- Pliszczyn, June 7, 2018

          I am writing these words in June 2018 with a strong feeling that this year is not just another year in lifetime. It is an unusual year, indeed. "Why?", you may ask. The answer is, in Poland we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of regaining the Independence.
          On April 19 we remembered the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. On August 1 we will commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.
          Last but not least, we have commemorated the 75th anniversary of a well-known action of the Polish Underground State (the Grey Regiments), as a result of which Janek Bytnar a.k.a. "Rudy" had been rescued from the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei).

          That bravery, that fortitude and that amazing friendship once seen inside the Stefan Batory High School, in the Warsaw streets and next to the Arsenal - all those feelings were successfully transferred into the interior of the Sacred Heart Priests' Monastery in Pliszczyn nearby Lublin by the young men who are candidates to the monastic life.

          Although the challenge was truly difficult - the staging commemorating the Arsenal Action was to be presented in the English language - the young actors really succeeded. Exactly 75 years & 75 days afterwards: on June 7, 2018.
          Devoted readers of our Association's website undoubtedly remember that Pliszczyn is a charming town on the Lublin Upland, 10 kilometers in the north-east direction from Lublin.


          In the centre of Pliszczyn one can find the Sacred Heart Priests' Monastery. Father Superior Fr. Dariusz Salamon PhD, together with a group of lecturers, both clergymen and laymen, leads the religious formation of candidates, providing them very good conditions to both intellectual and physical development and also accompany them to delve into their priestly vocation. Presently, we enjoy the presence of two postulants who definitely can be called two valuable, gifted and courageous men, who answered the question that had been once asked by "Rudy": "Who will care how we were dying?"
          The screenplay of the staging contained the scenes from the war-time reality. Thanks to the contemporary hi-tech the spectators could read the Polish translation on a screen. Music was the important element of our meeting. Patriotic songs that could be heard at the background or between particular scenes made the atmosphere more solemn.
          In my opinion the following scenes were most touching ones:

          the Home Army oath,


          painting the anchors of the Polish Underground State,

          reading the fragments of letters written by "Alek" to his girlfriend Basia,

          the moment of making "Rudy" free,

          and the figure of "Zo¶ka" who himself was nursing his friend Janek and then became the witness of his death.

          Tadeusz a.k.a. "Zo¶ka", had to cope with the death of his two closest friends. "Rudy" and "Alek" died on the same day, i.e. March 30, 1943.

          Everyone who looked at "Zo¶ka" felt sorry for him. Those who lost their closest friends could understand this young man who 'did more than he was able to.' "Zo¶ka" lived no more than five months longer. He died on August 20 during the AS action, fighting. But - which was strongly underlined during our staging - they are still alive in our minds!

          In order to encourage the spectators to visit the Polish capital city and follow the steps of our Grey Regiments' Heroes, during the staging we showed:

           the compilation of photographs of contemporary Warsaw,
           the Place of the Arsenal Action (from 2006 till 2018),
           the Pow±zki Military Cemetery: the graves of "Rudy", "Alek" and "Zo¶ka" (from 1999 till 2018).

          The following materials were used in the scenario of "The Arsenal Action - our reflection 75 years & 75 days afterwards": fragments of the book of Barbara Wachowicz entitled "Rudy, Alek, Zo¶ka: Gawęda o bohaterach "Kamieni na szaniec", fragments of the film screenplay of "Akcja pod Arsenałem" directed by Jan Łomnicki, as well as the fragments of the promotional brochure of the musical by Teatr Roma entitled "Piloci".
          The spectators were both moved and satisfied with the c. 70-minute-long solemn meeting in commemoration of the Arsenal Action anniversary. I guess that the staging "The Arsenal Action - our reflection 75 years & 75 days afterwards" left everybody full of admiration for two young actors who performed the roles of Jan Bytnar and Tadeusz Zawadzki. The latter played a role of the Narrator in a splendid way, too.

          What was emphasized in the performance was the atmosphere of the youth environment at the war-time in Warsaw, especially their being devoted in the Little Sabotage actions and their willingness to sacrifice their abilities, knowledge, even their own life for the Cause. For future generations these young heroes are great examples of what one is able to do if they think highly of values like: friendship, love or brotherhood.
          Friar Superior from Pliszczyn, Fr. Dariusz Salamon PhD expressed his joy that the event would be immortalized in a form of a photo report on the website of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Remembrance Association. Thanks to that, the essence being propagated there will be available for the wider circle of readers worldwide.

          Let me now address my students. My dear ones, you own my deep respect, my heartfelt congratulations as well as my hope that you will always be such people who I have known: the worth followers of your Columbus Generation's age-mates.

          The staging was prepared and amazingly performed by:

           coming from Transdniestria Ivan Asauleac as Jan Bytnar a.k.a. "Rudy",

Ivan Asauleac

           coming from Mników nearby Cracow Michał KoĽbiał as Tadeusz Zawadzki a.k.a. "Zo¶ka" and Narrator.

Michał KoĽbiał

          Many thanks for the inhabitant of Pliszczyn Bartłomiej Siedlecki, our camera-man, who also agreed to be the voice of Aleksy Dawidowski a.k.a. "Alek" in one of the scenes.

Bartłomiej Siedlecki

          I am proud of you and I thank you for what we have achieved in a joint effort. You know well how much determination, obstinacy and faith we all proved. We did it for T h e m.

screenplay, report and translation by: Monika Ałasa
a member of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Remembrance Association,
an English tutor in the Sacred Heart Priests' Monastery in Pliszczyn

compiled by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz

photographs taken by: Fr. Dariusz Salamon PhD, Bartłomiej Siedlecki and Monika Ałasa

Copyright © 2018 SPPW 1944. All rights reserved.