The National Accursed Soldiers Remembrance Day

 

On the first March people in Poland celebrate ”The National Day of Remembrance of the Cursed Soldiers” also known as ”Unbreakable Soldiers Day”. During this day Poles throughout the country commemorate soldiers of anti-communist underground who did not submit to the occupation powers installed by Stalin in Poland after The Second World War. Many of them, the older ones, were heroes of  The First and The Second World War. They were fighting against both Bolsheviks and the Nazis, just like most famous of them Cavalry Captain Witold Pilecki, a hero of The Polish Bolshevik War, a man who in September 1940 volunteered to Auschwitz (he let himself to be caught by the Nazi-Germans in the second Warsaw round-up in the Żoliborz district) in order to organise there a RESISTANCE MOVEMENT. He have sent reports about German crimes commited on Polish intelligence, and in later years on people of other nationalities in the Auschwitz and the later built Birkenau concentration camp. Captain has accomplished his mission with a great success. After two years of conspiratorial work his organisation in Auschwitz was so powerful, that the people were ready to take control of the camp any time, but the command of the ”Armia Krajowa” (Home Army) was concerned about potential repraisals resulting from the successful liberation and gave no answer to Pilecki’s request to start the action. After two and half a year on the night of April 26-27 he escaped with two other friends. In 1944 Pilecki took part in The Warsaw Uprising, fighting in the ruff ”Chrobry II”, the only ruff that has stayed on the battlefield till the very end of the Uprising. After The Second World War he has continued his work in the underground army in order to fight against new occupation. He was murdered in 1948, on May 25, at age 47, in prison on Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw after a fake trial and cruel tortures. After the annoucement of the death sentence Captain said: ”I have been trying to live my life so that in the hour of my death I would rather feel joy, than fear”. His body has been thrown into the hole in the ground dug behind the walls of the Powązki Military Cemetery with no funeral. His family, wife and two kids (doughter and son), for many years did not know what happened to Witold, they were told that he had left. Occupiers did not want to give any information about the place where they had buried captain’s and other Unbreakable Soldiers’ bodies. In July 2017 professor Krzysztof Szwagrzyk and the team of arheologists from IPN (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej – Institute of National Remembrance) have finished the exhumation in headquarter „Ł II”, by the families of Unbrakable Soldiers called „Łączka” (the Meadow), the place where many of the most famous Cursed Soldiers were buried and the place where the most probably the captain was buried. Untill today, arheologists did not manage to identify his remains.

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Instead of an Introduction – A Few Words to Friends of Mine.

(An Introduction to Rotmaster’s Witold Pilecki Reports from Auschwitz, written in 1945)

            Beginning of this story – few first pages – I have given a couple of my friends to read. Except words of acknowledgement I have heard a few words of their concern:

            – So – said one of my friends: ”They may think, that you want be original – so to slander a man, like the worst animal”.

            The second of my friends said: ”Maybe they will ask: what for he writes? – because now above all people want to know –  what for?”.

            And the third said: ”This is written wholeheartedly. What for to give ones heart to people?”

            Not only these views of my friends, but many other views, expressed by different people on various of topics, which I hear everyday somehow cannot convince me anymore(…).[1]

            As an answer to my friends’ concerns – what for I have started to write – I will here adduce a picture, that I think answers more briefly. A group of Poles set up in a circle on a large gravelled square. Clad in slightly too short drills – ”stripies” (in prison dialect: striped uniforms – translator’s annotattion). They stand in clogs or barefoot, for some of them are holding clogs in their hands. Behind them, other circle, formed by far much less often standing, every dozen or so, people with sticks in their hands.

            A command is given to exercise ”a froggie”. To do ”a froggie” in clogs falling off the feet is a thing impossible. That is why some have taken them in hands, but barefoot on the sharp gravel – it is also very hard to do ”a froggie”. Besides, on a longer distance ”a froggie” is always quite hard to do, the more so if one is overstrained and the more so for a nonathletic, clumsy or flabby muscular – intellectual.[2]

            And here, next to me is standing an attorney with a belly from Warsaw, few people further – an older man-landlord, for whose even several minutes ”froggie” you cannot vouch, on the other side of the circle – a professor, skinny, on thin legs and even further a priest – old man in glasses. For a minute, a couple of clumsy people fall down. Supervising people (my beloved friend) did not stroke heads with their sticks, but have hit the devoided of remnants of strengh victimt, which lying on the sand could not do another ”frog jump”.

            And they did not hit the one in order to motivate to gather a new strenght, but several people gruping around the fallen man have striken one of the most painfull hits with laughter, in order to doom victim’s fate immediately, deprive of remnants of strenght and finally kill. They have tormented – striking constatntly new, possibly most hurtfull hits, they were searching for the most sensitive places. And the man that has fallen for now just because of lack of strenght after a while stricken in the most sensitive centres of the body – have fainted from pain, could not get up not get up and resigned to fight for his life… and in the next moments, kicked in the kidneys and other places, beaten with a pole in the crown – was dying.

            And the people (with sticks) satnding around the ruckling victim… staggered… with laughter… (yes! My beloved Friend – with laughter!). Their role was to kill as many as possible… but this laughter?! It was their own addition – from the unconstrained will (…).[3]

            The first thought of describing this hell – if it works out to get out of this – the need to write down a number of names – have come to existence there in this place where I have been a witness of degradation of human soul and its ascention, where the mask of all appearances, accepted laws and customs have fallen and we have become naked – with all our soul and character defects  – all the people… the ones – that came there to extermination and the ones – that have smeard their hands with neighbour’s blood to the elbows. For this moment I wanted to provide silhouetes registers of those, who were building on the inflexible plumb of righteous character – they were walking through life and there they have survived or died , but till the end they have retained their righteousness – worthy of human name – and midget-people registry… next to the monsters in human bodies.

             B e c a u s e   i t   d o e s    m a t t er . . .

            For the close families of those – who have been there and for the very remembrance of them that has remained amongst friends… memory of those, of which, here on Earth they know so little, and sometimes they want to know so little – what people they were in reality, after discarding the top shell-mask once worn among people.[4]

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[1]    Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki, Zamiast wstępu – słów kilka do przyjaciół moich, introduction to: Raporty z Auschwitz written by the rotmaster Pilecki in 1945, IPN BU 0259/168, t.6, k. 197-201, in: Anna Mandrela, Duchowosć i charakter Witolda Pileckiego, Katowice 2019, p. 137.

[2]    Ibidem, p. 137.

[3]    Ibidem, p.138.

[4]    Ibidem, p. 139.

Odsłony: 12

O autorze: Redakcja