2nd Revised Edition
This book focuses on the fate of Polish Jews and Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust and its aftermath, in the ill-recognized era of Eastern-European pogroms after the WW2. It is based on the author’s own ethnographic research in those areas of Poland where the Holocaust machinery operated. The results comprise the anthropological interviews with the members of the generation of Holocaust witnesses and the results of her own extensive archive research in the Polish Institute for National Remembrance (IPN).
«[This book] is at times shocking; however, it grips the reader’s attention from the first to the last page. It is a remarkable work, set to become a classic among the publications in this field.»
Jerzy Jedlicki, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Chapter 9: “Barabasz” and the Jews. Chapters from the History of the Home Army Unit Wybranieccy
Alina Skibińska, Joanna Tokarska-Bakir
Chapter 9:“Barabasz” and the Jews. Chapters from the History of the Home Army Unit Wybranieccy1
In January 1990, the department of The Righteous Among the Nations at the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem received a letter from Zvi Zelinger, an Israeli citizen residing until 1939 in Kielce, Poland. In this letter, he describes the circumstances of the death of his twelve-year-old sister Dina (Danusia) and their aunt Zofia in 1944. Together with some other Jews from Kielce, they were hiding in the village of Zagórze near Daleszyce with the help of Stefan Sawa, a Pole whose friendship with Zofia Zelinger dated to the times before the war. The author of the letter only learned about the circumstances of their death in 1989, when he had finally managed to travel to Poland and talk to the surviving witnesses of the tragedy in Zagórze. The following is an excerpt from his letter to the Yad Vashem:
At the beginning of February 1944, Stefan Sawa came by the house [of his relatives in Kielce] and said the partisans from the Home Army underground had searched the house and found the Jews. The members of the underground resistance ordered him to clear the Jews out of the house within two weeks. When he asked them why they were threatening him, they answered that if the Germans were to come and find them there, they would raze the village to the ground, which they were trying to avoid. These were the last words he said to his sister-in-law: If they come again, we will bribe them with money and beg them for mercy and some more time, since at that time it was already clear that the war was nearing to its end and that the Russians might invade within a few days, and he was hoping to buy some time. The nom de guerre of the member of the underground movement, which committed this deed, and who was their commander, was Barabasz from the Home Army underground.2
The Wybranieccy, also called Barabasze, were one of the most famous partisan troops in the Polish resistance movement during WWII. According to their commander Marian Sołtysiak, this name indicates the extraordinary nature of ←305 | 306→the unit, which gathered people who were “chosen, in a sense”3 [wybraniec, Polish for “chosen one”]. The selection criterion is specified in the unit chronicle: “Soldiers of Polish ethnicity serve in the Wybranieccy unit”4. According to Henryk Pawelec, commander of a cavalry reconnaissance group, the unit’s name was based on the institution of elite infantry [Pol. piechota wybraniecka] during the reign of king Stefan Batory5. One of the schools in the Kielce Land has been named in honor of the Wybranieccy6, while another has been named after the unit’s commander, Marian Sołtysiak “Barabasz”7. Students are acquainted with his biography as part of educational projects8. Members of the parliament refer to “Barabasz’s” partisans in their speeches in the Sejm9, and numerous monuments and memorial plaques in the Kielce Land remind everyone of their achievements10. Everyone ignores what Zvi Zelinger writes about – the murders of Jews committed by the Wybranieccy during WWII. This article is a reconstruction of the how some of these events unfolded.
Most sources and publications state that the Wybranieccy unit was founded in late February/ early March 194311. It was formally recognized as a diversion unit on March 22, 1943 by the order of Józef Włodarczyk “Wyrwa”, commander ←306 | 307→of the Kielce Subdistrict12. From the beginning, Marian Sołtysiak, initial nom de guerre Sokół, later Barabasz13, served as the unit’s commander. Marian Sołtysiak (1918–1995) was born in Gnojno, Stopnica district. His father was a steward on the Łuniewski estate in Gnojno, but the family later relocated to Piła, the only part that remained after the dissolution of the estate. He was one of nine children. When only a teenager, he became a member of the National Radical Camp14. He published his literary pieces in the magazine Mlodzi idą, edited by Józef Ozga-Michalski, and together with friends – who included Gustaw Herling-Grudziński – he co-edited the monthly student magazine Goloborze. He also took part in the boy-scout movement. After graduation, he took a one-year reserve cadet course. In 1939, he was assigned to the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Armored Division. He was taken prisoner of war near Zamość, but he escaped. In the first phase of the occupation, he was active in the right-wing, nationalist Lizard Union; after being sworn in by Wojciech Lipczewski from Kielce on November 22, 1939, he became a member of Union of Armed Struggle/Home Army. Until 1943, his role was to distribute press, set up conspiratorial cells, provide military training, and look for weapons. He reported to Wojciech Lipczewski and Adam Bolrowicz. In 1943, he was named commander of Kedyw in the Kielce Subdistrict, and in February/March of that year, he became the leader of a diversion group consisting of seven members. The group included: “Andrzej” (Henryk Pawelec), “Bogdan” (Stanisław Kozera), “Dan” (Stefan Fąfara), “Orlicz” (Stanisław Łubek), “Madej” (Jan Śniowski), “Roch” (Stanisław Lutek) and “Jurand” (Bolesław Boczarski). The nature of the unit was described by Boczarski in the following way: “Our purpose is to eliminate betrayers-informers, spies, who pose the greatest danger to the Polish Nation, germans [sic – AS, JTB] and to spread awareness and prepare the society for the revenge for all the crimes committed against the Polish Nation”15. The unit’s first large-scale operation was the taking of Chęciny in April. They were planning to eliminate a Gestapo informant, Mayor Baran (this plan failed, and Baran was shot dead during another operation in June), and to liberate prison ←307 | 308→inmates (which was successful). From July 3, 1943 the unit was stationed in the forest, in a camp consisting of wooden huts. They were erected at a locality called Kwarta in a forest near Cisów. The initial members of Sołtysiak’s unit came from the municipality of Bodzentyn, but also from Suchedniów and its vicinity, and from Kielce itself, where Sołtysiak had many school friends. In September of the same year, Sołtysiak was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. During this period, various subversive operations took place, such as executing informants, burning archives in about a dozen municipalities and dairies (the purpose being to complicate the collection of taxes), ambushing gendarmes and cash escorts, and disarming German patrols. In July, a group led by “Dan” attempted to assassinate the leader of an informer network Franz (Hans) Wittek16 in Kielce.
By autumn 1943, the number of the Wybranieccy members had grown to about 90 individuals and “Barabasz” decided to divide them into five groups, which were to spend the winter in various villages of the Kielce region. To the west of Kielce, in the region of Zagnańsk, especially in the vicinity of Chęciny, Oblegorek, Gałezice, and Mostow, Edward Skrobot “Wierny” operated. The group of Bolesław Boczarski “Jurand” was stationed in the vicininity of Bodzentyn, to the north-east of Kielce, near the villages of Ciekoty, Brzezinki and Klonów. On the border of the Jędrzejów county, in the area of Morawica, the cavalry reconnaissance group under the command of Henryk Pawelec “Andrzej” operated. They mostly stayed in Kuby Młyny and Dębska Wola. To the south east of Kielce, in the area of Daleszyce, extending all the way to Rakow, Władysław Szumielewicz “Mietek” operated. Lieutenant Stefan Fąfara “Dan” was based with his subversive group (referred to as “urban section”) in the vicinity of Kielce. Communication was ensured by the use of contact boxes maintained at various outposts. Until the spring of 1944, the individual groups were therefore operating independently, maintaining regular contact with the commander and meeting at least once a month at the so-called troop build-ups. “Barabasz” himself spent the first winter mostly in Kielce, at the house of his fiancée and future wife, Renata Nowak.
All the events described in this chapter took place in this very period: from the autumn of 1943 to the spring of 1944. The chronology of the Wybranieccy ←308 | 309→operations, compiled by Jerzy Kotliński17, does not include any of these events; however, it mentions other achievements of the unit, such as the attack on military warehouses in Jędrzejow; executions of informers in Kielce; the taking of Daleszyce (January 1944); an ambush on a train carrying German soldiers on leave; sabotage operations consisting in the destruction of telegraph lines and of German property; yet other instances of burning municipal documentation; the attack (in March 1944) on a gendarmerie station in Bieliny, in which five Germans were killed; and a number of clashes, during which the unit secured weapons and supplies.
The Wybranieccy were reunited at the end of March 1944. While the unit was initially reporting to Kedyw in Kielce and it was its duty to perform any and all operations ordered by the Central Command of the Underground Resistance, its character changed after its re-integration – the unit became a typical partisan group, the nucleus of the future 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of AK. It had 127 members at the time, and until the summer was the largest organized partisan unit in the Radom-Kielce Sub-district of AK. It was initially divided into three, and later four platoons. Their commanders were: “Górnik” (Czesław Łętowski), “Bogdan” (Stanisław Kozera), “Dan” (Stefan Fąfara), and “Edward” (Edward Kiwer). Sub-lieutenant “Wierny” (Edward Skrobot) became Sołtysiak’s deputy. “Andrzej” (Henryk Pawelec) was the commander of the cavalry reconnaissance. In August, the unit joined the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Armored Division of AK18 under the command of Major Józef Włodarczyk “Wyrwa”19, who was replaced by Lieutenant Maksymilian Lorenz “Katarzyna” in October. Sołtysiak became the commander of the 1st platoon, which was part of the 1st battalion. As part of Operation Burza, the division was marching on Warsaw and engaged in battle with German troops, among others in a day-long battle of Antoniow on August 21, 1944, where about 200 Germans perished. The second large clash with the German troops took place on September 26 in Radkow. Before the unit reached Pilica, the order to march on Warsaw had been revoked. A partial dissolution and demobilization of the unit took place in the forests ←309 | 310→near Włoszczow; “Barabasz” returned to the forests around Cisow and continued the demobilization from there. The return journey was peppered with numerous clashes with the genarmes and ambushes staged by them. The unit was disbanded in the village of Ciekoty-Wilków, and the weapons hidden at [Stefan] Sito’s. The chronology of the Wybranieccy in the period of 1943–1944 includes more than sixty operations and battles.
When Sołtysiak was staying in Kielce in January 1945, he received an order to dissolve the Home Army20. Shortly after the Red Army invasion, he left Kielce for Kraków for fear of arrest; benefiting from the financial support of the underground, he went into hiding under a false name (he still had identification documents from the occupation period, using the alias Mateusz Sobczak). In July 1945, he managed to escape to Western Europe via Czechoslovakia (Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Paris, London), where he only remained for a short period, returning to his homeland in October 1945. Immediately after his return, he disclosed his identity and became the chairman of the Home Army Dissolution Committee in the Kielce District. In 1946, thanks to the support of Major Jan Sobiesiak (“Maks”, during the war the commander of People’s Army Paratroopers Brigade Grunwald), he joined the People’s Army of Poland in the rank of captain. He submitted a “self-critique” – a detailed curriculum vitae, in which he had distanced himself from his past – to the head of the Personnel Department at the Ministry of Defense, Gen. Stanisław Zawadzki, and was demobilized a year later. He settled in Lower Silesia, changing jobs a number of times; in 1948, he moved to Wrocław, worked at the Provincial Office, and started studying law. On September 18, 1949 he was detained by UB in Wrocław and placed under arrest; after a two-year investigation, he stood trial (details below) on September 14, 1951 at the Provincial Court in Kielce, after which he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. On August 27, 1953 the court ordered his early release on parole; note that other soldiers of his were still serving their sentences21. Initially, he started work in Koszęcin at the State Agricultural Farm; later, he worked in Kielce at the Provincial Cultural Center and in a managerial position in a factory producing knitwear. In the 1960s, he served as a board member of the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy and as Secretary of the Central Committee for the Contact with Polish Diaspora. Thanks to Mieczysław Moczar’s help (SFFD Board Chairman at the time), he settled in Warsaw and started working on the history ←310 | 311→committee within this organization. In 1965, the PAX Association published his book of memoirs called Chlopcy Barabasza [Barabasz’ Boys]; he also wrote articles for the press (Katolik, Slowo Ludu, Ziemia Kielecka, Za Wolnosc i Lud). When Moczar lost his post of Minister of Interior in 1971, Sołtysiak took an early retirement. In September 1944, he had been awarded the Cross of Valor by the central command of the Home Army, whereas the Communist government had awarded him, among other honors, the Silver Cross of the War Order of Virtuti Militari in 1965.
Most of “Barabasz’s” troops were the so-called spaleni22 – young people around twenty, who due to various war circumstances had been separated from their families and forced to live in the forests and the so-called meliny [hideouts for criminals and stolen goods]. To quote Sołtysiak, they were mostly “people from middle-class families, scouts, pupils whom the war had given ‘never-ending holidays’”23. Today, it is difficult to assess whether this reflects the actual situation, or whether it creates an elitist legend: we know that individuals from various backgrounds and with different life stories joined the division. Questionnaires filled out by the Wybranieccy who were interrogated in the 1950s show that almost all of them, including Sołtysiak, claimed to be of “peasant origin”. The Wybranieccy unit included members of bands of robbers, which besides peasants (e.g. Józef Przygodzki “Czarny” from Korytnica24) accepted also sons of a teacher (e.g. the Wesołowski brothers from Korytnica, “Orzeł” and “Strzała”); bandits who had been sentenced to death both by the Home Army and the National Armed Forces (e.g. Władysław Dziewór, noms de guerre Burza and Skazaniec – see a short biography at the end of this chapter), soldiers from the organization Miecz i Pług [Sword and Plow] (the Wesołowski brothers, Józef Przygodzki, Grzegorz Świerczyński “Grześ”) and from the National Armed Forces (e.g. Zygmunt Bokwa “Smutny”). Undeniably, however, the unit also included individuals of impeccable reputation, such as Henryk Pawelec or Władysław Szumielewicz, just to mention a few. The former – commander of the cavalry reconnaissance group and a person best recalled by the witnesses – is the embodiment of an ideal Polish officer. The latter was commended for his exceptional moral values not ←311 | 312→only by his commander and co-fighters25, but also by the judge convicting him of murder26. Szumielewicz’s “integrity, ambition and credulity” are also testified to by “Mewa”, an anonymous UB secret informer who was following him in the coastal area of Poland three years before his trial27.
The activities of the Wybranieccy are generally described in superlatives, which is not surprising at all, since the majority of publications have been written by the participants themselves28. It is therefore all the more important to consider the statement of Ryszard Maj “Ryś I”, one of “Barabasz’s” soldiers, who left his unit for the Miechow forests in 1944:
“Barabasz” liked to drink and he seldom spent time with the group, and he mostly showed up at the build-ups, with women29.
This opinion may seem to reflect personal animosities; however, it is not an isolated one. Contrary to the claims that are usually made, leaving the unit was at times neither easy nor possible. This is confirmed by the statement of Lieutenant Antoni Świtalski “Marian”30, who was transferred to “Barabasz’s” unit after being unmasked during an assassination attempt at the head of an Arbeitsamt, and who subsequently, upon his own request, joined Antoni Heda’s (“Szary”) unit:
Barabasz ordered to do away with Pantera31 because he had refused to return to the unit. They threw his body into the river through an ice-hole.←312 | 313→
The “Mietek” who “almost cried” was Władysław Szumielewicz, the leader of the execution squad in Daleszyce (this execution will be discussed below).
Lucyna Wrońska “Ewa”, who served as the unit’s liaison officer in the period from autumn 1943 to summer 1944, is an important witness who criticizes Sołtysiak. Wrońska mentions two reprimands “Barabasz” received from the Kielce Sub-district Home Army command: the first for the murder of a teacher by the name of Wituszyński in Checiny at the beginning of 1944, the other for the robbery at Countess Zofia Mycielska’s estate in Sitkowka and for punishing her by flogging for her alleged contacts with the Germans (see footnote 109 concerning Zofia Mycielska)34. Wrońska also recalls an incident in Machocice, where Jerzy Wacławik was executed without a trial35. The circumstances have never been properly clarified, but the execution most probably happened due to Sołtysiak’s jealousy of his future wife Renata36, with whom Wacławik “maintained close social relations”37. After her expulsion from the “Barabasz” unit in July 1944, Sołtysiak accused Wrońska of “spying” and received reprimands from the Sub-district command – thus putting Wrońska herself in danger. “I met up with a unit member called “Marian” [Antoni Świtalski] (…), who told me that the “Barabasz” group had issued a death warrant on me”38. She was saved by the intervention of the head of AK Inspectorate.
“Barabasz” described himself and his Sub-district commander as complete opposites: “He [Józef Włodarczyk “Wyrwa”] – always patient, composed, firmly believing in the magic of an order; I – easily flaring up, explosive, full of enthusiasm”39. Animosities between him and his superiors are also reflected in the way he describes a conflict with Lieutenant Maksymilian Lorenz “Katarzyna”, the future commander of the 1st Batallion of the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of AK. In his memoires, which clearly show his political agenda (the last part of the memoires Chłopcy Barabasza is full of complaints about the AK command), he attributes the rift to “Katarzyna’s” former allegiance to the National Armed Forces, as well as to his pre-war political views. He claims to have in fact ←313 | 314→expelled Lucyna Wrońska from the unit precisely because of “Katarzyna”40. In effect, “Żor” (Lieutenant-Colonel Józef Mularczyk, an AK inspector) suspended the payment of the soldier’s pay to the unit. The tensions had to be significant, since the Wybranieccy were even plotting Katarzyna’s murder41. Sołtysiak was aware of his extraordinary position; he has written about himself that he was “the supreme commander of the unit with virtually absolute power, but of some undefined kind. (…) It was a special kind of power. (…) Here obedience was absolutely tangible”42. Jerzy Kotliński (“Wojtek”, “Halny”) corroborates “Barabasz’s” immense authority among the partisans and dislike among his superiors43.
According to Henryk Pawelec’s notes,
Barabasz, vetted while in exile by dwójka44, namely Captain [Włodzimierz] Ledóchowski45, could not disembarrass himself from the Jewish issue in Daleszyce and the issue with Countess Mycielska [see Part V: Izaak Grynbaum, March 3/4, 1944], who also ended up in Paris. They also found a Jew who as an AK soldier took part in the Warsaw Uprising, the brother of those killed in Daleszyce46.
Due to the “Jewish issue”, Sołtysiak’s vetting by emigration authorities did not yield the best results: just two months after crossing the green line, he found himself back in Poland.
Let this part be concluded by another statement – this time from, Bolesław Jackiewicz, a cichociemny who came across the Wybranieccy unit after one of his airdrops:
Had the war ended differently (meaning had the London government won), Barabasz would definitely have been put on trial. I would definitely take this matter to court47.←314 | 315→
Five or six cases
Extensive material which we have compiled – academic publications, archival documents (consisting principally of investigation, trial and prison files), published memoires, and oral testimonies48 – is divided into six sections describing what we have managed to ascertain. The most important material documenting what has so far been omitted from the historiography of the Wybranieccy includes the documentation from three criminal trials at the Provincial Court in Kielce; all of them took place in autumn 1951. The first ones to be put on trial on September 13, 1951 were Władysław Szumielewicz and Stanisław Lutek, together with Władysław Marasek49. One day later – on September 14, 1951, the same court held a separate trial against Marian Sołtysiak50. Two months later, on November 23, 1951, three other “Barabasz” partisans were sentenced: Edward Skrobot, Józef Molenda and Władysław Dziewiór51. The main hearing in the latter trial took place on October 17, 1951, meaning the sentencing had for unknown reasons been deferred. In the two previous cases, the court announced the sentences on the day of the hearing. The defendants in one trial served as witnesses in the two other trials. The indictments for all of these individuals were signed by the same investigative officer from the Provincial Bureau of Public Security in Kielce, Józef Baniak. The first two trials, separated by one day, were presided over by the same judge, T. Bielski; the sentencing in the case of Skrobot and others was passed by Judge A. Kozielewski. All the defendants were represented by attorneys of their choice: Andrzej Płoski, Okończyc, Göttinger, Winiarski, and Chojnicki.
The arrest, indictment, and sentencing were preceded by a relatively long (only in Sołtysiak’s case prolonged) investigation. The authorities started compiling material and statements from AK partisans and the witnesses immediately after the transfer of power in January 1945. The first interrogations of Sołtysiak’s subordinates, which have been preserved in his file, are dated as early as January 194552; ←315 | 316→other ones are from the following years up until Sołtysiak’s arrest in a street in Wrocław on Spetember 15, 1949. The search of his Wrocław flat effectuated on the same day did not yield any results; only the search of the house belonging to his brother, Piotr Zbigniew Sołtysiak, yielded the Wybranieccy archive, including the unit chronicle, which had been hidden there53. Undoubtedly the most serious testimony incriminating Sołtysiak was given on June 20, 1949 by Wiktor Zygmunt Bokwa “Smutny”. Both the chronicle and the testimonies by Bokwa and numerous other witnesses allowed the investigators from UB to clarify the circumstances under which the so-called eliminations – executions – were taking place, carried out on the basis of underground court sentences or an order from the commander himself. During the investigation, Sołtysiak faced a confrontation with Bokwa (on January 9, 1951), during which Sołtysiak denied the accusations made against himself. A confrontation partially corroborating Szumielewicz’s testimony also took place between Szumielewicz and Sołtysiak (February 2, 1951). All in all, the “Barabasz” trial files still contain twelve records of his interrogations. The first is dated to October 6, 1949. By the end of the year, he had been interrogated a few more times, after which there comes a break of almost one year, as the following interrogation did not take place until October 14, 1950. A series of other interrogations of both Sołtysiak himself and the witnesses culminates in the arrest of the remaining suspects in January 1951 and Sołtysiak’s indictment (the document was not dated; the defendant filed a complaint about this) written prior to March 15, 1951.54 On April 27 and 28 of the same year, the investigative officer Józef Baniak wrote the remaining two indictments. The hearings at the Kielce Provincial Court took place half a year later. All the individuals were accused of violating Article 1 Point 1 of the Decree from July 31, 1944 “about the execution of punishment on fascisthitler [sic] criminals guilty of murder and crimes against civilian population”55 and Article 225 Point 1 of the Penal Code: “Anyone who kills a human is subject to a prison term no shorter than 5 years to life, or to the death penalty”56. The sentences handed down in these cases will be discussed below.←316 | 317→
I.Trackman Stanisław Błachucki, October 1943
We include this case only pro memoria. It concerns Stanisław Błachucki, a trackman from Chęciny. Witness testimonies show that he was hiding Jews in his home: three of them were killed and another three survived, among them Leon and Berta Kanarek57. We indirectly learn that they know about this case from the statement of Maria Mistachowicz, a witness in the trial against Edward Skrobot “Wierny”, who was accused of the murder of Izaak Grynbaum in Chęciny. Mistachowicz testified the following:
“Besides that, I heard people in Checiny say that in the village of Czaj, four Jews had been shot dead; who committed this murder I don’t know. There were others killed at the trackman’s. (…) three Jews: a man, a woman, and a small child. Three Jews from that family are alive and can provide a better testimony (…) [Berta Kanarek, who] was present at the time the bandits were shooting those Jews”58.
We do not know whether trackman Błachucki would meet the criteria qualifying him for the title of Righteous. We are not familiar with the circumstances of the death of the Jews hiding at his home. We only know how Stanisław Błachucki himself met his end. It is detailed in the testimonies of a number of witnesses and his family members59, and also of the commander of the Wybranieccy himself, Marian Sołtysiak. Błachucki was brought into Stanisław Karoliński’s flat, where he was interrogated about “why he denounced two guys to the German gendarmerie”60. Witnesses Władysław Kozieł and Władysław Kumański state that Błachucki (blindfolded) was brought in by Stanisław Tatarowski “Kalif ”, a ←317 | 318→member of the Wybranieccy unit. After an interrogation that lasted for about an hour and was interrupted by beatings, he was tied up, taken somewhere, and killed61. The way Błachucki died is described exclusively in Sołtysiak’s testimony, in which he admits that his people (he did not give any names) did in fact kill the trackman. The death warrant signed with a codename was allegedly shown to Sołtysiak by “Roman” (N.N.), head of Section II in the AK Sub-district.
This sentence was carried out (…) somewhere in a forest near the village of Brynica. I cannot tell whether this trackman was a German collaborator, as these matters were the responsibility of AK’s Section II (…) The decision read: ‘for the betrayal of the Nation and cooperation with the Germans’62.
There is one more small lead in the trackman’s case (however, it is not entirely certain that it concerns the same person). Julian Jasicki testified that on an autumn evening in 1943, when he was at Piotr Wójtowicz’s house in Wymysłów, municipality of Zajączkow, two armed people appeared in the farmyard. He recognized one of them, Wiktor Gruszczyński, who together with an unknown man was trying to find out where Wójtowicz was hiding the Jews. There were no Jews at the farm anymore. Once, says Jasicki, he was sleeping in Wójtowicz’s barn together with AK members Stanisław Piotrowski, Bonifacy Gruszka, and Wiktor Gruszczyński:
The above-mentioned were talking together and they started relating the fact of murdering four citizens of Jewish ethnicity, who were hiding, as I recall, at trackman Niewygoda’s [?] house. In their talk they started laughing about how they had begged them to spare their lives. I was threatened by Sierdzan Jan, also known as “Żbik” not to speak to anyone about the above-mentioned fact I had heard about [sic], otherwise I would get shot in the head63.
It is possible that the discovery of the documentation of the filed investigation of Bolesław Stępniewski from 195064 will make it possible to link these testimonies. Most of the names mentioned here will also appear in another part of this chapter, in the description of the death of Izaak Grynbaum in Chęciny.←318 | 319→
II.Michał Ferenc from Zajączków, November 1943?65
Zygmunt Bokwa’s biography says:
We carried out a death sentence on a secretary in Chęciny and 9 others (…) and there was also a death warrant issued for a professor/teacher in Chęciny66, for Janosik in Gałęzice, for the head of the Blue Police, and earlier also for the council secretary in Zajączków67.
Edward Skrobot “Wierny” confessed in the course of the investigation to have issued, in October 1943, his subordinates with an order to execute a council official (not a secretary, contrary to Bokwa’s statement) in Zajączków, Kielce county, a certain [Michał68] Ferenc, of Jewish ethnicity. Ferenc was eliminated on the grounds of being “a German collaborator”. As part of the same operation, Zajączków municipal records were burned, cash from the municipal treasury was taken, and Mayor Wincenty Bełtowski was punished by flogging. Skrobot stated:
Regarding that incident [Ferenc’s execution], I hasten to add that having received a death warrant from my superiors I was required to execute it regardless of the [person’s] origin69.
It could not be established from whom or when Skrobot had learned that Ferenc was Jewish (Skrobot claims to have received this information from Mayor Bełtowski, who categorically denies that) or which authorities had issued the alleged death warrant. All this notwithstanding, Skrobot had personally verified the suspect’s ethnic origin by ordering him to take his trousers off. The purpose of verifying the Jewish origin was not clarified during the legal proceedings. It was allegedly Stanisław Tatarowski “Kalif ” who reportedly assured Skrobot that Ferenc was a German collaborator as he had personally seen letters he had written, addressed to the Gestapo in Kielce. Although Skrobot himself had not seen ←319 | 320→this correspondence, he refers to it as “tangible proof ”. He explains that it had been sent
to Section II in Kielce together with a request for a death warrant70.
After the execution, Skrobot gave an order to take off the dead man’s fur coat, clothes, and shoes. The clothing of the executed person
was according to the usual routine confiscated and distributed among the members of the execution squad71.
The fur coat was given to Władysław Dziewiór “Burza”, the remaining things were appropriated by “Staszek”. Ferenc’s execution by shooting was said to have been carried out by “Kalif ” and “Cios” (Stanisław Klimontowicz); the body was buried between the river Wierna and the rail track approximately 1 kilometer from the village of Zajączków72.
Let us return to the question of the purpose of verifying Ferenc’s Jewish origin, given that this official was sentenced for alleged collaboration. It would have made sense only if, in the absence of the proof of guilt, the Jewish origin itself was its proof. This idea is inadvertently suggested by Bolesław Boczarski, who had heard “Wierny” himself say that he
had identified him before the killing based on his penis, which was circumcised, and shot him dead on this basis73
Skrobot would repeatedly quote similar reasoning regarding his actions. The night Skrobot and his troops arrived to Zajączkow, Ferenc was not in his office. He was brought there while the troops were ordered to confiscate his belongings from his house, i.e. the fur coat and clothes (a coat, “two shirts and two long johns”74). During Skrobot’s trial, the witnesses described Ferenc’s behavior in the municipality as follows:
[He] did not look like a scared, persecuted Jew in hiding75.
As an official “imposed by the Germans” he was not very popular. When German officials were visiting the municipality, ←320 | 321→they would sit in a separate room with him and have long and casual conversations in German76.
He was also said to often take work-related trips to Kielce. It seems that these conversations and journeys had actually caused people to suspect that Ferenc was a German collaborator and/ or a Jew. They also allow us to doubt the existence of the “denunciation letters”. Would someone who had frequent meetings with the German officials choose such a risky contact method as sending information by post controlled by the underground? Skrobot’s testimony is questionable also because he benefits from the unverifiable testimonies of deceased individuals. Blaming the deceased – both “Kalif ” and “Cios” died only a month after this incident during an ambush on a cash transport near Jaworzna – constituted a typical defense strategy in post-war trials based on the August Decree. It is particularly often used by Edward Skrobot, who – in spite of being a group leader – keeps emphasising his subordination to the fearsome Section II agents “Kalif ” and “Górnik”. Another deceased individual implicated by Skrobot in this murder is “Cios”. In spite of Bokwa’s testimony stating that the death sentence was carried out by Władysław Dziewór (a co-defendant in Skrobot’s trial), after Skrobot changed his testimony during the main hearing, the Court ruled that
Dziewór, following Skrobot’s orders, was [only] assisting in case help was needed,
and the death warrant was executed by the deceased “Cios” on his own. At the same time, the Court did not take into consideration the testimony given by Mayor Bełtowski, who had stated that Dziewór
himself led Ferenc Michał on a leash with his hands tied, to be shot dead77.
III.A Bunker near Mosty, February/March 1944(?)
The third point of the indictment against Edward Skrobot and Józef Molenda charges them with
involvement in a racially-motivated murder by shooting of three Polish citizens of Jewish ethnicity with unknown names and surnames78.
The Jews were hiding in a forest bunker near Mosty, the municipality of Chęciny. The victims were robbed of the possessions they had probably kept in ←321 | 322→suitcases79. The Court did not doubt that the AK unit under the command of “Wierny” had committed this crime; however, it had difficulties with proving specific individuals guilty, given that “as usual” the main defendant Edward Skrobot kept changing his testimony and blaming others. Skrobot again accused the late “Górnik”, attributing the actual execution of the sentence to him. It was “Górnik” who supposedly showed “Wierny” the sentencing document of the underground court and organized the execution. His statement contains all the ritual forms of absolution: an order from the Directorate of Civil Resistance, approved by the AK intelligence unit, but also the pressure and bullying by the fearsome Section II agent from Piekoszów:
Górnik took me and the gamekeeper aside, after which he took the sentencing document out of his pocket and handed it to me. The sentence was written on a piece of paper the size of a sheet, where it was written in copying pencil: “Directorate of Civil Resistance”, underneath that there was a date, I remember it said something like mid-February 1944, and in the middle, in spaced-out print, the order said: “To destroy the bunker with Jews located in the forest next to Checiny”, the second line read: “Based on the order from the Home Army Central Command, number, date”80.
There are blatant formal mistakes in this statement: on July 15, 1943 the Directirate of Civil Resistance had ceased to exist, and was replaced with the Directorate of Underground Resistance, which reported directly to the commander of the Home Army. The expression “Home Army Central Command” is also a mistake, as it was called Home Army Central Headquarters, not Command. To set the matter straight, let us add that during its existence, KWC was subordinate to the Government Delegation for Poland, not to the Home Army. The leader involved in a murder refers here to an order; however, he does not know what order it was, and there is no date given in his statement. This makes it impossible to identify the order and verify the formal reasons for its issuing.
Even allowing for the negligence on the part of the UB officer taking the deposition, or of the court stenographer recording it, it is impossible to ignore the accumulation of mistakes in the most important excerpt of the text. It says that on his way to the forest, “Górnik” allegedly simply took the order out of his pocket, while he, Wierny, meekly agreed to its execution and simply gave him ←322 | 323→some people to do it. Ten partisans took part in this operation81. They were lead into the forest by the gamekeeper, Tadeusz Kuchta (the case files do not contain a record of his interrogation), in fact a member of the Wybranieccy unit. Skrobot confessed solely to surrounding the forest valley. He claimed not to even have gone inside the bunker, as “Górnik” allegedly entered it accompanied only by “Sten”, emptying a whole magazine into it.
He shot dead all the Jews present in that bunker;
there were allegedly three of them82. Skrobot took a Nagant revolver that Lech had brought him from the bunker. Despite no previous mention of any of the individuals hiding to have come, the statement contains a sentence about “throwing them back into the bunker”. The following day, Kuchta the gamekeeper ordered some forest workers to bury the remains of the three individuals that had been shot dead83. In the sentencing document, the court recapitulates Skrobot’s line of defense, in which he stubbornly claimed not to have been directly involved in the murder84. According to his own words, he took part in the execution solely due to the consequences with which Górnik had allegedly threatened him. Skrobot explained the contradictions between the statements he gave at the hearing and those he had given during the investigation as resulting from “a certain [degree of] coercion used during the investigation”. The judge accepts the explanation given by the defendant:
The political power in Skrobot’s unit was held by a Section II officer Górnik, who, as we can see, let’s say just from the facts established in this case, was a ruthless man, whose threats were not to be taken lightly.
This singular representation of Górnik is in stark contrast with how former “Barabasz” soldiers portray him in their memoirs. He is described as an outstanding leader, perfect and brave, “a very nice and popular man”85. Let us also note that ←323 | 324→the date he joined the unit is not quite certain; “Barabasz” himself first mentions the name Górnik in a passage dated March 1944, which says that “he has recently joined the unit”86. Górnik had probably been a member of the Wybranieccy somewhat earlier than that; Boczarski dates it to the end of January 1944.87
IV.Roman Olizarowski “Pomsta”, day after the Mosty incident?88
Another incident was described by Andrzej Ropelewski in 1957:
A deeply tragic vein runs through the case of “Pomsta”. This was a pseudonym used by one of the soldiers from AK forest units in the Kielce Sub-district. When after some time it transpired that Pomsta is a Jew, he was shot dead by his former brothers in arms89.
The topic of Pomsta’s identity inspires contradictory statements in relevant publications. For example, Michał Basa claims that “Pomsta” was a member of a unit which protected the radio station at the AK District Headquarters, serving under second lieutenant inspector Jan Kosiński “Jacek”, commander of the Bodzentyn Sub-district90. After the destruction of the unit and Jacek’s death, “Pomsta”, along with Basa, joined Wybranieccy91, and was allegedly later killed by NSZ92.←324 | 325→
On the other hand, Cezary Chlebowski thinks that Pomsta’s name was Jan Kwiatkowski and that he died during an attack in Wykus on October 28, 194393. He was allegedly a Jew from Warsaw, assigned to the unit by the AK Radom-Kielce District Command. His pseudonym was supposed to represent “a symbol of revenge for his family murdered in the Warsaw ghetto”94.
In his monograph on the ZWZ-AK Radom-Kielce District, Wojciech Borzobohaty does not mention “Pomsta” at all. While on the basis of a mention in Edward Skrobot’s statement and also in other sources we can conclude that the information about Pomsta’s transfer from Jacek’s unit to the Wybranieccy is correct, neither the attribution of his murder to NSZ, nor the above-mentioned name are right. During Szumielewicz’ investigation and trial, Bolesław Boczarski “Jurand” talks about Pomsta’s mother, who, searching for her son after the war, showed his photograph to partisans. It is most likely that until then, they did not know his real personal details. In his testimony, Boczarski claims that Pomsta’s name was Roman Olizarowski; however, absolute certainty is only established by the testimony of Jadwiga Olizarowska, mother of the killed partisan95. Roman did indeed come from Warsaw, from a Polish-Jewish family. His almost fifty-year-old mother was already a widow when making her statement in 1948. As she said, “[my] husband was from a Jewish family” (however, we know nothing about the circumstances of his death, and not even his first name), and the son “looked like a Jew and that’s why they shot him dead”. Olizarowska had only learnt this from “Jurand”. In his version, the blame falls on Henryk Pawelec “Andrzej”; however, on the basis of all the collected material we now know that this accusation was unfounded. Among others, it was Edward Skrobot who talked about the identity of Pomsta’s murderers. Obviously, it was none other than “Górnik”, who allegedly one day informed “Wierny” that there was a Jew in the division and that he needed to be eliminated immediately. According to Skrobot’s testimony, he used the following words:
We need to clean one more stain, when I asked him what stain, he then stated that it was necessary to eliminate a member of my group with the pseudonym “Pomsta”, as he was a Jew and he had a death warrant on him96.←325 | 326→
Górnik allegedly showed him this sentence in writing in the presence of several other persons. Skrobot also adds shocking details:
[This warrant] was issued by the Directorate of Civil Resistance in Kielce, while he also showed me an order issued by the AK Central Headquarters, which talked about the elimination of all the Jews, no matter if it was an AK member or someone hiding from the Germans97.
Skrobot’s testimony continues as follows:
Not believing that “Pomsta” is a Jew, I assembled the whole group and under the pretext of a venereal disease check-up I examined all the AK members. During the check-up, on the basis of the examination of his penis, I realized that “Pomsta” was really a Jew. After finishing the check-up, we went to our quarters and there I said to postpone the execution of the sentence on the person of Jewish nationality, AK member “Pomsta” until “Barabasz’s” troops build-up, but “Górnik” insisted it should be done. In the evening of that day, “Górnik”, “Stasiek” [Stanisław Litewka], and “Lech” [Henryk Żytkowski] brought “Pomsta” with them to a forest near the village of Mosty and shot him there.98
Skrobot defended himself at court by explaining that he was signaling to “Pomsta” to run away. He added that
in Pomsta’s death warrant, it said that “(…) it has been mentioned that Pomsta [had deserted from] Jacek’s unit, to which he used to belong”99.
According to the post-war testimony of one of the unit members (Ryszard Maj), “Pomsta” was shot dead by someone else, allegedly Józef Przygodzki “Czarny”, formerly a member of the organization Miecz i Pług and of a group of robbers headed by one Piłat. Przygodzki also had other executions on his conscience; one of them is mentioned by Władysław Dziewiór during an interrogation100. When describing what happened, Skrobot uses a strategy similar to the one he had used in the case of Michał Ferenc, killed in Zajączków. On the one hand, he uses the ←326 | 327→conviction of alleged desertion and the violence from an alleged Section II agent “Górnik” to justify his actions; on the other hand, he additionally verifies the alleged treason the way he had been taught: b y e x a m i n i n g g e n i t a l s101. This gesture shows much better than any other testimonies the racial motivation for the murder. This is neither the first nor the last such incident involving Edward Skrobot. From Stanisław Lutka’s testimony, we learn e.g. that another member of the unit, Jerzy Matysiak “Braszko”, told him after the war that
Skrobot “Wierny” wanted to eliminate him, suspecting that he was a Jew, as a result he had a lot of explaining to do, and on top of that he had to undergo an examination of his genitals and show [him] his birth certificate. (…) he thought he would do the same as he had done with the Jews during the occupation102.
However, despite Pomsta’s Jewish origin providing a direct o p p o r t u n i t y for the murder, its m o t i v e probably lay somewhere else. We learn about it thanks to Ryszard Maj’s testimony:
After shooting the Jews near Mosty (Wierny), which was described as a “serious shootout”, Pomsta asked, in the presence of soldier Witek (and others), how they can shoot those Jews. So Witek said: “We’ll see who else is a Jew around here”, and went away. He came back with Grot103 and they said an examination of the genitals had been ordered out of fear of venereal diseases. “Pomsta” [Roman Olizarowski] was the first one to be examined. He was arrested immediately and soon afterward Czarny shot him dead on the hillside with two shots104.
The mention of Marian Wilczyński’s (nom de guerre Grom) participation in this incident explains why he actually gave an alibi to the group leader:
Witness M. Wilczyński’s “Grom” testimony shows that the behavior of defendant Skrobot in the critical time was completely passive. The whole operation was realized by “Górnik”: he namely ordered the unit to assemble and to perform a cleanliness check, and it was also him who ordered Pomsta to come to the forest with him, after which Pomsta did not return to the unit105.
In reality, according to Maj, Pomsta’s real direct killer was “Czarny”, i.e. Józef Przygodzki.←327 | 328→
Roman Olizarowski’s mother did not know to which organization her son had belonged. He left his home in Warsaw and in late August 1943 he arrived in Kielce. He was in contact with his mother by correspondence until January 1944. When he got wounded, he spent some time at a melina. Jadwiga Olizarowska learned that her son had been killed in March 1944 from Bolesław Boczarski “Jurand”. Although her testimony is included in the case files, for unknown reasons Jadwiga Olizarowska was not called on to testify in Edward Skrobot’s trial.
V.Izaak Grynbaum, March 3/4, 1944
Izaak Grynbaum was a cousin of Lili Szynowłoga, who was a ten-year-old girl in 1944. Two years earlier (in August 1942), Lili and her mother Guta escaped from the Warsaw ghetto106 and took refuge with relatives in Chęciny. Thanks to a tip-off from Countess Zofia Mycielska107, all three of them (Izaak, Guta, and
Lili) managed to narrowly avoid deportation by leaving the little town. In Guta’s diary, Mycielska is referred to as the good “princess Michelska”. Izaak, Guta, and Lili wandered around the area for quite a while; they went through a number of hiding places in peasant homes. They finally found a safe haven at gravedigger ←328 | 329→Karol Kiciński’s108 house, where he lived together with his daughter Janina. Together, they built a hideout right underneath the gravedigger’s house, which stood next to the Jewish cemetery, on the outskirts of Chęciny. Izaak, Guta, and Lili spent more than 17 months there, living on the proceeds from the sale of their family property, deposited with some inhabitants of Chęciny. This livelihood was provided by Izaak, who was the only one of the three who would go out of the hideout and bring food bought from the farmers. After his death and the theft of the remainders of the property by the “Barabasz” soldiers (see below), the mother and daughter almost died from hunger. They survived thanks to Karol Kiciński’s begging; in the most difficult times, he would hunt stray dogs in order to get food109. After the war, the mother temporarily placed Lili in the Jewish Orphanage in Otwock. The girl made a statement there:
The second winter came about. We had no money or provisions left. [My] cousin went to town. But there the akowcy [AK soldiers] caught him and told him to give away where rich Jews were. But [my] cousin did not want to give us away and they shot him dead in the middle of the marketplace, and buried him at the cemetery where we had been hiding. Mummy sat up all night waiting for [my] cousin and did not sleep. Only on the third day did we learn about the tragedy and we cried so much. Mummy was very weak and I was little, and there was nobody to take care of us. We would have died of hunger if it wasn’t for that dear old man110.
Thanks to the diary of Lili’s mother, Guta Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, we can add a number of details to Lili’s testimony. We are especially interested in what concerns the days preceding Izaak Grynbaum’s death in the marketplace in Chęciny. A few days later, Szynowłoga-Trokenheim talked to Mieczysław Nowak, Countess Mycielska’s stableman. From this dialogue, we learn about the circumstances of Izaak’s arrest by “Barabasz’s” partisans:
Mietek [the stableman] said that at about 11 in the evening [according to Guta’s notes, the incident took place on the night of March 3/March 4, 1944 – AS, JTB], he was in the stables with a colleague. Suddenly they heard shouts from the outside, someone was apparently being beaten. Mietek heard someone yell: “Jew, where are your goods?” They heard the sound of beating again, and a voice asking: “Lieutenant, why are you beating ←329 | 330→me?” “Where is your cousin?” – a male voice was asking. After that, Mietek recognized the voice of Izaak, who was pleading: “Marian, help me”111.
We are already familiar with Marian from Pomsta’s case: it was Marian Wilczyński “Grom II”, a stonemason from Chęciny112, one of “Barabasz’s” soldiers, who is mentioned in Guta Szynowłoga’s diary as Izaak’s friend113. They met in Sitkówka a few days previously and on that occasion the partisans let Izaak go114. Wilczyński will testify at the post-war trial of the commander, Edward Skrobot, one of the two lieutenants in the unit; the other one was the repeatedly mentioned Czesław Łętowski “Górnik”. One of them must have been beating Izaak at the time. Wilczyński blames neither his commander nor his colleagues. He does not confess to any involvement in Grynbaum’s murder. The following part of Guta’s story tells us that on the critical night, Nowak the stableman was ordered to bring horses round to the front of countess Mycielska’s mansion. Looted goods were loaded onto three wagons; the countess was beaten. The attackers also wanted to kill Jan, the steward, who had already been brought to the pond in his night clothes:
But they let him go once he had proven that he was not a Jew115.
The verification for Jewishness can be considered a particular “signature” of Edward Skrobot, as practices of this kind are not found in materials regarding any other group of the Wybranieccy.
Nowak and Grynbaum, blindfolded, were subsequently taken to the partisan camp, which was located a two-hour ride away by cart116. In the camp, they were given food.
In the morning, they told Izaak to take his clothes off, gave him a uniform and a cap with a symbol of the Polish army, but they did not issue him with a weapon. Then they asked ←330 | 331→him to describe to them in detail what he had been doing since the day of the deportation of the Jews from Checiny117.
He was interrogated for the whole day. When Nowak was being taken back to Sitkówka in the evening, Grynbaum was being treated in the camp as a member of the unit118. It was a trick that was supposed to induce him to reveal the places where he kept his property, as well as the hideout where Guta and Lili were hiding. There are known instances of the use of this trick by the members of either AK119 or AL in the Kielce region120. After robbing them of money and property, the Jews would be shot dead. The moment of Grynbaum’s capture remained in the memory of AK soldiers121. We have one more indirect testimony from Wybranieccy about this incident. In this testimony, Bolesław Boczarski recounts the version he had allegedly heard from the commander, Edward Skrobot:
Wierny started telling me that they had learned from the locals that a Jew was hiding on countess Mycielska’s premises, so “Wierny” and his group went to Countess Mycielska’s and caught that jew [sic!]. After being caught, the jew [sic!] said he had left gold and jewelry with Countess Mycielska, so “Wierny” and his group entered the Countess’ house again and then he demolished her house. Afterward “Wierny” told me that they had shot the jew [sic!] dead and added that Bokwa Zygmunt “Smutny” was with him.122
Let us now give voice to the residents of Chęciny. Tadeusz Mistachowicz remembers that after the deportation of the Jews from Chęciny
many times in the evening I happened to notice walking down the street across the town of Chęciny a Jew I had known since youth: it was Grynbaum Icek123.←331 | 332→
Mistachowicz recounts that on one winter’s night in 1944, a group of a dozen or so armed people dressed in fur coats entered the town. They forcefully entered the house of the witness, and shouting:
Janicki, return the gold that the Jew Icek Grymbaum had brought to your house!
they started beating his brother. They had Grynbaum with them; he was barefoot, in his underpants, with his hands tied in the back with a wire.
I noticed traces of beating on his face, as he had a hole in his cheek, blocked with a piece of very bloody cotton wool.
The brother’s explanation that he was not Jasicki124 (that night he was not at home, see below) was not taken into account, and a brutal search was carried out:
This incident was also witnessed by Maria Mistachowicz127. She testified that there was a person in the group referred to as “lieutenant”. Undoubtedly it was either the group leader Edward Skrobot, or “Górnik”, assuming that he really was in Chęciny at the time, as Skrobot claims. Bolesław Stępniewski, whose name Grynbaum shouts, was one of the first homeowners to shelter this Jewish family in hiding (Guta with her daughter and Izaak). They entrusted him a part of their property, which was gradually being cashed128. Stępniewski, who in Guta Szynowłoga’s testimony plays the role of a friend, and is happy to see the end of the suffering of the Jews129, threatens the family of Anna Jasicka in 1949, saying that
if [my] husband talks about Grynbaum’s murder, he will shoot us all dead, and if he doesn’t manage to do that, Szymek Gruszczyński or other partisans will take care of that130.←332 | 333→
The threats were allegedly made in the presence of Jasicka’s husband and his two brothers, Czesław and Julian. Jasicka then talks about the murder of three Jews in the forest near Chęciny called Gaj131.
Jasicka (sister of the two Mistachowiczs) was staying at the house raided by the Wybranieccy. She also knew Izaak Grynbaum from before the war. She recalled that he was living with his father, a butcher. One night in March 1944, he was dragged over by an armed group of 10–15 persons. Stępniewski’s name also comes up in her testimony:
(…) as [my] husband told me, Stępniewski Bolesław from Chęciny has a death warrant on him issued by NSZ for being a Communist132. (…) These individuals’ behavior in my house was more brutal than that of the Gestapo, who came to get my husband, and, verbally abusing me in various ways, [they] asked me to give them the gold that was allegedly in my possession133.
In fact, no gold was found during the search; however, the partisans got interested in “plush bedspreads”134 and Stefan Mistachowicz’s sheepskin coat. They had prepared the loot they wanted to take, when suddenly Izaak Grynbaum started screaming
Stasiu my dear – he shouted – Bolek Stępniewski caught me, Bolek betrayed me, I am dying because of Bolek!←333 | 334→
The comparison of information about Stępniewski shows that he was a two-faced man. Guta Szynowłoga keeps mentioning him in the last part of her memoirs. Another survivor also writes about him enthusiastically; however, the sentence
He was a liaison between all the Jews in hiding. If I for example wanted to see someone, when I was in hiding, he would arrange this meeting for me in his house135
sounds alarming, given what we know about his activities. It seems that Stępniewski was indeed helping the Jews in hiding; on the other hand, however, he must have been making a large profit from the contacts he had so effectively monopolized. Witness’ testimonies show that he indeed could have played a part in the deaths of some of the persecuted persons.
Let us return to the unfolding of the events in Chęciny on the night of March 3/ March 4, 1944. Members of the armed group gagged Grynbaum, shoved him out of the house and the bedspreads were not taken. Among the attackers, Anna Jasicka recognized Józef Molenda from Bolmin. Jasicka is the second witness to point to him. It was him who was shoving Grynbaum through the door while hitting him
on his back and head with some iron piece he had in his hand136.
Stanisław Jasicki, Anna’s husband, did not spend the night of March 3/March 4, 1944 at home. He was staying the night at a friend’s, who lived in a small house on the corner of the marketplace in Chęciny. He testified that he had heard voices in the street at night:
stomping of people walking in the street. I went over to the window and through the window I recognized the defendant Molenda and Wiktor Gruszczyński137 (…). The persons were dragging a man along the street. Some time after that I heard shots in the marketplace. (…) In the morning, Mistachowicz Maria came over and said that Icek Grynbaum was lying in the marketplace, murdered (…) he was lying in underpants and a shirt. When they were dragging the man toward the marketplace I saw that he was dressed in white. During the occupation, I was helping Jews hide. (…) e.g. Berta←334 | 335→
Kanarek138, Mordka Kenigsztajn139. (…) Gruszczyński threatened to kill me if I said that the Jew was killed. (…) People said that Wierny’s group went from house to house, demanding gold. (…) That night [those] individuals came not only to my house. (…) The night of the third to the fourth of March the was bright, moonlit140.
Jasicki’s brother recognizes Bolesław Stępniewski among those leading Grynbaum141. He also testifies that all three of them were supposed to be locally reporting to Jan Sieradzan “Żbik” from Chęciny. That night, the thugs forcefully entered the houses of other inhabitants of Chęciny as well: they went to Marian Klusk’s, to the Banasińskis’, to Aleksander Kubicki’s, and to Mieczysław Wiśniewski’s142. The latter will testify at the trial of Skrobot and his people. Wiśniewski was also providing storage for Izaak Grynbaum’s property; however, his testimony shows that he had already considered it his own. During the night raid, the partisans agreed with him on that point, and decided not to take “the hard skins”, appropriating only the “plush bedspreads”143. When Wiśniewski offered them vodka, they showed a willingness to compromise. It is not surprising, then, that as opposed to Mistachowicz and Janicki, Wiśniewski did not recognize any of the nocturnal visitors. He would not confirm that Grynbaum’s hands were tied either, although other witnesses concurred on that point.
Let us now give voice to the perpetrators. The version presented during his trial in 1951 by the group leader Edward Skrobot “Wierny” starts with an order from Section II, delivered to him by “Barabasz”. The order from the AK intelligence unit said that
in [the homes of] certain residents of Chęciny (…) there are post-Jewish things, which things I am supposed to take144.
A few aspects of Skrobot’s testimony stand out. He says the crimes had been commited on the authority of the intelligence unit and his commander. As usual, he identifies those who are already dead as direct perpetrators (Stanisław Litewka “Stach”, Czesław Łętowski “Górnik”) – he can accuse them with no ←335 | 336→consequences. The logic is clear: when those who are robbed are being accused of treason (just like countess Mycielska, and then each of the murdered Jews), loot ceases to be loot145. It becomes something between a punishment and a patriotic duty; profits are tactfully overlooked146. According to an unwritten partisan rule, property belonging to those who were killed was automatically confiscated, benefiting the unit. Skrobot knows that “unjustified” robberies and murders can land him a death sentence, and so he testifies that he did not find anything in the places identified by Grynbaum. However, contradicting himself after a while, he mentions handing in clothes acquired in Chęciny to the commander, and also an “envelope and two mechanisms from a golden watch”. This watch, which allowed them to survive many months by being pawned with countess Mycielska, is described in detail by Guta Szynowłoga in her diary147.
It is not clear why Skrobot calls Grynbaum Jankiel in his testimony, nor why he gives a different chronology of the crimes perpetrated than transpires from the remaining testimonies. This might be a part of the Wybranieccy’s trial strategy, designed to confuse the interrogators, who must prove not so much the identity of the victim as such, but rather his or her Jewish ethnicity if the defendant is to be tried pursuant to the August Decree. On this very basis (the anonymity of the victims), forty-five years later the Chairman of the Supreme Court, Stanisław Rudnicki, will in radically challenge the 1950s court judgment in Skrobot’s case, as well as the judgment from 1993 in which the Provincial Court dismissed the case for overthrowing the judgment from 1951. The statement of grounds reads:
The plaintiff likewise argued that the file contains no evidence whatsoever that would allow one to surmise that the persons to which the judgment applied [those hiding in the forest and then killed by Wierny’s group in a bunker near Mosty – AS, JTB] “were Polish citizens of Jewish origin [at all]” or that “they were hiding in the forest due to racial persecution.”148
The Supreme Court did not delve into who the hiding individuals in that case might have been, and ignored the testimony of the defendant from 1951, who ←336 | 337→confessed that they were Jews. At the trial in 1951, Skrobot does not state any other motives for the crime besides the necessity to obey an “order”.
After the war, the matter of the murders of Jews committed by Edward Skrobot’s group had two outcomes, at home and abroad. When Countess Mycielska, battered and robbed by Wierny’s people, emigrated to London, she intervened with the leader of the AK, gen. Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski. Komorowski allegedly promised to look into the matter; however, he abandoned the idea due to the Communist authorities’ smear campaign against AK149.
Case files from the trials of “Barabasz’s” people convey the strange atmosphere prevailing in the Kielce courts in 1951. It was a period of raging Stalinism and persecution of the former AK members; however, the justification of an unusually lenient sentence Skrobot received from Judge A. Kozielewski can easily be mistaken for a eulogy150. It says that he had taken into consideration the fact that
[Skrobot] has since the beginning shown himself to be a perfect, disciplined soldier, and an enlightened partisan and [that] he has been awarded the cross Virtuti Militari151.
We also learn that Skrobot was held in high esteem not only in his own milieu,
but also among the leaders of leftist partisan groups, for whom he was always ready to do a favor, showing that essentially, his deepest convictions actually are closer to the ideology of these groups /leftist/ than to the group to which he had formally belonged, but with whose ideology he often disagreed (…). Likewise, his attitude toward the Jews, in cases when he was able to make his own decisions, was not negative at all.
It is even more surprising that in the statement of grounds of the judgment from 1951 (!), some of the murders committed under Skrobot’s leadership were described as ←337 | 338→service activities undertaken in the interest of the Polish nation as part of paramilitary activity (AK), whose combat merits are beyond doubt.
Witness statements incriminating Skrobot and Molenda were questioned and deemed not trustworthy. The judge, favoring the defendants, tried to establish how the rooms where the events had taken place were lit, and despite the certainty of the witnesses questioned the possibility of identifying the defendants in such conditions; he concentrated on petty inconsistencies in witness statements while overlooking blatant contradictions in the statements of the defendants. The court accused Maria Mistachowicz of a tendency to lie, because she said her brother-in-law was hiding Jews, while he himself testified that he was only helping them hide. The court also showed understanding for the appropriation of Jewish property by the defendants (in court files always “post-Jewish”152).
[It] was definitely for the purpose of raising funds necessary for the organization
– says the special report on the matter for the Ministry of Public Security153. The fact that the witnesses of the prosecution changed their statements, and also the content of these statements imply that these witnesses had most probably been threatened.
The case against Bolesław Stępniewski was closed154, Józef Molenda was cleared of all charges, and Edward Skrobot was cleared of all charges except being accessory in murder of the individuals hiding in the bunker near Mosty155. He was sentenced to 5 years and 1 month in prison, and loss of his honorary ←338 | 339→public and civic rights for 2 years. The court applied article no. 5 of the August Decree on extraordinary mitigation, arguing the minimum penalty “will be a just penalty”. Skrobot was released on parole in 1954. From the 1960’s, he was an active member of the ZBOWiD branch in Suchedniów, whose president and vice-president were his colleagues from the “Barabasz” group – Boczarski and Szumielewicz. In 1971, he was decorated with the Virtuti Militari cross, which, as ill-natured people said, was enough for him to start taking part in May 1 marches under the banner of ZBOWiD156. In 1979, he founded Koło Rodziny „Wybranieckich” [Circle of the Wybranieccy Family], which is active to this day. In 1993, Provincial Court dismissed the case for annulment of the judgment from 42 years ago. The Supreme Court in its extraordinary appeal in 1995 challenged the judgment, ruling in favor of Edward Skrobot, and ordered the retrial of the case. The final verdict was passed in 1996. The court quashed the guilty verdict from 1951, thereby acknowledging that “Skrobot’s conduct was not only detrimental to the German occupying forces, but that his deed was an activity undertaken for the sake of the independent existence of the Polish State.”157
VI.Stefan Sawa and the Zelinger family, Zagórze near Daleszyce, February 14/15 (or 15/16), 1944
The Zelingers were a respected Jewish family from Kielce158, related to the Frajzygers, the Lewis and the Fleszlers. Jerzy Fleszler died in Katyn. Herman Lewi was chairman of the Judenrat in the Kielce ghetto. Salomon (Szlomo) Zelinger, father of Henryk and Danuta, headed the Organizational Unit of the Jewish Military Union and was the owner of the Hotel Polski at 32 Sienkiewicza St. before the war159. He managed to get his family out of the Kielce ghetto after its closure, entrusting his daughter Danusia, her aunt Zofia, and other relatives to the care of a Kielce-born Pole Stefan Sawa. Zelinger moved his son Henryk, along with ←339 | 340→other relatives, to safe locations160, while he himself made his way to Warsaw. He joined AK (he used the nom de guerre Zielony or Zielonka161), and fell while fighting in the Warsaw Uprising. Henryk (Zvi) Zelinger was initially staying with his father in Warsaw, but then he was sent to Zagórze; however, he was not received well, and thus he returned to Warsaw. They lived in Aleje Jerozolimskie. He managed to survive the Warsaw Uprising under a false identity. His mother Róża (Lea, Rozalia162) and sister Hanka, who “remained near [Zagórze] with fake identification”, also survived163. In his letter to YV, already quoted at the beginning of this text, Zvi writes that he was brought to the house/hideout (it had double walls and attic) by his father’s acquaintance, a member of AK.
I was there for a few days and got to know all its inhabitants. Lodzia, a Polish woman [before the war a maid at the household of his uncle, Hajnoch Zelinger, a dentist; she also lived in Zagórze] was opposed to my staying there and was trying her best to kick me out of that house. Without any explanation, she handed me over to the man who had brought me, and he put me on a train to Warsaw, back to father. (…) When father had not received any news from that house for a long time, he started to worry. Through the Warsaw AK underground he contacted the underground in Kielce and he finally learned that the house had been burnt down and nobody survived164.
However, at that time he did not learn who had done it. This was not ascertained until a dozen-or-so years later by his son Zvi. In his letter to Yad Vashem, he lists ←340 | 341→the names of the six Jews who fell victim to the attack of the AK unit: Danusia (Dina) Zelinger165 – his sister, Zofia Zelinger166 – their aunt, Moniek (Mojżesz) Rozenberg, Edek Proszowski (owner of a power plant in Kielce) and his wife with an unknown first name, as well as Frejna (Frymusia) Fridman (she was the sister of Dawid167, who was saved by the Śliwiński family). However, he knows that on the crime scene, the remains of “more than ten bodies, which were officialy recorded”, were found. In addition to Stefan Sawa, there were probably also Halina Cukierman and Lidia Sadowska168.
Stefan Sawa was the secretary of the District Court in Kielce. According to his mother’s testimony, during the occupation he got engaged to Zofia Zelinger, whom he had already known before the war. When the Zelingers were put in the ghetto, he would bring them food. In order to hide his fiancée and her family, in May 1942 he rented an unfinished house from Stanisław Grzegolec in Zagórze just next to the Daleszyce forest169. Grzegolec testified about celebrating the completion of the building financed by Sawa. The celebration was also attended by his
fiancée Leokadia [a mistake, Sawa’s fiancée was Zofia Zelinger] and one man who looked like a Jew170.
During the year 1943, Grzegolec was invited a number of times for lunch.
In the house, I would usually see his fiancée and an elderly woman called Jadwiga171, who was supposed to be his cousin,←341 | 342→
Besides them, I would also see two little girls aged about 12 to 14 and a tall man by the surname of Konkol [Kąkol?]; he was supposed to be a cousin of the elderly woman.
Grzegolec knew that the people living with Sawa were Jews. This was also suspected by the neighbors, and fearing that the information could get to the Germans, he had to “deny that they are of Jewish origin”. In late autumn, a resident of the house called Jadwiga told him of a supper in the middle of the night, which they had given to unknown partisans. Władysław Szumielewicz testifies that together with the group members (he names only Władysław Marasek, who knew Stefan Sawa from before the war) he once went for a dinner in Zagórze. However, it was not in late autumn 1943, but in January 1944:
On the way to the build-up I entered the village of Zagórze, where I performed the reconnaissance of a flat where [some] Jews were hiding (…). In this flat (…) there were two men, three women, and a child; we ate the dinner which they had offered us at that time. (…) While talking to the inhabitants I came to the conclusion that these individuals were hiding from the Nazi authorities172.
Stefan Sawa made his living by trade, and would therefore often travel to Kielce. Thanks to this he was able to become more closely acquainted with his neighbor, Józef Zabrowski, a forest worker from whom Sawa’s fiancée got milk every day.
It was a young girl, of medium height, with brown hair173.
Zabrowski did not take her for a Jewess, “as it was impossible to tell from her speech, and in her behavior she did not reveal the habits of that ethnicity”; neither did he take for a Jewess the elderly woman whose name is not mentioned in the testimony. After some time, Zabrowski realized that many more people were living with Sawa. For example, the milk was sometimes collected by “two little girls aged between eight and ten”174. On another occasion, when the inhabitants of the house were running into the nearby forest in fear of the Germans, he managed to observe that those girls are living in the house with their mother, and besides them and the two women mentioned in the beginning (Leokadia and ←342 | 343→Jadwiga) there were also “two men, two women, and two girls aged between 15 and 16”175. Eleven inhabitants of the house, which were counted by Zabrowski, is the number which corresponds to the number of victims which will be given to Lucyna Wrońska by “Marysia from the post office” in Daleszyce (more below). This is also the number of victims given by a Citizens’ Militia constable Corporal Marian Skrybus in his report from November 14, 1950, describing the investigation carried out among the residents of Zagórze. The militiaman also notes the rumors and hearsays about Sawa which were circulating in the neighborhood. The general opinion was that he had allegedly taken advantage of the Jews, murdered them himself, having earlier taken their money and gold, after which he “made off” to America176. For the authors of the rumors, it was unimaginable that he would risk death with his protégés.
In her post-war testimonies, Sawa’s mother explains that she knew her son’s fiancée and was aware that with Stefan’s help, she was hiding in Zagórze. “I on my part had no objections against the wishes of my son”177. Sawina remembers that with them, there was “a little girl, Danusia Zelinger”. Procuring the food in Kielce, the son would often come to see his mother. One day he confessed that he was in trouble, “as Pociewicz Stanisław, council secretary in Daleszyce178 often comes to his house, demanding a loan”179. The mother was aware that some partisans allegedly kept calling on him with the same demand. Sawina learned about the death of her son from the landlord’s daughter, Grzegolcówna, who was sent over with the news of the tragedy. When she arrived to the site of the fire herself, she was met by the German gendarmerie. She identified her son’s remains by a medallion and a lighter that had been found on him. The remains of most of the victims were so charred that she collected them into one casket and buried it at the cemetery in Kielce. The Germans showed her traces of horses that had been tied to trees in the forest, and also traces of a wagon. They claimed that the attack was a robbery (“a band”). Four years after the war, in a field near Kielce, Sawina met Florentyna Kobyłecka, aunt of Władysław Marasek, nom de guerre Brzózka, ←343 | 344→a partisan from “Barabasz’s” unit. The woman started talking to her, and hearing about the cause of her sadness, she confessed that Marasek (her sister’s son) had taken part in the murder. Stefan Sawa allegedly recognized Marasek and just before his death begged him: “Władziu, spare our lives”. During interrogation, Kobyłecka confirms Sawina’s words and adds new details about the incident:
The following day Sawa Stefan’s mother […] brought the remains of [her] murdered son Stefan and the bones of the rest of the murdered persons of Jewish nationality to her house in Kielce in a casket. It was at about that time that Marasek Władysław [a “Barabasz” partisan, one of the members of the execution squad in Zagórze] came into the apartment, and in my presence started telling his mother Maria, that Sawa Michalina had collected the Jewish bones, brought them home in a casket, lit candles, and was now praying over them.180
The houseowner in Smyków, where Szumielewicz’s unit came immediately after the “execution” in Daleszyce, was Jan Dygas181. He testifies that besides the commander, he also received Władysław Marasek – Brzózka, Ludwik Szarowski – Adolf, an unknown man – Piorun, Aleksander Stępnik – Most, and an unknown man – Wyrwa182. Piorun boasted before Dygas that “[he] was shooting them himself”. Everything seems to indicate that the residents of the house in Zagórze were killed with a small weapon by Władysław Marasek – Brzózka, Włodzimierz Ołtarzewski – Kordian, Stanisław Lutek – Roch and an unknown member of the unit, Piorun. They brought with them a wagon filled with “men’s and women’s clothes, men’s and women’s underwear”. It was actually in Dygas’ house that the party on the night after the execution must have taken place, as described by Ryszard Maj: “After the shooting of the Jews near Daleszyce, the diamonds that ←344 | 345→the Jews had sewn into their belts, wrapped in tissue paper, were split between the men (who were then drunk).”183 The next day the men were visited by “Barabasz” himself, to whom Szumielewicz gave a report about the execution of the order.
Marian Sołtysiak said during interrogation that he had arrived to Jan Dygas’ house in Smyków from Daleszyce, where he was talking to “Marysia, who was living at the post office”184. This is one of the so-called Three Marias, from a Section II branch in Daleszyce, which was managed by Maria Michalczyk, nom de guerre Wyrwicz. “. It was actually through a talk with this “Marysia from the post office” that the liaison Ewa Wrońska, nom de guerre Ewa, learned about the crime in Zagórze. “Maria from the post office” at that time told “Barabasz” that Szumielewicz was staying in Smyków. Sołtysiak claims that in Jan Dygas’ house, he only came across Mietek and Kordian, and he does not remember other names. He also mentions that it was actually Kordian who gave him “one pocket watch that used to belong to the murder victims”185. At the trial, he modifies his testimony: “I took a ring, a chain, and a watch, which I passed on to higher authorities”186 – allegedly into the hands of the AK Sub-district commander in Kielce, Wyrwa. At the court, he never mentions what he said during the investigation: that in 1948 he sold the golden chain and the ring “in one of the shops in Wrocław”187.
The commander of the execution squad, Władysław Szumielewicz, claims that he had received a direct order to carry out the execution in Zagórze from his commander during the concentration in Bączków in January or February 1944. The alleged witnesses of the event were Pawelec, Skrobot and both Fąfars – Jan and Stefan188. Szumielewicz assigned Adolf, Włodek, Staszek, Brzózka, and Roch to carry out the operation, whereas Sołtysiak additionally gave him someone from Dąbrowa189. On the way to Zagórze, in front of the shop in Leszczynach, ←345 | 346→“Barabasz”, riding a horse, caught up with him, reminding him once again about the necessity of carrying out the order190. The group arrived in Zagórze on the evening of February 4, 1944. The horses were tethered at the edge of the forest191. “After arriving there I had the flat surrounded [Kogut and Adolf; in another testimony, he mentions Wojtek and Włodek, remembering Staszek and Kogut as those who were operating the machine gun, while Adolf had been sent to the village of Smyków to get a wagon for the looted goods192] and myself together with Marasek Władysław – “Brzózka”, Lutek Stanisław – “Roch”, [Władysław Ołtarzewski] – “Kordian” and that man whose name or pseudonym I do not know, who came from Dąbrowy [“Piorun”] (…) we entered the flat. After entering the flat Marasek Władysław (…) told me that Stefan Sawa recognized him193, so all four of us fired from the weapons we possessed on Sawa Stefan, who was in the kitchen, killing him instantly, and then we fired on two Jews, whom we also killed. From the kitchen we went into the room, where there were three women and a child of Jewish ethnicity, whom we also shot dead. After shooting dead all the persons staying there, we searched the whole flat and took men’s and women’s clothes, which had been placed in the wardrobe, men’s and women’s shoes, and in the wardrobe we found jewelry, that is one golden necklace [“a golden chain 2 mm wide”], rings, how many I cannot recall at the moment [three, plus a men’s signet ring194], one golden watch [a men’s pocket watch195 “brand-name Omega”196] and two ordinary watches. We loaded the looted goods onto the wagon, which had been brought by Lutek Stanisław – Roch, but who drove that wagon I do not know. After loading the looted goods, in order to destroy the evidence, we set [the house] on fire”197. In later testimonies, Władysław Szumielewicz adds drastic details to this description. He says that after entering the house, he asked Sawa to assemble all the men of the household in the kitchen. The door leading into the room where the women were located were closed198. They started talking “about ←346 | 347→the topic of partisan activity”, and Władysław Marasek talked to Sawa on his own. He then told Szumielewicz that Sawa had recognized him199. Szumielewicz says that after that he ordered the men in the kitchen to turn face to the wall, and gave an order to shoot by waving his hand. The shooters were Marasek-„Brzózka” (who denies everything during the trial), Ołtarzewski-„Kordian”, Lutek-„Roch” and N.N. „Piorun”. “I did not shoot any of [those] persons”, claims Szumielewicz200. Afterward, he ordered the door into the room open; the women present there “were sitting motionless”, huddled “in a corner near the bed”. In his opinion, the child was about 4 or 5 years old. The victims were searched thoroughly (see the narrative of Ryszard Maj quoted above: “Jews had [diamonds] sewn into their belts, wrapped in tissue paper”). Let us turn our attention to the motive of the wagon, which was waiting in the forest (it had been brought by Władysław Ołtarzewski, „Adolf“). Szumielewicz (and also Marian Sołtysiak) explains this behavior as a habit of partisan units: “There were orders from higher authorities and from “Barabasz”, to take some of the more precious of the things that used to belong to those killed on the basis of the death warrant. We took the clothes and golden items”201.
One of the accused, Władysław Marasek, who denies taking part in the execution, adds that the members of the execution squad, with whom he allegedly met up only afterward in Jan Dygas’ cottage, where he had arrived with the commander, “were still soaked in blood”. Corroborating the testimony of Ryszard Maj (see footnote 29) he adds, however, that besides “dresses, men’s clothes, caps, shoes”, the looted things also included some kind of “belts”202. When he asked Kogut what they were doing in the neighborhood, he got an answer that “they shot Jews dead and burnt the house”203. In a confrontation between him and Szumielewicz on April 14, 1951, Marasek again denies his involvement in the execution, as well as having ever been to Stefan Sawa’s house before204. He claims that Szumielewicz accuses him out of revenge, as he did not carry out the order due to an sickness. He attributes aunt Kobyłecka’s damning evidence ←347 | 348→to a family conflict. During the trial, both Jan Dygas and Szumielewicz retract their testimonies which incriminate Marasek. The way Szumielewicz does this is unintentionally humorous: “I claim with utmost certainty that I was present at the execution in Zagórze, when it comes to [my] co-defendants I may be wrong”. Also the second co-defendant, Stanisław Lutek, categorically denies that he had been present in Zagórze, and he also denies it during his confrontation with Szumielewicz205. Oblivious to the fact that the commander’s testimony incriminates him as well, he makes assurances, however, that Szumielewicz “is so honest, unimpeachable, and truthful, that what he says is definitely true”. During the trial, the unit’s commander Bolesław Boczarski makes an attempt to give him an alibi206.
The sentencing of the residents of the house in Zagórze allegedly took place a few months before. In a testimony from February 1, 1951 Szumielewicz says that in October 1943 he received “from the AK intelligence cell attached to the Daleszyce branch a report about Jewish persons hiding at Stefan Sawa’s in Zagórze, together with the description of the building and a situation plan”207. The following day, he adds: “I received this report from the commander of the AK branch in Daleszyce, with the pseudonym Orkan, I do not know his name”208. He elaborates on it in April 1951, testifying that at that time, via the Daleszyce branch, he received a dispatch addressed to him, i.e. “the commander of the unit Kielce-East”, which said that “in the village of Zagórze, persons of Jewish ethnicity are hiding [in one of the subsequent testimonies, he will not remember whether the origin of the housemates in Zagórze was mentioned in the dispatch], who are suspected of cooperation with the German gendarmerie station in Bieliny (…) and that these persons are to be executed”209.
Sołtysiak “remembered” the accusation contained in the execution order differently: “in the vicinity of Daleszyce, pow. Kielce a group of people is staying, sent by Gestapo agent Witek with the goal of terrain reconnaissance”210. Having read the dispatch, Szumielewicz sent it with liaison Władysław Marasek to the ←348 | 349→commander “together with a monthly report”211. Already at the beginning of December 1943, he allegedly received from him via a female liaison, whose “pseudonym he does not recall”, an execution order confirming the sentence. At the trial, Szumielewicz claims he does not remember who brought that order, whether it was Marasek or the female liaison. The conclusion of the judgment even quotes the wording of Barabasz’s order: “I order that the execution be carried out as commanded.”212 An order from Section II was also allegedly attached. As the permanent unit liaison was Lucyna Wrońska, nom de guerre Ewa, with whom we are already familiar, the fact that she was not aware of the existence of such a sentence is astounding213. During the investigation, Wrońska said plainly that “(…) this matter was a certain form of a crime, not a heroic deed, of which the Sub-district command was definitely not aware. I also suspect that Barabasz committed this murder on his own hook”214. Likewise, from the above-mentioned conversation between Wrońska and one of the “Three Marysias”215 from the Daleszyce branch (Maria Nachowska) it is not evident that the execution took place based on an order or at least with the knowledge of Section II. On that occasion, she allegedly informed Wrońska that “in the village of Zagórze, «Barabasz», together with Mietek’s group, murdered 11 Jews and burned a house”. In the conversation recounted by Wrońska, expressions such as “informers”, “sentence”, or “execution”, which would have appeared in it had the initiative actually come from the Section II in Daleszyce, are entirely absent.
The problem lies in the fact that Maria Nachowska denies having ever spoken to Wrońska about such an incident216. We do not know which one of them is not telling the truth; we only know that Lucyna Wrońska had until the end of her life ←349 | 350→been ostracized by the veterans’ milieus and the ZBOWiD, although they all testify to her heroism during the war years and to the affection Wybranieccy had for her217. Could it have been caused by the growing influence of Marian Sołtysiak, who in 1960’s became “the right hand of Mieczysław Moczar”218? Wrońska subsequently tried to discuss the murder in Zagórze with Jurand’s soldiers, but “the members of the unit, if they talked at all, [spoke] very carefully and in such a way as if they were afraid of someone”219. She therefore only learned that before being shot dead, the Jews allegedly put all the valuables on the table. There must have been many, as the expression “a suitcase [full] of jewelry” appears here. Let us once again recall Ryszard Maj’s statement about “the diamonds that the Jews had sewn into their belts, wrapped in tissue paper” (see footnote 29).
Another ambiguity in Szumielewicz’s testimonies appears in the protocol of the final interrogation from April 23, 1951, when he clarifies that he had received the execution order “by the agency of the AK branch commander, pseudonym “Orkan” via his courier”220 adding that “the order was written in pencil on a piece of paper”. At the main hearing, he uses the wording: “by the agency of the liaison from the Section II branch in Daleszyce”221. Earlier, he claimed that he had received it “via the branch in Daleszyce”. It is difficult to believe. The commander of the Section II in that locality was the already mentioned Maria Michalczyk, who in the autumn of 1943 took command of the whole area from “Orkan”, who was mentioned by Szumielewicz. She explicitly states that as Orkan “was overworked”, he completely left the intelligence work and allegedly devoted himself to organizing a combat unit in the area. At the main hearing, Szumielewicz once again categorically repeats that the execution order came from Orkan, the commander of the Section II in Daleszyce222. Szumielewicz’s testimony is corroborated at the hearing by Sołtysiak: “I know that the Section II branch in Daleszyce was interested in the execution”. Without mentioning the pseudonym Orkan, Sołtysiak testifies: “In the Daleszyce Sub-district (…) the post of Section II agent ←350 | 351→was held by a tall, dark, long-faced individual (…). This individual will be known to a girl called Maria (…) at the time of the Occupation, she worked at the post office, [and] lived in the same building where the post office was located. I mention this girl because this Section II agent spent most of [his] time at her place”. There is no mention of such an order in any of Maria Michalczyk’s books. There is, however, a telling mention of the injustice of the oblivion into which Lucyna Wrońska was cast – as we can remember, she was the only one to claim that the murder in Zagórze was “Barabasz’s” own undertaking.
It is not difficult to believe that Szumielewicz doubted that the sentencing of the housemates in Zagórze was justified. Reporting this matter to “Barabasz” in Bęczków, he said:
“on the way to the concentration I made a reconnaissance of Stefan Sawa’s house and found out that it is the hiding place of two men, three women, and one child of Jewish ethnicity, who have nothing to do with the German gendarmerie, [and] this matter should be reconsidered. To my words, «Barabasz answered that I must carry out the order, as such are the orders of the AK Section II”223.
Szumielewicz tried to buy some time, arguing that he had never carried out the execution of women, and that there was a lack of suitable people in his unit for this type of task (juvenile unit members were not assigned with carrying out executions). The only thing he achieved was that “Barabasz” gave him three people from Boczarski’s group: “Roch”, “Kordian”, and “Piorun”.
By comparing the defense strategies chosen during the investigation and the trial by Szumielewicz and his commander Sołtysiak, we conclude that, unlike in most trials of this type, these strategies were only partially agreed upon and not adhered to on the part of Sołtysiak. Although “Barabasz” essentially corroborated Mietek’s testimony, he would at times, mostly during his own hearing, delicately question Szumielewicz’s line of defense: “He mentioned some Christian pictures in that house, which would indicate that they were not Jews. He also said that there was a woman. Whether he mentioned a child – I do not remember. I doubt if Szumielewicz put forth any suggestions as to not carrying out the order, as knowing him I know that he would not have dared to do this”224. Meanwile, the way Szumielewicz modified his own testimony shows that he consistently pinned the whole blame on himself, and was trying to protect both his colleagues ←351 | 352→and the commander225. He claimed that “Barabasz” did not give him the order himself, only asked him to comply with Section II’s sentence. He corroborates the words of Sołtysiak, who at the trial testified: “I know that the Section II branch in Daleszyce was interested in the execution”. “Not carrying out the sentence was punishable by death”226 – explains Szumielewicz. “I am not familiar with any instruction which would permit not to carry out an order if one was not certain if someone was guilty”227. Henryk Pawelec has a different opinion on this topic: “This sometimes happened. Very rarely. For this you would be court-martialed. I took part in such a trial. The sentences were simple: freedom or death. What would have awaited Mietek had he spared the child – I don’t know (…) And what would have happened with the spared child?”228.
At Szumielewicz’s hearing, “Barabasz” testifies in such a way as to help his subordinate as much as possible without incriminating himself: “Sometimes during retaliations, whole families with children would be executed for cooperation with the Germans. We were an army and did not analyze the orders. Mietek was trained to strictly comply with the orders. In my unit I am not aware of instances when orders would be questioned”229. As we know from trackman Błachucki’s case, this statement is not true. It also contradicts the testimony of another Wybranieccy commander, Bolesław Boczarski, nom de guerre Jurand, who at the same hearing testified that “at one of the briefings «Barabasz» gave instructions that when the soldier is not absolutely sure about the guilt of an execution target or also when he is sure of his innocence, he is allowed not to carry out the order” and he refers to a case when he himself decided against carrying ←352 | 353→out the execution230. Boczarski also speaks disdainfully about “Section II [,which] was off the mark and often made mistakes”231. Regardless of whether this witness was telling the truth, note that a similar opinion about the legislation of the Second Republik (Dziennik Ustaw RP, no. 91, item 765) was expressed during the trial by judge T.Bielski: “A soldier, even when he was carrying out an order from his superior, was committing a crime and was responsible for it if he committed an act constituting a crime or a misdemeanor (article 9 of the Polish Army Penal Code)”232. Moreover, Sołtysiak himself describes a situation when, questioning Section II’s sentence solely on the basis of his own opinion (“The faces of those people did not attest to their guilt”), he freed two persons he did not know from accusation and hid them in the unit, and where else but in Górnik’s platoon233. They allegedly showed merit. This story contradicts the decided statements of the defendants that sentences and orders were never questioned.
Sentences passed in all three criminal trials of the Wybranieccy partisans were lenient. We have already discussed the outcome of Skrobot, Dziewiór, and Molenda’s trial. On September 13, 1951 Władysław Szumielewicz was sentenced to a prison term of 6 years and 6 months, Stanisław Marasek to 6 years and Stanisław Lutek to 5 years of imprisonment234. The court took into account the extenuating circumstances in Szumielewicz’s case: “his young age and exceptionally sincere confession of guilt, and on the other hand [the fact] that he was a unit commander”. This was deemed a basis for filing a request for pardon. However, one year later at an appeals trial on May 20, 1952 the Supreme Court changed this lenient sentence, increasing Władysław Szumielewicz’s term to 12 years, and those of Władysław Marasek and Stanisław Lutek to 8 years235. Petitions by Szumielewicz’s wife and by himself had been denied for a number of years. Only on February 5, 1957, four years after the release of Sołtysiak and three after the release of Skrobot, the Province Provincial Court in Kielce released him on parole. Marasek and Lutek, sentenced in the same trial, were also released before ←353 | 354→their prison term had been served236. The last act of this drama is the judgment from October 7, 1991 (based on a law from February 23, 1991237) passed by the Provincial Court in Kielce, which overrules both of Władysław Szumielewicz’s guilty verdicts.
His commander, Marian Sołtysiak, was sentenced one day after the verdict was passed on his subordinate. At a separate hearing the following day (September 14, 1951), “Barabasz” was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment. He was found guilty of being accessory in the murder of Jews near Daleszyce. The court found that the order which the defendant was referring to was a crime, as the accused must have known that they were Jews threatened with extermination, and not people suspected of collaboration, and therefore should not have carried it out238. In a testimony at the main hearing, Sołtysiak probably revealed one of the motives for the crime: “since the area of Zagórze was designated for parachuting Dan according to the orders from Section II was supposed to discuss the matter of execution with me”239. He added that initially someone else was meant to carry it out, “he did not remember”, however, why in the end he gave the order to Szumielewicz. The Supreme Court at the appeals trial on May 7, 1952 upheld the guilty verdict. Already on July 16, 1953, and therefore at the time when all of his subordinates were still in prison, Sołtysiak, due to ill health, was granted a furlough, and on August 27, 1953 the court ordered his release on parole. On September 14, 1965, having already served as a ZBOWiD official for a number of years, Sołtysiak petitioned the Provincial Court in Kielce for the expungement of his sentence and of his criminal record240. The files do not contain the answer or the decision of the court. The last judgment in this matter was passed on July 26, 1992, when at a hearing at the Provincial Court in Kielce it was decided to nullify the judgment from September 14, 1951 – just like in Szumielewicz’s case, also here the legal basis was the Statute invalidating guilty verdicts issued on persons prosecuted for activities undertaken for the sake of the independent existence ←354 | 355→of the Polish State. We do not know whether any of these individuals filed for compensation on this basis – the files do not contain documents on this topic.
Justice under the reign of terror
Murders of these Jews were committed in the context of an operation against informers, one of the core duties of “Barabasz’s” unit. Lieutenant-Colonel Wojciech Borzobohaty “Wojan”, a historian specializing in the Radom-Kielce AK and Chief of Staff at the “Jodła” District headquarters during the occupation, writes that the number of executions of the German collaborators recruited from among the Polish populace reached its peak in the second half of 1943 and in the spring of 1944 in connection with Operation Kośba, initiated by AK’s Central Headquarters.
It was intended as a sudden attack on Gestapo agents and informers. Dozens of persons collaborating with the occupant in order to harm the Polish nation were at that time executed within the [Radom-Kielce] Sub-District. (…) Combatting the spies and informers, as well as persons displaying excessive curiosity while they were not supposed to know too much, was supposed to ensure the safety of [our] organization and of the society241.
Collaboration of some Poles with the German authorities must have really grown to vast proportions, given that already one year earlier, in a conversation at the Sub-district headquarters Sołtysiak effectively convinced the leadership (Commander “Wyrwa” and Head of Intelligence “Zawa”) of the necessity to use terror against a certain part of the population.
In Kielce and the surrounding area, we shot dead twenty five traitors. We did it in a ruthless, often demonstrative way. Unfortunately, we did not avoid mistakes242.
Since the Wybranieccy justify all the above-mentioned murders with orders from Section II, in this text we attempt to set apart any such mistakes from preplanned efforts.
Generally, the procedure of punishing informers worked as follows: Polish citizens could be executed on the basis of a legal court sentence. For this purpose, Special Court Martials (WSS) and Special Civilian Courts (CSS) were created. WSSs were established by the Committee for State Matters in a resolution from April 16, 1940, while the generally accepted date of establishing CSS is ←355 | 356→November/ December 1942243. According to the procedure specified in the resolutions, the chief justice of a WSS would send the verdict together with the case files to the appropriate AK commander for execution. The commander of the territory who had the jurisdiction could either approve or reject the sentence – in the latter case, the matter would be reviewed again by another panel of judges, whose judgment was not subject to further approval244. The safety of combat units as well as the necessity to make quick decisions so this safety would be maintained justified the so-called preemptive executions.
In case of a sudden threat to the organization or its members, it was allowed to carry out executions at one’s own discretion, but these needed to be justified with a report, sent together with the evidence to the public prosecutor associated with a WSS within 3 days of the date of execution245.
Kedyw units could also be asked to carry out CSS sentences, although generally civilian institutions were supposed to have their own executive branches. These regulations and procedures were valid in all areas where the Polish underground state ran operations. So much for the theory. What was the practice like? We do not have access to the archive of Section II at the AK Kielce District246, or that of the Special Court Martial associated with the Kielce Inspectorate, and therefore cannot answer the question how the underground justice system worked in practice in the AK Radom-Kielce District. To gain insight into the material and documentation constituting the basis for underground court judgments, let us use analogous documentation from the Jedrzejow Sub-district within the same AK District247. Let us consider a document titled “List of persons from the territory of ←356 | 357→the Jedrzejow Sub-district actively collaborating and suspected of collaboration with the occupant as informers, agents, and informants”248. There are 252 persons on this list. The character of their offences is described in terms such as: “a Gestapo agent”, “a G-po informer”, “a G-po informant”, “a G-po snitch”, “a gendarmerie informant”, “a German snitch”, “anonymous letters”, “suspected of informing”, but also with phrases such as “contacts with Germans”, “a Germanophile”, “a railway informant”, “an informant of his superiors”, or even in a really enigmatic term “suspect”. The terminology used is so imprecise that in order to separate valid accusations from the groundless ones, a large archive and a team of people would be required. The branch staff in Daleszyce, code name “Dolno”, who cooperated with “Barabasz’s” unit, consisted of “Three Marias”, a mole at the Blue Police station and at the sawmill, agents in a few villages (they were usually mayors) and a few liaison officers249. A department such as the one Jedrzejow, in comparison with the Kielce department, was regarded as “moderately active” and was said to involve 80–100 individuals250. Given that there were neither means nor possibilities to properly verify the material and evidence (except in the most important cases251), the matter must have often been based on the concept of mala fama252, known from pre-modern judiciary.←357 | 358→
Were there instances when this notion would be referred to to decide if someone would live or die? The question is usually addressed with polished statements about the infallibility of underground courts.
None of the judgments [passed] by the courts of underground Poland was effectively undermined, not even in the political climate of the first decade after the war, favorable to such phenomena253
–states the author of the first monograph on the underground judiciary.
The verdicts of the Special Court Martial of Underground Poland were faultless. Judgments were passed by excellent, meticulous lawyers. Based on facts. I held these verdicts in my hand. All the t’s were crossed and i’s dotted254
–so, in his turn, says a soldier who himself was carrying out the sentences.
A contemporary historian needs to be more critical. It is worth to closely examine the way in which the underground courts operated, and also the relationship between the decisions of these courts and preemptive elimination orders issued by the commanders of combat units. We know that in certain circumstances, the judgments of the Special Court Martial were passed post factum255; however – despite evidence to the contrary – Eugeniusz Adamczyk “Wiktor” denies this, claiming that execution had to be based on a verdict256. Andrzej Ropelewski has found an interesting document among the Jędrzejow Sub-district files: it records as many as fourteen preemptive eliminations, which undermines Adamczyk’s statement257. Adamczyk, who served as head of counterintelligence at the Jędrzejów Sub-district and from December 1941 worked as AK counterintelligence mole in Kriminalpolizei258, provides us with an insight into the occupation reality in another one of his statements:←358 | 359→
When undertaking decisions about the execution of a traitor, we based them on the assumption that the more Gestapo informers get eliminated, the less Polish names will find their way into the Gestapo files259.
Even though this reasoning may be valid, the problem lies in the certainty whether traitors really were traitors. Historical studies on this subject, instead of verifying the evidence – at least in controversial cases, often adopt the view expressed in the sources. E.g. Leszek Gondek refers to the executions as “an unpleasant, but unfortunately necessary activity”; in a similar way, he brushes aside the objections raised by experts, e.g. Leon Nowodworski, Head of the Department of Justice at the Government Delegation for Poland, against the fast-track trials denying the accused the right to defend themselves260. The basis for branding someone an informer and a traitor is shown e.g. in report no. 20 from 1942, written by the above-mentioned Eugeniusz Adamczyk, and sent to Section II in Jędrzejów:
I have received information from the area of Sędziszów, that «Pistolet»261 maintans close contacts with Młynarski the Jew, who resides next to the local train station. Whenever «Pistolet» comes to Sędziszów or passes through, he always calls on the above mentioned Jew.
On this basis, it is p o s s i b l e to s t a t e w it h utmost cert a in t y [emphasis AS, JTB] that Młynarski is working for the Gestapo262.
This accusation, a kind of logical fallacy263, is all the more surprising, given that it is made by a man who himself is on the Kripo payroll and if he were to be judged by the same standards as Młynarski, he would have to be considered an informer as well.
The collection of documents from the Jedrzejow Section II also contains another dispatch relevant to our topic. This time it regards a WSS sentence that ←359 | 360→was not carried out. The convicted person was Bonawentura Rutecki “Ali”, a subversion commander in the Jędrzejów Sub-district (an analogous post in the Kielce Sub-district was held by “Barabasz”), accused of numerous armed robberies of estates, and also of murdering Jews in the municipality of Sobków. Alina z Kuleszów Ziemkiewiczowa, during the war residing on the Łukowa estate in the municipality of Sobków, says in her testimony:
One day  a Jewish woman came over who used to teach the Grabowieckis’ children in Dębska Wola. She seemed to have been scared by something. After some time, I don’t remember when, some armed people came to get her. They robbed us, and took the Jewish woman away and murdered her in the village of Łukowa. Immediately after the war, a Jew from Wałbrzych came to see us, asking about Genowefa Mikołajczyk, murdered in Łukowa, who had a large amount of dollars in her possession. She was said to be the daughter of rich Jews from Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski264.
The execution of Genowefa Mikołajczyk, daughter of rich Jews from Ostrowiec, who was teaching the children of Zygmunt Grabowiecki “Sęp”, was allegedly carried out by Rutecki’s subversion group265. According to one version,
Grabowiecki was said to have made passes on that woman, who ran away from Dębska Wola to avoid his advances. According to another (…) he reportedly let his tongue slip before the woman about his involvement in the underground, and when it transpired that she was Jewish, he decided to eliminate her as a Soviet spy266.←360 | 361→
A Section II report from the turn of the years 1943/1944 also states that:
Soldiers from his [Rutecki’s] unit even steal from AK soldiers. They often shoot, attack women, they do not even spare children267.
It took the AK leadership six months to decide what to do with Rutecki, whose entire family was also working for the organization. In the end, a WSS passed a verdict, but a report dated June 30, 1944 shows that the sentence was not carried out:
Ali, a former subversion commander in the Jędrzejów Sub-district – sentence not carried out. The Jędrzejów Sub-district commander has not issued such an order [of execution] yet, hoping he could mend his ways268.
Analysis of Section II material from Jędrzejow leads to a number of conclusions. Firstly, it shows the great general authority wielded by Section II and the subversion commanders, who were de facto deciding who was an informer and whose sentence would be executed. Secondly, it illustrates to what extent
the work of Section II (…) [was] dependent on the work of informants, whose [abilities] varied.
The author of this authoritative opinion is Józef Kurek “Halny”, the Jędrzejow AK Sub-district Deputy Commander269. Thirdly, it exposes the real mechanism and circumstances of making execution decisions, not only at the WSS, but also at the subversive unit commander level. Fourthly, it proves that not even a WSS sentence automatically resulted in an execution (as it was subject to approval), and that an execution order was not necessarily based on a verdict. This therefore allows us to postulate the existence of other criteria for approving or halting the executions.
Let us mention only the two most important criteria here. The first one is the differentiation between the citizens of Polish and non-Polish ethnicity in ←361 | 362→the minds of the AK underground soldiers during WWII270. The significance of ethnic differentiations is shown in underground judicial regulations. According to Przepisy materialne z maja roku 1940, the threat of a death penalty applied exclusively to those who
in an inhumane way, contradictory to the natural sense of justice, persecute or hurt the Polish populace271.
These regulations obviously did not pertain to ethnically non-Polish citizens of the Polish Republic272. Those are mentioned in the context of “failing the duty of being faithful to the Republic”273, and also in making a statement that the occupant will not manage to do to the Poles “what [he] has managed to do with the Jews”274. The Jews were taken into consideration in the Citizen’s Code of Morality (1941)275, and also when appointing the Committee for Evaluating Possible Actions Contradicting the Honor of a Pole and of a Polish Citizen (1942)276, but they had already been forgotten when the so-called Pole’s Code (1940)277 was being formulated. The topic definitely merits a more detailed analysis in a separate study.
When one ponders over the causes for using double standards on citizens with Jewish and Polish ethnicity during the occupation, it is impossible to ignore the situation in the Kielce Land, in what was still a completely free Poland. In ←362 | 363→the 1930s, the relations between the communities of ethnic Poles and Poles-Jews were increasingly becoming reminiscent of apartheid conditions. A researcher analyzing war-time murders of Jews should not disregard the ideological content disseminated in the 1930s by the representatives of two institutions endowed with the highest public authority: parliamentarians and clergy. Due to lack of space, let us use only two examples here278. The first one is the speech of Col. Zygmunt Wende, member for Kielce Land, given in 1939 in the Polish Sejm, just after the sentences for the pogrom in Przytyk were announced:
We are only waiting for orders, and we will clean out our national, ancestral cottage279.
The second example is the report by the Kielce district starosta to the Province Council from November 1934, regarding the retreat organized five years before the war by Marianist Father Marian Wiśniewski in Daleszyce, i.e. the place where the Zelinger family were murdered:
In the Kielce district, the campaign for boycotting Jews is promoted in the churches and from the pulpits by father Marian Wiśniewski from Warsaw.(…) Together, we need to boycott jews [sic] as the enemies of Christianity (…) He argued that in the boycott campaign, there must be great solidarity within the Christian community and one should keep an eye on another in order not to buy from Jews, and Catholics exiting Jewish shops with goods should be secretly marked with green stickers on their backs, depicting a swine. He promised to distribute such stickers among the participants after the retreat. Moreover, father Wiśniewski called for fighting the socialist party and other ones, in which the freemasonry concentrates280.
This note could be disregarded, just like the manifestations of an economic boycott are usually disregarded. It is difficult to do so in the context of what we learn about father Wiśniewski’s views from studies by Michał Jagiełło, Anna Landau-Czajka and Alina Cała:
Jews, as a deicidal nation, corrupted by the greatest madness and crime in the world, to a greater extent than Christians, and even than pagans who live according the laws of nature, have become blinded and corrupted, and therefore as a seedbed of evil they ←363 | 364→should be prevented from living with other nations and carefully separated [from them]281.
Father Wiśniewski’s evangelization allows us to answer the question of how its addressees had been prepared for the test embodied by the war-time extermination of Jews, perpetrated in front of their very eyes.
“Barabasz” and the Jews
Interrogations of “Barabasz’s” soldiers often feature a question (common in such investigations) about his attitude toward the Jews. Two unit commanders remember a meeting in which Sołtysiak spoke about this subject. The following is Edward Skrobot’s testimony:
When it comes to persons of Jewish ethnicity, in the month of October 1943 (…) at a troop build-up in the Cisów forest, Kielce county, attended by Pawelec Henryk “Andrzej”, Boczarski Bolesław “Jurand”, Szumielewicz Władysław “Mietek” and myself, at that time Sołtysiak Marian “Barabasz” said that jews [sic] encountered in the forest should be done away with quietly, i.e. without a trace.282
During that build-up in the forest near Cisów, when we were supposed to disperse over the area with our respective groups, as one of the commanders (…) asked Barabasz what to do with persons of Jewish ethnicity encountered in the area, then Barabasz looked up and afterward pointed to the ground with his finger. I understood this look and pointing the finger to the ground to mean that these persons should be done away with quietly, i.e. that after killing they [should be] buried in the ground283.
Bolesław Boczarski’s testimony:
At briefings, which used to take place within the unit with section or group commanders, Sołtysiak Marian would give instructions and orders to eliminate communists in the field, the Red Army soldiers regardless of the kind of soldiers they may be, whether escaping from captivity or others, they should be eliminated, just like regarding persons of Jewish ethnicity, he would also give instructions and orders to eliminate them284
Marian Sołtysiak denies all these accusations285.←364 | 365→
In each case, the accused adopted an identical line of defense: they invoked the necessity to carry out the orders and sentences, which were allegedly issued either by the Directorate of Civil Resistance (KWC) or by Section II, AK’s intelligence and counter-intelligence department. We have already discussed KWC – in the period when the murders were committed, KWC did not exist anymore, not to mention the fact that it never handed down any sentences. This was done by underground courts, civilian or military, as has likewise already been mentioned. Moreover, AK’s intelligence department had completely different tasks and prerogatives and it was not entitled to issue any judgments whatsoever. The most important tasks of the intelligence department included observing the movement of enemy military units; observing objects of military interest and camps of all kinds; collecting information on the topic of arms production of any kind; establishing the identities of informers and collaborators; warning people who were in danger; intercepting information and wire-tapping286. The work of intelligence cells was regulated by documents (instructions) in the form of orders issued by the local ZWZ/AK authorities. Intelligence therefore consists, above all, in tedious, very exhausting and dangerous constant observation and gathering of information, which is then relayed on in the form of messages and period reports by liaisons or a network of contact boxes. The reports, in line with the instructions, contained “bare facts”: precise information about troop movements, German and Blue Police stations, contents of wiretapped communications of German officers, official regulations and their implementation. The everyday work of a dwójkarz has been described by the frequently mentioned Maria Michalczyk, and her memoires have been complemented by Kazimierz Pyzik’s („Niezłomny”) book287. Pyzik served from January 1944 as the head of intelligence in the “Sowa” AK Sub-district, which also included the Dolno branch in Daleszyce. To quote Pyzik:
The intelligence apparatus (…) besides working on German army units stationed in our Sub-district, was overseeing the security of the forest units, field organizations, and individuals in danger.”288←365 | 366→
Pyzik, similarly to Michalczyk, recounts the particulars of how they would receive anonymous tips at the post office in Daleszyce, unmask the collaborators and eliminate them with the help of “Barabasz’s” unit. None of these publications include even the slightest mention either of the house at the edge of the forest, the Jews hiding in it, or the threat they allegedly posed to the Home Army.
A common line of defense used by all the accused Wybranieccy was a claim that they had, without questioning, obeyed orders issued either by the KWC (the obvious flaws in depositions regarding this matter have already been discussed above) or by Section II. Let us therefore emphasize that the AK intelligence/counter-intelligence was not authorized to hand down any sentences. It was created solely to pass on information. Another important indicator for the evaluation of what happened is the actual inconsistency in undertaking elimination decisions. On the one hand, there were the underground courts, whose very existence was creating a semblance of law and order; and on the other hand, Kedyw leaders were issuing elimination orders on their own hook, as part of the so-called vital defense. As the execution log of the AK Kielce Sub-district does not survive, we can use another surviving document of this kind, the execution log of the AK Wysokie Mazowieckie “Lew”289. It shows that in the period from January 1943 to June 1944, Kedyw executed at least 220–240 individuals in the area, and this list still does not include Germans or the victims of subversive/ sabotage operations. According to the author of the publication, “the District WSS did not, it seems, have any control over the above-mentioned cases. He only received elimination reports from the District commander (…)”290. In the same period, i.e. in 1942 and 1943, the Special Court Martial in the AK Białystok District handled a total of 24 cases, out of which only four resulted in death penalties. The sentences would therefore in a clear majority be handed down post factum, and their real issuers and at the same time executors were the commanders themselves, who had made such decisions and given orders. The commander of this Sub-district, Tadeusz Westfal “Karaś“, was at the same time an intelligence official, a Kedyw commander and commander of the partisan unit that carried out the sentences. A similar cumulation occurred also in “Barabasz’s” case – in January 1943, he became the Kedyw commander in the AK Kielce Sub-district. It is possible that the Kielce Sub-district worked in a similar way.←366 | 367→
Elimination orders issued in this manner would be difficult to justify before a post-war court. We can therefore advance a hypothesis that the necessity to carry out the sentences based on external orders – in each case from either deceased or unidentifiable individuals, in all cases alleged Section II officers – had been agreed on by Wybranieccy as the least damaging trial strategy. The Provincial Court in Kielce generally allowed the defendants’ explanations based on the above strategy. Statements of grounds of judgments read:
Regarding the order to eliminate the individuals staying in Zagórze, in the opinion of the Court there is no doubt that such an order had really been issued by Section II and its execution assigned to Barabasz’s unit. (…) Exactly how Barabasz and Szumielewicz received the order from Section II is difficult to ascertain due to contradictions in their testimonies. (…) In any case, such an order did exist and came from the intelligence291.
Regarding the order from the Section II, in the opinion of the Court such an order did exist. (…) As the Court knows from other trials, almost all sentences were handed down by Section II, which either carried them out via their own executive, or delegated them to the units292.
The defendant, being a commander of a subversive unit, was actually bound to carry out the sentence. Defendant Skrobot was not required and neither was he allowed to verify whether the sentence was justified293.
In this last case, the defendant Skrobot testified that “Górnik” pulled out three sentences, which had already been carried out, and told him to sign them, which the defendant refused.
“Górnik” signed these sentences and put them in an envelope294.
When in 1995 the Supreme Court represented by its Chairman Stanisław Rudnicki formulated the theses undermining the validity of Edward Skrobot’s guilty verdict, they included an argument about the ignorance of the court that had issued the judgment, as it lacked basic historical knowledge on the topic of the Home Army, Directorate of Civil Resistance, and the jurisdiction of Civilian Special Courts, etc. Any search for historical specialist reports in the case files is ←367 | 368→fruitless. However, it would be interesting to find out whether they were used by the Supreme Court to challenge the judgments issued in the 1950s.
The essence of the events described in this chapter was best expressed in the autumn of 1951 by the Provincial Court in Kielce:
Orders to eliminate individuals of Jewish origin, (…) were mostly masked by claims that these persons collaborate with the Germans, in order to conceal the real intention of racial elimination295.
Undoubtedly, the uncomfortable truth about the Wybranieccy will hardly take root anytime soon in the Kielce Land that has been thoroughly changed by the new historical policy. It is a bitter irony that so far only a judgment issued in Stalinist Poland had the courage to call a spade a spade when it comes to their deeds.
Bogdan Boczarski “Roman” / “Jurand” (1916–1968): born in Wzdół Rządowy, of “peasant origin”. Before the war, he served in the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment in Kielce, and then in the 2nd Armored Batallion near Przemyśl. He fought in the September campaign near Lviv, and escaped from German captivity. Member of the Union of Armed Struggle (ZWZ) from 1941. After losing his family, he was arrested by the Gestapo and consequently accused of collaboration with the Germans. Due to ignoring an order to refrain from contacting them he was sentenced to death, but the execution was canceled. He subsequently changed his nom de guerre to Jurand. Member of the “Barabasz” unit from April 1943, later group leader. Among others, Boczarski’s group included Stefan Sowiński “Niedźwiedź” from Kielce; Stanisław Lutek “Roch” and his brother, both from Klonow; and Tadeusz Sitarski “Tadek” from Kielce. Bocarski was also the unit’s chronicler. From May 1944, he served as commander of the platoon guarding the “Skała – II” radiostation on Bukowa Góra. In 1944, he was promoted to sublieutenant and decorated with the Cross of Valor. He wrote his memoirs after the war297. In 1964, B.Boczarski became the chairman of ZBOWiD in Kielce.←368 | 369→
Zygmunt Wiktor Bokwa “Smutny” (1916-?): “lower middle-class origin”, elementary education, a bricklayer. In 1937, he served in the 20th Uhlan Regiment in Brzozów. Member of ZWZ from 1941. He was transported to a concentration camp near Hannover, from which he escaped. After arriving in Kielce, he served in the Krótki unit of NSZ. From June 1943, he fought with the Wybranieccy as a member of Skrobot’s group. According to his own words, he was dishonorably discharged on January 1, 1944; according to Szumielewicz’s testimony, “due to a bad attitude toward the populace”. Bokwa himself clarifies that this was due to his joint responsibility for the death of “Kalisz”, head of intelligence, during an operation near Piekoszów on December 15, 1943. Bokwa’s resentment made him one of the most fervent accusers at “Barabasz’s” trial; however, his words were not given credence. After the war, he worked as a bricklayer foreman.
Kazimierz Chmieliński “Janosik”: there were (false) rumors that he was Jewish and that he was executed by Henryk Pawelec. Chmieliński’s execution was probably carried out by Tadeusz Masio “Matros”.
Władysław Dziewiór “Burza”, later “Skazaniec” (1910-?): illiterate (?), completed three years of elementary school, of “peasant origin”. After the war, a member of the PPS, a brickyard employee and figurative sculptor. He was involved in illegal meat trade during the war, for which he was imprisoned for 8 months. After release, using the noms de guerre Stodoła and Burza, he served in the Kłos unit of NSZ in Opatowskie (?), under Sub-Lieutenant Józef Kempiński “Krótki”. Dziewiór was sentenced to death by NSZ’s Section II for the murder of his commander’s wife and for manor house robberies. He joined the “Barabasz” unit in August 1943, and was given a nom de guerre Skazaniec. He was also sentenced by AK. In November 1943, upon the request of Section II, Dziewór was discharged from the “Barabasz” unit and returned to the village of Marzysz in the Kielce county. He committed more armed robberies, and was consequently sentenced to death by commander “Barabasz”: “To carry out the sentence, «Barabasz» sent «Jędrek» [Andrzej Pawelec], but he only wounded Dziewiór Władysław and his lover Polcia, who both managed to escape. Given that Dziewiór Władysław was wanted by AK organization, he came to Kielce and in April 1944 joined NSZ under the command of Gajda Zygmunt «Krzemień».”
Stefan Fąfara “Dan” (?-1944): born in Wzdół Rządowy; before the war a career soldier, corporal in the Polish Army. In July 1943, he became the leader of a group formed in Kielce, which was tasked with eliminating Gestapo officer Franz Wittek. During the war, he was arrested and transported to the Gross-Rosen ←369 | 370→concentration camp, where he probably died (The Gross Rosen Museum does not have the custody of any documentation referring to his death).
Wiktor Gruszczyński “Kruk”: born in Chęciny. He was a member of a sabotage group in Chęciny led by Jan Sieradzan “Żbik”.
Bonifacy Gruszka “Sprytny”: member of a sabotage group in Chęciny led by Jan Sieradzan “Żbik”.
Stanisław Klimontowicz “Cios”: died on December 21, 1943 in an ambush on a cash transport near Jaworzna.
Tadeusz Kuchta “Jurek”: born in Bolim. He was a gamekeeper.
Stanisław Litewka “Staszek”: born in Ojców in the Kraków Province, he allegedly died near Niestachów in July 1944. A member of Skrobot’s group. According to Skrobot, “All those who came from Kraków joined Barabasz in June or July 1943. There were rumors in the group that they used to work in a station snack bar there”.
Maksymilian Lorenz “Katarzyna”: initially an NSZ member under the nom de guerre Adam. In early July 1944, he became the commander of the 1st Battalion of the 4th Legions Regiment of AK, into which Wybranieccy had been incorporated. After the war, he emigrated to England.
Stanisław Lutek, “Roch” (1911-?): born in Klonów. Before the war, he worked as a lumberjack at the forest inspectorate in Zagnańsk. From 1932 he served in the 17th Infantry Regiment in Rzeszów. During the September campaign, he fought near Dęblin, was taken prisoner of war but escaped in Radom. A member of ZWZ from 1942. In March 1943, he joined “Barabasz’s” unit, serving in Boczarski’s group. He was wounded on May 25, 1944 by Bohun’s NSZ group in Klonów. “He did not recognize any authority, he felt on par with Jurand or even with Barabasz”.
Czesław Łętowski “Górnik”: sub-lieutenant and a reserve officer, originally a mining engineer. He fell near Antoniów on August 20, 1944, and was posthumously decorated with the Cross of Virtuti Militari. The Wybranieccy website (www.wybranieccy.pl – now taken down) says: “He was the head of AK intelligence in the Piekoszów Sub-district; simultaneously, he was supplying partisan units with explosives and complementary equipment from the stock in quarries ←370 | 371→where he used to work. After his cover was blown in February 1944, he joined Wierny’s group (…). Together with this group, he came to the March troop buildup in the Cisów forests, where he was named commander of the 3rd Platoon in April 1944 after the reorganization of the unit [as part of the Wybranieccy Company]. A great leader and a friend to the partisans, he was beloved by all his subordinates. «Górnik» and his platoon took part in all the unit’s operations and battles taking place since April 1944. Among others, on June 22, the platoon fought a 40-strong gendarmerie unit near Chmielnik in order to protect the unit; on July 8, it engaged in combat in Niestachów; and from Agust 4 to 10 in combat in Daleszyce. Together with the whole platoon as part of the troop build-up for Operation Burza, he was integrated into the 1st Company of the 4th Legions Infantry Regiment of AK. On his way to help struggling Warsaw, he fell near Antoniów on August 21, 1944.”
Hieronim Ryszard Maj “Ryś I” (1925–1998): an economist. During WWII, he was working undercover for AK at the post office in Kielce, intercepting letters from informers. One of the spaleni. He initially served in “Barabasz’s” unit (Jurand’s group), then transferred to the Miechów forests. After the war, he got a degree from the Higher School of Naval Trade in Sopot. He received his doctorate in 1966. In 1949–1970, he was the head of the Institute of Sea Fishery in Gdynia, and in 1964–1969 the editor-in-chief at the Tygodnik Morski. He then became Fishery Adviser at the office of the Commercial Attache at the Polish embassy in Peru. In 1985–1998, he was the chairman of the National Council in Sopot. Among other awards, he was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. A short biography in Encyklopedia Gdyni ed. by M.Sokołowska, Gdynia 2006, p. 426.
Władysław Marasek “Brzózka” (1922-): “peasant origin”. He served in “Barabasz’s” unit from July 1943 to September 1944, then in Dan’s and Bogdan’s platoons in Szumielewicz’s group. One of “Barabasz’s” three aides-de-camp (besides Eugeniusz Jakóbek “Wacek” and Jan Ogrodnik “Jasiu”). He was arrested by UB on January 23, 1951.
Tadeusz Masio “Matros”: from Zambrów.
Jerzy Matysiak “Braszko”: just like Roman Olizarowski “Pomsta”, he transferred to the Wybranieccy from Jacek’s unit.←371 | 372→
Maria Michalczyk “Wyrwicz” / “Doliński I” (1913–1989): throughout the war, she served as the head of intelligence at the Daleszyce branch, which was – according to Borzobohaty – one of the best in the Radom-Kielce Sub-district. Author of three memoirs: Gdy każdy dzień był walką, Warsaw 1982; Diabeł „Piatej Kolumny”, Warsaw 1986; Egzamin z życia: lekarze, sanitariuszki, partyzanci 1939–1945 (z dziejów podziemnej służby zdrowia w Okręgu AK „Jodła”), Kielce 1999.
Józef Molenda “Iskra” (1916-?): from Bolmin; a police officer before the war. He joined ZWZ in 1940, and served with “Barabasz” from August 1944. After the war, he joined MO and was assigned to the PKMO in Zgorzelec, where he was working in the investigation department until his discharge in March 1946. He helped Henryk Pawelec and others with their escape over the so-called porous border.
Zygmunt Molędziński “Sten”: from Warsaw. He “transferred in January 1944 from Ponury’s unit”.
Stefan Obara “Szatan” / “Walek”: from Bieliny. Initially commander of the sabotage unit at the Bodzetyn Sub-district Headquarters; he was tasked with eliminating informers and and carrying out operations, e.g. on the route of a narrow-gauge railway. Obara’s name also appears on the list of the Wybranieccy unit members. Decorated with the Cross of Valor for the battle of Antoniów, in which he fell on July 20, 1944.
Władysław Ołtarzewski “Kordian”.
Henryk Pawelec “Andrzej” (April 6, 1921–2015): from Wzdół Rządowy. Before the war, he served as a career non-commissioned officer. Initially a member of Ignacy Robb-Narbutt’s GL group, he then joined an AK sabotage unit in Wzdół Rządowy, also dubbed “a special assignments man in the Kielce-Radom AK District”. Wounded on March 13, 1943 during an assassination attempt at the Gestapo officer Franz Wittek. From March 20, 1943 a member of “Barabasz’s” unit, serving as commander of the cavalry reconnaissance group. During Operation Burza, he was commander of the cavalry reconnaissance group with the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of AK. In 1945, he chaired the NIE / WiN merger committee. After crossing the so-called porous border (the circumstances were described by A. Ropelewski in: Z życia akowców w Polsce Ludowej, Gdańsk 1997, pp. 98–99) he joined the II Corps commanded by Gen. Anders. Exiled in Great Britain, he was decorated with the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari in London on November 11, 1948. He returned to Kielce in 1992, In 2012 excluded from the World Association of the ←372 | 373→Home Army Soldiers for revealing crimes against Jews commited by Wybranieccy. Author of memoirs: Życie, śmierć, życie. Z Henrykiem Pawelcem rozmawia Jadwiga Karolczak, Wydawnictwo Jedność, Kielce 1999; idem (together with his wife, Zbigniewa), Na rozkaz serca, Kielce 2005.
NN “Piorun”: came from Dąbrowa in Kielce district, fell near Kunów.
Józef Przygodzki or Przygocki “Czarny” / “Szary” (1918 -): son of a peasant from Korytnica. In 1937, he came to Warsaw to look for work; according to his own words, he joined PPS, worked in a bakery, but was sent for forced labor in the Reich (he was in Leipzig). He escaped in 1941 or 1943 and was hiding in his native Korytnica, where he also joined BCh. Before joining “Barabasz’s” unit, he was a member of a group of robbers called Miecz i Pług and of Piłat’s unit; he was robbing manor houses. “I received an order from BCh to join a forest fighting squad; the fighting squad turned out to be AK”298. It was most likely him who executed Roman Olizarowski “Pomsta”. After the war – until July 1945 – he was a member of Trupia Czaszka, attacking MO stations under the command of Leszek Wesołowski “Strzała”. He later moved to the so-called Reclaimed Territories, and settled in Rudniczka, municipality of Prudnik. In 1946, he joined ORMO and PZPR. He worked at the State Agricultural Farm, probably also at the Municipal National Council, finally as a warehouse worker at the GS. The matter of his recruitment as a secret collaborator was concluded by the Powiat BP Office with a request to transfer it to the committee of party control at KW PZPR in Opole.
Andrzej Ropelewski “Karaś” (1923–2012): born in Warsaw, he spent the occupation period in the Jędrzejów Province. While in the underground, he completed an officer training course and attended the Reserve Officers’s Training Center. In the summer of 1944, he served with the 1st Batallion of the Jędrzejów AK Infantry Regiment. Arrested in 1945; together with a group of other prisoners, he escaped from the prison in Jędrzejów. He appeared before the AK Dissolution Committee in September 1945. After graduating from law school, he worked at the Institute of Sea Fishery in Gdynia from October 1949. At the same time, he was a research assistant at the Higher School of Naval Trade in Sopot. Doctorate in 1960, habilitation in 1967, title of professor in 1974. Chairman of the PRON City Council in Gdynia during the martial law. From 1984 head of the Institute of Sea Fishery. ←373 | 374→Author of more than 20 historical and specialist publications regarding AK partisan groups and the post-war vicissitudes of AK soldiers. His Wspomnienia z AK (1957) was one of the first books on this topic after the October “thaw”. For his work Oddział partyzancki „Spaleni” (1987), he received the Polityka Award. A short biography in Encyklopedia Gdyni, Gdynia 2006, p. 678.
Bonawentura Rutecki “Ali”: sabotage commander at the Sobków branch in Jędrzejów county, sabotage commander in the Jędrzejów Sub-district. Sentenced to death for robberies, murders, and insubordination, but the execution of the sentence was canceled.
Piotr Sarna “Wierny” / “Orkan”: former ensign with the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment, in September 1939 a defender of Modlin. He escaped from a POW transport, and in June 1941 became the regional head of Section II for Daleszyce, Górno, Cisów, and Szcecno. He was later replaced at this post by Maria Michalczyk in the autumn of 1943.
Jan Sieradzan “Żbik”: sergeant major, until September 1939 a career non-commissioned officer with the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment in Kielce, commander of the AK sabotage unit in the Chęciny area. He was subordinated up to “Zryw”, commander of the Spaleni unit.
Edward Skrobot “Wierny” (1915–1996): from Suchedniów, “peasant origin”, secondary education (trade college). Before the war, he worked in an ammunition factory in Skarżysko-Kamienna, after the war as an accountant in Sosnowiec. In 1934, he joined WP as a volunteer, and until 1935 he trained at the Reserve Officers’ Center with the 39th Infantry Regiment in Jarosław. During the occupation period, he worked on a farm with his parents in Suchedniów until 1943. He joined AK in May 1943. A long-term deputy commander of the Wybranieccy, leader of the largest group, later platoon commander and from August 1944 commander of the 2nd Company of the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of AK. Skrobot’s group consisted of Zygmunt Bokwa “Smutny” from Kielce, Władysław Dziewiór “Skazaniec” from Kielce, Marian Wilczyński “Grom II” from Chęciny, his brother Zdzisław Wilczyński “Wicher” from Chęciny, Wiesław Sokołowski “Sokół” from Chęciny, Tadeusz Masio “Matros” from Kielce, Józef Molenda “Iskra” from Bolmin, Tadeusz Kuchta “Jurek” from Bolmin, Stanisław Szumielewicz “Kryspin” from Stalowa Wola, Piotr Rzewuski “Kotwica” from Chęciny, and Jan Wojtasiński “Lew” from Chęciny. Decorated with the Cross of Valor, Grunwald Badge, the Medal of Victory and Freedom and in 1971 with the Silver Cross of the ←374 | 375→Order of Virtuti Militari. “He was a very nice man, always smiling cordially and genuinely, but very resolute in his actions. He was also a perfect organizer – and just like Barabasz, he was a natural leader. Officer «Wierny» is a humanist and an honest man, courageous and decisive – a model soldier and officer”. The story about the death sentence handed down to Skrobot in early March 1944 “upon orders from the Kedyw”, issued at the meeting in Cisów for “maltreatment of people from NSZ and carrying out an execution without an order” is recounted by Michał Basa (Opowiadania partyzanta, op. cit., pp. 167–168). According to the author, the execution was thwarted due to a mutiny in the unit. According to Sołtysiak, at the turn of 1943/1944 there was “a certain lack of discipline in the section which consisted of older partisans [in Wierny’s group], and in relation to whom the local people had many justified grudges. There were cases of drunkenness and misuse of weapons”. After the war a member of PZPR. He was arrested on January 20, 1950 and sentenced on the basis of the August Decree to 5 years and 1 month imprisonment. He was serving his sentence in a coal mine. On June 26, 1992 the Provincial Court in Kielce declared the conviction void. After retiring in 1979, he founded Rodzina Wybranieckich, bringing together former members of the “Barabasz” unit. After the founding of the World Association of Home Army Soldiers, he served as a board member and the honorary chairman of the 4th Legions Infantry Regiment of AK in Kielce.
Ludwik Szrowski “Adolf”: from Cieszyn; his father was a stone grinder. In June 1943, he joined the unit by accident when he was looking for a job and was recruited as an attendant by Mitropa [Mitteleuropeische Reisebuero, a German travel agency]. His work consisted of attending to guests in sleeper and restaurant carriages. He did not have a secondary school diploma – but instead a certain savoir-faire in a somewhat dubious sense. (…) He was a typical example of a young man who could be molded to one’s «image and likeness»“.
Mieczysław Szumielewicz “Szumilas” / “Mietek” (1921–2007): “peasant origin”, with ZWZ from December 1939, initially a press distributor. Sołtysiak’s school friend (they already knew each other at the Żeromski Middle School in Kielce), from April 1943 with “Barabasz’s” unit as a cook. From October 1943 until the end of the war, he served as a group leader. It consisted of Ludwik Szarowski “Adolf ” from Cieszyn, Jerzy Pietruszka “Władek” (or “Włodek”) from Grudziądz, Józef Drożniak “Kogut” from Miechowskie, Stanisław Litewka “Staszek” from Ojców, Jerzy Kisiel “Tadek” (Tadek II?) from Kielce, Zygmunt Wójcikowski “Zygmunt”, Aleksander Nowak “Olek” from Kielce, Władysław Ołtarzewski “Korian” from Kielce, Jan Sadło “Kula” from Kielce, Tadeusz Sowiński “Tarzan” ←375 | 376→from Brudzów near Morawica, NN “Wojtek” from Chęciny (?), and Władysław Marasek “Brzózka” from Kielce. In 1966, M. Szumielewicz became vice-chairman of the ZBOWiD in Kielce.
Wiktor Szwengler “Witek”: a “weapons specialist”.
Stanisław Tatarowski “Kalif”: from Łosienko near Piekoszów. He died on December 21, 1943 in an ambush on a cash transport near Jaworzna.
Wiesław Wesołowski “Orzeł” and Leszek Wesołowski “Strzała”: sons of a teacher from Korytnica; they were incorporated into Piłat’s gang robbing manors in Jędrzejowskie. Together with Józef Przygodzki (Przygocki) “Czarny”, they both later transferred to the “Barabasz” unit and to Spaleni. In 1945, both Wesołowski brothers were members of a group called Trupia czaszka led by “Strzała”. On July 16, 1945, Leszek Wesołowski turned the group in to MO in Jędrzejów; however, its members did not give up all the weapons in their possession. On February 16, 1946, the Garrison Court Martial in Kielce sentenced Wiesław Wesołowski (together with three other individuals) to 9-year imprisonment. The files do not contain Leszek Wesołowski’s verdict.
Lucyna Wrońska “Ewa” (?-1969): liaison officer for the AK Kielce-Radom District, until June/July 1944 delegated to liaise with the “Barabasz” unit. She later became the warder of the District radio, which she kept in her own house. Bolesław Boczarski “Jurand” was delegated from the Wybranieccy unit to supervise its security. Wrońska’s house in Kielce served as a consultation place for a number of groups plotting assassination attempts on the famous Wittek with Zerembski “Zaw”. “She was an exceptionally brave, smart liaison with a presence of mind. She often visited the Three Marysias in Daleszyce [Maria Michalczyk, Maria Fabiańska-Cedro, and Maria Nachowska]. It was their shared pseudonym, made up by us. The Marysias worked for the intelligence under the supervision of Maria Michalczyk “Wyrwicz-Doliński”. Ewa was a good friend and a good soldier”. In her book (Gdy każdy dzień był walką), Maria Michalczyk wonders why Lucyna Wrońska was not buried at the partisan cemetery in Kielce: “A quiet, modest funeral – why not at the partisan cemetery?” Her relation of the funeral speech, given probably by Bolesław Boczarski, chairman of the ZBOWiD branch in Suchedniów, is also telling: “It was probably some kind of misunderstanding – the speaker went on – that not until twenty five years later was there a willingness to recognize the contribution made by Ewa the soldier; actually, three days before her death, I was appointed by ZBOWiD to hand over the verified Silver Cross of ←376 | 377→Merit with Swords, which she had been awarded in 1943. Receiving it, she said: “Bolek, so they did recognize it.”
Marian Wilczyński “Grom II”: a stonemason from Chęciny. He was also connected with Sub-Lieutenant Jan Sieradzan’s (“Żbik”) unit. Another member of the “Barabasz” unit was likewise using the nom de guerre Grom: this was Antoni Synowiec from Kielce.
Józef Włodarczyk “Wyrwa”: major. Commander of the Kielce District from May 1942 to July 1944, later commander of the 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of AK. In October 1944 he was succeeded at this post by Maksymilian Lorentz “Katarzyna”.
Henryk Żytkowski “Lech” / “Leszek”: from Bolmin near Kielce; a member of Skrobot’s group.←377 | 378→
1 This chapter has been co-authored by Alina Skibińska.
2 Yad Vashem, Department of the Righteous Among The Nations, the file of Stefan Sawa, decorated with the medal of the Righteous in memoriam in 1991; translated from Hebrew by Zuzanna Radzik.
3 Sołtysiak, Marian: Chłopcy “Barabasza”. PAX: Warsaw 1965, p. 5.
4 Chronicle of the Wybranieccy division, 1943–1944. Manuscript by Bolesław Boczarski “Jurand”; typescript made by the Koło Pokoleniowe „Rodzina Wybranieckich” in May 1998. Unpublished (a copy in the authors’ posession).
5 Pawelec, Henryk / Pawelec, Zbigniewa: Na rozkaz serca. Stowarzyszenie im. Jana Karskiego: Kielce 2005, p. 132.
6 The AK Wybranieccy Unit Interschool in Wzdol Rządowy.
7 Col. Marian Sołtysiak “Barabasz” Elementary School in Daleszyce.
8 Among others, Racing in the footsteps of Colonel Marian Sołtysiak “Barabasz” from the Wybranieccy Division – an educational project involving multiple schools, and a nature/ history trail named after the Wybranieccy in Cisów.
10 E.g. memorial plaques in the parish church in Cisów and Daleszyce; a memorial at the location where “Barabasz’s” unit was encamped in the Cisów forests on the slope of the Stołowa hill; Górnik’s unit memorial in Łagów; Wybranieccy monument/memorial pantheon at the Partisan Cemetery in Kielce. One of the streets in Kielce is called Wybraniecka.
11 Borzobohaty, Wojciech: “Jodła”. Okręg Radomsko-Kielecki ZWZ-AK 1939–1945. PAX: Kielce 1984, pp. 39, 182–184.
12 See the end of the chapter for short biographies of the members of the Wybranieccy partisan unit mentioned in the text, as well as of other AK members in the Radom-Kielce District.
13 See a short biography in Massalski, Adam: Polski Słownik Biograficzny, t. XL, PAN and PAU: Warsaw and Kraków 2000–2001, pp. 454–457; also Marian Sołtysiak’s own testimony, AIPN, GK 306/24.
14 Pawelec / Pawelec, Na rozkaz serca, p. 54.
15 Chronicle of the Wybranieccy Division, op. cit.
16 A successful assasination attempt on Wittek did not take place until July 15, 1944 under the command of Kazimierz Smolak “Nurek” (he was killed in action). To retaliate, the Germans arrested more than 200 persons, out of which 180 were executed, and the rest was sent to a concetration camp. See Michalczyk, Maria: Diabeł „Piątej kolumny”, Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza: Warsaw 1986. One of the hitmen taking part in earlier, unsuccessful assassination attempts on Wittek was Henryk Pawelec, commander of the Wybranieccy cavalry reconnaissance group.
17 Kotliński, Jerzy: Wybranieccy w Lasach Cisowskich. Wrocław 1993, pp. 135–138.
18 The 4th Legions’ Infantry Regiment of AK consisted of Wybranieccy, Wilk’s, Gryf ’s and other companies, see Idzik, Aleksander: Czwarty pułk piechoty 1806–1966. Koło Czwartaków: London 1963.
19 Sołtysiak was from the beginning subordinated to “Wyrwa“, commander of the AK Kielce Sub-district. This Sub-district was divided into a number of smaller units: Bodzentyn, Piekoszów, Daleszyce, Sucheniów. Wybranieccy operated on the territory of all these.
20 AIPN, GK 306/24, Interrogations of Marian Sołtysiak on October 6, October 10 and October 19, 1949.
21 AIPN Kr 425/542/CD, Central Prison in Montelupich Street in Kraków. File of inmate Sołtysiak Marian 1950–1955.
22 This category gave a name to one of the partisan units; see Ropelewski, Andrzej: Oddział partyzancki „Spaleni”. Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza: Toruń 1999. Sołtysiak wrote: “They were village boys, mostly wanted by the police, hence the spaleni. They could only live within the unit,” in id., Chłopcy Barabasza, p. 23.
24 For more on this topic, see: AIPN Ki 025/88/D Józef Przygodzki; see also a short biography at the end of this chapter.
25 Sołtysiak on Szumielewicz: “He is an honest man with a straightforward and flawless character, he never lies, what he testifies to is definitely true,” Katarzyna (AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół rozprawy głównej przeciwko Władysławowi Szumielewiczowi“, p. 147).
26 AIPN GK 306/44, “Wyrok Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach“, p. 167–168.
27 AIPN BU 0418/4691, t.2, Abstract from the report of informer “Mewa”, p. 21.
28 E.g. Kotliński, „Wybranieccy” w Lasach Cisowskich, op. cit.; Pawelec, Henryk et al.: Wybranieccy. Koło 4 PP Leg. AK: Kielce 1993.
29 Ryszard Maj’s testimony recorded on September 9, 1957 in Sopot by Andrzej Ropelewski, two pages in longhand, copy in the authors’ archive. See Chapter 10 in the present volume.
30 Commander of a combat group within Zakłady Przemysłowe in Kielce.
31 Tadeusz Sotkiewicz.
32 Władysław Szumielewicz “Mietek”.
33 The testimony, written down on August 14, 1957 by Andrzej Ropelewski, ends with an explanation: “Notes from my conversation with a cichociemny, Major Bolesław Jackiewicz, in the presence of A.Świtalski «Marian» in his flat in Sopot. Andrzej Ropelewski”.
34 AIPN, GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Lucyny Wrońskiej”, p. 222.
35 Ibid., p. 228, see also “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Bolesława Boczarskiego”, (AIPN GK 306/24, p. 95).
36 The wedding ceremony took place on May 15, 1944.
37 AIPN, GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Lucyny Wrońskiej”, p. 228.
38 Ibid., p. 228–229, “«Żor» [Józef Mularczyk, head of the AK Inspectorate] assured me he would take care of this matter by issuing a warning to «Barabasz» and in case of my possible murder [he] will take full responsibility”.
39 Sołtysiak, Chłopcy Barabasza, p. 192.
40 Ibid., p. 94: “When I found out that the unit liaison brings double letters from Kielce, one for me, another for «Katarzyna», on that very day I fired her and assigned her to «Żor’s» disposal.”
41 Ibid., pp. 93–94.
42 Ibid., p. 48.
43 Kotliński, „Wybranieccy” w Lasach Cisowskich, p. 60.
44 Dwójka is a colloquial term for Section II in AK organizational structure, which specialized in intelligence and counter-intelligence.
45 Sołtysiak in his testimony to UB confirmed that in the summer of 1945, he met with Ledóchowski in Paris (AIPN GK 306/24, p. 128).
46 Pawelec, Henryk: Barabasz, unpublished typescript, p. 1 (courtesy of the author).
47 For the whole of Ryszard Maj’s testimony and the story of its reception, see Chapter 10: Suppresio veri, suggestio falsi in this volume.
48 This refers to Joanna Tokarska-Bakir’s interviews with the former members of the AK partisan troops in the Kielce Land, among others Henryk Pawelec and Andrzej Ropelewski, as well as to testimonies from former partisans collected by A. Ropelewski himself. Among the latter, we consider the testimony of Ryszard Maj to be the most important; on this topic, see Chapter 10: Suppresio veri, suggestio falsi in this volume.
49 AIPN, GK 306/44.
50 AIPN, GK 306/24 and 25.
51 AIPN, GK 306/48.
52 AIPN, Ki 027/236-1.pdf (microfilm scans). Testimony of Feliks Soboń “Smyk” from February 2, 1945.
53 Ibid., Interrogations of Piotr Zbigniew Sołtysiak from October 25 and 26, 1949.
54 AIPN GK 306/24, Letter from Marian Sołtysiak to Chairman of the Provincial Court in Kielce, in which he complains– among other things – that the indictment served to him on March 15, 1951 did not have a date on it.
55 Journal of Laws no. 69 from December 15, 1946, item 377.
56 The Penal Code from 1932 was formally valid until the end of 1969, although many crimes were at the same time also subject to special regulations (e.g. the Little Penal Code from 1946).
57 After the war, they lived in Dzierżoniów, at 13 Stalina St. We do not know whether the Berta mentioned here was his wife or sister. The record of Leon Kanarek’s testimony (he testified solely in the case of Icek Grynbaum’s murder) says that he was born in 1923 in Chęciny, had a wife and two children, was the son of Alter Kanarek and Eltera nee Romankiewicz (see AIPN Ki 027/236-347/III-pdf, slides 120–121). In the Central Register of Jews Who Survived the Holocaust, there remains the registration card of Berta Karanek. She was born in 1923 in Kraków; Kanarek was her maiden name, she was registered as Wendrowicz. Father Benjamin, mother Zofia nee Monheit. After the war she also moved to Dzierżoniów, and subsequently to Legnica. She might have been a cousin of Berta and Leon from Chęciny. (AŻIH, CKŻP. Department of Registry and Statistics. Central Register, Registration card of Berta Wendrowicz nee Kanarek).
58 AIPN, GK 306/48, Testimony of Maria Mistachowicz, slide 7.
59 AIPN Ki 027/236-347/III-pdf, klatki 286–301, Testimonies of Władysława Kozieł, Maria Błachucka (wife), Barbara Baran, Antoni Stefańczyk, Wiktor Kolasa and Stanisław Błachucki.
60 AIPN GK306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Stanisława Karolińskiego”, p. 192.
61 Ibidem, “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Kumańskiego”, p. 210.
62 AIPN GK306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka”, pp. 165–166.
63 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Juliana Jasickiego”, p. 185.
64 Investigation no. 3S 211/50 of Bolesław Stępniewski, which was closed by the Office of Province Prosecutor in Kielce, is mentioned in: AIPN GK306/48, “Protokół rozprawy głównej przeciwko Edwardowi Skrobotowi, Władysławowi Dziewiórowi, Józefowi Molendzie”, p. 219.
65 See Kotliński, „Wybranieccy” w lasach Cisowskich, p. 136: “August  Destroying of the documentation in [the following] municipalities: Chęciny, Korzecko, Zajączków, Piekoszów i Snochowice.”
66 “Barabasz” was reprimanded for this murder. AIPN, GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Lucyny Wrońskiej”, p. 222.
67 AIPN BU 0418/368, t.3, p. 16, Biography [of Wiktor Bokwa, manuscript with no date or place].
68 AIPN BU 0418/368, t.3, “Raport specjalny do Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego w Warszawie”, p. 85.
69 AIPN, GK 306 /48, Edward Skrobot’s testimony, p. 66.
70 Ibid., p. 54.
71 Ibid., “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach” from November 23, 1951, p. 250.
72 AIPN BU 0418/368, t. 3, Skrobot Edward’s interrogation record, p. 49.
73 AIPN GK 306/24, Bolesław Boczarski’s interrogation record, p. 99.
74 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Protokół przesłuchania Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 21.
77 AIPN BU 0418/368, t. 3, “Raport specjalny do Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego w Warszawie”, p. 85.
78 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Akt oskarżenia” from April 28, 1951, p. 97.
79 Ibid., Bogusław Piotr’s testimony, p. 14. The witness (a forest worker) saw the disrobed bodies of the murder victims. He also saw “running individuals with suitcases”. In Piotr’s opinion, there were two bunkers: in one of them the Jews were hiding their property, while they were using the other one as sleeping quarters.
80 AIPN GK 306/48, “Protokół przesłuchania Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 34.
81 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Protokół przesłuchania Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 18.
82 Ropelewski, Andrzej: Wspomnienia z AK. Czytelnik: Warsaw 1957, p. 47: “I have also heard of cases when a number of people were executed at once. It happened for example allegedly near the village of Mosty near Chęciny, where in a dug-out at the edge of the forest, they shot dead a Jewish family who had been hiding there.”
83 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Akt oskarżenia” from April 28, 1951, p. 99.
84 Ibid., “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach” from November 23, 1951, p. 252. The defendant Molenda did not confess to anything and was found not guilty due to lack of evidence.
85 Kotliński, „Wybranieccy” w lasach cisowskich, p. 89; see also a short biography of Czesław Łętowski “Górnik” at the end of this chapter.
86 Sołtysiak, Chłopcy Barabasza, p. 71.
87 Boczarski, Bolesław: By ojczyzna była wolna… Wspomnienia partyzanta z Gór Świętokrzyskich. Unpublished typescript, 1961, p. 108 (a copy in the authors’ archive).
88 This is how the main defendant, Edward Skrobot, dates Olizarowski’s murder (AIPN, GK 306/48, Edward Skrobot’s testimony, p. 59).
89 Ropelewski, Wspomnienia z AK, p. 47.
90 Chlebowski, Cezary: Pozdrówcie Góry Świętokrzyskie. Czytelnik: Warsaw 1993, pp. 262, 308.
91 The suggestion of treason, found in Skrobot’s testimony, is an insinuation: “At the accommodation, [“Górnik”] took out the verdict [document], which was supposed to prove «Pomsta’s» guilt, which mentioned that «Pomsta» betrayed «Jacek’s» unit, due to what [sic] «Jacek’s» unit was destroyed.” (AIPN GK306/48, “Protokół przesłuchania podejrzanego Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 38). The circumstances of the destruction of “Jacek’s” unit have been described in detail in M.Basa, Opowiadania partyzanta, Warsaw 1984, p. 126 ff.
92 Basa, Michał: Opowiadania partyzanta. Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza: Warsaw 1984, pp. 167, 200.
93 Based on Michał Basa’s memoirs, we can rectify this information: “The little Jew «Pomsta» threw a grenade, ran away, fell into the bushes; he lay there for a few hours, he was probably considered dead,” ibid., p. 128.
94 Chlebowski, Pozdrówcie Góry, p. 310; see also p. 321.
95 AIPN, Ki 027/236-1.pdf. Jadwiga Olizarowska’s testimony, p. 48–49.
96 AIPN, GK, 306/48, Edward Skrobot’s testimony, p. 37–38.
97 AIPN, GK 306/48, Edward Skrobot’s testimony, p. 59.
98 Ibid., Edward Skrobot’s testimony, p. 37–38.
99 Ibid., “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, p. 252. The suggestion of treason, made in this statement, is an insinuation.
100 AIPN BU 0418/368, t.3, “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Dziewóra”, p. 6. A clue to Przygodzki’s involvment in the murders of the Jews is also found in the report of a UB agent “Pies”, who recounts his meeting with Przygodzki in 1948 in the village of Tunel near Miechów. At the time, Przygodzki was allegedly approached by an unknown man, with whom he had a quiet conversation. To the question “What was that about?” the target allegedly answered “Nothing special, it was about one Jew”. (AIPN Ki 025/88/D (microfiche), Copy of agency report “Pies”, Prudnik, March 3, 1953).
101 “Circumcised, therefore a traitor” – it would be hard to find a better exemplification of the belief in “the treacherous nature of Jews”; see Janion, Maria: Bohater, spisek, śmierć. Wykłady żydowskie. WAB: Warsaw 2009, pp. 54, 62 etc.
102 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół presłuchania podejrzanego Stanisława Lutka”, p. 113.
103 A spelling error, in fact it was “Grom” (ibid., p. 140), Marian Wilczyński from Chęciny.
104 See Chapter 10: Suppresio veri, suggestio falsi in this volume.
105 AIPN, GK, 306/48, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, p. 252.
106 Leon, Guta Latrowska-Szynowłoga’s husband and Lili’s father, remained in the Warsaw ghetto; see Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Guta: Życie w grobowcu. Wydawnictwo Ypsylon: Warsaw 2002, p. 6. A part of Guta’s memoirs (a typescript in Yiddish) is preserved in AŻIH, 302/174.
107 Zofia Mycielska nee Karska, holding the Polish coat-of-arms Jastrzębiec, AK nom de guerre Hreczka (1898–1978): married Michał Mycielski in 1922, and until 1939 they lived at the Gałowo estate in Szamotuły district. In 1939, her husband emigrated together with the Polish army and government. On her own, Mycielska rented a part of the Sitkówka estate near Chęciny (close to an estate belonging to her brother Szymon). She worked for charity; among other things, she served as President of the Central Welfare Council branch in Chęciny. She was a member of AK, and she made two journeys to Germany in order to bring instructions for the Polish underground. In 1943 (“after a number of bands attacked Sitkówka”), she moved to Warsaw. Pursuant to the land reform decree, all the Mycielski property was taken over by the government in 1945. Mycielska managed to leave the Communist Poland in 1946, and together with her husband and two daughters, they settled in England. See Gapys, Jerzy: Postawy społeczno-polityczne ziemiaństwa w latach 1939–1945(na przykładzie dystryktu radomskiego). Kieleckie Towarzystwo Naukowe and Akademia Świętokrzyska: Kielce 2003, p. 224; short biographies of Michał Mycielski and Zofia Mycielska in Arkuszewski, Antoni: Ziemianie polscy XX wieku. Słownik biograficzny, t. 5. DiG: Warsaw 2000, pp. 98–103.
108 Thanks to the efforts of Guta and Lili Szynowłoga, Karol Kiciński and his daughter Janina were in 1983 decorated with the Medal of the Righteous Among the Nations; see Libionka, Dariusz et al. (eds.): Ksiega Sprawiedliwych wśrod Narodów Świata, t. I. Yad Vashem and Instytut Studiów Strategicznych: Kraków 2009, p. 292.
109 Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, p. 71.
110 AŻIH 301/5521. Lili Szynowłoga’s statement.
111 Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, p. 94.
112 See the mention of stonemason Wilczyński from Chęciny in: AIPN, BU 0418/368, “Protokół przesłuchania podejrzanego Wiktora Zygmunta Bokwy”, p. 27.
113 During an earlier encounter, Izaak said to “Barabasz’s” soldiers: “Gentlemen, I have a friend in your group. His name is Marian Wilczyński,” see Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, p. 83.
115 Ibid., p. 95.
116 More or less the distance of Sitkówka from Daleszyce, where the unit was stationed in the first few days of March 1944.
117 Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, p. 96.
118 Grynbaum’s last moments are described in a similar way in Ropelewski, Wspomnienia z AK, p. 47.
119 See Skibińska, Alina / Libionka, Dariusz: “„Przysięgam walczyć o wolną i potężną Polskę, wykonywać rozkazy przełożonych, tak mi dopomóż Bóg”. Żydzi w AK. Epizod z Ostrowca Świętokrzyskiego”. Zagłada Żydów. Studia i materiały 4, 2008, pp. 287–323; Skibińska, Alina: Żydzi w AK i AL. Dwa epizody z Ostrowca Świętokrzyskiego. Unpublished typescript; id.: “„Dostał 10 lat, ale za co?” Analiza motywacji sprawców zbrodni na Żydach na wsi kieleckiej w latach 1942–1944”. In: Engelking, Barbara / Grabowski, Jan (eds.): Zarys krajobrazu. Wieś polska wobec zagłady Żydów 1942–1945, Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów: Warsaw 2011.
120 See Chapter 3: Trial of Tadeusz Maj in this volume.
121 Ropelewski, Wspomnienia z AK, p. 47.
122 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Bolesława Boczarskiego”, p. 100.
123 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania Tadeusza Mistachowicza”, p. 172.
124 Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, pp. 20, 35 etc.
125 For Bolesław Stępniewski, who was initially sheltering Grynbaum, Guta, and Lili Szynowłoga, see Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, pp. 22–24, 138–139.
126 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Tadeusza Mistachowicza”, p. 172.
127 AIPN GK 306/24, Maria Mistachowicz’s testimony at the main hearing, p. 61.
128 Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, p. 139.
129 “Just think of it! You are free! – said Bolek – the war is over. […] In Bolek’s house, his wife prepared a nice meal for me. I was enjoying a rich consomme with noodles and a portion of chicken,” Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu, p. 138.
130 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Anny Jasickiej”, p. 179.
131 It is possible that this is the matter referred to in Bernard Zelinger’s testimony under the heading August 10, 1944: “As we were waiting for our people, we did not leave anyone behind to keep watch. All of a sudden we heard a cry: «Hands up!» […] «Ryba» was holding me separately, and other «soldiers» were surrounding my detained colleagues, butting them, they were trying to learn where they had hidden [their] money and other valuable things. Besides me, they caught Monek Żyto, Szlamek Strawczyński, Izaaka Garfinkiel and Wolf Bojgen […]. We marched for about 30 minutes. When we were close to the narrow gauge railway embankment, one of the «soldiers» came up to «Ryba» and asked quietly: «Here or further on?». I did not hear the answer, the question was enough for me. […] Without hesitation, I shouted in Jewish at the boys: «He’s going to kill us! Save yourselves! Run!» […] Kozubek and Czerwiec [persons to whom the author owes his life] informed us after some time that all those who had been detained with me were murdered”. Quoted after: Urbański, Krzysztof: Zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie radomskim. Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pedagogicznej: Kraków 2004, p. 232.
132 Compare with AIPN GK306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Juliana Jasickiego”, p. 182.
133 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Anny Jasickiej”, pp. 177–178.
134 For more on “plush bedspreads”, which were a fast-selling product before the war, see the Sandomierz interviews in Tokarska-Bakir, Joanna: Legendy o krwi. Antropologia przesądu. WAB: Warsaw 2008.
135 AYV, 03.3390, Testimony of Abraham Ring from Chęciny, p. 15.
136 From the next comment, we learn that Molenda, after the war a resident of the Reclaimed Territories (in the years 1945–1946 he served as a militiaman in Zgorzelec), was the son-in-law of Wiktor Gruszczyński’s mother; more below.
137 Gruszczyński and Molenda were brothers-in-law.
138 See footnote 57.
139 Compare Urbański, Zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie radomskim, p. 224, who writes that Jasicki was sheltering Berta Witenberg (nee Kanarek), Pesla Zelcer, and Morda Kenigstein in his basement from 1942 to 1945.
140 AIPN, GK 306/48, Stanisław Jasicki’s testimony at the main hearing, p. 66.
141 AIPN GK306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Juliana Jasickiego”, p. 182.
142 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Anny Jasickiej”, p. 179.
143 Besides leather goods, bedspreads were a profitable capitalization on the property that the Jews were leaving with their Christian neighbors for storage.
144 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Protokół przesłuchania Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 47.
145 Similarly Sołtysiak: “There existed at that time an order from the Sub-district commander, instructing the unit to appropriate the property that had belonged to the executed [person]”; see GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka”, p. 144.
146 According to the rules issued by underground courts, it was allowed to confiscate the property of those executed for treason for the benefit of a fund “for fire victims”.
147 Szynowłoga-Trokenheim, Życie w grobowcu…, pp. 48, 69.
148 AIPN GK 306/48, “Rewizja nadzwyczajna od postanowień Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, October 18, 1993, p. 4.
149 Information provided by Henryk Pawelec; recorded by Joanna Tokarska-Bakir in Kielce in May 2009.
150 A visibly favorable attitude of the judge toward the defendants is attested by the vicissitudes of the Wybranieccy chronicle, confiscated immediately after Marian Sołtysiak’s arrest and returned to him years later by post. We can read about this in the text of the Chronicle published by Rodzina Wybranieckich: “When in 1956, after leaving the prison walls, Barabasz took up residence in Sienkiewicza Street in Kielce, one of the judges anonymously sent to this address the Chronicle stolen from the case files. Barabasz later obtained the information about the sender of the Chronicle from attorney A. Płoski.”
151 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, November 23, 1951, pp. 249–253. It is unclear whether the information about the Virtuti Militari is correct. If it were, it would mean that Edward Skrobot was decorated with the highest award twice – first by the AK command, and again by the Communist authorities.
152 For more on this term, see a comment in Gross, Jan T. / Grudzińska-Gross, Irena: Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. New York: Oxford University Press 2012, p. 29, n. 40: “While still alive the Jews were treated as temporary custodians of “post-Jewish” property. This neologism appears in the Polish language only in three versions as ‘post-Jewish,’ ‘post-German,’ and, more rarely, ‘post-manor’ property […]. Due to historical circumstances, in Poland, there were two cases of massive appropriation of other people’s property in the twentieth century: following the expulsion of the German population after the war and after the extermination of the Jews […]. But because murder or expulsion does not transfer ownership to anything, and especially to the possessions accumulated by generations, ‘post-Jewish’ is only a façon de parler and does not define ownership.”
153 AIPN BU 0418/368, t.3, “Raport specjalny do Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego w Warszawie”, p. 110.
154 Besides the files from this investigation, we are also looking for the investigation files in the case against Wiktor Gruszczyński “Kruk”.
155 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, November 23, 1951, pp. 249–253.
156 AIPN BU 0418/368, t.2, “Analiza kwestionariusza ewidencyjnego nr 1903 prowadzonego na Witolda Skrobota zam. w Suchedniowie”, p. 25.
157 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Postanowienie Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, October 23, 1996, p. 88.
158 Urbański, Krzysztof: Kieleccy Żydzi. Pracownia Konserwacji Zabytków: Kielce n.d., p. 112. See also Zelinger, Bernard: Into Harm’s Way. Vantage Press: New York 2004.
159 Żaryn, Jan / Kamiński, Łukasz (eds.): Wokół pogromu kieleckiego II. Instytut Pamięci Narodowej: Kielce and Warsaw 2008, p. 18 mentions Salomon Zelingerz as owner; ibid., p. 26 mentions that the hotel was overtaken by the German gendarmerie during the war.
160 The story of Frajna (Frymusia) Frydman’s brother Dawid, born in 1932 and sheltered by the Śliwiński family in Niwki Daleszyckie, is told by Leon Śliwiński; Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich: Wywiad z Leonem Śliwińskim, retrieved 5.5.2012, from http:// www.sprawiedliwi.org.pl/pl/family/519,rodzina-sliwinskich/article=1087,wywiad-zleonem-sliwinskim; see also Leon Śliwiński’s testimony, AYV, a-5013. Maria Michalczyk states that Bolesław Śliwiński, a pre-war PPS activist, married Leonia, nee Berent, a Jewish woman who was the subject of intelligence collected during the war by AK espionage; Michalczyk, Maria: Gdy każdy dzień był walką. Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza: Warsaw 1982, p. 89. Leon Śliwiński: “My parents also had to hide from the Germans.”
161 Henryk Zvi Zelinger’s statement in the Yad Vashem Archive 03/10792, 6.1.1999; an interview made by Michał Sobelman.
162 Born in 1905, no other data available (AŻIH, CKŻP, Department of Registration and Statistics. Central Registry, Registration card of Rozalia Zelinger).
163 Urbański, Krzysztof: “Wokół progromu kieleckiego”. In: Żaryn / Kamiński: Wokół pogromu kieleckiego II, p. 41; Zvi Zelinger’s letter, see footnote 2.
164 Yad Vashem, Department of the Righteous Among the Nations, file of Stefan Sawa, who was awarded the Medal of the Righteous in 1991; translated from Hebrew by Zuzanna Radzik.
165 Born on December 4, 1931 in Kielce; see The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names (a database of the Holocaust victims available on the Yad Vashem Institute website).
166 She was 25 years old at the time of her death; see The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names (a database of the Holocaust victims available on the Yad Vashem Institute website).
167 Born in 1933, parents Efraim and Rywka (AŻIH, CKŻP, Department of Registration and Statistics. Central Registry, Registration card of Dawid Fridman).
168 Urbański, Krzysztof: The Martyrdom and Extermination of the Jews in Kielce during Word War II. Krzysztof Urbański: Kielce 2005, p. 160, with reference to H. Zelinger; see http://www.kielce.org.il/media/books_articles/TheMartydomand ExterminationoftheJewsinKielceDuringWWII.pdf.
169 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Stanisława Grzegolca”, p. 2.
171 Henryk Zwi Zelinger states that there was also a Polish woman, Lodzia/Leokadia living with those sheltered by Sawa; however, Grzegolec claims that it was the elderly woman who was called Jadwiga, and Leokadia was the name of Sawa’s fiancée.
172 AIPN GK 306/44, Władysław Szumielewicz’s testimony at the main hearing, p. 130; Ibid., Władysław Szumielewicz’s testimony, p. 56, 66.
173 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Józefa Zebrowskiego”, p. 13.
174 Henryk Pawelec also heard about the two girls living in Sawa’s house; a conversation in Kielce in May 2009. There were rumors that one of them, hidden in the attic, survived the fire. There was a similar rumor about Stefan Sawa himself, e.g. Jan Grzegolec told Sawa’s brother that Sawa had allegedly survived.
175 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Józefa Zabrowskiego”, p. 12.
176 AIPN Ki 027/236 347/III (a microfilm scan), Interview with M. Skrybus from November 14, 1950, pp. 188–189 of 369.
177 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Michaliny Sawy”, p. 18.
178 Maybe Michalina Sawa did not remember his name correctly, as Kotliński states that Mieczysław Gołkiewicz was the council secretary in Daleszyce; see Kotliński, „Wybranieccy” w lasach cisowskich, op.cit., p. 7. Michalczyk claims his name was Sołkiewicz; see id., Gdy każdy dzień, p. 145.
179 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Michaliny Sawy”, p. 18.
180 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Florentyny Kobyłeckiej”, pp. 29–30. Michalina Sawa’s windows were visible from the windows of the Maraseks’ house. During the confrontation with Kobyłecka on January 23, 1951, Marasek denied everything (ibid., p. 80).
181 Dygas was a member of AK; see Michalczyk, Gdy każdy dzień był walką, p. 38; AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Jana Dygasa”, p. 32.
182 This may be a mistake on the part of the court stenographer, as there was nobody with the pseudonym “Wyrwa” in the unit. The involvement of “Kordian” and “Piorun” (they both died during the war) in the execution is also confirmed by Bolesław Boczarski (AIPN GK 306/44, Record of the interrogation of Bolesław Boczarski, p. 39). In another testimony, Boczarski also mentions that “Adolf ” was involved in the execution (Ibid., p. 26). On the other hand, Władysław Marasek denies being present in Zagórze during the incident; however, he gives the pseudonyms “Adolf ”, “Kogut”, “Wojtek”, “Kula”, “Zygmunt”, “and two more” (Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania podejrzanego Władysława Maraska, p. 89).
183 Ryszard Maj’s testimony recorded on September 9, 1957 (see Chapter 10 in this volume).
184 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka”, p. 35.
185 Szumielewicz says something else: “I handed over the looted jewellery to him [Sołtysiak], of which «Barabasz» gave me one ordinary wristwatch and also one diamond ring to «Kordian», who had asked him for it, (AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Szumielewicza”, p. 47).
186 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka na rozprawy głównej przeciwko Władysławowi Szumielewiczowi”, p. 145.
187 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka”, p. 170.
188 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Szumielewicza”, p. 44.
189 The anonymous “Piorun” came from Dąbrowa.
190 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania podejrzanego Władysława Szumielewicza”, p. 45. Repeated in the interrogation from April 2, 1951, Ibid., p. 58.
191 Ibid., p. 58.
192 Ibid., p. 59.
193 The record of the final interrogation of the suspect states that Szumielewicz “at that time thought he [i.e. Sawa] was a Jew” (AIPN GK 306/44, p. 64).
194 Ibid., p. 60.
195 Ibid., p. 68.
196 Ibid., p. 60.
197 Ibid., pp. 45–46.
198 Ibid., p. 60.
199 Ibid., p. 109.
200 Ibid., p. 67.
201 Ibid., p. 130. In a different testimony (ibid., p. 111), he enumerates: “one golden pocket watch by Omaga [sic], two ordinary wristwatches, quite a thick golden chain, one mens golden signet ring, three womens rings with precious stones.”
202 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Maraska”, p. 89.
203 Ibid., p. 92.
204 Ibid., “Protokół konfrontacji pomiędzy Władysławem Szumielewiczem i Władyslawem Maraskiem”, p. 95.
205 Ibid., “Protokół konfrontacji pomiędzy Władysławem Szumielewiczem i Stanisławem Lutkiem”, p. 112.
206 AIPN GK 306/44, “Protokół rozprawy głownej przeciwko Władysławowi Szumielewiczowi et al.”, p. 151.
207 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Szumielewicza”, p. 98. “This order was binding for me as a leader. Also Barabasz told us to obey such orders” (ibid., p. 129).
208 Ibid., p. 107.
209 Ibid., p. 55.
210 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka”, p. 170.
211 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania Władysława Szumielewicza”, p. 98.
212 Ibid., “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, p. 163.
213 The head of Section II at the AK Sub-district Headquarters was from October 1942 until the spring of 1944 Roman Zarębski “Zaw”; see Borzobohaty, „Jodła”, p. 178.
214 AIPN, GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Lucyny Wrońskiej”, p. 226.
215 “Three Marysias”, sometimes also called “Three Marias”, were Maria Michalczyk “Wyrwicz” / “Doliński 1” – head of intelligence at the Daleszyce branch, employee of the forest inspectorate in Daleszyce; Maria Nachowska “Turek” – employee of the post office in Daleszyce; and Maria Cedro-Fabiańska “Siba” – a council employee; see Michalczyk, Gdy każdy dzień był walką, pp. 56, 58 etc.; id., Diabeł Piątej Kolumny, pp. 156, 189–190.
216 When interrogated by UB, Maria Nachowska answers in one sentence: “I have never discussed the topic of the murder and arson of a Jewish family in the area of Zagórze in the municipality of Daleszyce with Barabasz’s liaison Wrońska Lucyna pseudonym Ewa” (AIPN Ki 027/236, “Protokół przesłuchania Marii Nachowskiej”, p. 197).
217 See e.g. an entry in the Wybranieccy chronicle from July 19, 1943: “We all love her like a mother.”
218 Migała, Marcin: “Wojna domowa Wybranieckich”. Magazyn Słowa Ludu, 11.7.2001. See also Sołtysiak, Marian: Czym jest ZBOWiD? Kronika: London 1965.
219 AIPN, GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Lucyny Wrońskiej”, p. 224.
220 AIPN, GK 306/44, “Protokół końcowego przesłuchania Władysława Szumielewicza”, p. 65.
221 Ibid., “Protokół rozprawy głownej przeciwko Władysławowi Szumielewiczowi et al.”, p. 129.
222 Ibid., p. 129.
223 Ibid., Record of the interrogation of Władysław Szumielewicz, p. 57.
224 AIPN GK 306/25, “Protokół rozprawy głownej przeciwko Marianowi Sołtysiakowi”, p. 9.
225 We know from other sources that his whole life, he struggled with the feeling of guilt for the crime in Zagórze; see Karolczak, Jadwiga: “Duchy i upiory”. Słowa Ludu 1474, 1993, pp. 1–6.
226 As Szumielewicz writes in his December 27, 1954 request for pardon addressed to the Council of State, the final order to carry out the execution in Zagórze gave him a 48-hour deadline. “The fact that the unit commander Barabasz arrived at the place of the execution and the place where I was staying shows that it was an obvious inspection of whether I had carried out this order. Refusal to obey or further delay on my part amounted to a death sentence for me, as it often happened in such cases” (AIPN GK 306/44, p. 193).
227 Ibid., p. 134.
228 After: Karolczak, “Duchy i upiory”, op.cit.
229 AIPN GK 306/44, Sołtysiak’s testimony at the main hearing in the case against Władysław Szumielewicz et al., p. 145.
230 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Bolesława Boczarskiego”, p. 105. “For failing to carry out this execution I was reprimanded by «Barabasz».”
231 AIPN GK 306/44, Bolesław Boczarski’s testimony at the main hearing in the case against Władysław Szumielewicz et al., p. 152.
232 Ibid., “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, p. 172.
233 Sołtysiak, Chłopcy Barabasza, pp. 87–88.
234 Ibid., The conclusion of the judgment by the Provincial Court in Kielce from September 13, 1951, p. 160–161.
235 Ibid., Supreme Court verdict from May 20, 1952, pp. 201–204.
236 Marasek was released on parole on December 30, 1956, whereas Stanisław Lutek on January 15, 1957.
237 Statute invalidating guilty verdicts issued to persons prosecuted for activities undertaken for the sake of the independent existence of the Polish State (Dziennik Ustaw 1991, no. 34, item 149).
238 AIPN, GK 306/25, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, October 14, 1951, p. 73.
239 AIPN, GK 306/44, Marian Sołtysiak’s testimony at the main hearing, p. 188.
240 AIPN, GK 306/25, p. 118.
241 Borzobohaty, „Jodła”, p. 181; see also Kotliński, Wybranieccy w lasach cisowskich, p. 11: “Snitches were eliminated ruthlessly and with utmost resolution.”
242 Sołtysiak, Chłopcy Barabasza, p. 21.
243 The earliest known verdict of the first CSS was passed on January 12, 1943; see Gondek, Leszek: Polska karząca 1939–1945. Podziemny wymiar sprawiedliwości w okresie okupacji niemieckiej. PAX: Warsaw 1988, p. 63.
244 Gondek, Polska karząca, pp. 86–87.
245 Witkowski, Henryk: „Kedyw” Okręgu Warszawskiego Armii Krajowej w latach 1943– 1944. Instytut Wydawniczy Związków Zawodowych: Warsaw 1985, p. 185.
246 There is a chance that such material exists in private collections belonging to former members of the underground; e.g. Maria Michalczyk, head of the Section II branch in Daleszyce, claims to have original reports in her possession. Some of the documentation from this branch was part of the archival collection at the Military Institute for Historical Research (WIBH). During the writing of this book, however, access to these documents was not possible due to the moving of all the WIBH collections to the Central Military Archive in Rembertów.
247 See Ropelewski, Andrzej: W służbie wywiadu Polski Walczącej. Marpress: Gdańsk 1994.
248 It was drawn up by the AK intelligence unit in the area of Jędrzejów, typescript, n.d., signed “Gruby” and “Mir”. It was probably created in autumn 1944 by Stanisław Wiśniewski “Gruby”/“Jarko”, head of Section II at AK Jędrzejów Sub-district Headquarters, and Kacper Niemec “Mir”, Sub-district commander. Copies of the unpublished original, located in the National Archive in Kielce, are the courtesy of prof. Andrzej Ropelewski. Transcript of the document in: Ropelewski, W służbie wywiadu, p. 78.
249 Pyzik, Kazimierz: Sylwetki nieznanych bohaterów. Podobwód AK „Sowa” w obwodzie kieleckim 1939–1945. Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen: Warsaw 1994, pp. 78–79.
250 Borzobohaty claims that in 1944, in the whole Radom-Kielce District, the intelligence unit numbered about 2000 individuals (including agents working in the Reich), out of which about 750 were women; Borzobohaty, „Jodła”, p. 67.
251 Such as assassination attempts on Nazi officials, or executions of soldiers from own ranks; see the execution of the Gestapo agent Lieutenant Jerzy Wojnowski “Motor”, who was a liaison officer in the AK partisan unit of Jan Piwnik “Ponury”: Chlebowski, Pozdrówcie góry Świętokrzyskie, passim.
252 Mala fama – Lat. for ‘infamy’. The suspect’s reputation was an important criterion for his/her indictment in pre-modern criminal law, e.g. in the Carolina penal code and other, earlier ones; see Salmonowicz, Stanisław: “Wizerunek kodeksu: Constitutio Criminalis Carolina”. Roczniki Nauk Prawnych 13(1), 2003, pp. 53–66.
253 Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 14.
254 Testimony of Henryk Pawelec, after: Karolczak, “Duchy i upiory”, pp. 1–6.
255 For the so-called preemptive eliminations, see Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 42.
256 Eugeniusz Adamczyk “Wiktor”, Moja działalność niepodległościowa, pp. 10–14, quoted after: Ropelewski, W służbie wywiadu Polski, p. 77.
257 A. Ropelewski, W służbie wywiadu Polski, p. 85. Under a report about fourteen executions, dated July 20, 1944 and signed by the commander of Jędrzejów Sub-district Kacper Niemiec “Mir-Niemirski”, there is a note addressed to the AK Inspectorate in Kielce: “The applications are ready and after completion I will send [them] to WSS immediately.”
258 See Borzobohaty, „Jodła”, p. 209.
259 Adamczyk, Moja działalność niepodległościowa, p. 77.
260 Gondek, Polska karząca, pp. 43, 59–60; see also Korboński, Stefan: W imieniu Rzeczypospolitej. Instytut Literacki: Paris 1954, pp. 114–115.
261 Konstanty Kapuścik, until September 1939 a non-commissioned officer of the Polish Army, and later a Volksdeutsch called Helmutt Kapp, an interpreter at the local Gestapo.
262 Czaplarska, Izabella / Mielniczuk, Bolesław: “Wiktor, Jarko Granat meldują II”. Słowo Ludu, 10.8.1968. We would like to thank prof. Andrzej Ropelewski for granting us access to this article.
263 A logical fallacy leading to wrong conclusions occurs e.g. when an observation that two phenomena occur together is further interpreted in an empirically unjustified way, e.g. mistaking when simple correlation is mistaken for causal relationship.
264 Recorded in Warsaw on January 10, 1985 (a copy of the testimony courtesy of prof. Andrzej Ropelewski). He himself said about the same person: “[…] I learned that near the village of Łukowa, one morning, farmers found the body of a young woman, hastily covered with soil and weeds. The shooting victim – which was evident from the characteristic traces of bullets – was identified as a Jewish woman, who had been hiding somewhere in the village from the Nazi thugs. Later there were rumors going around that she had been finished off by a Home Army sabotage unit. It was certainly not done by the Germans, who had not been seen in the village for quite some time, neither during the day, nor at night,” Ropelewski, Wspomnienia z AK, p. 46.
265 Commander of the subversive unit in AK Sub-district no. 1 “Klin” in Dębska Wola (Ropelewski, Andrzej: W Jędrzejowskim Obwodzie AK. Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe: Warsaw 1986, p. 63; see also id., W służbie wywiadu, p. 138).
266 Ropelewski, Andrzej: Sprawa mordowania Żydów przez ludzi z AK, unpublished typescript dated February 28, 2008, courtesy of the author. For other murders of Jews in the vicinity of Raków and Lścin, including the murder of the Rakowski family by the AK subversive unit, see Ropelewski, Wspomnienia z AK, pp. 45–46.
267 Ropelewski, W służbie wywiadu Polski, p. 138. For the topic of “an even greater horror,” which was the death of Srul Rakowski’s sixteen-year old daughter, see a brief mention in a letter from February 23, 1992, written by Ryszard Barańczyk to Andrzej Ropelewski [a copy in the authors’ possession]. There is a brief mention of Srul (Szumil) Rakowski in Tadeusz Simlat’s testimony (he was a courier reporting to “Hardy”): “Did you hear anything about the murder of Rakowski, who was hiding at Rusiński Teofil’s, res. in Wólka, municipality of Mierzwin?” Simlat stated that he had not heard anything about that murder (AIPN Ki 025/88/D (microfiche) “Protokół przesłuchania Tadeusza Simlata”, Raków, February 3, 1952).
268 Ropelewski, W służbie wywiadu Polski, p. 88.
269 A letter from Józef Kurek “Halny” to Andrzej Ropelewski from January 11, 1988; quoted after: Ropelewski, W służbie wywiadu Polski, p. 44.
270 Here it would be worth recalling an earlier quote from the Wybranieccy chronicle. The veracity of this statement is supported by our earlier conclusions: “Soldiers of Polish ethnicity serve in the unit.” The Wybranieccy chronicle, 1943–1944 (unpublished).
271 After: Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 14, 152.
272 Compare two sentences from Przepisy materialne z maja 1940: “The crime of denunciation is committed by a Polish citizen who before the government of a foreign country accuses of or brings a case for prosecution for an act against a foreign country. Who in an inhumane way, contradictory to the natural sense of justice, persecutes or hurts the Polish populace with an action or regulation, commits the crime of inhumane persecution and wrongs the Polish populace,” after: Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 152.
273 Rzeczpospolita Polska, no. 4 from May 10, 1941; Biuletyn Informacyjny from May 23, 1941; “Zarządzenie Delegata Rządu RP na Kraj pt. Wobec przestępstw względem Narodu i Państwa Polskiego”; after: Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 157.
274 “Oświadczenie Delegata Rządu RP”; Rzeczpospolita Polska, no. 18 from October 13, 1942; Biuletyn Informacyjny, no. 40 from October 15, 1942; after: Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 158.
275 Gondek, Polska karząca, p. 65.
276 Ibid., p. 64.
277 Ibid., p. 65.
278 More on this topic in the work of Monika Marcinkowska and Jerzy Gapys from the Jan Kochanowski University of Humanities and Natural Sciences in Kielce; see e.g. Gapys, Jerzy / Markowski, Mieczysław B.: “Konflikty polsko – żydowskie w województwie kieleckim 1935–1936. Wybór tekstów źródłowych”. Biuletyn Historyczny Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego 4 (192), 1999, pp. 41–95.
279 Gazeta Kielecka, no 1: 1939; after: Urbański, Kieleccy Żydzi, p. 106, footnote 82.
280 Starosta’s report regarding the retreat in Daleszyce on November 18, 1934 courtesy of Monika Marcinkowska from the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce.
281 See Wiśniewski, Marian: “Rozwiązanie sprawy żydowskiej w świetle rozumu i wiary”. Pro Christo 9, 1933; quoted after: Jagiełło, Michał: Próba rozmowy. Szkice o katolicyzmie odrodzeniowym i „Tygodniku Powszechnym” 1945–1953, t. 1–2. Biblioteka Narodowa: Warsaw 2001.
282 AIPN BU 0418/386, t.3, “Protokół przesłuchania Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 25.
283 AIPN GK 306/24, “Protokół przesłuchania Skrobota Edwarda”, p. 120.
284 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania świadka Bolesława Boczarskiego”, p. 93.
285 Ibid., “Protokół przesłuchania Mariana Sołtysiaka”, p. 147.
286 See Piątkowski, Sebastian: “Wywiad ZWZ-AK w Okręgu Radomsko-Kieleckim (1940–1945) ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem obwodu radomskiego”. In: Massalski, Adam / Meducki, Stanisław (eds.): Materiały z sesji naukowej. Kieleckie Towarzystwo Nauk: Kielce 1999, pp. 71–85.
287 Pyzik, Sylwetki nieznanych bohaterów, op. cit.
288 Ibid., p. 63.
289 See Łabuszewski, Tomasz: “Wybrane aspekty bezpieczeństwa na przykładzie Inspektoratu Podlaskiego AK (Obwodu Wysokie Mazowieckie)”. In: Grabowski, Waldemar (ed.): Organy bezpieczeństwa i wymiar sprawiedliwości Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego, IPN: Warsaw 2005, pp. 127–137.
290 Ibid., p. 131.
291 AIPN, GK 306/44, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, September 13, 1951, p. 181.
292 AIPN, GK 306/25, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, September 14, 1951, p. 72.
293 AIPN, GK 306/48, “Sentencja wyroku Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, November 23, 1951, p. 250.
294 Ibid., Edward Skrobot’s testimony, p. 64.
295 AIPN BU 0418/4691, t. 2, “Wyrok Sądu Wojewódzkiego w Kielcach”, p. 92.
296 Written on the basis of archival material quoted in this chapter, testimonies, memoirs and publications.
297 Boczarski, Bogdan: By ojczyzna była wolna… Wspomnienia partyzanta z Gór Świętokrzyskich. Unpublished typescript: Kielce 1961.
298 AIPN Ki 025/88/D (mikrofiche), Józef Przygodzki’s curriculum vitae written in his own hand on March 4, 1953.