Bilecki.  Indestructible

Captain Witold Pilecki – social activist, participant in the war against the Bolsheviks, conspirator, volunteer in Auschwitz, soldier in the Warsaw Uprising, founder of an anti-communist conspiracy network. He was killed in Rakovica Prison at the age of 47. For decades it was erased from Polish history. He still doesn’t have his grave.

Jaroslav Vroblowski, researcher of the captain’s life, talks to the people on whom Witold Pilecki left a lasting mark. How did they know his story? Why did their destinies intersect so strongly? Who has he become for them?

  • Professor Wisław Wysocki, historian, author, among other things, of the first biography of Captain Witold Pilecki, which was published in the second session in 1984.
  • Dr. Adam Serra, historian, employee and researcher at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum for more than 50 years, and author of books about the captain. Pilecki is born
  • Maria Serawińska-Domanska, head of the Jan Matejko “Koreznocka” Souvenir Museum in Nowy Višnice, the palace where Witold Pilecki hid after his escape from Auschwitz
  • Grażyna Giec, daughter-in-law of Wanda Giec – sister of Captain Witold Bielecki
  • Krzysztof Kosior, grandson of Zofia Bileka-Optolowicz, grandson of Witold Bilecki
  • Tadeusz Płużański, son of Tadeusz Płużański, who was a collaborator of Captain Witold Pilecki in the post-war conspiracy network
  • Jakub Sieradzki, grandson of Makary Sieradzki, Vitold Pilecki’s subordinate in the Polish Secret Army and post-war conspiracy network
  • Magdalena Janiczek-Toczniew, vocalist of the band Vortica – Woka Troa
  • Aleksandra Kaiper Mizolovic, author of the exhibition on the life of Witold Pilecki at the Museum – Pilecki family home in Ostro Mazowiecka
  • Mateusz Loznia, organizer of the Warsaw Captain’s March

This text is part of Yaroslav Vroblovsky’s book “Indestructible.” Conversations about Captain Pilecki, ed. Zone Zero.

The father was very impressed with Bilecki

Conversation with Tadeusz Płużański, son of Tadeusz Płużański, who was a collaborator with the captain. Bilecki is caught up in the web of post-war conspiracy.

Let’s move on to the character of Witold Bilecki. How does my father remember him?

He was very impressed by the leader and his personality. He said that such features are rare nowadays – where a person does not focus on himself, but on the needs of the other person. He said that the captain, whether in his presence or in the presence of other people, sometimes seemed absent. As if he was floating somewhere.

How can this be explained?

The father said that it was at that time that Bilecki called God. Until the end of his life, he was referred to as the patron saint of Polish patriotism.

What else did my father say?

What is still unknown. It may seem like it was easy for the captain to make decisions, but he was hesitant and had doubts. He exchanged questions with his group members about further actions, and whether there were still opportunities for combat and intelligence. The captain and the others knew that one day the matter would end, and that the secret police would catch up with them. They felt that the security service was following them, and the Sieradzki family’s apartment was in Mujahideen. Pańska, where the group’s point of contact was. Witold Pilecki experienced all this because he did not want to put others in danger. My father told me he encouraged him to go to Italy and never come back. My father strongly disagreed with this.

Your father said in an interview that the captain’s courage also affected them.

Without a doubt. They thought they had to stick with it – no matter the consequences. My father greatly admired Pilecki as a leader, a man who sacrificed himself for others at Auschwitz and then, after the war, sacrificed himself again. After all, the captain’s return to the country in December 1945, with Maria Želajowski, was Pilecki’s second volunteer mission.

Both were previously in the Polish Secret Army.

My father was a member of TAP, but I don’t know if they met at that time. My grandparents – Wacław and Leokadia Płużańscy, knew Macari and Helena Sieradzki since the pre-war period. These were families of intellectuals and teachers. My grandfather, the principal of Public School No. 93, employed Helena Sieradzka. The Seradz family knew Witold, and Makari was also at TAP. My father said that he met the captain in different places in Warsaw – somewhere on Polna Street, at Plac Unii Lubelskiej, at Pańska 85 in the Sieradzki family apartment, where tasks were distributed. He also went into the forest, among other things. In Bory Tucholskie to Kazimierz Kamieński “Huzar”. He also told me about the establishment of transport routes – Witold’s group was transporting information and people to the West. One of these roads passes through Szczecin, but my father did not mention the name of this city. He remained a conspirator until the end.

He said that as a courier he arrived in Italy, to the headquarters of their group, which was located in Ancona, that is, to the 2nd Corps of the Polish Armed Forces. Travel through the mountains via Podhale and others. Along the “CONRAD” route, that is, the route of the national armed forces. He may have been in contact with Joseph “Eugene” Kurach there. My father didn’t mention it, but people from Bodhali told me about it. My father also went to schools and talked to teachers about educational programs, i.e. the degree of Sovietization of Polish schools.

At that time, opinion polls were conducted among young people in Witold’s underground network, which were analyzed and indeed showed very disturbing signs of social moral decline. The response to this position was a “call to young activists.” Do you think that the joint encounters inspired you to write it?

I believe that all three wrote it together with Witold Bielecki and Makary Sieradzki, who were certainly responsible for the religious themes contained in it. Maria Zelojska and Father may also have helped in this close decision-making group. Anthony Tchaikovsky. I really like this part of this advertisement: “Go and do good. Kindness is the moral expression of man’s liberation from the rule of selfishness. Self-overcoming is the highest form of heroism. Love and friendship must permeate the new Polish generation. And in the expansion of love beyond the family, beyond the class Social, a truly great patriotic spirit is evident. Yes, it was distributed and transferred to the West.

My father told me about one of his postal missions, when the Czechoslovak services arrested him – for illegally crossing the border – and put him in a temporary camp near Prague, from where he fortunately managed to escape.

Finally, in February 1946, he arrived in Ancona, but our intelligence there closely monitored him, because his father had previously had to destroy the reports and make a verbal report to II Corps. He was young, without any materials, so they checked his credibility for a long time.

Everything went well and it was verified that my father was a Polish intelligence officer with the rank of second lieutenant. The situation of the Bilecki group was more difficult because their bosses in Ancona had changed, but this is a topic for a separate article – my son Stanislaw is now investigating the matter.

The investigation also raised the issue of the attack that Bilecki’s men were allegedly planning to carry out against high-ranking figures in the Ministry of Public Security. How do you look at it?

Makarii Sieradzki considered it real, but Witold Pilecki considered it insanity, completely inconsistent with the mission of the activities assigned to him. The attack was a provocation to the security service proposed by Wacław Alchimowicz and Leszek Kuchciński. It is assumed that the target of the attack was people from the security services, including: Rumkowski, Prestigueroa, or Rozanski.

Your father was in contact with Leszek Kuczynski, who was also in the Polish secret army. Where did the idea of ​​the attack come from?

Yes, they knew each other before the war. My father told me that Kuczynski and his contact from the headquarters of the Ministry of Public Security – Captain Alchimovich (both belonged to the National Research Bureau in the 1930s; Alchimovich had betrayed the Homeland Army during the war and joined the Soviet partisans in the Grodno region), were putting great pressure on the coup, They had a list of the names of senior intelligence men and wanted his father to pass it on to Bilecki. Perhaps they hoped to convince the captain’s parents, who was no stranger to such actions, that he wanted to start a prisoner uprising at Auschwitz.

However, Witold Bielecki did not make the catch. My father said that of course they wanted to get rid of the security officers, but they were an intelligence group and they didn’t even have weapons. The security service later used the attack case during the trial – it “enhanced” the charges and sentences. Members of the Bilecki network were accused of spying for Anders, and thanks to the “Przeszzot Report” planted by Kuczynski and Alkimovic, a second major charge was added, carrying the death penalty – attacks, meaning they were potential killers.

After all, for a soldier who did so much for Poland, the term “spy of a foreign country, that is, a traitor to the Motherland” is an extremely painful insult. the worst.

Yes. My father experienced it a lot during the group’s trial in March 1948, and in fact he was very disturbed by it until the end of his life. He explained to me that they – the Polish soldiers and intelligence officers – were not spies or hired traitors. During the above-mentioned review process in 1990, he confirmed that he did not want such conditions. Therefore, he did not agree to the acquittal, justifying this by saying that he or the others had not committed any crime. In 1990, before the Supreme Military Court, the Stalinist rulings were declared null and void. My father was concerned about something else: the fact that people who left the Polish People’s Republic did not return to free Poland after March 1968. He complained about this to the professor. Leszek Kolakowski, Bronislaw Baczka. I remember how happy he was that Jan Nowak Jezioranski returned to the country in the 2000s. My father could not imagine living outside his homeland. I visited my father while he was working at the Polish Academy of Sciences and he said that his colleagues from Staszczyk Palace were very red. In the early 1990s, someone filed a lawsuit against his father because he called him a spy. (…)

This text is part of Yaroslav Vroblovsky’s book “Indestructible.” Conversations about Captain Pilecki, ed. Zone Zero.

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