction. However, the Germans didn't respond. Throughout the area people were saying that a very strong [partisan] unit with several dozens of horse carriages traveled through the area and in the process cleaned up [German] stores in Wilkolaz. As a result of this operation we were able to test operational and combat readiness of local underground units, and at the same time [Polish] farmers got back the oats confiscated from them by the Germans. Similarly, our units operating in the area had secured enough flour, and what it really meant bread, for some time to come.
Now I will attempt to recreate conduct of the operation that took at the Krosnik railroad station. The aim of this operation was to procure money for the operational needs of the unit. In his monograph entitled "National Armed Forces - 'Zab' against two enemies"(pol. "Narodowe sily Zbrojne - "Zab" przeciw dwu wrogom"), Jan Marek Chodakiewicz writes:
In the beginning of May, five-men tactical group [of National Armed Forces] commanded by 2nd Lt. "Lechita" raided railroad station in Krasnik to appropriate money stored in the safe. Obtained were two million Zlotys and weapons. During the retreat, the NSZ unit came into contact with German patrol (...) The Germans were disarmed (...) 
In the footnotes, among other sources, the author cites daily reports of the General Command of the [German] Generalgouvernement, and daily reports of the Ortskommandantur Ordnungspolizei Lublin surviving at the State Archives in Lublin. These reports are dated 9 and 13 May 1944. I remember beautiful and fresh green Spring and a short winter corn. So, it really had to be the beginning of Spring. The object of the operation however, was not the safe at the railroad station, but an office of large German enterprise operating on the property of the railroad station that was involved in modernization of the railroad trucks linking Lublin with Rozwadow.
Our intelligence established that during certain days the safe located in this enterprise's building may contain significant amount of money which was allocated for financing railroad construction on the Lublin-Rozwadow rail line. Ascertained were also the place and means by which the money was stored. The reconnaissance of the local area was conducted by Stanislaw Samborski-Tomkowicz, nom de guerre "Lechita" who knew this area the best, since he was from here. "Lechita" presented to us basic concepts of this operation: the money is to be appropriated without any exchange of fire; our personal weapons and the weapons of our security unit were to be used only as a last resort, and only in an event that we were engaged [by the Germans], or if our lives were endangered.
During this time the railroad station in Krasnik was guarded by a large [German] security force. Similarly, a large number of heavily protected trains transporting German soldiers to and from the Eastern front were stopped there. In addition to the numerically significant presence of the German forces there, one also had to be cognizant that these were battle-hardened front-line German soldiers who were far better trained and equipped than the regular or military German police. Thus, our military capabilities were of no significance to the planned operation, but could have had significance in our anticipated retreat or in case of a possible security breach. The thought of being able to defend ourselves was of significant psychological value to us.
The planning of this operation took place at the Regional command level, and with close cooperation with the county units [of the National Armed Forces]. The county commandant [of the National Armed Forces] and the regional Chief of Staff were responsible for conducting detailed surveillance, and then based on the obtained information, they were to choose the most optimal day and time of the operation. The planning personnel was chosen and approved by the district commandant Major Zbigniew Wyrwicz, nom the guerre "Witold". This group was assembled at the level of the County command, in cooperation with Captain "Cichy" (who was a commanding officer of the partisan unit), and other commandants of the units in the area. That is, individuals with the right training, and the right physical and psychological capabilities needed to be chosen. Some of them were required to speak German, while all had to be battle-tested, and to know each other well enough to have enough confidence in one another if presented by unsuspected events.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz writes in his book that it was a "five-men tactical unit", however, in reality, this group consisted of six people.
The operation in the field was commanded directly by 2nd Lt. "Lechita". He knew this area well, he was an experienced partisan with history with "Aleksandrowka" and with Henryk Figuro-Podhorski, nom the guerre "Step's" [unit]. We all knew him and he was also our only candidate to take charge of the operation. The plan of action was prepared in detail and everyone knew exactly what he had to do. The commanding officer was to intervene only in a event of unanticipated events. And such [unanticipated event] exactly, took place when "Lechita" had to make decisions that affected us all.
Our unit consisted of two groups. The first one, was the tactical group consisting of three men, and the second, also consisting of three men, provided our security.
The tactical group [consisted of]:
(1) 2nd Lt. "Lechita" (Stanislaw Samborski-Tomkowicz)
(2) 2nd Lt. "Cynik"
(3) Officer Candidate "Artur" (Bohdan Szucki)
This group was commanded by "Lechita".
The security group [consisted of]:
(1) Sgt. "Sokol" (Boleslaw Skulimowski)
(2) Korp. "Zawisza" (Wladek N.N.) manning the RKM [machine gun]
(3) Kopr. "Piwosz" (Edward "Edziu" Poleszak) - responsible for a horse carriage pulled by a pair of horses.
We came with various underground conspiratorial backgrounds within the III NSZ District.
"Lechita", an underground soldier was also an educator, and had contacts with County and District command. He knew the area well, and spoke German relatively well. I considered him to be one of my closest friends.
"Cynik" was transferred to our district several months earlier from Warsaw. He spoke fluent German (he was from the Pomorze area). He was a typical professional soldier - brave and friendly. He didn't look like a "battle-hardened partisan". He was rather short, and of somewhat round build. I had a chance to spend many weeks with him when we would travel via sleigh or via horse carriage throughout the Lublin area taking care of various organizational matters. We became good friends and had confidence in each other.
"Artur" was a long-time, experienced partisan. He became part of this unit on specific request of "Lechita" and on personal request of Major "Witold", the District's Chief of Staff.
"Sokol" was originally attached to the unit operating in the Marianowka area. At one time he had single-handedly disarmed three German soldiers at the Lesniczowka railroad station. From that moment on he never parted with his beautiful new MP [ger. abr. Maschinen Pistole] that was an object of wide jealousy [in the unit]. He would spend more time in the units commanded by "Cichy", "Znicz", and "Sep" than in his own unit. He was also a member of the training company (a Field Offier's School) ran by Lt. "Juhas" (Bruno Spychowski) and that's how we had known each other and became friends.
"Zawisza" was also from the unit in Marianowka, but because he was an experienced gunner [manning] an RKM [abr. Reczny Karabin Maszynowy - Light Machine Gun] he also spent more time in the field than at home.
"Piwosz" who came from the unit in Wikolaz, was an incredible coach-man, confidant of Capt. "Niebieski" and was my close friend.
The weapons of our unit consisted of: 1 RKM, model 28, 1 machine gun, 4 Mauser rifles, side arms, and about dozen grenades. Naturally, for obvious reasons, our tactical unit carried only side arms and grenades. For example, I carried Nandgun revolver, a Radom-built Vis handgun with three spare clips, and two Polish hand grenades, one tactical, and the other defensive. Concealed by hey on the horse-carriage were four machine guns with enough ammunition, and in the two haversacks ws spare ammunition for the RKM machine gun.
We were wearing civilian clothes, and overcoats [pol. "prochowce"]. "Lechita" and "Cynik" each carried a large pouch, and I had some sort textile bag which I carried over my shoulder.
Without any major problems via country roads we arrived at the forest located near Pulankowice, Rudki, Stroza, Kolonia Stroza villages. The Krasnik railroad station was located on the south-eastern edge of this forest. We crossed the railroad tracks between Kolonia Stroza, and Krasnik station. Later, vial country road leading on the southern side of the tracks in the western direction we arrived to the Krasnik station area. This country road ran on an incline elevated above the tracks that were below. Maintaining elementary precautions we took up entry position in front of the building located on an old, no longer used cemetary which was overgrown with tall trees. Under the cover of these trees we left the horse carriage facing the direction of our departure. "Zawisza" found perfect place for our RKM. In his field of view he had the station's building and located to its right the building that was the object of our operation. Because this overgrown cemetery was located on an elevation above the station, in essence the entire area of the station was in his field of fire. "Piwosz" readied the rifles left on the horse carriage and kept it at a ready to immediately leave if needed. His, one would think, passive role was surely equally stressful and one not to be envied.
Our remaining four men pulled back 200-300 meters and via country road we descended onto road running immediately next to the tracks. We started to move towards the buildings. This road was separated from the tracks by some sort of gardens separated by wooden fences. "Sokol" would remind near one of these fences at a distance of 100 meters, or maybe little further, from the target of our operation. While the building that was the target of our operation was under watchful eye of "Zawisza", while "Sokol" had an unobstructed view of the greater part of the tracks and the rear side of the building housing offices being the object of our operation.Under his coat he had machine gun, spare clips of ammunition, a hand gun, and two grenades. Leaning against the fence he would look as if he was waiting for somebody.
The three of us walked on in the following order: leading us was "Lechita", than "Cynik", and me, "Artur", walking several paces behind them. The small square in front of the station was empty, and only on a bench located near the entrance to the building that was our target were sitting two Germans in gray uniforms with holstered handguns on their belts. There wasn't any time to think. Without any hesitation, "Lechita" and "Cynik" walked by the bench, entered the open door onto the staircase. Whistling something under my nose, I slowly followed them. Observing through a half-opened window the square in front of the station, they were waiting for me on the landing. I remained at this observation point. They, on the other hand, quickly reached the next landing, and then on the first floor knocked on the door to the right. It was a decisive, and nervous moment. Will they open the door? After a long pause, a man's voice behind the door asks in German: who are you and what do you want? The "Cynic's" eloquence and his fluent German apparently put the German at ease, because in a moment the door slightly opened.
With lightening speed, an athletic "Lechita" overpowered the German, while "Cynik" quickly explained to him that he will leave only if he stays calm. According to our plans, [at this point] I left my observation point on the landing and took up position in a hallway, after first locking the door to the staircase. So, now we were inside of the locale which was both an office and living quarters inhabited by the director of this enterprise and his wife. After figuring out that this is not a friendly visit she became hysterical. "Lechita" had to effectively and decisively quite her by putting pillow over her head and by telling her that if she doesn't stop, he will have to strangle her. It worked. She was gagged, tied up, and comfortably placed on the couch.
I checked the rest of the rooms - they were empty. The German was calm and even eager to cooperate. He pointed to the drawer in which he kept his gun. It was a Mauser 7mm handgun. It was a beauty which I was to keep as a souvenir. Without further ado, he opened the safe from which we took out the money - they were the so called "Mlynarki". They were put in two large pouches and in my bag as well. How much it was, I don't know. Marek Chodakiewicz mentions the amount of twoo million zloty. Perhaps, I was never interested in how much it was.
This entire operation took no longer than 10 minutes and ended by giving our hosts polite instructions about the way they were to behave after we leave. These instructions can be summarized as follow: we are not gangsters, the money is needed to allow us to continue our fight with Nazism, we don't intend to harm them, it is to be understood however, that we have to protect ourselves, and for this reason they will be tied up and gagged. After no sooner than half-hour, they can attempt to free themselves. If they raise an alarm any sooner than that, unfortunately in order to set an example for others, they will be liquidated. A true gentleman, "Cynik" apologized to the already calm woman for her discomfort, and we completed this phase of our operation. After precisely locking the place up and confiscating the keys, we retreated in the following order: first walked the "Cynik" with his pouch, then "Lechita", also with his pouch, and dozen meters or so behind them walked myself with a bag protruding with money.
Now began the most difficult part of the operation. The two Germans were sitting on the bench in front of the building. It was necessary for us to walk by as if nothing had happened, slowly and for about 300 meters. This was the most difficult part. The instinct dictated a quick jump towards the small wooded cemetery, the horse carriage awaiting there, and the protection offered by "Zawisza's" RMK machine gun. Both the existing plan and the common sense on the other hand, called for a relaxed, calm walk of the distance of several hundred meters along the gardens near the tracks, for passing by awaiting "Sokol", who will be closing behind us as a fourth member of our team, and then through the incline follow the road where awaited for us the horse carriage. After figuring out that we had all retreated successfully, "Zawisza" was to leave his RKM position and as the last one reach the horse carriage. This several hundred meters of long relaxed walk had become more exhausting then marches that lasted many hours or many hours in the saddle.
We eagerly and quickly got into the carriage and Edzio took as on our return journey. However, this relaxation and peace didn't last long. After moving for maybe 300-400 meters, Edziu alerted us in a conspiratorial whisper: Germans. Indeed, on the side of the road marching in our direction in line was a German patrol moving towards the railroad station. I don't remember how many, but not fewer than six, thus we were one-to-one agains the Germans.
"Lechita" issued orders. We were to ride slowly, and when right next to them, quickly jump off the carriage, and overpower them with force or intimidation. We had to avoid shooting at all cause because we were sill very close to the station. They were completely surprised. A quickHände hochand several blows with butts of rifles took any desire to fight out of them. The disarming , and unclothing them from uniforms and boots took only several minutes. Lt. "Cynik" calmly explained to them that if they behave rationally their lives were not endangered. They were told that they better wait for 10-20 minutes because they can come in contact with another large partisan unit in the area and there is no assurance what they will do with them. We left quickly. We crossed the railroad trucks jumping across individually and covering each other. Only Edziu didn't jumped off the carriage. We were again on the same road that an hour earlier we were traveling in the opposite direction.
At this moment we heard a fusillade at the Krosnik station. I think all Germans present there were whistling in the dark demonstrating their firepower. This fusillade began when the German patrol wearing undergarments reported to the commandant of the station.
From this point on our trip continued without any obstacles. in the previously established locality we met with the district's Chief of Staff and Capt. "Niebieski". I took the soft German hat, uniform jacket, field boots [pol. "Saperki"] which served me until my [National Armed Forces] unit was disbanded. "Lechita" presented me with the Mauser 7mm (pol. "siodemka"). I am not sure if it was done as a formality, but I am sure it was friendly and sympathetic. I am not sure. I think that the Chief of Staff didn't know anything about it.
I asked to be relieved. I transferred onto "Sokol" and "Zawisza's" horse carriage and we left for supper in the welcoming Marianowka. "Lechita" and "Cynik" stayed behind in order to prepare detailed report and to transfer the procured money.
The next day, a news spread that a strong partisan unit attempted to take over Krasnik railroad station and fought a heavy engagement with at this time German forces stationed there. This is the account of the participant of these events. I have to agree that despite the fact that this operation culminated in our complete success, was conducted exemplarily, and reaffirmed our intelligence and tactical capabilities, it didn't make any great impression on us, the participants of these events. I remember it well primarily because I got a pair of comfortable field boots and the pain i felt in my highs that was caused by a leisurely pace of the retreat, that is from the moment we left the building until we reached the awaiting carriage.
It isn't easy to become a hero, particularly against ones own wishes or against his own reluctance to accept this fact.