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Marek Jan Chodakiewicz: The Dialectics of Pain: The Interrogation Methods of the Communist Secret Police in Poland, 1944-1955. Glaukopis, vol. 2/3 (2004-2005).

Part III

In Łódź, the infamous security officer Major Adam Humer ordered his underlings to hold down the captured insurgent cryptographic expert, Second Lieutenant Maria Hattowska of the WiN. Then Humer stood on her chest and beat her on her crotch with a steel-tipped whip. Humer applied similar methods to another woman, the insurgent liaison Second Lieutenant Ruta Czaplińska of the NZW. Aside from torturing many suspects, he and his colleagues, including UB Second Lieutenant Tadeusz Szymański, beat to death at least one independentist, Tadeusz Łabędzki, whose “crime” was to have edited underground publications.[73]

Between December 27, 1945, and January 26, 1946, the secret police launched an anti-insurgent expedition in the area of Drohiczyn. “Thirty-six persons were arrested. In many villages people were beaten and tortured on the spot. The secret police demanded the surrender of weapons by persons who often had none.”[74]

From December 1945 through February 1946 the Communist counterintelligence officer Jerzy S. tortured Wincenty O., a Gulag survivor, in Koszalin. While serving under duress in Poland ’s Communist military, Wincenty O. was denounced for spreading “enemy propaganda,” i.e. complaining about the system. Jerzy S. interrogated him at night, kicking his victim and beating him with a wooden club. The man confessed and was sentenced to 5 years in jail.[75]

On January 13, 1946, uniformed secret police troops of the Internal Security Corps (Korpus Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego – KBW ) raided Mężenin near Siedlce and Drohiczyn. They seized insurgent post commander Edward Gregorczuk (“Bonawentura”) and two of his soldiers, all of them seasoned anti-Nazi and anti-Communist fighters. Gregorczuk “was subjected to incredibly cruel torture. After he was terribly beaten, with his face massacred and his bones broken, the UBP and the KBW drove him around the area to force him to denounce members of the underground to them. Gregorczuk refused to…. [and] he was killed by functionaries the Communist terror apparatus… near Miężenin.”[76]

In February 1946, in the county of Kraśnik, the NKVD and UB arrested several hundred independentist sympathizers in a massive sweep. They were then brought to the UB headquarters in Kraśnik. According to an underground dispatch,

Everyone is accused of [illegal] possession of weapons. However, because they do not have any weapons, no one confesses to possessing any. The UB tries to force an inculpatory confession. Namely, the detainee is laid out on a bench. Two UB-men or bolsheviks [i.e., NKVD] sit on him. One sits on his head and the other on his back. The third beats him on the heels of his feet with a walking stick. On average one receives 1,000 blows on the heels. After such an interrogation, the prisoner is unable either to walk or to stand because his bones are shattered. Another way [to extract confessions] is to pour water into one’s nose. Apart from this they wave a gun before the prisoner’s eyes and threaten to shoot him. In one instance, while issuing such threats, a shot was fired and shattered the knee of the person under interrogation.[77]

In March 1946, following the assassination of a local Communist party apparatchik, the UB seized Albert Bil in Krzemień near Szczecin. Bil had been a Home Army soldier in the Wilno area but after mid-1945 he discontinued his insurgent activities and had nothing to do with the assassination. His arrest was an act of approximated terror, striking at a possible rather than actual culprit. Alfred Zimmerman supervised the interrogation of Bil. In the course of the interrogation of March 23, 1946, the AK soldier had six of his teeth crushed with a pair of pliers, needles jammed under his fingernails, and a chair leg jammed into his rectum. Finally, Zimmerman ordered that Bil be locked into “the barrel of truth,” a closed container half-filled with feces. After a while, the man confessed and was sentenced to 10 years.[78]

On April 15, 1946, the secret police arrested Piotr Kosobudzki, an officer of the PAS NZW Łódź. He left the following account of his ordeal:

The leading interrogator in our case was the Jewish officer Frenkel. His assistant was a muscular ape named Bocheński. Frankel sat behind the desk and asked questions. To stress his own seriousness, he played with a pistol. Meanwhile, Bocheński, foaming at the mouth, kept hitting me with a stick [pała] on my head, repeating one word over and over again: “talk, talk” or “sign it, sign it”…. One time Bocheński broke a police baton on my head, and then a massive chair. Finally, he beat me with a chair leg….

One of my tormentors, a Jew named Zajdel, had a magnificent way of proving false confessions right. He made me lay my hands down on the table and he hit me with a rod [pręt] on my nails. If I withdrew my hand, that meant to him that I was not telling the truth.

During that interrogation they often changed their tactics abruptly. They offered me a cigarette allegedly to calm my nerves. When I took a drag on it once, they would box me on my jaw so hard that the cigarette either was crushed between my lips or fell down. They dubbed this procedure, in the secret police swaggering jargon, “to let him smoke.”[79]

Occasionally, Frenkel was capable of being perfidiously “kind.” While the tired executioner Bocheński rested on a chair, Frenkel “sympathized” with my plight: “Do you think it would be hard for us to announce that you died of blood infection?”[80]

On May 14, 1946, the UB men of Łomża arrested the grade school teacher Halina Sawicka née Komorowska (“Jerychonka”) in Cwaliny Duże. At seventeen, the woman joined the independentist underground during the first Soviet occupation in 1939. She continued her clandestine activities against the Nazis. During the second Soviet occupation in 1945 she served as a local liaison of the National Military Union and as a distributor of the underground press. The search of her household failed to yield any incriminating material. Nonetheless, Sawicka was taken to Łomża where UB Lieutenant Eliasz Trokenheim and his men beat her on the soles of her feet and repeatedly hit her face, breaking two of her teeth. Then, the woman was summarily sentenced to death in a mock trial at the UB headquarters that lasted less than three minutes. Together with six other victims, Sawicka was stood against a wall to be shot. Unexpectedly, she and another prisoner, Domuratówna, were reprieved. However, the five men suspected of independentist activities were shot right then and there in front of the petrified Sawicka. Still, the woman refused to confess.[81]

In May 1946, the Resistance Movement of the Home Army [ROAK] unit of Wiktor Zacheusz Nowowiejski (“Jeż”) freed one of its soldiers, Edmund Morawski (“Lipa”), from a prison ward at the hospital in Przasnysz.[82] The liberated insurgent was subsequently hidden at the farmstead of Kazimierz Chrzanowski. Morawski had his legs burned and smashed by the secret police and required urgent medical attention. His host recalled that the insurgent “had unhealed wounds on his feet and broken bones were protruding from his open wounds… Throughout his incarceration he was kept in a small cell. He was so exhausted by the interrogation that he was in a critical state both physically and psychologically.”[83]

In Poznań, the Military Counterintelligence (Informacja Wojskowa) officers routinely tortured their prisoners. For example, between April and July 1946 Kazimierz S. was kept in a basement filled with cold water. His interrogators beat him with rifle butts and rubber truncheons and crushed his fingers in the door crack. The military counterintelligence also shot their prisoners summarily.[84]

On June 18, 1946, the secret police caught Henryk Jarząbek (“Tolek”) of the Conspiratorial Polish Army (Konspiracyjne Wojsko Polskie – KWP). While making the arrest, the policemen killed his brother, Kazimierz. Subsequently,

I was taken to Kościszew and there at the manor house the so-called interrogation commenced. Among other things, they inserted my hand in the door crack, closing the door gradually on it and crushing my fingers. Then they pushed a needle under my fingernails. Next, I was taken to Piotrków Trybunalski, where at the Military Intelligence headquarters I was interrogated and constantly beaten with a whip.[85]

In July 1946 in Gdańsk, the UB captured Danuta Siedzikówna (“Inka”). This seventeen-year-old girl served as a medic with the insurgent unit of Major Zygmunt Szendzielarz (“Łupaszko”). The UB men stripped her naked during the interrogation sessions. She was “beaten and abused.” The teenager stubbornly refused to confess. Later, “Inka” refused to beg for clemency. She was promptly sentenced to death and shot on August 28, 1946 .[86]

Antoni Jędraszek (“Żuk”) of the KWP was arrested in August 1946 by the UB in Pabianice:

The so-called investigation was conducted by several thugs, usually drunk, who bragged that they were ‘the Polish Gestapo.’ They were sadists without any conscience or consideration. They beat me all over my body… They beat me with their fists, a whip, and a stick. They kicked me. When I lost consciousness, they poured water over me. The fate of the victim depended on the mood of the UB men. Often they beat and tortured me for fun and pleasure, and to fulfill their bestial desires. One time during an interrogation session they beat me so much that I lost consciousness. I was dragged out on the corridor and doused with a bucket of cold water. After I regained my senses, wobbling on my feet, I attempted to get a drink of water. Then one of the torturers, called Obierzałek, kicked me and said: ‘for you, you fascist, there is no water in people’s Poland.’ They dragged me by my legs back to my cell…. As a result of such methods of total terror, a human being slowly became an inert mass of meat incapable of controlling his feelings and thoughts… Therefore the confessions, prepared by a secret policeman, were full of contradictions. This caused more interrogation sessions and torture and so on. Finally, one signed anything that one was given, without any reading, or making any corrections. Every correction or objection meant a new round of beating and torture.[87]

The superior officer of Jarząbek and Jędraszek, Lieutenant Jan Nowak (“Cis”) was arrested on September 14, 1946. Subjected to cruel torture, Nowak confessed on October 11, 1946, and was sentenced to death. This sentence was later commuted to 15 years.[88]

In October 1946 the UB arrested 18-year old Tadeusz Sikorski and his sister Władysława Sikorska-Żórawska of Lipinki near Tuchola. Both had served in the Pomeranian Gryphon (Gryf Pomorski) and, later, the AK; Tadeusz had also survived torture by the Gestapo and imprisonment at the Stutthof concentration camp. After the war the siblings cooperated with the unit of Władysław Heliński (“Mały”) which was subordinated to the “Łupaszko” squadrons. One of the partisans was arrested by the secret police and broke down during the interrogation, implicating the Sikorski family. During an earlier raid of their farmstead on June 3, 1946, the UB shot their older brother Jan, who was an insurgent commander. Next, the secret police seized Tadeusz and Władysława. The UB “beat [us] more than the Gestapo.” Both siblings were tortured and sentenced to jail. He received eight years, and his sister nine.[89]

Upon his arrest, Piotr Woźniak, an officer of the AK and NZW, was first forced to stand at attention non-stop for 24 hours. Next, he was interrogated continuously for 72 hours. According to his memoirs,

When on the second day various methods of psychological pressure failed, Capt. Gajda and his superior… attacked me. I was hit on the face…, and again. I briefly passed out and my legs buckled but I did not fall. Then I received dozens of blows to my head, face, chest, and the entire upper portion of my torso. After a while I could not hear anything but buzz in my ears, pain in my head, and the room floated and fell with me. I think I was on the floor…. After a brief rest…., Gajda began to kick me with his jackboot on my shin, systematically from my foot up to my knee…. His face reflected either sadism or drug addiction. He was hitting me and smiled with a satanic grin as if deriving pleasure from the torture. After many blows, the skin on my legs was completely torn off. Gaping and bleeding wounds formed, and after a score of hours my legs swelled enormously. I could not stand up although they were forcing me with kicks to do just that…. When that did not work and I continued to refuse to confess, they turned to another, more effective type of torture. They used a metal rod covered with rubber to beat me on the soles of my feet… I felt at that time that my brain would explode under my skull…. I could not get up on my feet, so I was crawling on my hands and knees. And then the ubowcy [UB-men] kicked me anywhere they could as if I were an inanimate object.[90]

In August 1946, the UB apprehended Lieutenant Edward Bzymek-Strzałkowski (“Swoboda”), who led the intelligence arm of Freedom and Independence (WiN). He was tortured cruelly and, consequently, attempted suicide by plunging headlong from a third floor window at the police headquarters. Bzymek-Strzałkowski survived, albeit completely crippled. While delirious at the prison hospital in Cracow, he was drugged and his interrogators successfully forced him to confess his “crimes.”[91] His liaison, Stanisława Rachwał (“Zygmunt”), was seized in Warsaw on October 30, 1946, and tortured for eleven months before being sentenced to death.[92]

On October 23, 1946, after a fire fight, the KBW and UBP captured two wounded insurgents hiding at a farmstead near Tuchola, Pommerania. One of them, Bolesław Pałubicki (“Zawisza”) broke down under torture and provided his captors with the names of 35 civilian supporters who were promptly arrested.[93]

Between November 1946 and January 1947, in Krosno, the secret policeman Bronisław P. “in order to force the arrested Jan M., a former soldier of the AK and member of the WiN, to talk beat him many times during his interrogation, forced him to sit on the leg of a stool, inserted his fingers in a door crack and then he [the secret policeman] would slam the door.” In the case of the AK soldier Jan G., the security man “beat him with a cable until the man fainted, …forced him to hop around while holding his ankles,” and forbade him “to use the toilet.” He also dragged his victim by the ankles down the stairs.[94]

On December 21, 1946, the UB arrested the peasant Aleksander Florczuk of Kolonia Kamieńczyk. He was tortured and confessed that for one night, on December 12, 1946, he sheltered and fed a 12-man strong insurgent detachment of Captain Władysław Łukasiuk (“Młot”) of the AK-WiN. On December 23, 1946, Florczuk was formally charged and shot the following day, Christmas Eve, following a “trial” that lasted an hour.[95]

Henryk Łoś (“Tur”) served in the AK- NOW -NZW units of Second Lieutenant Stanisław Pelczar (“Majka”) and Józef Zadzierski (“Wołyniak”). In January 1947,

I went into hiding. The militia and the NKVD observed my house and when I came by once they arrested me and took me to the [police] post in Krzeszów. They beat me there, mostly with an iron rod on the soles of my feet. I was only able to stand on my toes. They tied up my hands and legs and suspended me on a beam. They poured water into my nose and gagged my mouth….. The militiamen [Jan] Hasiak… and… [Jan] Tryka beat me the most…. I said to him [i.e. Tryka]: ‘I saved your life [by having freed him earlier from insurgent captivity], and you are beating me.’ It made no impression on him.[96]

The secret police subjected Mirosław Ostromęcki of the NSZ to sleep deprivation, starvation, psychological torture, and beating. After falling seriously ill, the victim was hospitalized only to be abruptly taken out of the infirmary and thrown into a tiny, freezing cell with a low-celing filled with excrement. Ostromęcki soon confessed and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison.[97]

For participating in the underground scouting movement of the AK, Marian Barcikowski was imprisoned by the Nazis in Pińczów in 1944. Two years later he was arrested by the UB and NKVD and incarcerated in the same jail along with some friends. “The interrogation methods we were subjected to were more refined than those of the Gestapo. The ‘arguments’ used during the interrogation sessions included: the leg of a chair, a hard rubber truncheon, the rifle butt of a sub-machine gun, being kicked all over our bodies, and being beaten by fist. Each time we were tortured until we lost consciousness.”[98]

Between 1946 and 1948 UB man Józef S. of Rzeszów tortured at least 20 insurgents of the AK-WiN and NOW -NZW. Beating and kicking his victims was the norm as was food and sleep deprivation. Józef S. further delighted in stripping his prisoners naked and exposing them to extreme winter conditions in an unheated solitary cell.[99]

On May 8, 1947, Cavalry Captain Witold Pilecki was seized by the UB. Pilecki fought the Nazis in 1939 and joined the underground afterwards. In 1941 he volunteered to be arrested and sent to Auschwitz, so he could report to his superiors about the camp. Eventually, Pilecki escaped from the camp and fought the Germans as a Home Army officer. Taken prisoner, he survived a POW camp and joined the Free Polish Forces in the West. Dispatched back to Poland, he was promptly arrested and charged with espionage. The UB men not only tore off his fingernails but also beat him, starved him, and held him in solitary confinement. Following six months of brutal interrogation, on November 4, 1947, Pilecki confessed to being a “Gestapo agent” and a “spy for [General] Anders.” He was shot soon after.[100]

In July 1947 the secret police arrested a prominent Nationalist politician, Adam Doboszyński. His only “crime” was that he returned from the West hoping to persuade the insurgents to cease their armed struggle. Instead, the Communists accused him of being an American and British spy and, of course, “collaborating with the Hitlerites,” an absurd charge in the light of Doboszyński’s anti-German ideology, exemplary anti-Nazi combat record, and the fact that between 1940 and 1945 he served with distinction in the Polish Armed Forces in France and England.[101] Before he was shot for his “crimes,” the politician informed the court about his ordeal with the secret police:

The moment came when the interrogating authorities presented the charge of my [alleged] collaboration with the German intelligence service… I resisted for a long time and I did not want to confess to something that is not true… I continued to struggle. Then they applied physical pressure against me…. I was beaten and tortured for four days and nights non-stop… After four days and nights, seeing that at best the torment will ruin my health, and therefore even an acquittal would be worthless, I decided to confess to deeds that I had never committed and to withdraw my confession at the first opportune moment, i.e. during the first public trial…. The investigation lasted two more years. I had to continue incriminating myself because they threatened that the torture would start again.[102]

Second Lieutenant Michał Biebrzyński (“Sęp”) of the NZW Łomża surrendered to the Communists during the amnesty in April 1947. He was arrested on September 5, 1947, tortured, tried, and sentenced to death, but later had his sentence commuted to life. Bierzyński recalls his ordeal at the Security Office in Łomża

One night sometime in October or November the doors to my cell opened… “Get out,” they told me. They did not take me upstairs anymore but to an empty room downstairs. There were whips, sticks, chains, and handcuffs hanging on the wall. There were two wooden support beams [kozły] standing there, and a long log. They tied my hands. They pulled up a chair and made me sit on it. They placed my knees between my legs and inserted the log under my knees. There were four thugs.

“Up!” They shouted. They lifted me up and I immediately turned upside down. Then they rested each end of the log on the support beams. And I was dangling down on it. It started to hurt me so much that I asked them to kill me:

“Shoot me, gentlemen, do not murder me this way.” After a while I heard a noise and next thing I felt was that they were shoving a funnel into my nose. And they were pouring something into it. Well, I was convinced I was drowning. Water kept streaming out of my ears and everywhere. They were yelling but I could not hear exactly. I only heard: “Confess, confess, you bandit!” Then they kicked me a few times and threw me down on the floor. I was untied, dragged on the floor, and propped up against the wall. The rest of the water flew out of me and they asked me:

“OK, are you going to confess?” That’s how it’s going to be all day long. “You are to denounce everyone. Where is the county commander? Where is the district commander? Where is your contact place? Where are your hiding places? Tell us everything!” I did not tell them anything however because I knew that after I surrendered all contact spots and contact people were changed.

Because I did not tell them anything, they fell on me. They beat me almost unconscious right away. Even before I answered, they beat me, and then beat me some more. When I came to, regained some of my strength, they lifted me up and one of them said: “Get out,” and again, holding me under my arms, they dragged me to my cell.[103]

In November 1947 in Cracow, the UB captured Captain Franciszek Błażej, the propaganda head of the WiN. “He was beaten for so long that his body started to rot and gangrene set in.” The victim broke down and confessed.[104]

A Catholic priest recalled his ordeal with the UB, following a ten-day long torture session:

At one point… I still reflexively comprehended the situation because, crying like a child, I stressed that my mother had taught me to do right and brought me up to be an honest man. Finally, however, I broke down and testified that I was indeed a spy. I confessed to such nonsense that my confession reflects best that I was not of a right mind.[105]

Secret police Captain Roman Laszkiewicz, dubbed the “white executioner of the Mokotów jail” (biały kat Mokotowa) by his prisoners, handled the case of Andrzej Leśniewski, who was an opposition PSL journalist and a former AK officer. Leśniewski was framed in a scheme involving a non-existent underground group, contrived in a classical secret police provocation in October 1947. Laszkiewicz interrogated Leśniewski and his father Wiktor. The son was beaten and kicked as well as forced to do hundreds of sit-ups and to stand naked at attention in sub-zero temperature. The father was interrogated non-stop for 100 hours. “The torturers broke his fingers and beat him with a baton and a steel rod.” Also, the AK-NOW officer and nationalist politician, Leon Mirecki, was beaten with sticks and wires and forced to stand naked at attention in a freezing cell without any windows by UB Lieutenant Colonel Józef Światło.[106]

In Warsaw, in August 1947, the UB arrested Jan Radożycki of the AK and the SN, who had been active in Sanok. Radożycki was questioned by two security men:

they began to beat me on my back, face, and hit my head against the wall, while swearing at me horribly. Finally, I was made to sit on the leg of an upturned stool in such a manner that it jammed against my hind bone, which caused me great pain. After a short while, I fainted and fell on the floor. They poured cold water over me and sat me down once again on that leg. As before, I fell to the floor…. I decided to confess to belonging to the SN [but refused to name names]… Therefore they started to beat me all over the place…. and to stomp on my toes with jackboots. They also forced me to do sit-ups. Finally, they locked me up in the so-called nest [dziupla]. That was a small chest where one could not move for lack of space… I spent about 24 hours there which brought me to the edge of my sanity. I prayed, I thought about various things, but I was about to break down… The following day… they beat me again everywhere; they stood me at attention with my hands up until I fainted. They forced me to do sit-ups and, finally, they put me on the stool leg which, as before, caused me to faint and fall to the ground.[107]

Arrested in the fall of 1947, after he had surrender during an amnesty, Major Zbigniew Kulesza (“Młot”), a leading NZW commander from Northern Mazovia, underwent mostly psychological torture. Marathon interrogation sessions and sleep deprivation were the norm. He was tortured physically only three times, including once almost fatally, which landed him in a prison hospital. However, to break down his resistance, the UB simultaneously interrogated and tortured his wife, Barbara, in an adjacent room. Kulesza was sentenced to life for “espionage.”[108]

The secret police caught insurgent Major Hieronim Dekutowski (“Zapora”) in the fall of 1947. Dekutowski had been in the field since 1939. He fought with the Free Polish Forces in the West and was parachuted as a commando into Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943. From 1944, he began fighting the Communists. Upon his capture by the UB, Dekutowski was tortured horribly and sentenced to death at a sham trial on November 15, 1948 . The act of judicial murder was carried out half a year later. According to an account,

on the evening of March 7, 1949, the red executioners came to the cell in the Mokotów prison to get Major ‘Zapora,’ Hieronim Dekutowski, who was a commando [cichociemny] and a bearer of [Poland’s most coveted] Virtuti Militari cross. He was thirty years, five months, and eleven days old. He looked like an old man: grey hair, missing teeth that had been knocked out of his mouth [by the interrogators], broken nose, hands, and ribs. His fingernails had been torn off [during torture]. ‘We shall never surrender!’ he yelled sending his last message to his fellow prisoners. According to documents, the sentence was carried out by shooting.[109]

Between January 1947 and December 1949 in Wieluń, UB officer Tadeusz R. tortured at least six persons connected to the insurgent Conspiratorial Polish Army (KWP), including Stefan Kaczmarek, Franciszek Gąsior, Józef Musiał, and Antoni Teodorczyk. The prisoners were beaten with “a fist, a stick, a steel rod and other tools all over their bodies. Some of them were placed in a cellar, which was filled with water. Others were tied up and had water poured down their nostrils and throat until they fainted.”[110]

Father (Lieutenant Colonel) Józef Zator-Przytocki fought as a military chaplain in 1939. Later, he joined the independentist underground under the Soviet occupation in Stanisławów. He fled the NKVD in 1940 to the Nazi-occupied part of Poland, where he continued his clandestine activities in the Home Army in the Kraków area. After the return of the Soviets to Poland in 1945, Father Zator-Przytocki escaped to Gdańsk . He was arrested by the UB on September 5, 1948. Tortured horribly (including beating and isolation in a cell where the temperature was below the freezing point), he refused to break down. His faith guided him: “I’m a soldier of the Catholic Church. I must always and everywhere maintain an inner balance. I cannot give in to pessimism. I must endure everything with calm.” He survived his imprisonment albeit with greatly damaged health.[111]

Home Army soldier Wacław Gluth-Nowowiejski joined an informal university student group called “Keep Smiling” in Warsaw. He discontinued armed struggle out of deference to his mother: Wacław was the only surviving of four siblings, three of his brothers having been killed during the war. Further, he sustained a serious wound in his forearm during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Gluth-Nowowiejski nonetheless maintained a loose contact with his comrades in the anti-Communist insurgency, caching weapons for Wojciech Kostkiewicz of the WiN “Orlik” unit in May 1948. Soon after, the UB captured Kostkiewicz and tortured him into revealing fifteen persons who had assisted him. Gluth-Nowowiejski was seized in November 1948. The secret police falsely assumed that “Keep Smiling” was a Western spy group. The UB men forced Wiesław to do sit-ups, kicked him, and beat him. When Gluth-Nowowiejski was unable to stand the torture anymore, he would shield his head with his wounded forearm. A blow to the wound invariably assured an immediate loss of consciousness. He was sentenced to eight years in a show trial.[112]

* * *


[73] Jan Ordyński, “Finał procesu stalinowskiego oficera,” Rzeczpospolita, 4 April 2002; Mikołaj Wójcik, “Był świadom swojej brutalności,” Nasz Dziennik, 4 April 2002; Jan Ordyński, “Dobra opinia od Różańskiego,” Rzeczpospolita, 5 March 2002; Jan Ordyński, “Był jeden Szymański,” Rzeczpospolita, 22 January 2002; Jan Ordyński, “Sąd Najwyższy nie zmienił wyroku,” Rzeczpospolita, 5 December 2001; AKA, “Zmarł Adam Humer,” Rzeczpospolita, 13 November 2001; Tadeusz M. Płużański, “Najnowsza historia humerowców,” posted at; “Już nie wyjaśni,” Nasz Dziennik, 14 November 2001; J.O., “Awans za zabijanie,” Rzeczpospolita, 13 October 2001; Agata Łukaszewicz, “Zła sława oprawcy,” Rzeczpospolita, 21 August 2001; Jan Ordyński, “Dręczył więźniów X pawilonu,” Rzeczpospolita, 24 April 2001; Krajewski, Żołnierze wyklęci, 221; Barbara Otwinowska and Teresa Drzal, eds., Zawołać po imieniu: Księga kobiet – więźniów politycznych, 1944-1958, vol. 1 (Nadarzyn: Vipart, 1999), 1: 111-113. [UP]

[74] Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 250. [UP]

[75] J.O. [Jan Ordyński], “Fałszowali dowody i katowali,” Rzeczpospolita, 5 August 2003. [UP]

[76] See Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 253. [UP]

[77] See “Meldunek sytuacyjny,” [no date, February 1946], in Zbrodnie NKWD-UB, ed. by Henryk Pająk (Lublin: n.p. [Retro], 1991), 242-44. [UP]

[78] Michał Stankiewicz, “Poszukiwani oprawcy i ofiary,” Rzeczpospolita, 25 March 2004. [UP]

[79] A play on words: “Dać mu popalić,” i.e. “kick the crap out of him.” [UP]

[80] Piotr Kosobudzki, Przez druty, kraty i kajdany: Wspomnienia partyzanta NSZ (Wrocław: Wydawnictwo "Nortom,” 1997), 249-50. Kosobudzki was sentenced to two years in jail but escaped after 13 months. While being transported to another jail, he broke the window with his head and jumped out from a moving train. He hid until 1950. Ibid., 251, 259, 296. [UP]

[81] Sawicka was released shortly after but she was re-arrested on June 7, 1949. Again, she refused to confess and was let go. Meanwhile, the UB arrested her husband, who edited and disseminated an underground newsheet. He was subjected to torture and later sentenced to five years of forced labor in a coal mine. He served three years but upon his release he was denied employment as an “enemy of the people.” A dispatch by the Communist civilian authorities concerning her arrest misidentified Halina Sawicka-Komorowska as “Jadwiga Komorowska.” See UWB, WSP, do MAP, DP, 5 June 1945, APB, UWB, file 496, 103; Postanowienie, 2 September 1993, Sąd Wojewódzki w Łomży, file II Ko 250/93 (a copy in my collection); Halina Sawicka, interview by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Łomża, 19 July 2001. [UP]

[82] In December 1945, Morawski led a successful rescue operation, freeing 14 insurgents from a militia outpost in Chorzele, and he participated in most operations of Lt. Nowowiejski’s unit. Captured by the UB and tortured, he withstood torture initially but when his tormentors threathened to kill him, Morawski feigned willingness to collaborate. He was therefore transferred to a prison ward of the local hospital to recuperate. However, Morawski secretly sent a message out for help to his confederates and was freed by them in a daring action. See Krajewski et al., Żołnierze wyklęci, 129. [UP]

[83] Ryszard Juszkiewicz, Ziemia Mławska w latach 1945-1953 (Walka o wolność i suwerenność) (Mława: Stacja Naukowa w Mławie im. Prof. Dr. Stanisława Herbsta, 2002), 79. [UP]

[84] See Wojciech Wybranowski, “Mordercy w wojskowych mundurach,” Nasz Dziennik, 23 August 2002. [UP]

[85] See Appendix 3, “Wspomnienia Henryka Jarząbka ‘Tolka’,” in Roman Peska, Pójdę do nieba bo w piekle już byłem: Konspiracyjne Wojsko Polskie “Buki” Obwód Łask 1946 rok (Szczerców: By the author, 1996), 183-184 [afterward “Wspomnienia Henryka” in Pójdę do nieba]. [UP]

[86] Danuta Siedzikówna was shot together with one of her superiors, Lieutenant Feliks Selmanowicz (“Zagończyk”). See Jerzy Morawski, “Lepiej, że ja jedna zginę,” Rzeczpospolita, 3 November 2000; Marek Domagalski, “Kara śmierci dla sanitariuszki była krzycząco niesprawiedliwa,” Rzeczpospolita, 19 October 2001; Piotr Szubarczyk, “Aż do ofiary życia mego,” Nasz Dziennik, 24-26 December 2001; Wiesława Siedzik-Korzeniowa interviewed by Marzena Michalczyk, “‘Zemstę zostawcie Bogu,’” Nasz Dziennik, 8 February 2002; Maciej Walaszczyk, “Gdzie pochowano ‘Inkę’,” Nasz Dziennik, 18 February 2003; Krajewski, Żołnierze wyklęci, 391, 407, 410. Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 415-417. [UP]

[87] See Appendix 2, “Wspomnienia żołnierza Armii Krajowej Antoniego Jędraszka (“Żuk”),” in Peska, Pójdę do nieba, 179-81. [UP]

[88] See Peska, Pójdę do nieba, 79. [UP]

[89] See Piotr Szubarczyk, “O bandytach trzeba meldować,” Nasz Dziennik, 21 May 2002; Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 505-506. [UP]

[90] Piotr Woźniak, Zapluty karzeł reakcji: Wspomnienia AK-owca z więzienia PRL (Paris: Spotkania, 1984), 14-15. [UP]

[91] Bohdan Urbankowski, Czerwona msza czyli uśmiech Stalina, 2 vols., Second editon (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Alfa, 1998), 2: 484. [UP]

[92] Rachwał was one of the most intrepid underground fighters. The wife of a military and later police commissioned officer and a Piłsudskite, she was first arrested by the NKVD in Stanisławów in October 1939. After escaping from the Soviet zone, she joined the Union for Armed Struggle (ZWZ) in Cracow in January 1940. Rachwał was then caught by the Gestapo in May 1941. She withstood the torture and was bought out of jail by the underground. She was re-arrested on October 13, 1942, and shipped off to Auschwitz on December 1, 1942. She continued her underground work in the camps, including Ravensbrück and Neustadt-Gleve. Liberated by the British in May 1945, Rachwał returned to Poland where she re-joined the underground (DSZ-WiN Intelligence Brigades). She was recognized in Warsaw by UB Colonel Leon Ajzen-Andrzejewski whose wife, Krystyna Żywulska, was her campmate in Auschwitz. On September 29, 1947, Rachwał was senteced to life but during her next trial, on December 30, 1947, she received a death sentence, which was however changed to life by an act of clemency on February 14, 1948. On May 10, 1955, her sentence was reduced to 15 years but, finally, Rachwał was released during the amnesty on October 30, 1956. See Filip Musiał, “Stanisława Rachwał,” Zeszyty do historii WiN-u, vol. 11, no. 17 (June 2002): 301-305. [UP]

[93] Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 476-78. [UP]

[94] See mat, “Bił kablem do utraty tchu,” Rzeczpospolita, 31 October 2001; Józef Matusz, “Podsądny mówi o barbarzyństwie,” Rzeczpospolita, 25 April 2002; “Ubek przed sądem,” Nasz Dziennik, 25 April 2002; Akt oskarżenia przeciwko Bronisławowi P., posted at [UP]

[95] See Maciej Podgórski, “Sprawiedliwość stalinowskiego kancelisty,” Rzeczpospolita, 3 April 2002. [UP]

[96] See the account of Henryk Łoś in Danuta Wraga-Ruszkiewicz, Czas lęku i nadziei (Kraków: Fundacja Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodległościowego, Księgarnia Akademicka, 2000), 114. [UP]

[97] See Akta sprawy Mirosława Ostromęckiego i towarzyszy, AHMSW, WSR, file Sr 78/47; “Pamięci Mirosława Ostromęckiego,” Szczerbiec [Lublin], no. 10 (January 2000): 74-90. [UP]

[98] See Marian Barcikowski, “Katowani przez UB,” Nasz Dziennik, 4-5 August 2001. [UP]

[99] Dorota Angerman, “Ubek przed sądem,” Nasz Dziennik, 1-2 February 2003. [UP]

[100] The interrogators of Pilecki were: Colonel Józef Różański, Colonel Roman Romkowski, Lieutenant T. Słowianek, Lieutenant S. Alaborski, and Lieutenant E. Chimczak. See Krzysztof Pilecki, Był sens walki i sens śmierci (Bydgoszcz: Towarzystwo Miłośników Wilna i Ziemi Wileńskiej, 1998), 100; Krajewski, Żołnierze wyklęci, 114; Jan Ordyński, “Prokurator oskarżony o zbrodnię sądową: Śledztwo IPN w sprawie śmierci rotmistrza Pileckiego,” Rzeczpospolita, 24 September 2002; J.O., “Prokurator na ławie oskarżonych: Tragiczna historia rotmistrza Pileckiego,” Rzeczpospolita, 1 April 2003; Maciej Walaszczyk, “Zakwestionował skład sądu,” Nasz Dziennik, 13 May 2003. [UP]

[101] See Jerzy Kułak, “Inżynierowie dusz,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 10 (October 2002): 26-28. [UP]

[102] Adam Doboszyński quoted in Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński, “Doboszyński Adam Władysław,” Encyklopedia “Białych Plam”, vol. 5: Demokracji “kult” – Eutanazja (Radom: Polskie Wydawnictwo Encyklopedyczne, 2001), 5: 87. [UP]

[103] Michał Biebrzyński “Sęp”, “Sfingowany wyrok,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 11 (November 2002): 65-66. [UP]

[104] Paweł Wroński, “Prawda o WiN-ie,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 15 June 2001. [UP]

[105] Father Rudolf Adamczyk quoted in Jan Żaryn, “Postawy duchowieństwa katolickiego wobec władzy państwowej w latach 1944-1956,” in Szarota, Komunizm, 294. [UP]

[106] See Jan Ordyński, “Sto godzin przesłuchania bez przerwy,” Rzeczpospolita, 5 February 2002. [UP]

[107] See Jan Radożycki, “Przeżyłem by dać świadectwo prawdzie,” Nasz Dziennik, 14-16 April 2001. The victim confessed after a while. [UP]

[108] See Zbigniew Młot-Kulesza, Śledztwo wyklętych (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Alfa, 1995), 18-26, 31-37, 43, 51-60, 67, 74-75, 99-106, 113-114, 124, 128, 134, 140-144, 152-154, 182, 226, 400. [UP]

[109] Kurek, Zaporczycy, 375. [UP]

[110] See Akt oskarżenia przeciwko Tadeuszowi R., posted at; and Anna Surowiec, “Oprawca z UB skazany,” Nasz Dziennik, 25 July 2002. [UP]

[111] Quoted in Anna Kołakowska, “Żołnierz Kościoła,” Nasz Dziennik, 26 September 2002. [UP]

[112] Wacław Gluth-Nowowiejski, “Na celowniku,” Rzeczpospolita-Karta, 1 March 2003, 12-14. [UP]