Biographies of insurgents

Brigadier General Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl"

Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski,
a.k.a. "Stanislaw", "Motyl"
soldier of Home Army (AK), Brigadier General

Days of infancy and youth

         Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski was born on March 10, 1917, in Browki, 60km from Kiev, in the family estate of his parents, Maria née Raciborska and Oskar Scibor-Rylski, in the noble family of the Ostoja coat of arms.

The coat of arms of the family: In the red field - a sword with silver blade and golden cross-guard between two inverted golden crescents opposite to each other, five ostrich feathers in the crest

         The families of Marszycki (grandmother in the mother's line), Raciborowski and Rylski put down the roots in the region of Ukraine already in the 16th century. Browki was the central estate in the fiefdom, which included also Spiczynce (inherited from the grandmother Marszycki) and Wolica Zarubieniecka (inherited from the grandparents Raciborowski). The cognomen Scibor was conferred on the family of Rylski in the first years of the 18th century.

Browki, the manor house from the side of the driveway before 1914

Browki, living room before 1914

The manor in Browki, present condition

         After the outbreak of the October Revolution Rylski family was still living in Browki, because they had good relations with the local community.

Parents: Maria née Raciborowska and Oskar Rylski

         Unfortunately, in 1918 they had to leave the farm and went to Biala Cerkiew, and then to Kiev, with their four children: daughters Kalina (born in 1910), Ewa (1912) Danuta (1915) and a son Zbigniew.

Browki, Maria Rylski, before 1914.

         In the time of the Polish-Soviet War the Polish Army, commanded by General Edward Rydz-Smigly, captured on May 7 , 1920, the city of Kiev. The Soviet government immediately announced mobilization for the war with "the Poland of landowners", the strong divisions of S. Budionny were redeployed, and General's M. Tuchaczewski began a counter-attack. Polish soldiers had to retreat from Kiev. The Polish troops made a swift withdrawal from occupied regions on July 4.
         Because of such progress of events, Oskar Rylski looked for a way of leaving Kiev. A familiar doctor, the commander of a hospital train, proved himself to be helpful. The Rylski family received the permission for a departure. The whole family went by train with the wounded and after the long travel they arrived in Lubelskie Voivodeship. They settled in Studzianki.
         Shortly after, Oskar Rylski took an office in the Zamoyscy's Ordynacja Estate (the biggest land estate in the Second Polish Republic) - at Maurycy Zamoyski in Zwierzyniec by the Wieprz River, 33km away from Zamosc. Zbigniew's father became the manager of the fiefdom of Zwierzyniec, he administered the fiefdom of seven estates. The family settled in Wywloczka (4km from Zwierzyniec).
         Unfortunately, there was an accident in 1930. The father, going round the estates in a britzka, slipped on an iron step of the britzka and injured his knee. The leg was amputated, but complications occurred (surgical erysipelas) and he died in 1931 after long illness. Maria had to handle with the upbringing of 16-year-old Danuta and 14-year-old Zbigniew by herself. She received a retiring pension and the children the dependent's one. Kalina and Ewa were already of full age.
         The beginning of the education of Zbigniew Rylski took place in the family house under the eyes of teachers employed by the parents. After passing his exams, he attended the 3rd grade of Jan Zamoyski Gimnazjum in Zamosc (a school providing secondary education). Maria Rylski learned about a very good, modern secondary school for boys in the age of 12-19. It was situated in Rydzyn near Leszno and functioned in the interwar period since 1928.
         Its founder and headmaster was Tadeusz Lopuszanski, a prominent Polish educator, for whom the creation of the new type of Polish intellectuals without flaws (weak will, urge for poor and mean lifestyle, physical and spiritual brawn on the wane, hypocrisy, egoism, lack of solidarity) was the main aim in life. For its realization, T. Lopuszanski made use of the foundational endowment provided by Prince Ordynat August Sulkowski in 1776 in favor of the Commission of National Education (pl. Komisja Edukacji Narodowej).
         Zbigniew was transferred to the Sulkowscy Gimnazjum to 4th grade class majoring in Mathematics and Natural Science. It was a payed boarding-school, but as he was a half-orphan he paid lower tuition. He attended also 5th and 6th grade in this school. These three years of study and patriotic education had a strong influence on the teenage boy.
         In 1935 Maria Rylski left Wywloczka and moved with the daughters to Kalisz, where her family lived - cousins: Malinowski (the owner of an estate in Pietrzykowo) and Colonel Kossecki. She took her son from the boarding-school to the place of residence and sent him to Tadeusz Kosciuszko Gimnazjum in Kalisz, one of the first secondary schools with Polish as a language of instruction, founded in Congress Poland and one of the oldest in Kalisz.
         Rylski finished 7th and 8th grade here (also in a class majoring in Mathematics and Natural Science). He graduated in 1937 and received secondary-school certificate. He decided to become a regular soldier. He applied for a 3-month infantry course in 57th Infantry Regiment in Poznan. After a month of training he took the military oath. He underwent medical as well as psychological examination in the Center for Aviation Medical Exams (Centrum Badan Lekarskich Lotnictwa - CBLL; also known as "Cebula", which in Polish means an onion) and passed the general knowledge and German language tests.
         The Air Force Officers Training Centre (technical group) in Warsaw, located at 2a Pulawska Street, which was educating Air Force technical officers, was to be changed from 3.5-year to 5-year one. Thanks to the prolongation of the study time the graduates would finish technical studies without bearing any additional costs, as the education, alimentation and uniform in the army were free of charge.
         Before taking up an education in this school Zbigniew took also part in a 6-week glider course within the primary aerial training in the Military Glider Center in Ustianowa near Ustrzyki Dolne in the Bieszczady Mountains, and subsequently passed the competitive examination to the school (there was only 40 places, and 200 candidates from the whole Poland applied, they were the best graduates from the secondary schools with majors in Mathematics and Natural Science).
         The school gave the officer cadets the thorough military education, professional technical training in the field of the servicing of airplanes "Los", "Karas", P-7 (fighter) and cartography. Classes took place also in the Warsaw University of Technology (aerodynamic tunnel). With the impending warfare, the didactic process was intensified, reducing at the same time the educational and Air Force training curriculum.
         Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski graduated from the Air Force Officers Training Centre in 1939 in the rank of sergeant (officer cadet), specializing in the mechanics of aerial engines and instruments. As a top student he had the right to choose the place of further service. He decided to work as a regular soldier in 1st Air Force Regiment in Warsaw at Okecie Airport.
         The Regiment was created on May 19th, 1921 on the basis of former air force squadrons: 3rd, 8th, 12th and 16th Intelligence Squadrons, 7th and 19th Fighter Squadrons, formed from two squadrons:18th and 19th that had come to Poland from France together with the army of Genaral Jozef Haller. The first commander of the Regiment was its organizer - Lieutenant Colonel Camillo Perini. The Regiment stationed at Mokotow Airport, in 1933 it was moved to Okecie.
         In 1939 1st Air Force Regiment was in the possession of four fighter squadrons, four bomber squadrons, two intelligence squadrons and two bomber squadrons in the course of being created. Since June, 1938 the commander of the Regiment was Group Captain Stefan Pawlikowski. Famous Polish pilots served in this Regiment: L. Idzikowski, F. Zwirko and S. Skarzynski.

Defensive struggle in September, 1939

1st Air Force Regiment Warsaw

         General mobilization in Poland was announced on August 30th, 1939. Before that an alarm mobilization was ordered (by way of individual call-ups), as a result of which 800 thousand soldiers were mobilized, but it was called off under the pressure of the allies and was announced again on August 31th. It caused chaos that is difficult to describe: on September 1 military units reached merely 70 percent of their operational readiness due to the fact that many units were formed by way of general mobilization had not arrived at the assembly positions (above all, because of concentrated air raids on railway lines and the change of the front line as a consequence of the operations of armored, motorized and light units).
         The Polish Air Force was poorly equipped. The differences in the quantity of equipment were accompanied by the differences in the quality and war doctrine. Polish armaments was barely 3-4 years older (PZL P-11) than Luffwaffe aircrafts (Me-109), but due to the technological revolution in the mid-thirties it was already outdated as the one of the previous generation. It made it impossible to protect the Polish air space from the concentrated air raids of German short-range dive bombers (Stukas) that were realizing the Göring air war doctrine.
         1st Air Force Regiment at Okecie had been preparing for the aggression of the Nazi Germany on Poland earlier. By way of telegrams, pilots and technical service were summoned on July 8-10, after cancelling their leaves.
         During the mobilization in August the Regiment was dissolved, and the individual squadrons divided. Fighter squadrons became the core of the created Pursuit Brigade, bomber squadrons entered into the composition of Bomber Brigade, 13th Observational Squadron was ordered to Air Force of Independent Operational Group Narew, while 16th Observational Squadrons to the aviation available to Commander-in-Chief. The Regiment as a whole did not take part in military operations.
         Sergeant (officer cadet) Z. Scibor-Rylski was with his companions at Air Force Officers Training Centre. The School started to adapt to the state of war reality. In the first days of September the documents of military school were destroyed, and afterwards the same happened with the documents of Headquarter of Air Force (it was situated on the other side of the fence of the school, at 6 Pulawska Street). Since September 1, since the first air raid, they watched bombs falling on Warsaw. It was so until September 6.
         Major General, pilot Jozef Zajac, the Commander-in-Chief of air power and air defense during the defensive struggle of Poland in 1939, noted down in his relation "Polish-German war in September, 1939" the following words:
         "September 1th. In the afternoon the bombardment of Warsaw: the region of Okecie Powazki, Praga. Around 30 bombers, guarded by Messerschmitts 109 i 110, have been attacked by our group of fighter planes and with strong fire of anti-aircraft artillery defending Warsaw. which forced the air raid on Warsaw back. On Okecie PZL Platowce (pl. Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze, eng. State Aviation Works) has been bombed. (...) Attacking Okecie, the Germans were very bold.
         September 2th. Our own losses are much bigger than it was supposed before.
         September 3th. The Bombardment of Okecie PZL Platowce, but out of 10 airplanes that has been bombing today 4 has been brought down by AA guns and fighter planes."

         Luftwaffe failed to destroy the airplanes at Okecie airport in the first days of war, as it had planned, because squadron had been redeployed to a secret, unknown to the German Intelligence airfield in the east.
         On September 4 the officer cadets from Air Force Officers Training Centre (technical group) received the assignments to regiments with the simultaneous declaration that they were to be promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, although it required a further signing of a decree by the President of the Republic of Poland Ignacy Moscicki.
         On September 5 the ground echelon, consisting of the whole technical service of aircrafts, was originally transported by use of train from Warsaw to Minsk Mazowiecki. Later the infantry was breaking through to the east. The soldiers spent the night near Anielin, waiting for the further transport to the east. On the second day there was an air strike on the village they were quartered. German settlers, living in the vicinity, indicated the target of bombardment with the signs on the ground determining the location of the quarters of Polish defenders. The soldiers moved to the area of Mrozy. From the north, from Kaluszyn, the sound of battle could be heard.
         The technical group, which sergeant (officer cadet) Z. Scibor-Rylski was part of, encountered the Germans for the first time on September 7, during the battle of Mrozy. The Germans began firing at the positions of the squadrons of Air Force Base from Warsaw. Poles received an order to break through to the south, because the north and east had been taken by the enemy. After a few kilometers of march they came across the artillery shelling. They had only rifles and hand grenades. A moment later German infantry charged. For the first time they saw an attacking enemy. They rushed on the Germans with grenades, it came to bayonet fight. The Germans did not endure the strike nervously and withdrew. Mrozy was the foreground of the battles in Kaluszyn.
         The battle of Kaluszyn was fought in the night of September 11 to 12, 1939, by the units of 1st Legions Infantry Division, 33th and 41th Infantry Division as well as of Mazowiecka Cavalry Brigade. Brigadier General Wincenty Kowalski was the commander of tactical formation. Kaluszyn was garrisoned with the German battlegroup "Kempf", Colonel Wagner's motorized group.
         General W. Kowalski recalls in "The relation of the commander of Operational Group "Wyszkow"" the operations of Polish group:
         "The initial fights of columns with the enemy's look-outs went relatively easily, but later 6th Legions Infantry Regiment encountered a strong resistance near Kaluszyn. A bloody battle ensued and lasted the whole night and it was not until the morning that 1st Battalion of the adjacing column of 1st Legions Infantry Division crushed the enemy's resistance. The first ring of the forces surrounding the division was torn victoriously , although bloodily, especially for the 6th Legions Infantry Regiment, whose commander Colonel Engel had been severely wounded, over a dozen of young officers died and the regiment lost about 30-35% of its strength. (...)
         The Commander of the Colonel Fischer's 44th Armored Division Regiment "Kempf", who with a part of his armored regiment had been closing our way near Kaluszyn, shot himself seeing in the morning the defeat of his units".

         In the opinion of historians it was one of the hardest and most bloody battles of the Polish September.

Independent Operational Group "Polesie"

         After the battle of Mrozy, the pilots of the 1st Air Force Regiment's technical group tried to get through to the east. The Squadron Commander Major W. Prohazko ordered to move in small groups, because due to the weak armaments, soldiers did not have the chance to reach the areas free from the enemy in full units.
         In the chaos of war operations the soldiers of dispersed Polish units were getting through in the uniforms to the formations that were still fighting with the Germans. Many of them, including the group of Second Lieutenant Scibor-Rylski, got to the advance guard of the General Franciszek Kleeberg unit. They got the chance to attack the enemy and prove themselves and the others that the campaign in Poland was not - against the German propaganda - a fourteen days "marching parade".
         As a result of the order from the Staff of Commander-in-Chief of September 9th, the commander of Corps District IX Brzesc, General Kleeberg organized (mainly on the basis of Reserve Centers of 20th and 30th Infantry Divisions) the defense of Polesie on the line of the Muchawiec-Prypec rivers, from Brzesc to the east border of the country. The command post of Operational Group "Polesie" was moved to Pinsk, located in the center of Polesie and equipped with strong broadcasting station of the Pinsk Flotilla. The first battles on the foreground of Brzesc began on September 13, when the reconnaissance units of the XIX Armored Corps commanded by General Heinz Guderian appeared. Newly formed division "Kobryn" clashed with the German unit in the area of Zabianka.
         On September 14 the attack of German tanks on the Brzesc Fortress took place. General Kleeberg had the last telegraphic conversation with the High Command and passed the report about the fights in Brzesc. At that time the Germans surrounded the fortress from three sides. Successive assaults, 18 hours of artillery shelling caused the fire of the fortress. In the evening of September 15 the defenders remained only with 5 cannons. The losses were increasing, the hospitals were full of the wounded. The commander, General Konstanty Plisowski was also wounded. On September 16 it was decided to leave the fortress, and on September 17 the Germans captured it, in order to hand it over to the Soviet army on September 22.
         Meanwhile, soldiers learned that the Polish Government and Commander-in-Chief Rydz-Smigly crossed the border with Romania on that day. A part of the Polish Army was also evacuated to Romania and Hungary. Another stab in the back was the crossing of the borders by the Soviet army. The command and the soldiers were confused. Three "Los" airplanes landed in Pinsk. General Franciszek Kleeberg could use them to go to Romania, but decided to stay.
         He answered the question of the commander of the flight of airplanes, why he did not wanted to go:
         "The war is lost. But the honor of soldier is not. I have soldiers under my command. I will not leave them. Especially now, in a new situation. "
         That attitude was presented by the general until the very end.
         "He did not use big words: Poland, soldier's honor. He approached the soldiers with: "my plan", "your task". He was writing his history and a proud history of his soldier, he was always going with his units into the battle, never out of it or in spite of it" - in such manner recalls him Colonel Epler, the commander of "Kobryn" division, formed before his eyes, hour by hour (even weapons were brought by Warsaw buses from Deblin) from the reserve centers of 20th and 30th Infantry Divisions.
         The battle-fatigued soldiers in Brzesc were still being reinforced by loose units. On September 18 the General Kleeberg's group formation took the name of Independent Operational Group "Polesie" They moved to the south. They were constantly being attacked by the armed groups of Ukrainian nationalists. On September 22, near Kowel, they came across the Red Army.
         On September 24, Independent Operational Group "Polesie" set off to help the fighting capital city, for the aggressor's ring was tightening more and more around Warsaw. They marched to the west through the burning country. On September 27 the units crossed the river Bug in the area of Wlodawa. The rear guard of Colonel Epler's division was driving off the Soviet forces. In the meantime the soldiers were protecting the march of their units.
         Second Lieutenant Scibor-Rylski together with companions (including Z. Jedrzejewski, later known as "Jedras") arrived in Leczna, where they found Infantry Battalion "Olek". They appeared before the commander Major Wladyslaw Swiecicki a.k.a. "Olek". The battalion was given in command of General Podhorski.
         Z. Scibor-Rylski took part (with "Olek" Battalion) in the clash with the Germans near Leczna. He became the messenger between Major Swiecicki and the commander of "Zaza", General Zygmunt Podhorski, however his direct superior was Colonel Kazimierz Plisowski "Plis".
         Z. Scibor-Rylski came from landowner family, so he could ride a horse very well. In pilot uniform he was getting about in the area fast. He belonged to the group of "despair soldiers", strike battalion that was forcing the Germans back. "Zaza" fought successfully with motorized German units, destroyed its armor and took PoWs, who were sent maliciously to Bolsheviks.
         As a result of reorganization in September 29 the group formation consisted of (17 000 soldiers in total):
         50th Infantry Division "Brzoza" - commander Colonel Ottokar Brzoza-Brzezina
         60th Infantry Division "Kobryn" - commander Colonel Adam Epler
         Cavalary Division "Zaza" - commander Brigadier General Zygmunt Podhorski
         Podlaska Cavalry Brigade - commander Brigadier General Ludwik Kmicic- Skrzynski
         13th Observational Squadron
         special units and services

War trail of Independent Operational Group Polesie L. Nabialek, Muzeum Wojska Polskiego [in:] Chwala oreza polskiego- cykl dodatkow "Rzeczpospolitej" 27 (48)

         On September 29 General Kleeberg decided to obtain weapons and ammo from central warehouses in Stawki near Deblin, which the Germans had failed to empty. The decision was made to go in the direction of Kock and Deblin, then in Swietokrzyskie Mountains to use guerrilla warfare there. On September 29 and 30 Independent Operational Group "Polesie" skirmished victoriously with the Red Army near Jablon and Milanow; it was the last contact of "Kobryn" division with Bolsheviks. A lot of armaments and ten horse-carts of ammo was captured.
         On September 30 all the units of Independent Operational Group "Polesie" arrived at the area of Kock. At the same time the German 13th Motorized Infantry Division (DP Zmot) commanded by General Paul von Otto moved on from Deblin to the east and on October 1 reached the region of Przytoczno-Stoczek-Charlejow. It was supposed to locate Independent Operational Group "Polesie" and shatter it. The Germans had been estimating that it had been "a larger group of survivors". They did not know that they would have to manage with an organized and well-commanded group formation.
         On October 2 a column of cars with soldiers, 13th DP Zmot, that was coming closer to Kock was surprised by an accurate artillery fire. The Germans tried to develop an assault on Kock and Serokomla, but it faltered in the fire of Polish heavy machine guns and artillery. They withdrew their regiments to forming-up points and approached the planning of operations for the next day.
         The Germans were reinforced on October 4 by 14th Motorized Corps of Infantry General Gerhard von Wietersheim and 29th Motorized Division of Generalleutnant Joachim Lemelsen. In total, the number of enemy forces amounted to 30000 soldiers.
         On October 3 Polish command scheduled offensive operations. The intention was to forestall the enemy and strike from two directions: from Serokomla to Charlejow and from Talczyn to Poznan village. The plan was not realized in full, because the soldiers fatigued after long marchs failed to redeploy to forming-up points on time.
         When two regiments of 50th Infantry Division were coming out of the forest to assault, the fog disappeared and it was not possible to hide the skirmish line. The Germans laid down a heavy fire on it from guns and mortars. The assault got stopped The attack of 179th Infantry Regiment from Kock to Bialobrzegi on German rear also did not bring any result. After the initial success and destruction of German battery the assault faltered. The Germans laid out fire from 230 artillery pieces, while Independent Operationa Group "Polesie" possessed only 23 cannons and a mortar. 50th Infantry Division of Colonel Brzoza fought for Annopol, "Zaza" Cavalry Division was maintaining the position in Serokomla, often moving to counterattack.
         On October 4 the German reinforcements arrived. General von Otto ordered to attack from Charlejow on Adamow and Wola Gulowska. General Kleeberg concentrated 50th Infantry Division near Adamow, while "Zaza" was protecting the sector from Grabow Szlachecki to Wola Gulowska. 60th Infantry Division was located behind it. The toughest battles were fought for the control over Wola Gulowska, the area of church and cemetery was the place of fierce fights. That town changed hands several times. Second Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylski took part in these fights. The attempt to attack the German left wing with Cavalry Brigade "Edward" was not successful.
         On October 5 the Germans threw into battle 29th Motorized Infantry Division, which attacked the Podlaska Cavalry Brigade in the area of Radoryz. The main assault of 13th Motorized Infantry Division was aimed at Adamow, where the soldiers of 50th Infantry Division after the fierce fight were forced from. Bloody combat for Wola Gulowska started all over again, where the soldiers of 60th Infantry Division were fighting. In the afternoon the scales of victory tipped in favor of Poles. Polish counterattacks forced the Germans back from Adamow, while the blow of Cavalry Brigade "Edward" broke through the German left wing and reached Charlejow. 13th Motorized Infantry Division started to retreat.
         Z. Scibor-Rylski together with his companions took part in the battle of Adamow and Wola Gulowska. The division fought its last battle. It paid for the victory with all it had: brave officers, brave and loyal to them soldiers, all its ammo.
         A German airplane appeared over the Polish units, it was flying over the infantry positions and dropping leaflets. They were written in Polish and addressed to the Polish units:
         "We recognize your courage and patriotism. Desist from fighting. You are all alone. Germans respect their prisoners-of-war and assure you chivalrous treatment in captivity".
         Colonel Epler recalls forth:
         "We had known for a long time that we are alone. The Germans tried to attack the spirit of a bleeding soldier in the moment when he was bending down to collect the final fruits of victory".
         The achieved success was struck by the report of quartermaster, Colonel Stawiarski, about the ammo supply:
         "There remained twenty projectiles to cannons, and zero bullets to rifles".
         Bandages also run out. General Kleeberg understood that in spite of defeating 13th Motorized Infantry Division, the situation of Independent Operational Group "Polesie" is hopeless. He believed that he has no right to squander the soldiers' blood. At 8 p.m., during the huddle in the Horodzieszka village. How dramatic experience it was for the Polish commander renders the relation of Colonel Epler, who mentioned that General Kleeberg' hair turned grey in a couple of hours.
         Z. Scibor-Rylski (thanks to his commander Colonel Kazimierz Plisowski) took part in the General Kleeberg's briefing; he stressed in his reminiscences the tragic situation in forester's lodge after hearing about the capitulation.
         The commanders of regiments were to pass the General's last order to the units:
         From far Polesie by Narwia river, from the units that resisted in Kowle against discouragement, I have taken you under my command to fight until the very end. At first, I wanted to go to the south, then, as it turned out to be impossible, to help Warsaw. Warsaw had fallen before we arrived. In spite of that you did not lost hope and went on fighting. First - with Bolsheviks, and recently in the three-day battle near Serokomla - with Germans. You showed toughness and courage in the mass of doubts and you have kept loyalty to the homeland until the end. Today we are surrounded, and there is shortage of ammo and food. The further fight shows no hope, it will only spill the soldiers' blood that can still be of use. The privilege of a commander is to take responsibility.
         Today I take it in this toughest moment - I order to stop fighting, so that the soldiers' blood will not be spilled in vain.
         I thank you for your prowess and your subordination - I know that you will stand up when there is such a need.
         Poland is not yet lost. And it will not be.
         The above order to be read in front of all the units.

         Operational distribution list. The Commander of the Independent Operational Group Polesie".

German captivity

         On the October 6 many soldiers were crying as they were lying down the arms. Officers bid them farewell with sorrow. The Germans were surprised by the low number of weapons in units, as many of the soldiers walked without any.
         General Kleeberg was taken prisoner with all the honors. He was transported to the Nazi Staff of General J. Blaskowitz in Lodz, then to the Hohstein POW camp, and then to Königstein fortress in Saxony, where he died in the beginning of 1941. His deed has been remembered by the witnesses of those glory and bloody days. Part of soldiers changed their clothes into civilian ones and was not sent to camps.
         Soldiers were transported to Deblin and Radom. Officers were sent to Oflags (prisoner of war camps for officers only - translator's note), non-commissioned officers to Stalags (prisoner of war camps for privates and NCOs). The Kleeberg's Group, officers (including Colonel A. Epler), NCOs and privates, started to disappear from the transit camp in Radom already on the second day of custody.
         Second Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylski and his companions, technical pilots (in eight) were breaking through to the south of Poland. They wanted to get to Romania in order to continue fighting with the German aggressor. They were resting in Krzywda village, which then was surrounded by the Germans. They were taken prisoner, transported to Kielce. Scibor-Rylski did not say that he was an officer.
         They spent 5 days in the garrison. Second Lieutenant Scibor-Rylski was visited by his mother, because he managed to pass the message to her to Warsaw. He was sure that on the next day he would leave Kielce. Unfortunately, at night an alarm was announced and PoWs were transported to Stargard's Stalag. They were placed in large tents, 200 soldiers in each. It was the end of October and its cold, rainy weather came along.
         Z. Scibor-Rylski volunteered to work. He worked with other PoWs in a large farm, dealing with the cultivation of sugar-beets, in Strosdorf. They were working in the cold, in January on the field. Ten PoWs were helped by a Pole who had settled in that region in 1920. The Poles revolted, because they were performing hard field works and were undernourished. They were moved a dozen kilometers away, to Horst. Z. Scibor-Rylski found himself in a smaller farm. He performed farmhouse works there: milking cows, plowing, sowing.
         In June the PoWs were transported to Pyritz (Pyrzyce). They were working in a brickyard. Polish PoWs were thinking about the escape. They had been drying bread for a travel already in Horst. One night they broke the bars and got out of the camp. They split in threes, because it was easier to break through to the General Government (pl. Generalne Gubernatorstwo) in smaller groups. They were threading their way at night and resting in the daylight in grain fields or groves. They were already wandering three weeks, troubled by hunger - biscuits lasted out for 5-6 days. They were eating young swede, uprooted in fields. Two companions did not have strength to go on further, so Z. Scibor-Rylski took up the further travel alone.
         He arrived in Notec Forest, he reached the former Polish-German border. He swam across the Notec river and in the village Pilka got to a forester's house. Poles received him very warmly. After a longer rest they the forester arranged a further escape for him. In a railwayman uniform Scibor-Rylski got into a goods train, by the semaphore. He was convinced that he was going to the east. The train passed Poznan and surprised as he was, he noticed that the train passed the stations Rawicz, Rydzyna, Breslau (Wroclaw). The train stopped in a mine. He came across decent Silesians there. They helped him to get out of the mine. At dark he started to travel in the direction of Warsaw. Poles were smuggling him from locality to locality.
         He was travelling without any documents and was constantly threatened by the possible arrest by a German patrol. He arrived in Zloty Potok, a town situated in the General Government, an administrative-territorial division created by a decree issued by Adolf Hilter on October 12, 1939, valid since October 26, 1939. It consisted of a part of the territories of the Second Republic of Poland occupied by Nazi Germany and was a separate region of the Greater German Reich.
         He ran across the people, whom he told about his escape from captivity. The farmer was going to Warsaw with bone-in meat on the next day. He bought a ticket for a fugitive and that one helped him in transporting the heavy cases with meat. It gave security to ride without being controlled by German military police. He arrived in Warsaw on September 1, 1940, in the anniversary of was outbreak.

Conspiratorial activity

Organizing of air drops

         Polish Underground State (pl. Polskie Panstwo Podziemne) was being organized in 1939-1944 in the fervor of fighting with the occupant. It consisted of a system of legal, state, organizational and civil structures, which were to secure the constitutional continuity of functioning of Polish State in its own territory. That constitutional continuity, the factual performance of state functions and the loyalty of the clear majority of Polish society to the Polish Underground State constituted the essential elements of its existence.
         The situation of Polish Underground State was both, actually and legally different from various forms of resistance in the West Europe. The occupants destroyed all the social and state structures from the pre-war period.
         The symbolism and the myth of acting "in the name of Rzeczpospolita" (literally "republic", but in fact referring to "Poland" - translator's note) had its deep emotional and psychological basis. The highest identification took place in the bosom of society, between the nation and Polish state, which for a citizen was not only the Polish government-in-exile, but also the executive powers of the underground state functioning on the daily basis, and whose most important element were the Armed Forces in the country.
         In the first days of September 1940 Z. Scibor-Rylski tried to establish contact with his acquaintances. He still did not have the papers and work. One day he went to Ujazdow Avenue (pl. Aleje Ujazdowskie). He came across Major W. Prohazko there, who was the officer that had commanded the ground echelon from Okecie in September of the previous year. He helped him to get an Ausweis (from German - identification card issued by the workplace - translator's note), Scibor-Rylski became Zbigniew Kaminski. Prohazko contacted him with the activists of the Union of Armed Struggle (pl. Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej - ZWZ), an underground army organization created on November 13, 1939, by an order of General W. Sikorski from the Service for Poland's Victory (pl. Sluzba Zwyciestwu Polski - SZP).
         In the spring of 1940 the organization numbered eighty-one thousand soldiers; after the outbreak of German-Soviet war, ZWZ was regarded as a constitutive part of Polish Armed Forces in the West; On February 14, 1942, it was transformed into the Home Army (pl. Armia Krajowa - AK; eng.). The first person appointed to the position of general commander was General K. Sosnkowski, who was staying in Paris and whom the two deputies in the country were subordinated to: in the territories under the German rule - Colonel S. Rowecki in Warsaw, in the territories under Soviet rule - General M. Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski in Lviv. After the France's defeat on June 30, 1940, S. Rowecki, promoted to the rank of General, was appointed as the general commander.

Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski (in the 1940s)

         Major Prohazko led 2nd Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylskiego into the conspiracy. He vouched for him. Scibor-Rylski was sworn in in September, 1940, and received the alias "Stanislaw".
         Every soldier in AK conspiracy took the following oath:
         "In the face of Almighty God and Blessed Virgin Mary, The Queen of Polish Crown, I lay my hands on this Holy Cross, the Sign of Passion and Salvation, and I swear to be loyal to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland, to guard Its honor and to struggle with all my might to liberate It from oppression - even through the sacrifice of my life. The President of the Republic of Poland and the orders of the Commander-in-Chief and the Home Army Commander appointed by Him, I shall obey unconditionally, and the secret I shall keep steadfastly, whatever I may be faced with".
         "Stanislaw" took a job (from 1940 until June, 1943) in Chemical Industry & Trading Company, Ludwik Spiess and Son plc, in a pharmaceutical company manufacturing drugs (including first Polish sulfonamides), useful to the Germans in those days, so the Spiess documents gave a good security in conspiratorial work.
         The need of contact between the country and the chief state authorities in exile, appeared already after the surrender. The first communication posts, also known as communication bases, were created shortly after. German tapping-locating service could detect every broadcasting station. There was a need to locate conspiratorial stations outside Warsaw and to secure them with the ready to fight units.
         Polish military authorities noticed the necessity of air communication with the country. The initiative was taken to reinforce the underground organizations with the experts trained abroad, who were the ones "cichociemni" (eng. The Dark and Silent) originated from.
         Cichociemni - the name that came into existence in 1941 among Polish soldiers in Scotland who were attending secret courses of sabotage for the candidates to the service in the country. It defined the service purpose: conspiratorial fight with Germans and the characteristic way of joining into it - secret airlift and night parachute jump. Silently, in the dark.
         The preparations to the air communication were conducted also in the country.
         "I ordered - said the commander of ZWA Colonel Rowecki, in his report sent by a messenger to France on April 18, 1940 - to look for communication posts with pilots and for the airposts in the Voivodeships of Kielce, Cracow and, partly, of Warsaw(...) in order to enable the air mail, and first of all the airdrops of equipment (armaments), performing of parachute jumps or possible airplane landings (...) finding an appropriate airfields is very difficult. The possibility of airdrops, parachute jumps or night landing at a line of lights needs to be taken into account".
         In 1940 the arranging of air drops places began.
         Due to their knowledge and skills acquired in the air school, "Stanislaw" and other pilots were assigned to mark up the air drop points. The coordinates of the chosen place (marked with a code name) were sent to "drop zone" in London.
         "Stanislaw" - Z. Scibor-Rylski was performing this task in the area of Lowicz-Wyszkow-Rybienko (until October, 1941). From 1942 until June, 1943, he was collecting airdrops in his area. He was a part of a huge machine connected with the recruitment of "cichociemni" to further fight in the country, as well as with the obtaining of equipment, weapons for the underground state.
         The whole of these "dark and silent" airdrops in Poland was one of the most difficult and interesting operation of World War II. It was performed simultaneously on a huge range of territory and in many countries: at sabotage courses in Scotland, in secret training centers in England, in special airfield near London, on air routes of night flights over Denmark, Albania, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia; in long-range communication bases in London and Brindisi and in AK radio communication posts that were constantly being traced by German tracking stations; in holding points and air drop areas in General Government; in contact places for "birds" in Warsaw.
         Tens of thousands of people joined voluntarily in the circle of "cichociemni" affairs: paratroopers chosen from thousands of candidates, instructors of various and strange specialties and professions, pilots, the best of the best, radio announcer of the Polish BBC Radio, Lieutenant Czeslaw Halski who was familiar with the code of alarm announcements for receiving radio stations in the country (interludes, e.g. "Przybyli ulani pod okienko", "Goralu, czy ci nie zal"), and the soldiers of these stations, also these who after tens of alarms, against the melodic announcements of BBC, never witnessed an airdrop; "the aunts" - inconspicuous, brave women who, ignoring the round-ups, busts and arrests, were taking care of parachutists during the period of acclimatizing after the jump; people accommodating those soldiers under own roof.
         A considerable potential of industry, ingenuity as well as creativity was put forth to that operation; squadrons of specially prepared bomber, secret meteorological service, radar stations, and ordinary flashlights, indicating by use of London's radio signal the direction of air raid in a clearing near Lowicz;; the official car of a district doctor, with the help of which air dropped weapons was being transported.
         The beginning of relatively regular airlifts fell on the night from November 7 to 8, 1941. From the Newmarket airport Halifax of No. 138 Squadron, piloted by the Polish crew of Captain S. Krol, took off. Among the seven-member crew there was Lieutenant Colonel F. Rudkowski "Rudy" present on the deck, the adviser of the VI Department of Air Staff, whose task was to supervise the airlift and three paratroopers. The air drop reached the post in the vicinity of Lyszkowice near Skierniewice. The flight, marked as no. 1, began the season of test air drops, going on until April 30, 1942. Forty-eight paratroopers and 2 tons of weapons, explosives and radio equipment.
         The second season, called "Intonacja" (eng. Intonation), lasted since August 1, 1942, until April 30, 1943. One hundred nineteen paratroopers jumped, 50 tons of cargo were dropped. In the third season, called "Riposta" (eng. Retort) - since August 1, 1943, until July 31, 1944, one hundred forty-six "cichociemni" soldiers were airlifted and 263 tons of cargo dropped. These airdrops did not go without losses in people and airplanes.
         The last season of airdrops, under the code name "Odwet" (eng. Retaliation), abounded in the highest number of airdrops, mainly of weapons - 410 flights. Unfortunately, only part of cargo got to the fighting insurgents.

27 Volhynian Infantry Division of the Polish Home Army (AK)

         The ZWZ command prepared an armed uprising, ad hoc - by use of created already in 1940 "Zwiazek Odwetu" (ZO; eng. Union of Retaliation) (subversive actions and armed sabotage aimed at Germans), and in the end of 1941 General Rowecki brought a special sabotage group "Wachlarz" into existence. Numerous paratroopers, "cichociemni" were part of it.
         In Volhyn, in the background of the German eastern front a detached net of "Wachlarz" functioned from the half of 1942 until May, 1943. The organization left behind some excellent commanders in its territory. After the liquidation of group, the net of armed conspiracy, consisting of several hundred of soldiers, became the basis of a new organization - "Kierownictwo Dywersji" (Directorate for Diversion), also known as "Kedyw", to eventually become a part of 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of the Home Army.
         In order to prepare the airdrops and the appropriate drop zones 2nd Lieutenant Scibor Rylski was sent from Warsaw to Volhynia. On June 15, 1943, Z. Scibor-Rylski was delegated to Kowel. He received new papers; this time he was personating Zbigniew Jankowski. The AK Headquarters conferred a new alias on him, "Motyl" (eng. "Butterfly").
         In spring 1943, the reports about a secret testing plant on the Uznam island were coming from England to Poland. According to Hilter's plans, the bombardment of London with the use of a new weapon was to start in December, 1943. The tests of the V-1 (flying bomb) and the V-2 long-range rocket took place in Blizna. The local community informed the closest AK unit. The pieces of exploded rockets were collected, and one of them was even found in whole.
         Colonel K. Iranek-Osmecki recalls:
         "As we were preparing the parcel in the Intelligence Division, the AK Headquarters came to an understanding with London about the details of the operation. The parcel was to be dispatched from the airfield "Motyl" near Tarnow".
         There was several "most" (eng. bridge) operations, taking the gained elements of "V" weapon from the "Motyl" airfield. Z. Scibor-Rylski supposes that his alias comes from that airfield.
         The most intensive period when it comes to the AK organizing works in Volhyn, which in Warsaw Colonel Kazimierz Babinski "Lubon" was dealing with, the founder and first commander of 27th Volhynian Infantry Division, was the spring and summer of 1943. As a result of enormous effort and dedication of local arrangers and newcomer officers, a well-organized net of conspiracy was created, which was continually preparing itself to carry out its tasks. The territory of Volhyn was divided into four inspectorates-districts, and the adequate staff was appointed. Second Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylski became the head of airdrop service.
         The new units were joining all the time. An interesting occurrence took place in the evening of January 20, 1944. A battalion of auxiliary police (recruited by Germans in 1943 to fight with Ukrainians) from Maciejow disarmed and took into custody the whole German commanding cadre, cutting all the telephone communication as well. After forming a column, loading about 20 carts with weapons, ammo and military equipment, the battalion went with patrol of Corporal "Orzech" to the region of Zasmyki, Suszybaba. The military police were wearing blue uniforms, so when the units of "Sokol" and "Jastrzab" saw the approaching blue column, they started to take defensive positions. Soon it cleared up and the battalion of military police was warmly treated with breakfast. Colonel "Lubon" assigned "Blekitni" (eng. the Sky-blues) to the "Sokol", "Garda", and "Jastrzab".
         At the end of 1943 the organized District numbered about 8 thousand sworn soldiers of the AK. The headquarters was situated in Kowel. Military training was conducted systematically, the knowledge about weapons and the rules of internal service were taught, discipline and companionship were molded among the soldiers. Simultaneously, the units carried on sabotage actions in cooperation with Soviet underground army.
         Regardless of the conspiratorial fight, almost all administrative elements were involved in the open struggle against the UPA units (pl. Ukrainska Powstancza Armia; eng. Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and gangs that were slaughtering Polish population.
         With the moment of Operation Tempest coming into existence, the number of tasks of the AK District Volhyn increased.
         With the code name "Tempest" the AK commander General T. Komorowski "Bor" described "an intensified sabotage operation on the whole of the Poland's territory, the goal of which was to emphasize the will to fight against Germans through a fierce harassing of the withdrawing rearguards of German forces. (...) Under no circumstances there shall be any military operations against the Russians entering our territory while following the Germans withdrawing under their pressure, except for a necessary self-defense, which is the natural right of every man. Towards the regular Russian army entering our territory we shall act as a host, making the following statement: By order of the Government of the Republic of Poland, as a representative of the Polish authorities - a military commander, I put forth the proposal of adjusting cooperation with the Soviet military forces entering the territory of the Republic of Poland to fight against the common foe. The existing or prospective AK units are a part of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland and subject to the Polish government, the orders of Commander-in-Chief and AK Commander". And: "the Soviet partisan units that are present on our territory shall not be impeded in fighting with the Germans. At present any conflicts with Soviet units shall be avoided".
         The division was named 27th Volhynian Infantry Division already during the war (1944), because it gathered Volhynian soldiers. Its numbering referred to the pre-war tradition, as an infantry division had stationed in Kowel in this area. Nevertheless, no division in the period of the Second Polish Republic had had a geographical attribute in its name. It had been called so by the soldiers themselves.
         The basic tactical unit of a division was an infantry battalion, consisting of 380-550 men, divided into 2-3 companies with special sub-units. Every company, consisting of 150-200 soldiers, was divided into 3 platoons (15-20 men). In the area of the assembly position the units were stationed with the task of protecting Polish civilian population as well as the units guarding the background of logistics.
         In total, 27th Volhynian Division numbered about 6 thousand soldiers (100 platoons) in arms and used in battles, including 130 officers, 655 NCOs, 5.220 privates; it had 9 battalions, an independent infantry company, 2 cavalry squadrons as well as special and auxiliary units on its hands.
         The division's armaments came from very different sources and was very diverse (weapons kept since September 1939, from German-Soviet war in 1941, weapons theft from Germans and Hungarians, purchase, supply after battles with UPA units). However, the amount of ammo was too small. It was not until the development of the fighting against Germans that the ammo supply to Mauser and Russian arms, which was being provided by the Russians fighting side by side with 27th Volhynian Division of the AK, increased. Guns was wearing out fast.
         The division's command counted on airdrops, simply demanded it, the more so because aircrafts were taking off from Italian supply bases. With use of advices of the officer of drop zone district, Lieutenant Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski, a drop zone was prepared, the coordinates were sent by radio to London. The receiving posts and signalers were trained. They heard the agreed melody repeatedly, but the drop zone posts were waiting in vain. During the whole of its operating period the 27th Volhynian Division received only one airdrop, in April 1944, in Mosur forests.

The 2nd Lieutenant's ("Motyl") company

         In February, 1944, there was a change on the position of the commander of the AK District Volhynia. On February 5th, Major (later Lieutenant Colonel "Oliwa") Jan Wojciech Kiwerski arrived from Warsaw. On February 11th, the hitherto commander Colonel K. Babinski "Lubon" left for Warsaw.
         On February 5th, Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylski became the commander of the second company in the battalion (1/50th IR) of Lieutenant M. Fijalka "Sokol", which stationed in the nearby of Kowel. Lieutenant "Motyl" and his company escorted the creator of their division, Colonel "Lubon, to a crossing on the Bug River, where the company stayed until March. After Major Kiwerski, in the night of 8 to 9 of March, a "Warsaw company" under the command of Lieutenant Zdzislaw Zolocinski "Piotr", having crossed the Bug River near Dubienka, came to the division and was garrisoned in Binduga.
         Already on March 12 "Warsawers" together with Lieutenant "Sokol, the "Motyl's" company and the patrol of 2nd Lieutenant "Maly" took part in an action on Korytnica. It had been planned to destroy a German outpost that was located there and a "secretive" UPA group that was on friendly terms with them. The action was a total success due to the element of surprise, mainly of the "Motyl's" company that attacked when the Germans were busy torturing a Soviet officer, the partisan's unit chief of staff. Several Germans were killed on the spot, while some of them ran away. In the surrounded village an UPA unit was defeated, which resulted in gaining a few rifles, a lot of ammo and army service columns. The Russian was also taken and recovered by the "Sokol's" battalion, after which he joined a Soviet partisan unit on June 26.
         In Volhyn the Ukrainian matter subsided a little, but new events - related to the Eastern Front coming closer to the borders of the Republic of Poland - arose. The Germans were constantly retreating. In the period from mid-January until mid-March, 1944, the units of 27th Volhynian Division of AK clashed ten times with Germans (defensive character of clashes) and seventeen times with UPA units (mainly offensive character.)

The group of soldiers from the 2nd Lieutenant's ("Motyl") company in Drozdowka,

         The contacts between 27th Volhynian Division and the Red Army followed. On March 25 two Soviet messenger officers came to the staff with an invitation for Lieutenant Colonel "Oliwa" to meet with a Soviet commader of army. The meeting took place on March 26 in Lubitow near Kowel. On the Soviet side the army commander Lieutenant General Siergiejew and Colonel Charytonow took part in it.
         After initial greetings, Lieutenant Colonel "Oliwa" described the strength and the scale of operation of his division, its subordination, welcoming General Siergiejew in Polish territory on behalf of Polish Armed Forces. The welcome caused a retort of the Soviet commander, who stated that "this is Ukrainian territory, Poland begins from the Bug River". He defined unequivocally the attitude of the Red Army towards AK units in Volhyn.
         In the further conversation the Soviet commanders expressed approval of the Polish division's will of fight against the Germans, persuading however Lieutenant Colonel "Oliwa" to complete subordination to the Soviet command, indicating the Armed Forces being organized in USSR and promising promotions and honors. Poles declined the offer, referring to the subordination of the Polish division to the AK command in Warsaw and Commander-in-Chief in London, to the loyalty to once taken oath, declaring at the same time the will of further common fight against the Germans.
         Shortly afterwards the units of 27th Volhynian Division of the AK began a period of heavy struggle against Germans, carrying out the Operation "Tempest", as the first larger unit of the AK that was to force the political situation between the USSR and the Polish government in London to come out of a deadlock.
         In the last days of March the Germans redeployed a few large units from behind the Bug River and from the area of Brest: 1st Mountain Brigade (Skijägerbrigade), 211th Infantry Division, 4th Armored Division "Wiking" (Panzerdivision).
         With the beginning of April the units of 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of AK, in cooperation with the regular units of the Red Army, started a period of advancing battles that was to last over three weeks.
         At the dawn of April 2, 1944 in the direction of Lubomel a heavy shooting and the explosions of artillery projectiles could be heard. Lieutenant "Motyl" reported by telephone to the battalion commander, Lieutenant "Sokol", who stationed in Czmykos that his positions in Sztun had been attacked by the Germans, and the village was under artillery fire. Help was promised. In the meantime a German skirmish line was coming closer to the village and was welcomed with heavy fire of "Motyl's" soldiers.
         It resulted in a violent fight, both sides would not yield from the battlefield. The German was stuck in the field and could not advance. They were succored by an artillery, firing from the edge of forest from the direction of Lubomel. Heavy artillery fire causing explosions among the buildings of Sztun disheartened the young soldiers, but did not entail their retreat, mainly due to the firm attitude of Lieutenant "Motyl" and his brave platoon commanders.
         They were helped by the units of Lieutenant R. Markiewicz - "Mohort" and Lieutenant S. Kadzielowa "Kania". The further fights took place near Zamlynie. As a consequence of bold action of the Polish units, the German offensive withdrew, after losing almost whole company.
         In the night of 2nd on 3rd of April "Motyl" and a sapper company still held Sztun. In the night of 3rd on 4th of April a German column entered into the middle of Sztun village, being convinced the Polish army had left the place. The post was sleeping, but the "Motyl's" post sentries raised the alarm. The partisans started running out in a hurry, mixing among the string of carts with the Germans, confused in the present situation just like them. A shooting broke out, grenades were exploding, it was coming to hand in hand fight. Lieutenant "Motyl" managed to gather a group of soldiers with whom he attacked along the road.
         The attack went fast. The Germans lost their heads and did not resist when being disarmed and taken prisoner by the next "Motyl's" group. A part of Germans offered strong resistance in the area of cemetery. "Mohort", "Kania" and a part of "Kord's" battalion came to help to that place. The German commander died then along with his group, , 10 Polish soldiers were killed, 9 were wounded, including the company commander Lieutenant "Motyl" Scibor-Rylski.
         The Germans suffered significant losses in men (81 died, 42 taken prisoner) and in equipment: 72 LMGs, 1 HMG, 4 mortars, 60 rifles, 26 army service carts with food, ammo and Panzerfausts that were seen for the first time by the soldiers of 27th Infantry Division of the AK.
         The victory that resulted from surprise, but also due to the brave actions conducted by excellent commanders, especially Lieutenant "Motyl", an excellent officer, brought a lot of good in form of equipment; in addition, six Soviet POWs and a soldier of the "Motyl's" company that had been taken prisoner the other day, were rescued.
         The next day "Sokol" and the "Motyl's" company went to Binduga where the Soviet group formation of Colonel Karasiow was to cross the river. Three hundred foot soldiers, horses, carts went through the bridge built by sappers. On April 5 and 6 the further crossing of General Koroczenko took place. They were led in the area of Hrubieszow forests, while "Sokol" and the "Motyl's" company moved on April 7 to Stawki.
         A long expected an airdrop for 27th Volhynian Division of AK took place that day, the first and the last one. It did not bring the necessary improvement in armaments, although relatively many side arms were received, as well as over a dozen of Stens, a little bit of plastic explosives, ammo, a radio station, and over a dozen of English uniforms. Two anti-tank rifles, very necessary in circumstances of the division's fight, were also sent.
         On April 9 the Germans took up further offensive operations. 27th Volhynian Division was carrying out the battle of Pustynka, Staweczki and Zamlynie, repelling the attacks of overwhelming enemy that was supported by armor. The Poles held ground, inflicting considerable losses to the Germans and obtaining weapons.
         Long-lasting fights took place in Kowel and near Wlodzimierz Wolynski. The Germans wielded tank guns fire. A German airplane was circling above the Polish positions. The soldiers knew that its crew was reporting about their movements. Unfortunately, they could not do anything about it.
         There were moments when all the battalions were on the line. Tired soldiers waited for the help of Russians. 27th Infantry Division of the AK started to cooperate with 16th Guards Cavalry Division, three regiments. The first one who reached the Polish positions was Colonel Romanienko. The strength and armament of Soviet regiments were counted on.
         Heavy battles took place in Mosur forests. Despite the help of two Soviet guards cavalry regiments, the Polish units were forced in dramatic fights to move back, and finally locked in an encirclement by the west bank of the Turia River.
         On April 18, 1944, the commander of the division, the certificated Lieutenant Colonel Jan Wojciech Kiwerski "Oliwa" died. The duty of fulfilling commander's function was taken by Major Jan Szatowski "Kowal", while since May 3, by order of the HQ of the AK in Warsaw, Major Tadeusz Sztumberk-Rychtera "Zegota" was appointed as the division's commander. It seemed that a complete liquidation of the division was a matter of a few days.
         However, the will of fight of both commanders and soldiers gave rise to the decision of saving the army from annihilation. In the night of April 20th/21st a bold action was undertaken to break out of the encirclement, breaking through the German ring in the north direction, the least expected by the Germans. It was planned to reach quietly the railway tracks, leading from Lubomel to Kowel, and it was only there that German outposts were expected. Unfortunately, the Germans had managed to bring an armored train that broke the marching column. Due to this fact, the second echelon of the division had to break through the next night.
         Despite the heavy losses, the division came out of the encirclement in its basic manpower strength, it was not defeated. It needed the rest and time to regroup. Its combat effectiveness had been significantly decreased, losing all its heavy weapons and army service columns with food and army equipment supply.
         The Polish units, fighting from the mid-March until the end of April, fought about 50 bigger or lesser battles. They lost about 350 men, the number of the wounded was probably the same, and 170 soldiers were taken prisoner. The Germans must have lost more men - in most cases they were the attacking side. In spite of their outgun and military training, they were encountering firm resistance from the side of the defending Polish units, fighting with determination and having relatively high firepower.
         In places where there was no armor the Volhynian Division's soldier was an equal partner in fight against Germans, while Polish officers were not inferior to the German ones when it came to skills, on the contrary they prevailed over the German and Hungarian officers in the will of fight.
         Polish divisions stationed in Shatsk forests. Major "Kowal" was sending a lot of patrols in order to get food supply, as well as to watch the German actions. On May 14 he decided to send a group to Smosarsk forests to get in contact with the Soviet partisan units of Colonel Iwanow that were deployed there. A seven-person patrol from "Sokol's" battalion and "Motyl's" company was sent. The group had to operate completely single-handedly. There were German units all around.
         At the dawn of May 16 they reached the Russians. They delivered a letter from Major "Kowal", they were fed, and after getting some rest they returned with reports to the command, bringing a group of soldiers dispersed after the battles. Further, more and more difficult sallies for food and arms under German fire showed how tough the situation of Polish army is.
         In the night of May 18th to 19th Colonel Iwanow came with five Soviet battalions. Together with the units of 27th Volhynian Division of the AK and Bujonow's brigade a large partisan group formation was created, consisting of about 5 thousand men, which had to seem dangerous to the Germans. The day before, on May 18 they reconnoitered the situation from the side of Mielniki, where they met with the resistance of the company of Lieutenant Scibor-Rylski, "Motyl" from "Sokol's" battalion of Lieutenant M. Fijalka. After a short shoot-out the company withdrew deep into forest. The Germans decided to make a lodgment.
         Second encirclement ensued. On May 21 a German attack on Shatsk forests began, simultaneously from four directions. The battle was started by Colonel Iwanow, but soon the whole line of defense was fighting. The firing onslaught of the Germans caused the departure of successive partisan units through swamps to the other side of the Bug River. After many tough days and nights of marching, encountering the Germans, they arrived in Lubelskie Voivodeship in the beginning of June, 1944. Slightly more than 2 600 soldiers arrived in Lubelskie Voivodeship, they were later replenished by the loose units that, coming out of Mosur forests, joined the division.
         The order to march out did not reach the units commanded by Captain K. Rzaniak "Garda". On May 27 they broke through the front to the Soviet side, incurring very heavy losses, and then they were incorporated into the army of General Zygmunt Berling.
         The Volhynian epic and its final chord, the Operation "Tempest" in Volhynia, ended. Battle-worn, decimated army was forced to leave Volhynia, not letting be defeated by German front units. Thanks to its firm bearing, fight and sacrifices, 27th Volhynian Division stood guard as long as it could. Now it was taking a breath on the new ground.
         At that time the Germans took up a large anti-partisan Operation "Vagabund", which coincided with other German operation - "Sturmwind I" in the southwest Lubelskie Voivodeship.
         Polish units had to break through the battlefields again, e.g. the unit of Lieutenant "Piotr" Zolocinski, the battalion of "Gzyms", the Warsaw company, the battalion of Captain "Hruby". The battalion of Lieutenant "Sokol" - Lieutenant M. Fijalka, accompanied by the companies of "Motyl" and Lieutenant "Kania", organized an attack on military police station and indicated quarters of German pilots in Wisznice.
         After a short shoot-out soldiers occupied themselves with the requisition of food, which the hungry army was so short of. On June 20 "Sokol's" battalion arrived in Masluchy village. Lieutenant "Motyl" quartered his company there. The Volhynian army was taking the opportunity to get a deserved rest after the heavy battles and dramatic experiences in Volhynia. Some of the soldiers were sent on leave, e.g. Warsaw company, Lieutenant "Piotr", Lieutenant "Czorny".

27th AK Volhynian Division ID card

         On July 15 a messenger brought new orders. Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski, " Motyl" was summoned to the HQ of AK in Warsaw. On July 20 he left 27th Volhynian Division of AK. In a point of contact in Lublin he received new documents by the name of Zbigniew Kaminski. His new task was the receipt of air drops in Warsaw.
         After a monthly rest of 27th VID of AK, the Germans intensified their operations in the area of Lubelskie Voivodeship. On July 18 the partisans took up a fight within the objectives of Operation "Tempest" in the area of Wlodawa-Lubartow. On July 23th Soviet army of the 1st Belorussian Front liberated this part of Lubelskie.
         On July 25, 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of AK had to lay down weapons and finish combat operations. The talks of the AK district commander, General Kazimierz Tumidajski "Marcin", with the Russians did not achieve the expected results. So did end a glorious, but also dramatic history of 27th ID of AK.

The Warsaw Uprising

         Moscow's disregard for the results of the Operation "Tempest" in the eastern territory of the Republic of Poland and advancing of the Red Army put Polish government in London and AK command before the choice of making an attempt to free Warsaw with own strengths, before the arrival of the Russians. It was expected that a successful anti-German uprising in the capital city of Poland, thus in the territory to which Moscow was not making any official claims, would exert an effect that the right of Poles to self-determination should be respected. The proclamation of PKWN (pl. Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego; eng. Polish Committee of National Liberation) created a new political situation. From that time on two independent centers of state authority were acting simultaneously: The Government of the Republic of Poland in London and PKWN in Lublin.
         The first one had the support of the majority of Polish nation and was recognized by the western allies, the latter one was under the influence of Big Power, the armies of which entered the Polish territory forcing the Nazi occupant back.
         At the end of July, 1944, Soviet armies came closer to the line of the Vistula River. Multiple advantage of the Soviets over the Germans in force made people believe that the battles for Warsaw would start any day. It forced the command of Polish underground to take a final decision about the outbreak of an uprising against the Germans. The proclamation of PKWN showed that, unless AK proved its strength and significance in battle and liberated Warsaw before the Soviet forces, the further fate of the country would lie solely in the hands of Stalin.
         On July 25 the government of the Republic of Poland, upon the notice of AK military readiness, empowered the Government Delegate for Poland, Jan Stanislaw Jankowski, to make the final decision of the beginning of fights without the necessity of further contact with London.
         The decision of the beginning of open armed struggle was made on July 26 by AK commander, General Tadeusz Komorowski "Bor" with the consent of Jan Stanislaw Jankowski and the head of Rada Jednosci Narodowej (eng. Council of National Unity), Kazimierz Puzak. The date of the Warsaw Uprising was repeatedly moved.
         General "Bor" Komorowski noted:
         "According to the received reports, on July 28, the German defense lines has been broken at the bridgehead to the east of Warsaw. Soviet forces took Otwock, Falenica, and Jozefow located in the outskirts of Warsaw. Russian patrols, after crossing the Vistula River by the Red Army near estuary of the Pilica River, were coming up to Mszczonow (50 km to the southwest of the capital) and operating far behind the enemy lines. (...) On July 30 one of our scouts came across the column of Russian tanks near Radosc (16 km from Warsaw). Russian soldiers claimed that the Red Army would capture Warsaw in the near future. (...) On July 31 we received the message of further advance of the Soviet wedge and the presence of Soviet units in Radosc, Wiazowna, and Radzymin - all within the radius of 12- 16 km from Warsaw".
         In connection with the following situation, on July 31 General "Bor" took the decision of the beginning of uprising in the capital.
         In the meantime, AK soldiers were waiting impatiently for specific orders, for the beginning of the battle of Warsaw, the battle for the country's future.
         Zygmunt Jedrzejewski - "Jedras" recalls those days:
         "In the last week of July, the march-past of German units through Warsaw assumed the character of a panic retreat. The readiness of Warsaw units of AK was decreed then, and later the assembly in waiting points. On Friday, July 28, after German armored units went through Warsaw in the east direction, the readiness was called off. It meant that there would not be any uprising. (...) On July 28th/29th we were listening to radio messages, from which it followed that the Germans had led two additional armored divisions in the area to the east of Warsaw in order to stop the Soviet attack.
         On July 29 I was riding a bicycle to my wife (...) and on the level of Zeran I heard the sounds of battle coming from the side of Marki and Radzymin. I could hear the cannons, guns and machine guns very clearly. (...) We were listening to the radio again. We were waiting."

         Soldiers gathered in their contacting points, went through the successive watches. In that situation Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski found himself, waiting for the progress of events in Hoza Street, after being summoned from 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of AK.
         He was assigned to "Czata 49", a battalion taking its origins in Centrala Zaopatrzenia Terenu (CZT - code name "Czata"; eng. Logistics Headquarters), subject to Kedyw (eng. Directorate of Diversion) of AK Headquarters. "Czata" originated from "Stadion", operating since September 1, 1943, which had been supplying the area in battle means and various necessary materials, and also in officer and expert staff. Since April 1944, "Czata" was commanded by Major Tadeusz Runge "Witold", "cichociemny".
         In the late evening of July 31, a messenger brought the order that on September 1 the W-Hour (from Polish "Wybuch" - eng. "Outbreak") would take place. In the morning partisans started to receive arms at 3/5 Panska Street. The area was secured by Second Lieutenant Z. Jedrzejewski "Jedras" and his squad. Soldiers came to volunteer to the place in Panska Street, including Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylski "Motyl" with a large group of young people. The distribution of arms proceeded very efficiently. The remaining weapons, ammo and equipment was loaded on several trucks.
         At 4 p.m., from the house at 3 Panska Street, armed groups started to go out and march in loose formation in the west direction. The assembly point of "Czata 49" battalion, which was a part of the "Radoslaw" group formation commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Jan Mazurkiewicz "Radoslaw", was the junction of Karolkowa and Mireckiego Streets in Wola District, in the vicinity of Jewish and Protestant Cemeteries.
         "Czata 49" consisted of the platoon of Lieutenant "Frank" (F. Gramza), the squads of Lieutenant "Rolicz" (J. Kaczmarek), Lieutenant "Bronek" (H. Walewski), Second Lieutenant "Cedro" (J. Byczkowski) and officers, officer cadets and NCOs, in the strength of three platoons, coming from the Warsaw company of 27th Volhynian ID of AK who joined in the last days before the uprising, while being on leave. Lieutenant "Piotr" (Z. Zolocinski), Lieutenant "Czarny" (M. Szymanski), Lieutenant "Motyl" (Z. Scibor-Rylski), as well as a youth platoon of Konfederacja Narodu (eng. Confederation of Nation; one of Polish resistance organizations - translator's note), commanded by officer cadet "Miecz" (M. Kurzyn), a sub-unit of Captain cc "Zgoda" (T. J. Wierzejski), composed of the officers and NCOs prepared to leave for 30th Polesie Infantry Division of AK, and a HQ messenger squad of Lieutenant "Stanislaw" (Z. Ziemba).
         By order of the AK commander, General "Bor" Komorowski, on August 1, 1944, at 5 p.m. (W-Hour) the units of the AK District of Warsaw revolted against German units in all districts of Warsaw. The commander of the uprising in Warsaw became the commandant of AK District of Warsaw, Colonel Antoni Chrusciel "Monter".

Warsaw Uprising [in: ] Encyklopedia szkolna. Historia.

         The district consisted of sub-districts:
         Sub-district I of Srodmiescie - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel E. Pfeifer "Radwan",
         Sub-district II of Zoliborz - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel M. Niedzielski "Zywiciel",
         Sub-district III of Wola - commanded by Major J. Tarnowski "Waligora",
         Sub-district IV of Ochota - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel M. Sokolowski "Grzymala",
         Sub-district V of Mokotow - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. Hrynkiewicz "Przegonia",
         Sub-district VI of Praga - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A Zurowski "Bober",
         7th Infantry Regiment "Garluch" - the area of Okecie airport - commanded by Major S. Babiarz "Wysocki",
         Independent Region of Bielany - the area of Bielany airport - commanded by Captain J. Krzyczkowski "Szymon",
         AK HQ Guard Regiment "Baszta" - Mokotow - Lieutenant Colonel S. Kaminski "Daniel",
         Sub-district of the District's Headquarters - "Pawel" group formation (battalions: "Wigry", "Antoni")- Wola - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel F. Rataj,
         Sub-district of AK HQ - "Radoslaw" group formation (battalions: "Zoska", "Parasol", "Czata", "Broda", "Miotla" i "Piesc") - Wola - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. Mazurkiwicz "Radoslaw".

         The strength of "Radoslaw" group formation on August 1 amounted to 2300 men, however only 900 soldiers came to the assembly due to the late notification and the fact that groups were scattered all around the city, what made it difficult for messengers to pass the order.
         The Home Army (AK) led into the fight for Warsaw over 40 000 soldiers (600 full line platoons and background).
         On the opposite side there were German units consisting a part of 9th army, covering Warsaw by its range of operation. The army was reinforced by Luftflotte 6 and a Paratroop Panzer Division "Herman Göring" and SS Division "Wiking". Germans had about 40 000 men at their disposal, including the units of Wehrmacht, Air Force, Waffen-SS, police and military police.
         Before 5 p.m. "Czata 49" group, which set forth on foot and by cars, having come closer to the assembly point, encountered a German truck near Karolkowa Street. It was raked by their fire.
         The assembly of the unit took place, the companies and platoons were formed. The tasks were assigned, and ammo and armaments distributed. The commander of "Czata 49", Major "Witold", the staff, "Motyl's" unit, "Piotr's" and "Czarny's" platoons took a quarter at 86 Karolkowa Street.
         Around 6 p.m. Lieutenant "Motyl" (platoon commander) and his men were sent to "Radoslaw" to Okopowa Street, where the command of the group formation was situated. He received the task of attacking the State-owned Tobacco Monopoly (pl. Panstwowy Monopol Tytoniowy; PZT) from the side of Dzielna Street. The sappers of "Miotla" planted explosives under the wall of the factory and the Poles broke into the PZT. After a short battle they captured the object, gained a car - Mercedes 170 V, with the use of which "Motyl" repeatedly moved to Stawki Street and the Old Town, several trucks, arms, ammo, some food, and taken the remaining Germans prisoner.
         Since the morning of August 2 the shootout intensified. In Wola District, behind Mlynarska Street, the uprising was suppressed and the Germans were slaughtering the Poles. At midday, tanks were attacking through Karolkowa Street from Wolska Street, and infantry was advancing behind them. In a quarter between Zytnia, Karolkowa, Gibalskiego, and Mireckiego Streets "Czata" battalion was located. Its soldiers, together with "Zoska" battalion, captured a tank. The tank had been pelted with grenades and petrol bombs and the Germans that jumped out had been shot up and taken prisoner.
         On the third day of fights Lieutenant "Motyl" sent a patrol of 2nd Lieutenant "Stanislaw" (Z. Ziemba) to an conspiratorial warehouse for ammo. It came to a skirmish with the enemy in Zytnia Street.
         On August 4 a fierce fight to defend Wola District began. Since the early morning hours Luftwaffe was operating over Warsaw. As a consequence of air raids fire was spreading in the city. Strong German assault on "Radoslaw" group formation came along Wolska and Gorczewska Streets.
         The next day brought a heavy fire from the German side, who began to counter-attack on the axis of Gorczewska, Wolska, and Dworska Streets. The goal of that attack was to create a communication axis, enabling the Germans to link up the units with forces fighting in Praga District.
         The group formation of Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw", a fundamental part of it - battalions "Zoska", "Parasol", "Czata", and "Piesc" were since the early morning hours the target of diving fighter planes Ju 87 and Heinkel bombers that were taking off from Okecie airport and thus capable of resuming airstrikes on insurgent Warsaw every hour or so.
         The airstrikes were accompanied by more and more dangerous fire of grenade launchers. The soldiers of "Radoslaw" on the Protestant Cemetery encountered that weapon for the first time; it was deceptive and dangerous - one could not hear the sound of a shot or a projectile itself. Also a German armored train joined the bombardment. There were many wounded, who were transported to the Jan Bozy Hospital in Bonifraterska Street.

Lieutenant Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl" in the first days of the Uprising

         The main German attack went along Wolska Street, where the advancing were supported by tanks. The Germans were capturing successive insurgent barricades, all the more difficult to defend as the main road was wide there, and in some sections not walled by densely situated buildings.
         As the enemy was moving to the east, reaching successive intersections of Wolska Street, Poles had to bend the front, creating a defensive line, directed to the south. The Germans were constantly moving in the direction of Gorczewska Street.
         Around the noon, the forces of "Radoslaw" that until then were situated in the Protestant Cemetery joined the fight. At 2 p.m. Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" decided to carry out a counter-attack from the region of cemeteries in the direction of the school in Gostynska Street, held since the beginning by the Germans. He expected that after capturing that object he would be able to come to Kolo [a small district] and get out of Warsaw from there.
         According to the initial assumptions, the main forces of "Radoslaw" group formation were to take part in the counter-attack. When it turned out that the Germans moved far to the east along Wolska Street, the commander decided to perform the counter-attack in the south direction. The attack was led by Major Waclaw Piotr Janaszek "Bolek", the staff commander of Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw". "Czata" and "Parasol" units also took part in it.
         In the morning of the same day, just after realizing that Germans had launched a general advance, "Zoska" battalion took up the fight with the German garrison of "Gesiowka" - a work camp in Gesia Street, in order to create the connection with the Old Town and bring about the possibility of the withdrawal of the whole "Radoslaw" group formation from the cemeteries.
         The school on Gostynska Street was attacked by the units of "Piesc" and the platoons of "Czata" led from the side of the Protestant Cemetery by Lieutenant "Motyl", Z. Scibor-Rylski. Encouraged by "Motyl", the brave soldiers were moving forwards and the enemy fire abated. After a moment it turned out to be the enemy trick. The Germans laid down barrage fire. The Poles were defeated near the school. The disorderly retreat in the direction of Gostynska and Obozowa Streets ensued. They got under machine-gun fire, but managed to reach the barricade on Plocka Street. The fight was still going on there. Many of the insurgents died, including officer cadet Staszek Potworowski "Potwor", a companion of Lieutenant Scibor- Rylski from the school in Rydzyn.
         In the evening Major "Witold" and Lieutenant "Motyl" went round the battalion positions in the area of Mlynarska, Plac Opolski, and Zytnia Streets. On that day Germans captured also the hospitals of St. Stanislaw, St. Lazarus and the tram depot in Mlynarska Street. They were a threat to the Karol and Maria hospital, which since the beginning of the uprising counted as the hospital of the "Radoslaw" group formation. Lieutenant Colonel Jan Mazurkiewicz gave the order to evacuate the hospital to the Old Town.
         On August 6 the Germans were attacking along the streets: Okopowa and Karolkowa from the side of Chlodna, Gorczewska and Zytnia from the side of Mlynarska and through the Protestant Cemetery. The attack caused the withdrawal of the insurgents from the Protestant and Jewish Cemeteries. In the afternoon there was a counter-attack. Lieutenant "Motyl" led the attack of "Czata" in the Calvinistic Cemetery. After some time the insurgents had to leave it. The soldiers were moving forwards in large steps, in the open field they got stuck under German fire. At 6 p.m. after the shelling of both cemeteries by a Polish tank platoon and tying down the enemy forces with the sham-attack of tanks, two platoons of "Zoska" battalion began the counter-attack. At 6.30 p.m. the Protestant (Evangelical) Cementery was recaptured, fifteen minutes later the same happened with the Calvinistic one.
         "Czata 49" battalion started the uprising well-armed. However, after a few days of fights it ran short of arms and ammo. There remained some rusty ammo from 1939 in Panska Street. Second Lieutenant "Jedras", who had returned from hospital after the treatment of a wound from the first day of the Uprising, was appointed as a gunnery officer in the battalion. He sent a patrol on Panska Street that returned with bags full of loose ammo. After the cleaning, the bullets were distributed among the soldiers.
         In the evening the air drop from the West was announced. Around midnight airplanes came. Simultaneously the firing of anti-aircraft artillery started from all around. Nevertheless, the operation was a success, the insurgents received the containers in their regions. There were arms inside, wrapped in blankets for protection, ammo, and the free spaces of containers were filled with bandages and medicine. On the next day the units of "Czata 49" were rearmed with weapons and ammo, gained in the distribution of supplies. PIATs were highly valued, they were the only anti-tank weapon in the hands of the insurgents.
         The Germans were pressing harder and harder on the positions of the formation. The German infantry, covered by tanks, supported by artillery and grenade launchers, was charging from the side of Mlynarska Street in the direction of cemeteries and on the Karol and Maria hospital, also on the Old People's Home, which were being defended by the battalions "Zoska" and "Parasol". At the same time the enemy was attacking from both sides of the junction of Zytnia and Karolkowa Streets, the latter of which was being defended by "Czata", and charging on Okopowa Street from the Kercelego Market Square in the direction of Zytnia Street.
         Lieutenant "Motyl" was defending himself in the building on the corner of Karolkowa and Zytnia Streets. The Germans were charging along Karolkowa Street from the side of Wolska Street and along Zytnia Street from Mlynarska Street. The whole corner house was under tanks' fire. "Motyl's" boys were defending themselves firmly in the building already pretty much damaged by tanks.
         Lieutenant "Piotr" was defending the access to the region of "Czata 49" deployment against the Germans. Those battle-experienced commanders, partisans of 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of the AK, were able to draw strength out of their soldiers and did not give up on further fighting despite heavy losses. Supported by tanks, the Germans had been attacking since morning, but had failed to force the Poles out of their positions. Meanwhile, intense battles were being fought within the Protestant Cemetery. "Zoska" and "Parasol" battalions were being pushed out from there only to regain the lost positions after counter-attacks.
         On August 8 "Czata 49" battalion were still at their posts. Fatigued soldiers were replaced by the men of Major A. Kotowski "Okon" of "Piesc" battalion. Second Lieutenant "Jedras" received the task of collecting provisions. It was necessary to secure food for "Radoslaw" group formation gained from German warehouses located in Stawki Street. The insurgents had found canned meat, pasta, groats, dried potatoes there, as well as large supplies of German tunics, camouflage field caps, some backpacks, belts, and helmets. The food was placed in several warehouses in Wola, Muranow, and the Old Town, thanks to which in case of losing one of them the supplies could be brought from the other one. The whole group formation was provided with camouflage suits, it was their distinguishable feature.
         The German attack continued. The Germans captured the cemeteries. In the late evening Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" gave the order to leave the taken sectors. "Czata" went to Gesiowka. After the rest and reorganization of the units, Major "Witold" called commanders for a briefing and announced that the battalion would go to Kampinos Forest through Powazki Cemetery. The battalion began the march out again to Okopowa Street late at night, but it was soon stopped. The soldiers waited a couple of hours for the progress of events. Eventually, "Czata" was sent to Stawki Street.
         The first day of the stay in the area of Stawki Street passed relatively calmly and there were no direct German attacks, except for the shelling conducted by grenade launchers and the armored train that was moving on the railway tracks between Warsaw Gdansk Station and Powazki Cemetery.
         The following days constituted a period of heavy struggles for holding Stawki Street, which after losing of Wola District had become a forward bastion that protected the Old Town. The position of "Czata" changed in such manner that the Germans moved and were threatening from three sides: from the north, from the south, and from the west. Lieutenant "Motyl" was fighting there along with his platoon.
         The Germans were supported by the artillery of the armored train, the air raids of Stukas, and the German infantry also by tanks and self-propelled guns. At that time the Germans used "Goliaths" for the first time. It was a mini-Wunderwaffe, self-propelled, remote controlled tracked mine with the demolition power of 500 kg of explosive materials it was filled with.
         On August 11 the platoon of Lieutenant "Motyl" took the position in a school in Stawki Street. Major "Witold" was following the tactics of defending the individual objects, two schools and warehouses near the side tracks, with use of small task forces.
         Stawki Street were changing hands repeatedly. "Radoslaw" group formation, threatened by encirclement, started to retreat in the direction of Muranow District and the Old Town. Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" was wounded in fierce combats. The command over the formation was taken by Lieutenant Colonel Franciszek Rataj "Pawel".
         For his fighting in Wola District Lieutenant "Motyl" was awarded the Cross of Valour.

Certificate of the award of the Cross of Valour

         The battles for the maintaining of Muranow were fought until August 16. "Lesnik" group formation took part in it. There appeared the possibility of joining with the units of Kampinos Forest. An attack commenced in the evening. "Jedrasy" were to capture the area between Pokorna Street and the school in Stawki Street. Lieutenant "Motyl" and the insurgents from 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of AK were to attack from the side of Inflancka Street and then in the direction of railway tracks. The advance behind Muranowska Street and the ruins of ghetto was to be led by Captain J.K. Andrzejewski. Those units should facilitate the breakthrough of the forces from Kampinos to the Old Town.
         "Jedrasy" entered the ruins. The "Motyle" ("Motyl's" battalion) under the command of Lieutenant Z. Scibor-Rylski charged from the right. The German resistance decreased. Despite being a success, the Polish maneuver did not bring anything, as the breakthrough attempt of Kampinos forces was suppressed.
         On August 17, the commander of "Czata 49" battalion, Major "Witold" moved for the nomination of Lieutenant "Motyl" to the rank of Captain and awarding him the Cross of Virtuti Military 5th class. He wrote in the substantiation:
         "Lieutenant "Motyl", permanent active duty, seniority 1943. Very good commander, performing every assigned task persistently. He distinguished himself with personal courage in defending the barricade in Karolkowa Street. In the moment of the attack of four tanks, he keeps his soldiers in positions by his own example. In the night of August 16th to 17th he commanded the sally to Stawki Street and showed there great virtues of a commander: caution, acumen accompanied by determined courage."
         The Major "Witold's" motions were supported on August 18 by Major "Bolek", the staff commander of the group formation, and at that time the commander of "Radoslaw" group:
         "I submit with the request of positive consideration of all Major "Witold's" motions. In particular, I strongly second the motion for the nomination of Lieutenant "Motyl" to the rank of Captain - he is the only real replacement of Major Witold. In the present battles he proved personal and commander virtues."

Certificate of the Award of the Cross of Virtuti Militari

         On September 4 Colonel "Radoslaw" enclosed his opinion:
         "Outstanding officer. Highly initiative, intelligent, extraordinarily dedicated and courageous. He possesses battle intuition. He performed singlehandedly successful night sallies on Stawki Street and Traugutt Fort. Full of initiative, dedicated, a capable commander of company."

Certificate of the appointment to the rank of Captain

         The preparations for joining the Old Town with Zoliborz District were still in progress. First blow of the insurgents from Zoliborz District and Kampinos on the German positions in the area of Warszawa Gdanska Station was struck in the night of August 20th to 21st, but turned out to be a failure and resulted in heavy losses.
         Because the situation of the Old Town was getting worse and worse and predictions indicated that the district could still resist for a dozen of days, it was decided to repeat the attempt to make a connection with Zoliborz District the next day. It was planned that the attack from Zoliborz would be led by General Tadeusz Pelczynski "Grzegorz" in person. A combined battalion under the command of Major "Okon" was to arrive from Kampinos. Two hundred men from battalions: "Wigry", "Chrobry I" and "Gozdawa" were sent through canals from the Old Town. That battalion was commanded by Lieutenant "Trzaska" (E. Konopacki) of "Wigry".
         The blow from the side of the Old Town was to be struck by Lieutenant Colonel "Pawel", commanding the northern defensive front of the district. The battalions of "Radoslaw" group formation were subordinated to him. He received at his disposal around 300 soldiers from battalions "Zoska", "Czata", "Piesc" and Czwartacy".
         During a briefing on August 21, Lieutenant Colonel "Pawel" divided the units assigned to the attack into two parts. The left wing consisted of 1st and 3rd company of "Zoska" and AL (pl. Armia Ludowa; eng. People's Army) soldiers ("Czwartacy") and was to strike from the premises of Jan Bozy Hospital in the direction of Muranow and reach the railway tracks near Warszawa Gdanska Station. A part of "Czata" and "Piesc" constituted the right wing, which was commanded by Captain "Motyl" and assigned with the main task, the capturing of Traugutt Fort. The Fort was separated from the insurgent positions with the pitch of "Polonia" sports club and Traugutt Park. It was decided that "Czata" platoons would go on the right - through the park, nearby the heavily garrisoned Legions' Fort. The soldiers of "Piesc" would strike from the left side, through the "Polonia" pitch. The attack was scheduled on 3 p.m. and was to be commenced by the Zoliborz units.
         When the shooting in the area of Warszawa Gdanska Station began, the units from the Old Town thought it was German firing, so they set off a quarter later. The soldiers of "Czata" and "Piesc" ran relatively easily, reaching the "Polonia" pitch and Traugutt Park. Suddenly they were nailed down by enemy fire. The insurgent attack did not surprise them. The dawn came and the Germans from the Fort's garrison that was towering over the Polish positions were able to see the soldiers lying on the grass and between the benches of stand perfectly well. They resumed fire with even greater strength, supported by the guns on the Citadel and the machine weapon located along the railway tracks as well as by the armored train's shelling.
         More and more insurgents were dying and many were wounded. Platoon leaders gave an order to retreat. The soldiers were moving to the attack positions on all fours. Konwiktorska Street was also under enemy machine gun fire. Both night assaults broke down. The insurgents incurred heavy losses - around 500 dead and wounded.
         In the evening of August 22 "Czata 49" battalion left Muranow and went on two-days rest in the quarters at 3 Mlawska Street. The slightly wounded were bandaged. Soldiers visited their companions from the Old Town, they exchanged their views, e.g. Captain "Motyl" (battalion's Staff Commander at that time ) talked with Lieutenant "Jedras".
         After Stawki Street and Muranow, the Old Town seemed a quiet haven to the insurgents. However, on its peripheries fierce battles were being fought. "Czata 49" battalion spent the following days on fighting by the building of Securities National Printing Office, in the old Sapieha Barracks, "Fiat" factory and St. Jan Bozy Hospital.
         On August 28, several dozen of battalion soldiers died when Stukas bombed the quarters of "Czata" at 3/5 Mlawska Street.
         Z. Scibor-Rylski "Motyl" recalls that incident:
         "I had incredible luck on August 28, during the tragic German air raid of Stukas. I was staying with Major "Witold" and my aide Daniel Jaksa-Debicki in the first floor of the house at 3/5 Mlawska Street. We were sitting at a table in a room. Suddenly airplanes came up flying. The building was showered with bombs. I managed only to shout to my companions to throw themselves on the couch in the room's niche. All of a sudden - an explosion. The whole apartment house collapsed next to us. We were choking with smoke, dust, and soot. The three of us survived on the couch in the niche by the only one remaining wall. I felt the roof under my feet. It was a meter below. We slid down to a yard."
         Major "Witold" sent a report to Lieutenant Colonel "Pawel" with a request for the help of a sapper company. Before the sappers arrived, Lieutenant "Drzewica" (W. Poplawski) was leading the rescue action performed by "Czata" forces. They gathered the survivors and were digging up the victims from under the ruins. The fire was spreading. All of a sudden a terrible explosion (of the battalion's ammo depot) caused the collapse of a back annex, affected by the bombardment. Falling walls and rubble covered several dozen of rescuers. Lieutenant "Drzewica" died. The sappers that arrived were rescuing "the rescuers" The remaining soldiers of "Czata" risked their lives as they were digging up their brothers-in-arms, friends, brothers, sons or sisters. The 28-day struggle to avoid unnecessary losses within the platoon were shattered by the explosion of one bomb.
         General T. Bor-Komorowski describes the situation in the Old Town at the end of August:
         "In the evening I entered the first floor of our house for the last time, wanting to look at the Old Town once again. During daytime it was hidden in dust raised by projectiles. The artillery fire had calmed down a bit, and wind was dispersing the dust clouds from fires. The Old Town was lying in front of me, or rather the ruins of what had been known as a town long time ago. (...) The burned frames of houses were protruding here and there among the ruins.
         The frontier of our fortress was marked by the black ground of trenches against the background of ghetto ruins, then the green of Krasinscy Garden - the area of fierce battles, attacks and counterattacks of both sides; then our redoubts: Jan Bozy Hospital and a crashed ferroconcrete building of PWPW (Securities National Printing Office), which had been withstanding the continuous German attack for many days.
         I was looking at the ruins of Blessed Virgin Mary church, at the burned-out dome of the convent of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, at the St. Hyacinth's Church's roof, torn with projectiles and at the ruined cathedral towers. (...)
         Six hundred years of Warsaw history had been reduced to rubble.
         Involuntarily I glanced at the other side of Vistula where one could see the outline of forests of Wawer, Anin and Radosc on the horizon. There lied the line of German-Soviet front. Since twenty one days what had reigned at that front was dead silence."

         The heart of the Old Town's defense was Colonel "Wachnowski", always calm, composed, talking briefly and in a hushed voice. He was aware of the fact that his task was to hold the remaining part of the Old Town until the end to ensure the survival of other districts until the relief came. General "Bor" knew that the commander of "Polnoc" group would perform the soldier's duty to the very end.
         However, in the face of enormous losses, food and water shortage, the AK commander and the District commander were prepared to lose the Old Town and decided to move the units from there in order to use them in other fighting sectors. After arriving at that decision, Colonel "Monter" ordered Colonel "Wachnowski" to start the evacuation of slightly wounded, some of the population and the civil administration through canals. On August 30 he sent the order to the commander of "Polnoc" group to break through from the Old Town to Srodmiescie District.
         On August 29 a meeting took place in the Colonel "Wachnowski's" headquarters, situated in the sacristy of the church on Freta Street. The following officers took part in it: Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" (J. Mazurkiewicz), Major "Witold" (T. Runge), Captain "Motyl" (Z. Scibor-Rylski) and Lieutenant "Jedras" (Z. Jedrzejewski). The Staff Commander, Lieutenant Colonel "Florian" (J. Lamers) outlined the master plan of the intended breakthrough by the groups from the Old Town to Srodmiescie District and the detailed aims of leaving through canals.
         Lieutenant Colonel "Florian" informed the present at the briefing that the reconnaissance had been done. The Bank Square was free from the enemy. The German stationed in the Maltese Hospital in Senatorska Street and in the Saxon Garden. There were three manholes in the Bank Square. The enemy was to be attacked at 11 p.m. from the side of Senatorska Street, through Zabia Street, and in the direction of the Mirowskie's Halls.
         "Czata 49" battalion was ordered to form a raiding party in the strength of around 125 men. It was to be joined by about 30 men from "Kuba" group formation (of Major. G. Bilewicz "Sosna"), commanded by Lieutenant "Juliusz" - M. Urbanyj. The whole group under the command of Captain "Motyl" (Major "Witold" was wounded and could not take part in the operation) was to enter the canal through a manhole in Krasinski Square at 8 p.m.
         Major "Witold" gathered the commanders of sub-units and decided who would take part. He chose three LMG squads from Lieutenant "Torpeda" (K. Jackowski), a full squad of Lieutenant "Cedro" (J. Byczkowski), a platoon of "Jedrasy" commanded by Lieutenant "Marek" (Z. Marczyk) without the squad of Sergeant "Pionek" (M. Kaminski), and the unit of Captain "Piotr" (Z. Zolocinski). The "Sosna's" unit joined at the manhole.
         Lieutenant "Jedras" (Z. Jedrzejewski) recalls:
         "I entered a canal for the first time in my life. At once I was struck by a horrid odour. In the light of flash lights I could see a quite big chamber under manholes. I was surprised by its considerable depth. At the bottom we entered the proper canal. We were moving knee-deep in a thick gunge led by a guide.(...) The march was very arduous, although the canal was tall at first. After an hour the guides told us that we were under Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street and ordered the absolute silence, because we were about to move under the manholes in the area occupied by the Germans.
         After another hour we arrived under Krolewska street. The canal was much lower there, under 1.5 meter, and we had to go on bent knees, leaning strongly, knee-deep in sewage, carrying ammo containers. (...)
         It was not until Graniczna Street that we could straighten up a bit. The Bank Square was close by. (...) We were afraid that we were late (the passing took over four hours).
         On the basis of the passing through of a group consisting of several people, it had been calculated that it would take three hours. However, the breakthrough of 150 men carrying arms, ammo and grenades had to take longer".

         They got under the Bank Square. Unfortunately, only one manhole was open and, in addition, there were Germans on the square. The reconnaissance of Lieutenant Colonel "Florian" had brought incomplete information or the situation had changed since that time. The troops started to go out on the surface. Ten men from "Torpeda" went out as the first ones. They were followed by Lieutenant "Cedro" and his squad.
         When "Jedrasy" began appearing on the surface, a shootout started. The men who were coming out next were shot wounded and fell into the manhole. Lieutenant "Cedro" died, and so did many of his soldiers. Two-thirds of the sent up came back (the canal was left by around 30 men). In order to avoid the panic, Captain "Motyl" and Captain "Piotr" gave the order to retreat. It relieved the tension. Everyone in the canal tried to take such position that would enable him to move forward in the opposite direction than the previous one. One went on their knees, others on the knees or hips bent and in such manner they managed to arrived after a few hours to the sewerage under the junction of Krakowskie Przedmiescie and Trebacka Street. There were tanks passing over them. The men were inhumanly tired and nervously exhausted after the unsuccessful operation.
         A messenger was sent to Major "Witold". They waited for an answer in the canal under Krakowskie Przedmiescie. The whole group was ordered to march to Srodmiescie District. They got out of the canal on Warecka Street, in the corner of Nowy Swiat Street. After almost 20 hours of the "canal purgatory" all of them were dirty, smudgy and stinking,. From the Old Town, destroyed, burned and covered with dust, they arrived at the streets of untouched houses, with windows, panes, curtains. There were green, flowers, and clean people around.
         Captain "Motyl" managed to visit his sister, living in the corner of Nowy Swiat and Foksal Street. She dressed his wounds (he still has a shrapnel in his arm). After two days of rest in the area of Chmielna and Traugutta Streets and joining of the rest of the unit, they received the order to move to Czerniakow District. They went through a barricade in Aleje Jerozolimskie, Three Crosses Square, and through a ditch along Ksiazeca Street. They took quarters by Okrag Street. The commander, Major "Witold", and the staff took up the building at 2 Okrag Street.
         At 8p.m. on September 1, amid the disappearing fires, the insurgent units from the Old Town began to go down into the canals, taking some of the wounded with them. The group formation of Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" took its position near the Krasinski Square, gradually leaving Franciszkanska Street and the east part of Dluga Street. The units which were late were constantly coming.
         At 5 a.m. the insurgents started to retreat. Meanwhile the Germans poured burning gasoline into the canal, making a further withdrawal impossible. Then they began the air raids on the region around Krasinski Square and attacked with their infantry. There were around 200 insurgents left in the Old Town. Some of them got through the side, low canals, some died lost in the canals. Most of them hid themselves among the civilians. Two thousand five hundred seriously wounded stayed in the basements with some part of nurses, as well as thirty five thousand of the healthy and around five thousand of the slightly wounded.
         On September 2 the Germans garrisoned the Old Town. The SS units and the soldiery from the eastern collaboration formations were committing not only plunder and rapes, but also horrid murders - some of the wounded were burned in hospitals and others were executed. The civilians were gathered and after killing the sick, the old or those unable to be transported, they were moved to the camp in Pruszkow.
         After capturing the Old Town, the main effort of the Germans was directed at the Districts that were located by the Vistula River. Having been reinforced, they were trying to force the insurgent units from the river bank. They were undoubtedly afraid of leaving an access to the Vistula River in Polish hands, anticipating a Soviet offensive.
         On September 3 the Germans started the air-raids and intensified their artillery shelling on Srodmiescie and Powisle Districts. In the south of Srodmiescie a German attack was repelled. In Mokotowska Street "Radoslaw" group formation was reorganized and after gathering the remaining units numbered 360 soldiers in two battalions: "Broda" of Captain "Jerzy" (R. Bialous) and "Czata 49" of Major "Witold" (T. Runge). From the rest of the 3rd company of "Zoska" battalion, the company of Lieutenant "Morro" (A. Romocki) was created, counting around 90 soldiers; from "Parasol" battalion and other units from "Broda" - the company of Lieutenant "Jeremi" (J. Zborowski).
         Major "Witold's" battalion consisted of only two companies: the 1st of "Szczesny" (M. Panasik) and the 2nd company of Captain "Motyl" (Z. Scibor-Rylski), who was also the deputy of Major "Witold".
         In the night of September 3rd to 4th and the next one the group formation was moved down Ksiazeca Street to the south of Powisle District, to the position of the commander of which Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" (Jan Mazurkiewicz) had been appointed, whereas Captain "Kryska" (Zygmunt Netzer) had become his deputy. During the same night, the 1st company of "Czata" battalion captured some of the buildings of St. Lazarus Hospital in Ksiazeca Street, which had been entered by the Germans.
         On September 4 the German units of General Reinefarth began the scheduled attack on the north of Powisle District. Since the morning the artillery was shelling the hospital with the large-caliber projectiles. The shrapnels of explosive projectiles cut the trees growing on the slope. The enemy attack came from the side of the National Museum and the Poniatowski Bridge. The group of Lieutenant "Jedras" (Z. Jedrzejewskiego) managed to defend its positions. The following days were getting more and more tragic.
         General Bor-Komorowski sent a message to London. On September 6 he reported:
         "The situation reached its climax. The civilian population is experiencing a crisis that can have a significant influence on the fighting units. The reasons of crisis: the stronger and completely not retaliated shelling and bombardment of the city; the awareness that the enemy intends to destroy the whole territory just like the Old Town and a part of Srodmiescie District; the prolongation of fight with no end in prospect; smaller and smaller starvation rations for the victims of fire, and fast depleting of food fot the others; high infant mortality, the propaganda of enemy factors; finally, lack of water and electricity in all districts.
         If we add to the abovementioned that ammo supply is running low, then we will see the whole picture of the fight which is getting more difficult with every day, with every hour.
         It is difficult to say what could be the consequences of the mass migration of the population from the battle areas and its concentration in the districts without any exit.
         In compliance with the announcement of Prime Minister, I ask for the information about the specific date of receiving the promised help or the notification that it will not be received. It will be the essential factor in making our decisions in near future.
         Are you estimating that the operations in the West will bring the end of war in the nearest future?
         We do not expect seizure by the Soviets any time soon".

         General "Bor" tried to learn about the situation in the capital by himself.
         "Meanwhile, everywhere where I went to, I was came across the exemplary spirit and the impeccable morale of soldiers. Perhaps, I was more proud of them then, in the period of defeats and misfortunes than in the first days of excitement and victories. That group of workers, artisans, students, gymnasium's pupils and clerks, which transformed into openly fighting army, presented an incredible resistance and vitality. A soldier would not sometimes leave his post for a few nights in a row. Being hungry, sleepy, covered in rags and with only several bullets in a pocket, he was defending himself and went on with unbelievable endurance and devotion. (...) The only thing keeping the hope alive, was the thought that a Soviet attack would begin on a following day ".
         On September 11 the situation of the fighting units was even more difficult. The groups in Powisle District and in the north of Czerniakow District were defending each and every house. The headquarters of Lieutenant Colonel Radoslaw was located at 18/20 Czerniakowska Street. The units of the former "Radoslaw" group formation were on the positions to the south of Aleja 3 Maja. "Czata" battalion of Major "Witold" was securing the connection with Srodmiescie District. The 2nd company of Lieutenant "Szczesny" garrisoned in a house at 7 Ksiazeca Street and in the ruins of St. Lazarus Hospital. The 1st company, commanded by Captain "Motyl" was occupying Ludna Street with the posts in the Municipal Gasworks. Lieutenant "Maly's" sappers were in Okrag Street, Lieutenant's "Morro" company stationed at 1 Ksiazeca Street, while "Broda" battalion led by Captain took its position in the western sector.
         On September 12, at about 9 a.m., around 80 Soviet bombers appeared over Praga District.
         Bronislaw Tronski a.k.a. "Jastrzab", AK soldier from "Lesnik" group formation, described in his reminiscences "Tedy przeszla smierc" (lit. "Here death walked through") the reactions of insurgents to the restart of fighting on the right side of the Vistula River:
         "Thick clouds of smoke were up in the air from the side of the Vistula River. Anti-aircraft guns could be heard somewhere near a bridge. Pak, pak, pak... The exploding bullets were creating white clouds in the sky. A red glow of fires was hovering over Praga District.
         For the first time, I experienced tangibly the presence of the Soviet Army attacking from somewhere on the other side of the Vistula River. "After all we are not alone - I thought happily. Could it be really that our expectations would be fulfilled? Could it be that the agony would really come to an end?" We were afraid of saying that aloud. The reality shattered our unconcealed hopes for so many times".

         Air fights were going on for a whole day. The Soviet artillery fire shifted on the west riverbank, it was covering the Citadel, Traugutt Fort and Warszawa Gdanska Station. The charge of the Red Army was forcing the Germans to the north, in the direction of Jablonna and Modlin. The German army were not retreating through Warsaw, but on the eastern side of the Vistula River. In the evening Soviet units captured Goclawek District and crossed the south frontiers of Praga District.
         On that day Polish units incurred heavy losses, especially among commanders and medical staff. In the northern sector of Captain "Motyl" a fierce fight for large area of the buildings of the gasworks in Ludna Street, which was hit from the direction of the Poniatowski Bridge by a battalion of "Dirlewanger" brigade, supported by the units of "Azerbaijan" regiment.
         The attack was assisted by assault guns shelling from the overpass of the Poniatowski Bridge and by heavy machine guns shooting from the tall buildings in Aleja 3 Maja (eng. 3rd May Avenue). Defending insurgents organized a line of resistance along Ludna Street. The strong, ferroconcrete edifice of Zaklad Ubezpieczen Spolecznych (eng. Social Insurance Institution) in Czerniakowska Street endured the artillery shelling.
         A strong German blow from two sides took almost all, scarce reserves of Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw". In the afternoon the Germans attacked with two tanks along Na Skarpie Avenue from the direction of the building of the Polish Parliament Czerniakow District became the sector of the most animated activity of the Germans. After dark there was another assault, again the units of SS Oberführer Dirlewanger took part in the operation. Both sides incurred serious losses. The connection between Srodmiescie and Powisle Districts were broken.
         On September 13, in connection with the battle in Praga District on the other side of the Vistula River, the Czerniakow's part of Powisle District became the subject of very fierce attacks of the enemy, both from air and ground. Warsaw citizens started to believe in a prompt retreat of the Germans from the city for the first time. The particular defensive actions of the enemy seemed to be the confirmation of the atmosphere. At noon, the Germans blew up the Poniatowski Bridge, in the evening - the railway bridges of the Warsaw cross-city line and by the Citadel, before midnight - the Kierbedz Bridge.
         Since the morning all three battle sectors of Powisle District were under the constant fire of heavy artillery, assault guns and heavy guns of infantry, as well as under air raids of air sections. Czerniakowska Street and the first part of Solec Street changed into a rubble. The main attack came from the north, ensued by a violent battle the among the extensively built-up area of the Municipal Gasworks in Ludna Street. The Germans forced the units of Captain "Motyl" to the that part of Ludna Street that had odd numbers. The successive groups of "Czata" captured the corner of Czerniakowska and Ludna Streets, also the ZUS edifice and the PKO (pl. Pocztowa Kasa Oszczednosci; eng. Post Office Savings Bank) house at 9 Ludna Street were in their hands.
         In the afternoon Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" gave an order to counter-attack. "Motyl" assaulted the gasworks. There was an air raid on the ZUS at the same time, the building was burning and it partly collapsed. The wounded, the sick and the staff were dying. Thanks to the fire of the "Motyl's" soldiers from Ludna Street, a unit of Lieutenant "Ksiaze" could retreat from the burning building. However, a convenient moment for a counter-attack was thwarted by necessity of carrying the wounded from the ZUS. The Polish had a tough battle. The insurgents were forced from the opposite side of Rozbrat Street.
         On September 14, the battles for Powisle District resembled the August fights for the Old Town. There was an another assault on the already shaken units of Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw". The Germans attacked along Czerniakowska and Przemyslowa Streets and the vicinity. The insurgents ran short of grenades and ammunition. The ZUS edifice became the area of fights once more. The Germans covered themselves with the barricades made of about 200 civilians taken from the gasworks premises. "Motyl" and his units was defending the line Ludna Street to its intersection with Solec Street.
         Having faced such a difficult situation, Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" made the decision of moving the rest of remaining insurgent forces in the direction of the Vistula River and gathering them together there in order to hold the bridgehead. The defensive line was shortened to a small area between the following streets: Okrag (Captain "Motyl), Czerniakowska and Zagorna (Major "Bicz"). Captain "Jerzy" was defending Wilanowska Street from the side of Czerniakowska Street.
         In the evening the units of Captain "Motyl" repelled an enemy assault, which hit the intersection of Ludna and Czerniakowska with the unprecedented strength. After repeated attacks, the insurgents were forced back from Ludna Street, which had been destroyed to a large extent. During a meeting at Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" the possibility of sending the wounded and unarmed soldiers to Mokotow District through the canals was considered.
         In the late evening of September 14, Officer Cadet Stanisla Komornicki - "Nalecz" and two of his companions from Czerniakow District crossed the Vistula River in order to reconnoiter. On the right bank of the Vistula River he met with the commander of 9th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Tadeusz Kosciuszko Division.
         In the night of September 14/15 three boats crossed the river to the south of the Poniatowski Bridge in order to get from Praga to Czerniakow District (out of 15 men, 5 soldiers with the wounded commander, PFC Officer Cadet, Janusz Kowalski). They were scouts from the 1st Tadeusz Kosciuszko Division, who after reconnoitering in the situation returned to the right riverbank, taking Major Witold Sztampke with them. The Kowalski's report and the "Radoslaw's" letter confirmed the commander of the Polish 1st Army's (pl. 1. Armia Wojska Polskiego - 1 AWP) belief about the necessity of throwing his forces on the bridgehead.
         For General Zygmunt Berling coming with help to the fighting Warsaw was not only the matter of regaining the soldier's honor, but also his personal ambition. In the case of succeeding, he would enter the capital as the one who was right staying in 1942 in the territory of USSR and choosing different political option than the rest of the Poles.
         Since the morning of that day the enemy forces of General Rohr together with Dirlewanger brigade subordinated to him, constantly supported by artillery and tanks, was attacking repeatedly the surrounded insurgent units in Czerniakow, Lower and Upper Mokotow districts.
         The hospital in Okrag Street (in basements) was overcrowded with the wounded. It looked as if the sight of the Old Town was repeated - the corridors were congested with the wounded and there was the odor of rot, pus and ether in the air. There were a lot of the weakened and exhausted soldiers from "Parasol", "Motyl" battalions and other units that had fought in the Old Town.
         "A sea of fire. It seemed that the whole Czerniakow District was one large stove".
         In the night of September 15/16 the first soldiers from 1st battalion of 9th Infantry Regiment of 3rd Division of the Polish 1st Army disembarked in Solec Sub-district in front of Wilanowska Street. About 300 well-armed soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Sergiusz Kononkow came to Solec Sub-district in the morning. The incoming were awaited at the riverbank by Major "Bicz" (Edward Jaworowicz), the deputy of Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw", Captain "Motyl" (Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski) and Lieutenant Zbigniew Paszkowski - "Stach" from AL (pl. Armia Ludowa - the People's Army). Almost all units arrived successfully. On the riverbank, however, they were caught in enemy fire from a span of the bridge. Lieutenant Kononkow was wounded, but he commanded further on.
         Since the morning the insurgent units supported by the 9th Infantry Regiment soldiers who came to help were repelling a strong enemy attack. The shelling of artillery and assault guns was constantly demolishing Solec and Wilanowska Streets. Attacking from the side of Gornoslaska and Cecylii Sniegockiej Streets, the Germans encroached the buildings on the odd number side of Czerniakowska Street that were being defended by the insurgents and soldiers. They also manned the house at 16 Zagorna Street, attacked in the direction of Idzkowskiego Street and captured the estate at 5/7 Zagorna Street.
         The Germans forced their way into the insurgent hospital at 9 Zagorna Street, on the odd number side, where over 200 wounded were lying and murdered some of them in the basement, taking most of them to the Gestapo headquarters in Sucha Street.
         The remaining units of "Zoska", "Czata" and "Parasol" battalions, together with 1st and 3rd company of 9th IR of 3rd Division of the Polish 1st Army were defending Okrag Street. They were forced out from the PKO edifice, but managed to hold the barricades in Okrag and Solec Streets that were closing the access from the north. The struggle of the soldiers was supported by the artillery situated on the other riverbank, directed by a forward observer equipped with a radio station. The 1st Army command's plan to expand the Czerniakow bridgehead failed to be realized.
         In the night of September 16/17 3rd battalion of 9th Regiment under the command of Captain Stanisla Olechnowicz managed to cross over from Saska Kepa District to the left side of the Vistula River . The battalion incurred heavy losses during the river crossing. Many of the soldiers had died on the right bank, before they set out, many died during the crossing itself, and many were shot after reaching the shore of Czerniakow District. About 400 soldiers crossed the river successfully. The staff commander of 9th Regiment, Major Stanislaw Latyszonek crossed over together with the battalion and took command over all the forces that had managed to reach the right side of the Vistula River.
         Shortly after, a combined meeting of the Polish 1st Army officers and the insurgent officers - Second Lieutenant "Igor" (W. Mutusewicz) from "Kryska" unit, Captain "Motyl" (Z. Scibor-Rylski) from "Czata" battalion. It was decided that there would be an AK officer of officer cadet by the side of every commander from the other side of the Vistula River.
         Berling's soldiers were often ordinary farmers from the east, trained to fight in the front, in large spaces. They were scared of the ruins, shooting, they could not fight in city, hide from the firing. They were eager to fight, well-equipped in guns and ammo, but the 3rd Division's soldiers were not skilled in street fights and were incurring heavy losses.
         On September 17, 18, and 19, the rest of "Czata 49" battalion fought bloody battles for the occupied houses, even for particular floors. The battalion was commanded by Captain "Motyl" at that time. Many of the "Czata" insurgents died in combat in Czerniakow District (complete data is not known, according to the relation of Major "Witold" since the beginning of the uprising 179 insurgents died and 390 were wounded until the loss of the battalion's log book in Czerniakow District).
         The battle at the bridgehead lasted for the whole day of September 17. The enemy focused its main effort on the sector of Czerniakowska Street and on Okrag Street. The Germans demolished the house at 2 Okrag Street with "Goliath" tracked mines, but failed to capture it. A similarly fierce battle was fought in the intersection of Solec, Wilanowska and Czerniakowska Streets. Despite the devastation created by tanks and assault guns, despite the heavy losses incurred by all the units, the insurgents and two battalions of Major Latoszonek held all the positions, repelling a series of attacks.
         The defense was supported by the 1st Army anti-tank batteries and the 47th Soviet Army's division of armored trains, situated on the eastern bank of the Vistula River.
         In the evening Captain Olechnowicz organized the assault on the house at 5/7 Idzkowskiego Street, capturing it, which made it possible to evacuate the wounded from the hospital at 9 Zagorna Street, using the boats that had brought food to the bridgehead.
         Since the morning of September 18 the fight for the house at 5/7 Idzkowskiego was still in progress, with the enemy trying to take it back. The German infantry broke through the ruins of an ultramarine factory as far as the headquarters of 9th Infantry Regiment at 39 Solec Street, planning to force their way to the bank and cut the Polish bridgehead into two halves. The attackers were driven back by 3rd mortar company of the Polish 1st Army, commanded by a woman, Second Lieutenant Janina Blaszczak. The Germans did not let rescue the wounded from the burning hospital in the house at 41 Solec Street. About 60 people, the wounded and nurses, died there.
         The German aircrafts were bombing Wilanowska and Okrag Streets. Until the evening, under the strong enemy pressure, the insurgents were completely pushed out from the demolished houses in Czerniakowska Street deeper into Wilanowska Street. The whole Czerniakowska was lost.
         On that day, the companies of 1st battalion of 9th Regiment and the insurgent units of Captain "Motyl" took heavy casualties, among the fallen there was the battalion commander Lieutenant Kononkow and many of his subordinates. The rest of "Parasol", "Czata" and "Zoska" battalions were decimated.
         The death of the battalion commander caused a confusion in the ranks of 1st battalion. On Major Latyszonek's request Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" appointed Captain "Motyl" to the position of the commander of all units in Wilanowska Street. Captain Z. Scibor-Rylski started to organize the defense at once, appointing the commanders of resistance points, their crew and means. Only one-third of its original strength remained of 1st battalion. Eleven German attacks, supported by 10-12 tanks, were repelled at the bridgehead that day. Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" asked the command of 1st Army to take the wounded to the right riverbank.
         The evacuation was dragging on, because there was few boats. At some moment a mortar projectile hit the "cichociemni" who were waiting for the crossing - Fryderyk Zoll, Zygmunt Milewicz and "aunt Antosia" (Michalina Wieszeniewska), a guardian of "cichociemni", a messenger that had been bringing orders also for Z. Scibor-Rylski. Boats were coming to shipwreck of "Bajka", on which the wounded had been carried in order to protect them from the enemy fire. There were many casualties during the crossing again.
         September 19 was the fiftieth day of the uprising. The Germans were still attacking very intensively in Czerniakow, along Wilanowska and Zagorna Streets. A tough battle was being fought for the ruins of the factory of ultramarine and canned food, for "Spolem" warehouses, 196 Czerniakowska Street, which had been captured by the enemy. Powerful blows of tanks and "Goliaths" stroke Wilanowska Street defended by the units commanded by Captain "Motyl".
         The Germans, supported by air raids, captured several houses in Idzkowskiego, Zagorna, Solec Streets, and then murdered the civilians and the insurgents that had been taken prisoner. After many hours of battle the enemy encroached the area of houses at 5/7 Idzkowskiego, from where he was forced back by a successful counter-attack. The soldiers of the AK, AL, and 1st Army had still a part of the riverbank in their hands, in the sector from Zagorna Street to the "Syrena" harbor and a few houses in Wilanowska Street.
         Although there were still 750 soldiers, including the slightly wounded, from 9th Regiment and about 400 insurgents, but they were short of ammo and food. The lack of water was severe, it was being taken from the Vistula River at night. The fatigue from the continuous fighting and standing guard, heavy losses among the commanders disorganized the units.
         In such a hopeless situation Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw", using Major Latyszonek's radio, asked the Soviet command for the help or the crossing means. He was assured that the help would soon come. On September 19 he established contact with the Soviet command for the second time and warned that if there was not any help until the evening he would have to stop fighting. He was assured once more, this time specifically, that the help would arrive not later than at 12 p.m. The fight with Germans continued. After 1 a.m. Major Latyszonek reported to "Radoslaw" that there would be no landing of reinforcements, but the artillery would support the defenders with its fire.
         At the same night, September 19/20, Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" decided that further defense was pointless and gave the order of retreat through the canals to Mokotow District. Some of the units however were scattered, tied up in battle with the Germans in separate houses, so not everyone received the commander's order. The others did not have the possibility of retreat, e.g. the unit of "Jerzy" and the groups of Major Latyszonek. The fight continued further on and without a break, until the limits of human capabilities. The defenders did not have anything to eat, they were short of water, bandages, and the enemy concentrated destructive fire on two, and later on one building located at 1 Wilanowska Street.
         Even the 1st Army artillery shelling was striking in the same degree both the Germans and the defenders, because of the closeness of their positions. The soldiers of "Jerzy" (Ryszard Bialous) and Major Stanislaw Latyszonek were compelled to fight further on, not only with the enemy tanks and infantry, but also with the spreading fire. Finally they were overcome by hunger. The healthy and wounded soldiers and the local citizens had not eaten since four days. Only few managed to break through the Vistula River to Saska Kepa District ( a handful of soldiers with repeatedly and severely wounded Captain "Kryska"). The commander of "Broda" - Captain "Jerzy" led to Srodmiescie District four soldiers, while sixty had set out.
         The last shots were fired in Upper Czerniakow District on September 23. Eighty-two soldiers from 9th Regiment (including Major Latyszonek) and 57 insurgents were taken prisoner. The Germans executed on the spot some of the officers and NCOs, taking revenge for the strong resistance. About 120 wounded at a dressing station were also killed at that time.
         In the morning of September 20 Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw's" units started to come from Powisle to Mokotow District. About 200 insurgents walked through the canals, half of them wounded men from the units of Major "Kryska", Major "Witold" and the rest of "Parasol" battalion (around 45 soldiers including the wounded).
         It was very difficult to get through canals, the insurgents had to pull themselves up the rope over a dam, the canal was blocked with objects left by previous refugees, and there were a lot of the wounded among the evacuating. They went through a storm drain from Solec through Mysliwiecka, Agrykola Streets and the Baths Park (pl. Park Lazienkowski). The wounded were received in the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth's hospital, while the rest of the insurgents were incapable of further fighting. Only a part of that group joined the battles for Krolikarnia Palace (lit. The Rabbit House).
         The shelling of artillery and heavy mortars (von dem Bach's corp) on Mokotow District (including a strong, energetic attack on Krolikarnia Palace) intensified on September 23. The Mokotow's defenders were struggling at the end of their strength, having less and less ammo, and running short of food.
         Since the early morning of September 25 the artillery shelling and bombardment of Mokotow District showed that the Germans had prepared the final (in its intention) blow to Mokotow District. A fierce fight developed and it's worth mentioning that in the south section the school in Woronicza Street by Pulawska Street was going from hand to hand seven times.
         The commander of Mokotow District, Lieutenant Colonel "Karol" - Jozef Rokicki, asked General Berling by use of Soviet forward observers for artillery support. They did not provide it despite the promises.
         "Karol" reported on that day: "The situation is very serious. No help from the Soviet artillery". According to the commander the casualties among the soldiers amounted to 70%. In the afternoon Lieutenant Colonel "Karol" decided to leave Mokotow District.
         Because of such trend of events, on September 25 "Radoslad gave an order to his units to head to Srodmiescie District through canals.
         Captain Motyl conveyed in his account:
         "On September 26 I evacuated through a manhole in Wiktorska Street together with Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw", Major "Witold" and other soldiers. The manhole in Pulawska Street had been filled up and the further evacuation was performed through the manhole in Szustra Street, which was being protected by Lieutenant "Maly's" platoon. We had a good guide, so we did lose our way and got out in the corner of Wilcza Street and Aleje Ujazdowskie".
         Meanwhile, after the first group evacuated, the Mokotow units encountered German fire. The Germans noticed the defenders move. They were raking the crossings over manholes with their submachine guns and throwing hand grenades into canals. An indescribable panic arose among the men walking through the canal. Some turned back after reaching a dam, others wandered in side branches, while searching for an another exit, and got out to the surface after 36 hours. There were many cases of gas poisoning, trample as well as insanity.
         The remainder of "Czata 49" battalion, the whole "Radoslaw" group formation managed to avoid major casualties in canals and reached the quarters in Aleje Ujazdowskie, near Wilcza and Hoza Streets, in Srodmiescie District.

AK identity card, "Czata" battalion

         The uprising was dying out. The remainder of "Czata 49" battalion did not take part in battles any more, but the soldiers experienced a very dramatic moment. On September 27, in Aleje Ujazdowskie, in the rear of front lines, a grenade launcher's shrapnel hit the temple of Lieutenant "Maly" - Janusz Stolarski, a soldier of 27th Volhynian ID of the AK. He walked the whole battle route of "Czata 49" with the insurgents: he battled in Wola District, in the Old Town, in Czerniakow and Mokotow Districts (he fought two days for Krolikarnia), protected his companions at the manhole in Szustra Street. He was repeatedly covered by rubble and survived, but an accidental bullet took his life.
         The fight in Zoliborz District ended, on September 30, at 6.15 a.m. Thousands of human lives were saved in almost last moment thanks to that. The General "Bor's" message about the surrender was brought to the wounded Lieutenant Colonel "Zywiciel" (Mieczyslaw Niedzielski) by Colonel Ziemski. He presented the position of the insurgents as a stalemate. Only after a longer while Lieutenant Colonel "Zywiciel" agreed to the capitulation of the last (except for Srodmiescie District) fighting units in the capital. One thousand five hundred soldiers and about four hundred wounded from Zoliborz District were taken prisoner by the Germans.
         Then, there were the negotiations about the evacuation of the civilian population. By virtue of the agreement between the Polish Red Cross and the Germans, the population could leave the city on October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
         The AK Commander, General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski, faced with the lack of help from the side of the Soviet command decided that he would resume the negotiations with the Germans. On October 2, 1944, in Ozarow, the wording of the capitulation agreement was formulated by Colonel Kazimierz Iranek-Osmecki "Jarecki" and Lieutenant Colonel Zygmunt Dobrowolski "Zyndram" (empowered by General "Bor") and the German counterparty, the commanding officer of Warsaw, SS-Obergruppenfüher General Leutnant der Polizei von dem Bach.
         In its final wording, the text could not hide a terrible tragedy that was just beginning. The agreement guaranteed a decent treatment of Warsaw citizens. The Germans acknowledged the AK soldiers as privileged combatants (those who was not wearing regular uniforms were acknowledged as combatants if they had white-red armbands or white-eagle badges; the Germans would also accept the documents made on the basis of aliases ) and decided that they would be treated - like those from western armies - as the prisoners of war protected under Geneva Convention of 1929.
         All Polish prisoners of war were to be kept watched and transported to POW camps by Wehrmacht soldiers. The Germans were absolutely rigid when it came to the clearing the capital from all the citizens. They agreed that the civilians would not be charged with the previous offences against German regulations and they would make efforts in order to preserve order and peace. Finally, the insurgents met with some respect, but provisions could not conceal the perspective of the annihilation of the capital itself.
         In connection with the end of struggle in Warsaw General "Bor" gave the following order to the soldiers of Warsaw garrison:
         "Soldiers of the Fighting Warsaw!
         Our two-month fight in Warsaw, a series of heroic displays of the Polish soldier, strikes with awe, but is a profound proof of our urge for freedom, stronger than anything there. The bravery of Warsaw is admired by the whole world. (...) We failed to achieve military victory over the enemy, because the general trend of war events had not been favorable to our fight.
         Now, when the enemy's technical force managed to tighten us in the central, sole in our hands, district of the city, when ruins and ashes are overcrowded with troops and heroic civilians (...), when there is not enough food even to get poor alimentation, we are faced with issue of the complete destruction of the Warsaw population by the enemy and burying it in the ruins of the ranks of fighting soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians.
         I decided to stop the fight.
         I thank all the soldiers for an outstanding military bearing that had not bent against the hardest conditions. I pay homage to the fallen, due for their suffering and sacrifice. I express my admiration and gratitude for the civil population.(...)"
         Warsaw, October 3rd, 1944
         The AK Commander
         Komorowski-Bor, Major General

         The day after undersigning of the capitulation agreement there was a bilateral ceasefire. On October 3 all commands were closing organizational matters. The insurgents dossiers and valuable things were hidden in ruins, the units were reorganized, insurgents received their first soldier's pay - 2 000 zlotys and 7 dollars; there were also promotions and awards. Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski "Motyl" ended the uprising with a promotion to the rank of Major.
         After announcing the capitulation Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" decide that it's for individuals to choose whether they want to be treated as civilians or POWs. Soldiers often simulated to be seriously wounded and having been plaster casted they were leaving the city with civil population. A part of "Czata 49" battalion under the command of Captain "Rolicz" laid down their arms and found themselves in German captivity. Also the wounded insurgents survived after having arrived in Srodmiescie District from the Old Town. They were transported from the field hospital nr. 2 ("Terminus" Hotel at 28 Chmielna Street) to Zeihein IV B camp in Saxony.
         A scheduled removal of frontier barricades, situated in the closest vicinity of German lines began in the morning of October 3. The commander of 28th Infantry Division of the AK, Colonel Edward Pfeiffer - "Radwan", appointed about 300 soldiers from "Kilinski" battalion to stay in the city for administrative order purposes, in compliance with point 7 of the second part of the agreement of cessation of hostilities in Warsaw, which stipulated the temporary stay of three armed AK companies in order to perform specific activities in Warsaw. Robbed of all hope, the population started leaving the city.
         On October 3 and on the following days the crowds of civilians started leaving Warsaw. Together with the Srodmiescie District's citizens, 3500 uprising participants (among them many officers) managed to get out illegally, dressed as civilians, determined to avoid the German captivity. Many politicians and social workers left the capital in the same way.
         The evacuation of insurgents, which began on October 4, was a display of bravery. The AK units arranged themselves in four or six in a row and having created long columns marched to predetermined passages in German lines. The soldiers were striding proudly, with grim faces, but walking tall. All of them had theirs white-red armbands and white-eagle badges. They were led under control to Warszawa Zachodnia station, from where they were transported to Durchgangslager-Dulag 121 (transit camp) in Pruszkow.
         Z. Scibor-Rylski came across his friend, Lieutenant "Jedras", with whom he walked a long path - firstly in Ustianowa, then in battles fought by 27th Volhynian ID and "Czata". Zygmunt Jedrzejewski was wounded and ill. He and a group of POWs got into a transport destined to a camp. Fortunately, he managed to escape. He saw the end of the war in Cracow.
         In the meantime Lieutenant Colonel "Radoslaw" chose from his closest companions a group of soldiers which was to continue conspiratorial activity. "Motyl" and Major "Witold" applied in Pruszkow as civilians for so called "jedynka" (eng. one; a part of camp for civilian population - translator's note), where they got their "wounds" recorded and were sent to the hospital in Grodzisk Mazowiecki. They never got there, arriving in Milanowek after two days. Lieutenant Colonel Tadeusz Runge "Witold" and Major Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski "Motyl" (promotion with seniority on October 2, 1944) still worked in conspiracy. They sent information about enemy army positions and movements to London.
         After liberating Warsaw on January 17, 1945, they moved to Lowicz. "Witold" was familiar with that territory since the period of receiving air drops. They were observing the situation in the territory of Poland. They were in contact with "Radoslaw" (Jan Mazurkiewicz), who managed the intelligence net in the area of Czestochowa and Cracow.
         Major "Motyl" sees the end of war in Lowicz. On May 7, 1945, he reports to "Radoslaw" that in connection with the termination of warfare he quits the conspiratorial activity and leaves for Poznan.

Post-war life

         The Warsaw Uprising fell, but AK soldiers in western and southern regions of Poland tried to continue the Operation "Tempest, although it was obvious that it would not achieve desirable political results. The AK participation in the liberation of Cracow was enormous and noticeable. The soldiers of Polish underground saved also the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa from a planned destruction by the Germans.
         The way of Russian conduct did not change. The NKVD actions were supported by the legislative of the Polish Committee of National Liberation (pl. PKWN - Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego; a puppet government also known as Lublin Committee - translator's note). On August 24 the PKWN issued the decree dissolving all conspiratorial organizations in liberated areas. One week later it set up courts of law for war criminals and at the same time court-martials - also for the civilians threatening the security of state". On October 30 it issued a very strict state security decree.
         It was common that "the enemies" were executed without a trial. The highest penalty was meted out even for what the previous occupants had been punishing less severely, e.g. for the possession of radio receiver. The NKVD was more and more often compared with Gestapo, except for the first one was acting more operationally, having its footing in local "authorities". In total, several dozen thousand of people were plausibly subjected to repression until December, 1944.
         Aided by local security services that had been set up by the PKWN under the decree of October 7, 1944, the NKVD, moving right after the Soviet armies, effected everywhere the mass-arrests of AK soldiers who had revealed themselves and transported deep into the territory of the USSR.
         It finally forced the AK command and the Polish government in London to make a difficult decision of the AK dissolution. The proper order in this matter was issued on January 19, 1945, by General Leopold Okulicki a.k.a."Niedzwiadek", with the intention of protecting the private soldiers, who were exposing themselves to danger in the current situation.
         Unclear international prospects did not allow to give up underground independence military organization completely. Conspiratorial military organization founded already in the spring of 1944 by the AK Headquarters, assumed the code name "Nie" (from "Niepodleglosc" - eng. Independence). Its goal was to continue the fight after entering the Polish territory by the Red Army. Many "Nie" officers took part in the Warsaw Uprising, afterwards being taken into German captivity. After the fall of uprising, it was decided to recreate the structures of organization, which was done by General Emil Fieldorf a.k.a. "Nil".
         It was determined to keep the AK framework, consisting of a part of commanding staff, managed by General Leopold Okulicki, General Emil Fieldorf "Nil" and Colonel Jan Rzepecki. Fieldorf was arrested by the NKVD under an assumed name in February, 1945, and transported to Russia. "Niedzwiadek" - Okulicki was arrested in March and two months later, in May, 1945, "Nie" stopped its activity.
         On March 28, 1945, the NKVD entrapped in Pruszkow the leaders of London underground. Among them there were: the abovementioned L. Okulicki, J. S. Jankowski, A. Bien, S. Jasiukowicz, K. Baginski, J. Chacinski, E. Czarnowski, S. Mierzwa, K. Puzak, Z. Stypulkowski, F. Urbanski, A. Zwierzynski, K. Kobylanski, S. Michalowski, J. Stemler- Dabski, and A. Pajdak. They were transported to Moscow and consigned to the Lubyanka (the headquarters of the KGB and affiliated prison - translator's note).
         The General Okulicki's group, and General Okulicki himself in particular, were charged with preparing and performing at the rear of the Red Army sabotage actions, which over a hundred soldiers and officers of the Red Army had fallen victim to, as well as maintaining illicit radio transmitters at the rear of the Soviet Army, which was forbidden by the law.
         The public trial, known as the Trial of the Sixteen (pl. proces szesnastu), was in progress on June 18-21, 1945. The arrested were illegally charged and penalized. Kobylanski, Michalowski and Stemler-Dabski were acquitted, whereas the trial of Pajdak was held separately. Poles felt lost in the post-war reality.
         Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski started a new life under an assumed name in Poznan. Knowing the current events in Poland and about the repressions, which members of the Polish Underground State, AK soldiers were subject to, he did not reveal his identity, nor the fact of participating in the Warsaw Uprising. He was not victimized due to that. He did not take up social or political activity.
         He found a job in the Bureau of Automobile Repairs "Motozbyt". No cars were manufactured in the country at that time. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was providing old vehicles. Scibor-Rylski was collecting them, after which they were repaired in Motozbyt plants and then sold to consumers. Scibor-Rylski managed the sales department in the company. He was not a member of The Polish United Workers' Party (pl. Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza - PZPR), so he had give up his managerial post for a more ideological party figure.
         He was working as a driver in the Poznan's Transport Company for a short period of time. In 1956 he became a technical inspector in the United Economic Enterprises INCO (pl. Zjednoczone Zaklady Gospodarcze). His work consisted in conducting the training how to make thermal and hydro insulation (a technological novelty in building industry back then) to the employees of building contractors in the whole country. He worked in the Designing Office of INCO until his retirement in 1977.
         In the meantime, in 1963, he moved to Warsaw and settled in Radosc. He continued the his work, going on business trips around Poland, most often to Rzeszowskie Voivodeship.
         In 1946 in Gdansk he got to know Zofia Kochanska. He was collecting 500 cars from UNRRA in Gdynia. Zbigniew's sister, Danusia, asked him to pass a letter to an acquaintance - Zofia Kochanska. They got acquainted during the war. Danuta Rylska was the wife of Captain Bogdan Piatkowski "Dzul", "cichociemny" paratrooper, a soldier of "Wachlarz" (a subversive group subject directly to AK Headquarters, performing large-scale subversive actions at the rear of eastern front). "Dzul" died in March 1943 in Minsk.

Captain Bogdan Juliusz Piatkowski - "Mak", "Dzul", CC; the husband of Zbigniewa Scibor-Rylskiego's sister - Danuta

         Zofia Rapp-Kochanska vel Maria Springer was an intelligence agent of the AK. She was working as a messenger since September 1942, when she went for the first time to Poznan, the region incorporated by Reich, and then to Berlin. She established contacts and brought valuable intelligence reports. In Berlin she obtained valuable information about a German armored cruiser, hidden in Norway's fiords behind a triple barrier of underwater protecting net, about the number of its crew, airplanes and the caliber of its guns. She persuaded her schoolmate, Wilhelmina Günter, to cooperate with the Polish intelligence.

Zofia Rapp-Kochanska vel Maria Springer

         Since September 1942 she was travelling every month until May 1943. She was working on the toughest routes: Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Hannover, Ludwigshafen, Saarbücken. She was self-composed and brave. Thanks to the Poles transported to Germany and employed in the "Hannover Stecken" factory, manufacturing batteries for submarines, she brought the data about the production and a plan of the city, used by the Allied to bomb Hannover.
         In March 1943, she married Jan Kochanski ("Maciek", "Alojzy", "cichociemny", who had been assigned to the Aggressive Intelligence). She left with her husband to Lvov, because he had been redeployed to the intelligence net of the region. They were arrested on November 1. Zosia was in eighth month of pregnancy. Gestapo knew about her intelligence work. There were attempts to help her. She was sent some food and cleansers to the hospital.
         Aforementioned "aunt Antosia" sent judge Semedeni to Lvov in order to help Marie Springer get away. Young woman ran away two weeks before the childbirth. She returned with judge Semedeni to Warsaw, where on January 4, 1944, she gave birth to a boy, Macius. "Aunt Antosia" managed to pass the message to imprisoned in the Pawiak prison Jan Kochanski that he had a son. an died on February 16, 1944. "Aunt Antosia" (Michalina Wieszeniewska) and "Agaton" (Stanislaw Jankowski, a friend of Jan and "Dzul" from "cichociemni" group called "Kolnierzyki") became the godparents of Macius.
         Zofia Kochanska had to change her place of living often, because she was still being searched by the Germans. She was looked after by "aunt Antosia", who was finding new places for her. One of those new places for the young mother was the flat of Danusia Rylska-Piatkowska, widow after "Dzul".
         On October 4 Zofia left Warsaw and got to Pruszkow. Maciek had 40 degrees of fever, he had measles. A doctor gave her referral to hospital, but as soon as Zosia went out through the camp gate, she took her son under her arm and ran away. She preferred not to be in a hospital, to which the Germans had access, because Gestapo had a good memory.
         Piatkowska and Kochanska made friends and after the war they were still keeping in touch with each other. Thanks to that Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski got acquainted with Zofia, passing the sister's letter in Gdansk. They married in 1948 and settled in Poznan in Wroclawska Street. They had no children. In 1963 Rylski family moved to Warsaw. They bought a house in Radosc, in Krola Kazimierza Street. Zofia Rylska ran a craft workshop in Warsaw Cooperative "Reflex". Maciej graduated from Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1968, built a house in Miedzeszyn and they were living next to each other. Zofia Rylska died in 1999.
         Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski was awarded, inter alia, the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari (twice), the Cross of Valour (twice), the Partisan Cross, The Warsaw Cross of the Uprising, as well as the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

The certificate of award of the Cross of Valour for the second time

         On December 1, 2004, he was appointed a member of Virtuti Militari Order's Chapter.
         In the post-war period Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski was promoted to the rank of Colonel in reserve, and on May 7, 2005 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General by the President of the Republic of Poland.

Brigadier General Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl"

Combatant activity

         After the retirement Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski started to establish contacts with the former companions from the times of war. Informal meetings were organized by Colonel Stanislaw Ksiazkiewicz from the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy (pl. Zwiazek Bojownikow o Wolnosc i Demokracje; ZboWiD), a veterans association functioning in the People's Republic of Poland. Shortly after, there was a revival of "Motyl's" contact with brothers-in-arms from 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of the AK and "Czata 49" battalion. Those friendly meetings changed after the transformation in 1989 into a social activity for veteran movement.
         When on April 7, 1989, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland passed the bill about associations, Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski made combatant environment work and on the basis of the Parliamentary Act Law on Associations, together with friends from the Group of Environments of Warsaw Resistance Movement, he started to work on the formation of the Association of the Warsaw Uprising Soldiers.
         The Association of Warsaw Insurgents (pl. Zwiazek Powstancow Warszawskich; ZPW), an initiative group, was formed at the same time, at the turn of August and September, 1989 (first chairman - Witold Stankiewicz; after changing purposes - Ryszard Wagner). The formation of two organizations associating the Warsaw Uprising soldiers was faced with a protest of many insurgent environments. The talks between two organizations began and after many meetings they were merged on May 14, 1990, accompanied by enthusiastic applause of the Warsaw Uprising soldiers.
         The passed resolution stipulated the choice of temporary board of the Association, its development and the realization of goals. The name of the Society of Warsaw Partisans has been retained. During the meeting Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski has been appointed as the chairman, while Tadeusz Stachowiak and Ryszard Wagner became vice-chairmen. Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski has been holding this position since 1990 until now, with a three-year break, when Kazimierz Leski "Bradl" was performing this function.
         ZPW was registered in court in 1993, and in 2004 it has received the status of Public Benefit Organization. The seat of the Association is located at 22 Dluga Street, where there is also an exhibition arranged by ZPW members: "Warsaw Uprising 1944" (the subject matter of exhibitions changes, e.g. "Fighting districts of Warsaw" "). Until the opening of the Warsaw Uprising Museum, it was the only place in the capital that was showing AK soldiers, insurgent operations, and the picture of damages in Warsaw during the World War II.
         The Association organizes former soldiers of the Warsaw Uprising from various group formations. It numbers about 4 100 members. It has 10 local circle and 35 environmental ones. It is a member of the Agreement of Organizations of Home Army Soldiers (pl. Porozumienie Organizacji Zolnierzy Armii Krajowej). The objective of organization is to sustain the bonds of friendship among the insurgents, organize financial help and medical care to them and their families, and first of all the research, popularization and consolidation of Warsaw Uprising history.
         The Association represents the concerns of members against the authorities and society. It undertakes measures to award veteran rights to the soldiers of Warsaw Uprising. The Main Board deals with the verification of military ranks, awards, as well as with promoting and awarding decorations.
         ZPW initiates, organizes the publishing and popularization of broadly understood history of Warsaw Uprising and the martyrdom of its soldiers. Since August 1990, ZPW has been publishing "Powstaniec Warszawski", Information Bulletin of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents (quarterly journal). It constitutes a specific mirror of the Association's activity. Jolanta Kolczynska "Klara" (one of the initiators of The 1944 Warsaw Uprising Remembrance Association [pl. Stowarzyszenie Pamieci Powstania Warszawskiego 1944; SPPW], its first president, and now SPPW honorary president) is its editor-in-chief.
         The members of ZPW collect records about the Warsaw Uprising and its soldiers. They take part in the conferences of historians, in the SPPW meetings with the witnesses of history, and with school children. They conduct various projects with teachers, taking initiatives in connection with this, e.g. they show the places where there were barricades in the Old Town, the manholes to the school children, and stroll with them amid the graves of insurgents in Powazki Military Cemetery. They cooperate with Polish scouting association. They receive delegations of the similar associations from other countries.
         Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski belonged to an initiative group of creating the Warsaw Uprising Musuem, he was a member of Honorary Board of the Formation of Museum. Z. Scibor-Rylski "Motyl" is present in the Association of Kleeberg's Soldiers of Independent Operational Group "Polesie" (pl. Zwiazek Kleeberczykow Samodzielnej Grupy Operacyjnej "Polesie") and in the Association of 27th Volhynian Division of the AK (pl. Zwiazek 27. Wolynskiej Dywizji AK).

Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl" - combatant activist

         General "Motyl" takes part in state ceremonies, the anniversaries of the Warsaw Uprising, he willingly meets with historians, young generation, he often gives interviews to journalists, students of the Institute of History of the University of Warsaw, while on the daily basis he deals with the chartered activity of the Association.

biography prepared by Maria Poprawa
on the basis of her thesis

edited by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz

translation: Pawel Boruciak


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