Meetings with the 100-year-old General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski (2017)

          In the year 2017 the 100th anniversary of the birthday of General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl" was celebrated.
          Born on March 10, 1917, the graduate of the Airforce Officer cadet School, he took part in the 1939 September campaign. During the occupation Lt. Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski fought in the 27th Wołyń Home Army Division, having taken a nickname "Motyl" ("Butterfly"). Having been marshalled by the his command to Warsaw in July 1944 Lt. "Motyl" fought in the Warsaw Uprising 1944 in the "Czata 49" battalion of the Home Army unit "Radosław". Promoted to the rank of captain, he went through the whole fighting route of the unit. After the Uprising capitulation he was promoted to the rank of Major. He was twice given the Silver Virtuti Militari Cross and the Polish Cross of Valour, also twice, as well as the title of Honorary Citizen of Warsaw.
          He used to be the multiannual Chairman of the Warsaw Insurgents' Association, he was also one of initiators of the erection of the Warsaw Uprising Museum, a member of the Honorary Council of Building the Museum, a social activist, a great patriot and a good man.

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          On March 10, 2017, at the 100th anniversary of the birthday of General "Motyl" in the Room under Liberator in the Warsaw Uprising Museum there happened a moving solemnity. The organizers of the event were: the Chairman of the City Council of Warsaw Mrs. Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Managing Board of the Warsaw Uprising Insurgents.
          In the meeting c. 100 persons participated, all of whom being called friends by the celebrant. Among the participants were: members of the authorities of the City of Warsaw, members of the presidium of the Warsaw Insurgents Association, chairmen of the combatant communities, the Virtuti Militari Order owners as well as both friends and relatives of Mr. General.

          The gathered were welcomed by the Warsaw Uprising Museum manager Mr. Jan Ołdakowski.

          On behalf of the Warsaw insurgents and the soldiers of the Home Army unit "Radosław" the Vice-chairman of the Warsaw Insurgents Association Mrs. Halina Jędrzejewska a.k.a. "Sławka", the soldier of the Home Army battalion "Miotła" took the floor.

          Next, the friend of Mr. General, the ex-president of Poland Mr. Bronisław Komorowski made a speech.

          Acting the Chairman of the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression Minister Jan Józef Kasprzyk cordially thanked Mr. General for his duty for the Republic of Poland, and his acts for integrating the combatant community. Then he emphasized the bonds that connected Mr. General and the youth. After that he handed Mr. General a commemorative eagle.

          Afterwards, the Vice-marshall of the Chamber of deputies Mrs. Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska took the floor. She also reminded the fact that General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski was one of the first to pay attention to the fate of civilians during the Warsaw Uprising, which made the residents of Warsaw grateful.

          On behalf of the authorities of the City of Warsaw the President of Warsaw Mrs. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and the Chairman of the City Council Mrs. Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska spoke.

          On behalf of the World Association of the Home Army Soldiers Prof. Leszek Żukowski gave the celebrant his best wishes.

          Then, a letter from the Polish Army Bishop Gen. Józef Guzdek was read out.

          Time came for the honorable celebrant General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski to make a speech. He thanked everyone for participation and all the wishes. He stated that these were not addressed to him only but a lot of his friends who sacrificed their lives for the Homeland, as well. General emphasized that we was only a representative of the amazing generation and God wanted to save him as one of few. He said, Most importantly, we ought to be one Polish family. I am really moved to tears, but it is inapposite for a general to cry.

          After all the speeches a birthday cake was handed over and all the gathered cordially sang "Happy Birthday", wishing Mr. General that he may live 200 years.

          The celebrant - Chairman had been sent a letter by the Warsaw Insurgents Association. One could read there, Dear Mr. General, our Chairman, dearest Friend, Let us wish you all the best on the occasion of your 100th birthday. We wish you a lot of health and unfailing cheerfulness. The Warsaw insurgents.

          The representatives of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Remembrance Association were also invited for the meeting: Maria Poprawa, Maciej Białecki and Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz.

          They gave the celebrant their best wishes and flowers.

          All the participants of the meeting in the Room under the Liberator will undoubtedly cherish that remarkable ceremony in their memory for a long time.

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          For a dozen or so years the end of September and the beginning of October have been devoted to the events of the Warsaw Uprising in the Primary School number 118 named after the Friends of Mazovia in Warsaw.
          In the year 2017 the pupils could listen to the memories of the Home Army soldiers wearing a white and red badge on their arms, in particular General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl" from the "Czata 49" battalion of the Home Army unit "Radosław", the one who was 100 years old on March 10, 2017.
          The pupils from the Young Actor Academy together with the ones from the choir "Wiolinki" prepared the school ceremony and invited the participant and the witness of those events, Prof. Tadeusz Jarosz a.k.a. "Topacz", the Grey Regiments' soldier.

          The artistic program had been based on the memories of General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski, and the whole ceremony was entitled "O Polskę nam szło! Kim był "Motyl"?" ("We focused on Poland! Who was "Motyl"?")

          The artistic performance was prepared by the teacher from the 118 Primary school, Mrs. Maria Poprawa, the Polish philologist and historian, the vice-chairman of the SPPW 1944.

          Young performers were trying to emphasize both soldiers' warriorhood and obstinacy since the very beginning of the WW II by the example of a young officer who had gone through the war route from the defense of Warsaw, fights led by General Franciszek Kleeberg, underground activity (he picked and cared of the airdrop points for Cichociemni), the fighting route of the 27th Wołyń Home Army Division and the Warsaw Uprising.

          After the artistic part the pupils of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes took part in the meeting with a combatant. Prof. Tadeusz Jarosz was a scout of the Grey Regiments and a liaison of a postmen section of the Scout Field Post.
          The guest told the young people about difficult days of the occupation, his participation in the Warsaw Uprising, fights with Germans and he also said about the main hero of the performance, i.e. General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski. He reminded a meeting of an experienced Home Army soldier "Motyl" with a young boy "Topacz" from the Scout Field Post.

          The pupils attentively listened to the words of the real participant of the past events and we have no doubts that this "live history lesson" will be remembered by them.

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          Christmas was coming. That is why on December 3, 2017 the representatives of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Remembrance Association visited General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl" in the Senior House.
          The delegation was constituted by: Mr. Maciej Białecki, Mrs. Ewa Furmańska, Mr. Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz, Mrs. Maria Poprawa and Mrs. Barbara Rumianek.
          Having been cordially greeted, Generał got a bunch of flowers. Marysia Poprawa gave him the whole packet of Christmas congratulatory scrolls that had been prepared for him by the pupils of the Primary School number 118 named after the Friends of Mazovia in Warsaw.

          The guests thanked Mr. General for this opportunity to meet him. The host kept telling about present time of having a rest. He also presented us with his plans for the nearest future. He stated that he was one of few who could give testimony of those difficult time of the past century.

          The guests paid attention to interesting private keepsakes placed in the General's room such as: his private photographs and the general saber hanging on the wall.

          Over the saber one could see a painted picture of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was given him as the Chancellor of the Virtuti Military War Order by the President Bronisław Komorowski in the year 2015.

          Next to the painting we could notice a commemorative group photograph taken in August 2017 at the meeting with representatives of the Historical Reconstruction Group Pluton "Mieczyki/Czata 49" from Gdańsk.

          Mr. General showed us a beautiful "Ring of the Patriot", which had been given him in November 2017.

          The meeting was spent by us in a heartfelt atmosphere. The host received our best wishes, after which we all arranged the meeting in March 2018 on the occasion of the next, 101st birthday of General "Motyl".

          We encourage you to read the biography of General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski a.k.a. "Motyl" on our SPPW 1944 website.

compiled by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
and Maria Poprawa

pictures taken by: Monika Gryszkiewicz
and Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz

translated by: Monika Ałasa

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