National Armed Forces - Narodowe Sily Zbrojne - NSZ - The Doomed Soldiers

National Armed Forces
Polish Underground Soldiers 1944-1963 - The Untold Story

Freedom And Independence - Wolnosc i Niezawislosc - WiN - The Doomed Soldiers


Zolnierze Wykleci
National Armed Forces NSZ - Narodowe Sily Zbrojne
Foundation "We Remember" - "Pamietamy"

Ryszard Mikolayczuk, National Armed Forces (NSZ), nom de guerre "Szkot"

Ryszard Mikolajczuk, name de guerrre “Szkot” (engl. Scotsman), National Armed Forces (pol. Narodowe Sily Zbrojne) Soldier - Memoirs

Memoirs of Scotsman – Pol. "Wspomnienia 'Szkota'"

I was arrested on July 3, 1948 in Siedlce. The initial investigation and the interrogations that followed took place at the MO (People’s Militia; pol. Milicja Obywatelska) headquarters in Siedlce. The interrogations lead by [Polish secret police] interrogator [named] Kowalczyk took place in a large room adjacent to his government-issued apartment. The front door to the room was guarded by armed [secret police] sentry.

Before the interrogations began, I had to strip naked. From beginning to the end of interrogations, I would hear more cursing and profanities in Russian than in Polish. Whether I answered any questions or not, I was beaten with a riding crop called “nahayka”.

When the interrogator got tired of hitting me with the riding crop he would start over again, this time hitting me with an edge of a long ruler. Helped by another functionary, whom he would call to assist him, he would strike the most intimate parts of my body. These interrogations would last usually between 3 to 6 hours. In order to make this “play” more fun, they would also use various electrical devices. One of the functionaries would attach the end of a cable to my finger, and the other cranked the generator. The faster he cranked the more I was shocked; it felt as if my entire body was being torn to pieces from within.

The only sensible questions were asked of me during my first interrogation: my name, my nom de guerre, and code-name of my underground unit. The questions that followed later were of more intimate nature, such as: “when did you fuck last time, you son of a whore”? “What is the name of your whore … How much did you pay her?”, “… What? Only this much?”, “… I pay 500 zloty, and you [pay only] 300 [Zloty]?”, “… you son of a whore, you take advantage of our girls …”. And then the “nahayka” would be put to use again, and again: “How many ours did you kill you son of a whore”? The riding crop was unleashed on me again. “Where did you hide your weapons, you son of a whore?”- and then round and round again.

In order to amuse himself even more, he ordered my brother Mieczyslaw to be lead into the interrogation room. Mieczyslaw who just about this time brought some sandwiches for me to the jail, was stopped by the duty officer standing guard on the first floor of the County Office of Public Security [pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego] They were already done with my interrogation; I was dressed, with my hands cuffed behind the back.

Then the door opens and the functionary leads my brother in. What occurs next is nearly identical to what I endured [moments earlier]: “Get undressed! Take off all of your clothes you son of a whore … How many of ours did you kill?” – every few moments the riding crop is being put to work – “Where did you hide weapons, you son of a whore ” – round and round to no end.

When the interrogator got tired his demeanor softened; he took out pack of cigarettes and offered one to my brother. “I don’t smoke” – my brother stuttered. The interrogator went crazy: “What? You don’t smoke, you son of a whore? Wait. You’ll smoke in a minute. I’ll teach you!”. The riding crop went to work. My brother started to smoke, but didn’t inhale because he never smoked in his life and the smoke was aggravating him. The interrogator went crazy again and jumped towards him with a riding crop. My brother tried to inhale, but chocked on the smoke and began to cough and groan. I couldn’t look at it anymore. I tried to free myself from the cuffs, but to no avail. It lasted around two hours. I had to look at what was happening [to my brother]. One would think that my brother Mieczyslaw would have to suffer so much only for trying to bring some food for me to the jail.

One day while being lead out of the cell severely beaten and cuffed, a young armed guard jumped towards me and without saying a single word, punched me on the face with a fury, and then tried to hit me with a butt of his rifle. Just in time I managed to move aside. The guard was maybe 18 years old, had a round, red face, with an expression of a hired-help village simpleton. I have to say that this slap on the face hurt me thousand times more than all the tortures combined I had endured until that moment.

The senseless interrogations and beatings went on for seven days. Tired of this merry-go-round of profanities and beatings, the interrogator made a small talk with me. He ordered me to stand near the wall, and while sitting behind his desk took out Soviet TT handgun [Tokarev TT-33, 7.62 mm. x 25 mm. automatic pistol] inserted a magazine, loaded bullet into the chamber, and then asked me unsuspectingly: “Do you believe in God?” “Yes, I do” – I answered. “So kneel and pray because this is your last hour, you son of a whore”. He extended the hand with the gun and started to point it towards me. I’ve had enough. Surprising myself, I murmured: “Shoot, if you want to shoot. I know when and before whom I have to kneel. I am sure that it isn’t before you …” My throat got dried, but once again I told him with all the bravery I was able to muster: “Go ahead, shoot, hurry up, what are you staring at?” The “comrade” interrogator was dumbfounded. His eyes, like a fish, got larger, as if he had seen me for the first time ever. He lowered the hand holding the gun and laid the gun on the desk.

I have to say that this moment, this personal test of my own dignity would determine my future fate while incarcerated, for from this moment on I would stand-up to them. What it meant was that I would fight back, and that meant fighting back physically. It cost me my health, but helped me with getting released sooner. But, this is another long story.

Almost at the same time when I was arrested another special crew lead by Lt. Kowalczk barged at night into the house of my parents to conduct a search. Several years later I found out what this “search” looked like. Under the guise of searching for weapons the secret police men from the PUBP [pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – County Office for State Security] destroyed everything in their path. My mother was very sick and because of her illness had stayed in bed for sometime. But, these beasts didn’t pay attention to anything, and while cursing and with physical force tried to throw my mother out of her bed. My father tried to defend her. A scuffle and a physical fight ensued. My father was so severely beaten with rifle butts and kicked that his entire head was bleeding. Despite this, while searching for weapons, they threw my mother out of bed and tore all bedding, covers, and mattresses.

But it wasn’t enough for them. They dragged my father to the butcher shop and there they beat him so he would show them where the weapons were hidden. In the end the Bezpieka men [Bezpieka - derisive slang, short form of Bezpieczenstwa] pushed him inside the smokehouse through the opening on the top while screaming: “Look for the weapons you son of a whore, we won’t let you out until you find them”. The smokehouse wasn’t that large, because our butcher shop wasn’t open during the war, and the building wasn’t lit, the policemen started a fire with dry wood in the furnace - sawdust, and papers which they found in the smoke house. The fire and thick smoke filled the smoke house. On the outside were heard loud laughs and obscenities while inside unconscious, beaten and knocked laid abused with fire and smoke by the Stalinist lackeys old man.

Fairness dictates that I must mention that among them was one man who didn’t partake in this “game” and who dared to loudly ask them “Is this necessary?” I am indebted to him for this. This functionary’s name was Mieczyslaw Strzalek. He was a friend of mine from the Adam Mickiekiewicz Elementary School, and a neighbor.

I am trying to rationally assess my defeats like a boxer. One who enters the ring should also anticipate defeat. Politically or militarily, such defeat may have serious consequences. One who is conquered becomes a slave and as such has no rights – we remember this well from the time of partitions [of Poland], and then the Nazi and Soviet occupation. I didn’t share my personal reflections about my imprisonment in order to accuse the Bolshevik functionaries, nor to lament about what had happened to me. My intent is to help you, the reader, to understand what kind of horror was brought upon the officers of the Podlasie District of the National Armed Forces [pol. Narodowe Sily Zbrojne – NSZ] in the UB [pol. Urzad Bezpiecznstwa – State Security] dungeons, and to tell you about them before they left for the eternal service. Please only consider the treatment received by myself, a simple rank-and-file rifleman and then imagine how much more horrific methods were used against the officers of the Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (engl. National Armed Forces). Editors note: According to the account given by NSZ soldier T. Lugowski, nom de guerre “Krogulec” the interrogating officers of Bezpieka jumped on a prone NSZ officer, Lt. St. Orlinski, and crushed his chest with their boots when he complained about lung problems (he had tuberculosis) and asked for a doctor.

Personal reflections

I am aware that I haven’t touched upon many particularities of the partisan’s life during the Soviet occupation, nor have I exhausted this subject. Concluding, please allow me to share with you my own observations and reflections about my experiences during my service in the NSZ. Above all I have to emphasize our profound fascination and romanticism, as it permeated through our partisans’ life.

We brought this romanticism and fascination with Polish history and the pride of being Polish from school and from our homes. We were fascinated not only with the exploits of Skrzetuski, Wolodyjowski or Kmicic, but also by the legendary and contemporary heroes of the Warsaw Uprising, by the Cichociemni, and by commanders of the partisans units lead by the legendary Major Hubal. We were raised on the novels of Sienkiewicz, on poetry of Mickiewicz, Asnyk, Konopnicka, on the poetry of Young Poland movement [pol. Moloda Polska], and songs of the Legionaries [pol. piosenki legionowe]. New partisan songs and the notoriety gained by particular commanders such as “Ponury”, Zenon”, “Ogien”, “Mlot” and others had swept through Poland. As such, one may ask, which one of us young troublemakers wouldn’t want to be a partisan, and not become famous by fighting for freedom and sovereignty of our nation?

Each and every opportunity was right; every contact bringing us closer to the possibility of fighting the Nazi occupiers and later the Soviets was, as it were, a God’s gift which we embraced with our youthful enthusiasm. All of this was closely tied to the fate of our nation, and it interested me and inspired my imagination. Thus, when a friend of mine Tolek Makarski asked me that I join the organization, I didn’t have to think long about it.

While holding a medallion [pol. Ryngraf] with Polish eagle and Holy Mother of Czestochowa together with Sergeant “Walek”, my superior, I repeated words of the oath spoken by him:

“By entering the ranks of the NSZ, I swear before the God Almighty, the Holy Trinity, and Holy Mother of Czestochowa, the Crowned Queen of Poland that I will fight the Bolshevik occupier, his supporters until complete a victory; I will dutifully and conscientiously guard secrets of the organization, and will not reveal them even under the fear of loosing health or life; I will conscientiously, with dedication, and without hesitation follow orders of my superiors – so help me God, and His Holy Cross.”

After taking the oath, I became a soldier in the Siedlce area’s Special Executive Directive of the National Armed Foreces [pol. abr. PAS - Pogotowie Akcji Specialnej Narodowych Sil Zbrojnych] subordinated to Lt. Stanislaw Okninski, nom de guerre “Zych”. I was 18 years old and was in the 3rd grade [translators’ note – an equivalent of junior in high school] at the St[anislaw] Staszic Mechanical Gymnasium in Sidlce. About a year later I was assigned to the PAS NSZ [pol. abr. Pogotowie Akcji Specialnej - Special Emergency Executive] unit with the nom de guerre “Wiaz” of which I wrote briefly.

While writing this historical draft I didn’t touch upon the specific environment nor background, but only about the facts alone. However, intangibles are no less important than facts themselves, and at times perhaps even more important, because events pour out of them almost as water pours from the stream. For this reason I will now attempt to say a little about those elusive, but nonetheless important intangibles.

Imagine a group of young boys between the age of 16 and 23-years old who suddenly leave their family nests and find themselves in diametrically different environment an hour later. These boys are usually from poor rural or city homes, who are ambitious, and have a certain intellectual and moral background. Each and every one of us left gymnasium [highschool] while a senior, and this fact at that time had to have certain meaning. But despite this, with an exception of 23-year old officers who directed this group, these boys were all almost children. But in every respect, we were all absolutely convinced of our maturity. Each one of us thought that he was madly in love with the only girl in the world – madly in love for the first time and with no boundaries. Leaving for the field with some food each one of us also carried with him various experiences, habits, fantasies, and complexes. Only our love towards a beloved girl, most often hidden deeply in our hearts, and our love towards the country was unwavering and probably equally deep for each one of us.

After leaving from around the Siedlce area in the early Spring, and after our first all-night march we woke up on the forest’s floor and we found ourselves in a different world. For me personally, this was an unbelievably beautiful world that was difficult to describe and at the same time surreal. We were amidst of old forest with old, tall trees – from among which in the beginning I was only able to identify pine trees, spruce trees, birch, and oaks. Not much later, I was able to admire majestic Pacific silver firs, the only grand fir preserve in Poland reaching this far into the north. A veritable wonder of nature! Clean, intoxicating air, blue skies during the day, and a star-lit canopy of the sky at night. I have had all of it before my own eyes, within a reach of my hand at all times, and not portioned just for a short excursion, but in each and every moment of day or night. One who had not lived under beautifully painted, star-lit Polish skies, has not walked on the a carpet woven of mosses, berries, grasses, herbs, wild flowers, and who haven’t had all of these miracles for his exclusive enjoyment; he does not truly know what the creator bestowed upon us, nor does he know how beautiful country it is. We were lucky, for during each moment of night or day we could absorb these miracles of nature undisturbed almost during an entire 1947. It was possible, for in essence, we were continuously on the move, and not only during night which was common, but at sunrise, or at dusk, at times during a scorching heat of the day, or during rainfall, or thunderstorm.

I vividly recall the impression made on me by barking dogs when marching in-line as we were approaching some sleeping village at dawn. I remember quietly drawing water from a well with a sweep, in order not to wake up the owners. At times instead of water we would pull from the depth of the well a bucket full of milk or cream. It was very tasty and straight from the cows. In general, everything during these times was delicious. Bread with lard or with bacon tasted better than pork chop, because more often than not we would walk on an empty stomach. A life full of adventures and dangers tastes better than the regular everyday-life. There was never any time for deliberation, nor was there time for just about anything else in general. Never would anyone of us have enough time to even once get a good night’s sleep.

We would leave our quarters for action at a distance of 15 to 20 kilometers or more and than, after its completion, a quickly jump back to sojourn – all together 30 to 40 kilometers in full gear, uniforms, with ammunition boxes on our backs. At times during these marches we would run into some girl walking on the forest road. Dear God! One wanted so much to chat, to flirt, and maybe more! But forget it! We couldn’t stop even for a moment, unless commanding officer allowed us to take a break. The more our lives were endangered, the more we valued them. With each passing month the circle would close tighter and tighter all around us. We saw more and more passing military vehicles with dimmed reflectors on the roads. The villages near Jaty were combed more often by the KBW (Korpus Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – Eng: Internal Security Corps; Polish Communist: secret police) and UB units.

Even tough drinking was strictly prohibited. Our commanders, such as Lt. “Mork” and “Nalecz” gave us a dispensation for the Soldiers’ Holiday on 15 August 1947. Our invaluable cook “Grom” prepared an incredible chocolate liquor. Each one of us got 100 miligrams of this “elixir” which wormed and rejuvenated us. I have no idea in what kind of partisan units Misters Ford, Kawalerowicz, or Wajda served, because in their movies they portray partisans imbibing with full glasses of moonshine. Drinking was strictly forbidden – at least in our unit.

The prayers said aloud during morning and evening assemblies made a profound impression on me. The “Pater Noster” ("Our Father who art in heaven") recited solemly and exactly under the open skies, and under the ever-green Pacific silver firs or pines in the background that would be impossible to recreate by even the most skillful motion picture producer, gave us hope, strength, and comfort. To this day I can see before my eyes our entire unit standing in-line.

[I remember] the morning assembly and Squad Leader, Sargeant “Maly”, giving report to the unit’s commander, Lt. “Mrok”. In front of the unit stands commandant of the sappers, Lt. Tadeusz Moniuszko, nom de guerre “Bej”, “Mrok”. To his side, at a half a pace distance behind him stands District Commandant of PAS, [pol. abr. of Pogotowie Akcji Specjalnej - Special Emergency Executive - Polish Patriot: military] Captain Stanislaw Okninski nom de guerre “Zych”, “Nalecz”, “Bronisz”. After the count, Korporal “Maly” gives report and returns to the line. Because I was the smallest one, I always stood at the end. From this place I could precisely observe faces and demeanor of all of my taller colleagues.

If I remember correctly the order in which we stood: the first in line was always Korporal Karol Sawicki “Maly”, medium height, athletic built, dark complexion, black, slightly thinning hair. The “Maly” was somebody I aspired to be, he was an idol of mine. With respect I gazed at his posture and his eyes gleaming with an extraordinary dedication and fate looking straight into the eyes of the commanding officer who was receiving his report. He impressed me with his efficiency and his complete devotion to the cause. Next to the “Maly” stood Korporal Antoni Makarski, nom de guerre “Zbik”, Zjawa”, a leader of the operations section, and my best friend from the gymnasium – also an impressive posture, face of dark complexion, bright, creative, reassuring eyes full of vigor. The next in line was rifleman Jozef Wyczolkowski, nom the guerre “Grom”, our cook, and the tallest of the whole group, nearly 2 meters tall, a thin blond-haired, and sympathetic looking. Next to him stood senior rifleman Janusz Olko, nom de guerre “Kubus”, also tall like “Grom”, of athletic build, blond hair, and half-cocked smile on his round face. Further down one saw sportsman-like built posture of rifleman Zdzislaw Lysakowski, nom de guerre “Danka” with girl-like, dark completion face, and proud demeanor. Next to “Danka” stood rifleman Zygmunt Marcinek, nom de guerre “Dabek”, tall, light-haired, with blue eyes, and chubby, red face. His eyes were always full of elation and proud content that he was accepted into our partisan unit. He would tuck along with us for about 2 months, and paid for it with full 9 years of incarceration at the Wronki prison. Next to him stood erected like an instrument string the youngest soldier in our unit, rifleman Witold Taraszewski, nom the guarre “Orzel”, “Zryw” – only 16 years old, but built well, a tall blond-haired youngster with short mustashe under his nose to give him more courage, tall forehead, straight nose, a haughty look, but genuine and well-tempered. Next in line is rifleman Marian Ordys, nom de guerre “Boruta”, “Czarny”, also tall, skinny, of dark complexion, and black hair like a crow, with delicate face, and dark, alerted eyes. He was a machine gunner, manning our light machine gun who was head over heels in love with a girl named Stasia. To his left stood rifleman Kazimierz Antolak, nom de guerre “Halina”, well build, stocky boy with head full of hair, sharp look, with face full of freckles, very sympathetic, and full of energy. He was one of not many who was dressed to the tee like a real partisan, wearing English military paratrooper’s jacket, knickerbockers, and tall officer’s boots. Next to “Halina” stood rifleman Stanislaw Wierzchucki, nom de guerre “Blyskawica”, “Sek”, beautifully built blond man with chubby round face and happy, pert look in his eyes.

Next to him stood Korporal “Komar” (N.N. – Nieznany I Niezidentyfikowany – Unknown And Unidentified), of medium height, stocky, with black mop, pale complexion who joined us from Miedzyrzecze Podlaskie in July – serious, concentrated, always silent. From the Miedzyrzecze we were also joined by “Lis” (N.N.), standing next to him, who was with us very briefly, for around a month. Two times he received a leave to take care of some court case involving his family, but never returned from the leave. Was he an UB mole? Next to “Lis” stood rifleman Waclaw Kalicki, nom de guerre “Wrzos”, “Parasol”, with dark, curly blond hair, as if he just returned from the barber shop. At the very end stood the shortest one of all of them – rifleman Ryszard Mikolajczuk, nom de guerre “Rys”, “Szkot”, short, stocky, with round chubby face, often pensive, as if he was not present, but lucid – at least as much as it was necessary. They called him the “scientist” because he carried Polish-German dictionary in his backpack. Besides the fact that he could write verses, and at times even composed love letters for his collegues to be sent to their girlfriends, he was a pillow, and there wasn’t much use for him at all.

Thus, with an exception of this one unworthy member, the unit consisted of extraordinary, happy soldiers, who were full of vigor, energy, enthusiasm, and imagination. The great majority of them were very handsome youngsters who without any doubt would fit the bill to be a part of a presentation guard. One could see all of them at the same during the briefing. When I observed their faces during these briefings, I was always curious what brought them here? How among these Pacific silver firs did the fates gather all of these extraordinary boys? But it was difficult to, if not impossible, to pierce into their hearts by looking alone, and the mirrors of their souls, full of secrets were impossible to decipher. And so it remains a mystery to this day. A man is a mystery – even to himself – not to mention others.

Out of 16 men in our unit, only 7 of those who served until the end remain. Shortly, we will all leave for the eternal service. I hope that merciful God will allow us once more stand next to each other at an assembly in heaven, as we did in Jata, and among the friends, and in a family-like circle, seeing, as in a mirror, beautiful Polish forests, and fields. I would like to reflect about the watches we kept while in the Podlaski region.

For me, standing guard in the middle of night in the depths of the Pacific silver firs forests, when all soldiers slept like rocks in the dug-outs, was something extraordinary. What silence all around; what a depth of silence. Even the smallest whisper can be felt. How peaceful; what a blissful peace all around! Stars sparkle through the lampshade woven of pine and Pacific silver firs against a blue firmament of the sky. All creation rests after a hot day. I am absorbing into myself this solemn silence as if it were a serene elixir of the heart. I pray with no words, silently, just like the nature all around me – just like this osika tree - next to me, whose shimmering leafs thank the Almighty [for being part of his creations]. In such silence one feels closeness of God, His majesty, His love, His care. A few paces forward; a few back. You can stand still, but God forbid, don’t lean against the tree. Remember, you can’t, or you will fall to sleep! You have to keep guard so those sleeping in the dug-outs can continue on with their dreams asleep, so they can rest a little after an operation.

Another time I kept guard at a farm at Kolonie Smiarskie. But, I was so tired and sleepy, that my eyes were closing shut. In order to stay awake I walked around the farmyard but felt that it didn’t help and that I am walking asleep. Right then a saving thought crossed my mind that near me is a deep well full of medication for sleepiness. I got a bucket of freezing water and poured it over my head. It helped, but not for very long. I am glad that my high school friend, Korporal “Zrywa” who was in charge of the watch noticed my fatigue and relieved me by taking over the watch himself. Thank God for that.

Even though our service was tough and we didn’t have time for anything, during the first months we were able to get a little time to relax. I remember a small picnic on some sort of large forest clearing in Jata. After the breakfast consisting of black bred with salted lard which tasted great, we had some free time. “Sek” got his harmonica and started to play some folk songs from the Podlasie region. After that we sung some partisan songs, and at the end “Danek” began to sing a Russian song. We sung the popular “Katiusha”, and after that “Danek” sung a beautiful Russian song: “Na tzakate stoyi barin … kto evo znayet , tsathem on markhayet …“ Danek” had a nice voice, and sung beautifully as if he was a professional singer on a stage. And the background [to this performance] was truly beautiful. These were the memorable and pleasant moments.

During such idle moments, Captain “Bronisz” would tell us all sorts of jokes, often of Jewish origin, which were the funniest, or told us stories of exploits of Captain “Remisz”, about the unit of “Zenon”, “Mlot”, and others. We listend to him, bewitched, because he was a gifted story teller and a joker.

I am reminiscing about this in order to dispel a fable about an alleged extreme anti-Semitism of the National Armed Forces, and of Polish anti-semitism in general. During the period of 2 years of my membership in NSZ I never heard any anti-Semitic overtones in any statements or actions of my colleagues or superiors. If Captain Okninski told Jewish jokes, he did so to demonstrate specific Jewish humor – sympathetically and without any negative overtones. Notably, the family of Captain “Bronisz” hid Jews throughout the entire Nazi occupation, and saved many of them. The same “anti-Semitic” deeds have to also be attributed to the family of the individual writing this account, and to the families of our friends who lived in villages. For example, on his property in Stanislawow-Drupa, the grand-uncle of Captain Okninski, “Zych” hid a Jew, Dr. Turski and his entire family, throughout the entire period of [Nazi] occupation.

My own family saved many Jews by providing them with temporary safe heaven on our property, which incidentally, was located immediately next to the Siddlce Ghetto. For example, we saved a well known shop keeper Leon Goldman, his daughter, and his brother Jonte Goldman (a well known brick layer in Siedlce). Of course, there were talks about some Jews – specific lackies of Stalin – but never in general. The Jews were mentioned as individuals, or by names. Such names as [Jakub] Berman, [Jozef] Rozanski, Landsberg, Borejsza, [Julia] Brystigier [nicknamed "Bloody Luna"][1] and in Sieldlce specifically, Alberg, Blumensteins, Kwiatek, and others were mentioned to berate their sadism, banditism, and hatred towards the Poles. Similarly, there was no xenophobia directed against the Russian people – we rejected the Bolshevik leaders, leadership of the NKVD, or SMERSH. We had nothing against beautiful Russian military songs, or Russian, or Ukrainian songs. However, we could not sit idle while Poland was occupied and pillaged, whether it was perpetrated by Germans, Russians, or by their Polish or Jewish henchmen.

We wanted Poland to be sovereign, to be free, and to be governed by Poles who were elected in free elections. We wanted to save ourselves and others from being transported and tormented in the depths of [Communist] Russia, and to be safe from arrests and imprisonment – most of all, we wanted to survive while retaining dignity and honor. To what extend we we’re successful – that is another story.

I’d like to make sure that in this short account I don’t fail to mention all those who, having very little, shared with us the last piece of bread they had. These were the inhabitants of villages around Jata, inhabitants of Mroczki, Smiary, Dacbog, Jagodne, Zdziary, Grezowka, Domanice, Jastrzebie, Emilianowka, Wodyn, Seroczyn, and many others. They were supportive and shared with us all that they had when we collected food for the unit. For this kindness and disregard for repressions for supporting us, on behalf of myself, and my colleagues from the unit, please allow me to thank you will all of my sincerity. God Bless you! I would like to offer similarly warm thanks to the game keepers in the grand forest complex and at the same time at the Jata forest preserve who during the entire 1947 helped us and supported us in every possible way. We want to thank you for letting us draw water, to bathe on your properties, at times to get something to eat and to rest. We want to thank you for alerting us to the presence of UB and KBW patrols, and for sharing valuable information, for providing us with safe houses. God Bless you.

I vividly remember names of many friendly game keepers, namely: Misters Kubiak, Cudnik, Michalec, Kedziora; the name of the Master Forester, Mr. Wojewodzki from Jagodno who had a beautiful forester’s house that resembled a small royal estate. But, more importantly I remember his two beautiful daughters with whom we were all madly in love. Under the pretext of getting some water, sour cream, or just about any other pretext, we would gladly visit his house get take a peek at his beautiful girls – if only for a brief moment.

Quite often we wrote letters to our parents, families and our girlfriends in which we wanted to console them and reassure them after our sudden disappearance from our family homes. The fashion in which this correspondence was circulated was a guarded secret, and to this day I don’t know exactly how it was done. I know only that a beautiful girl would knock on the door, deliver an unmarked envelope, and immediately disappear from the field of vision of the recipient. The delivery of correspondence and a slew of other conspiratorial activities at times partially open, but most often deeply guarded, is a testimony to the impressive organization of the NSZ (National Armed Forces).

The more time would passed from the time of Potsdam and Yalta agreements, the more difficult our service in the underground partisan units had become. To this day I am amazed how precislely all of this functioned. How was it possible that a small, only 16-men unit – yes well armed, but consisting of only youngsters – was able to maintain control of the greater part of the present area of the Woyvodeship for over seven months.

Concluding, we ought to emphasize that armed resistance to the Soviet occupation after the German capitulation was not as senseless as a few historians and journalists attempt to depict it. If this armed underground and resistance didn’t exist, then most likely the Polish September, nor Poznan, nor Gdansk would ever happen, and we wouldn’t have Solidarity in 1980. In September, 1997, the spokeswoman for the post-communist Polish government publicly applauded those who fought against the regime for a sovereign and free Poland on Polish television.

While this is a small consolation for the veterans, it is a consolation of sorts nonetheless. I am personally very satisfied that I had lived long enough to see liberation from the Soviet occupation, and hope to live long enough to see the crumbling of post-communism [in Poland]. The path through the hell of slavery and through prisons hardens ones character. In prisons I had an opportunity to meet many extraordinary individuals, great patriots whom I would have never met anywhere else in the world. One could have met unforgetable individuals of crystal-clear conscience most often in the underground or in prisons. These were those times, and so is the fate prepared for us by history.

Written by Ryszard Mikolajczuk, nom de guerre "Szkot", Narodowe Sily Zbrojne, NSZ.

The original Polish language text can be found here.

[1] "Brystiger personally oversaw the first stage of an investigation; she would torture the captured persons, using her own methods, such as beating men's genitals with a whip. One of her victims was a man named Szafarzynski, of the Olsztyn office of the Polish People's Party, who died after interrogation carried out by Brystygier. One of persons interrogated by Brystygier said later of her: "She is a murderous monster, worse than German female guards of the concentration camps". Anna Roszkiewicz-Litwiniwiczowa, a former soldier of the Home Army, said of Brystygier: "She was famous for her sadistic tortures, she seemed to be obsessed about sadistic sex and she was fulfilling herself in that field". Source: Wiki.



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