- Żołnierze Wyklęci by Jerzy Slaski – Published by Rytm. Edition Language – Polish.
BAUDIENST Not a Collaborationist Unit. The ZOLNIERZE WYKLECI (“Cursed Soldiers”) in the Light of the Forced Communization of Poland
THE CURSED SOLDIERS is the title of this Polish-language book. It emphasizes the Lublin area. [My review is based on the original 1996 printing.]
This work first describes the anti-Nazi Polish guerrilla actions. This includes the assassination of Carl Ludwig Freudenthal, an administrator of the Garwolin area. (p. 46). [This recounts the better-known Polish Underground assassination of Franz Kutschera in Warsaw.]
In common with countless authors, Slaski stresses what he calls the pitiful amount of arms and ammunition available to the Polish guerillas. (pp. 50-51). [So much for the silly myth that the Underground did not give more arms and ammunition, in support of the Jews’ certain-to-fail Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, because of anti-Semitism.]
This book not only discusses the combat operations of the anti-Communist Polish guerrillas, but also elaborates on the mechanisms of repression conducted by the Soviet-imposed Communist rule. More on this later.
The author has a habit of tying-in previous episodes, in the age-old fight for Poland’s freedom, in the same geographic area. For example, near Zyrzyn, on August 18, 1863, during the January Insurrection, Polish forces defeated a tsarist Russian army unit. Nearly 200 Russian soldiers fell in combat or were wounded, and another 150 were captured. (p. 41). Several decades later, this location became a scene of anti-Communist combat.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BAUDIENST: COMPELLED MEMBERSHIP, NOT COLLABORATION
Slaski notes the experiences of „Lisa”, who had been forced by the Nazis to serve in the BAUDIENST. Polish youth were compelled by the German occupants to serve in the BAUDIENST for the performance of various public works. (p. 52). [The BAUDIENST was also sometimes used by the Germans to search for fugitive Jews. Neo-Stalinist Jan Grabowski vel Abrahamer has misrepresented the BAUDIENST as an organization in which Poles willingly collaborated with the Germans in the JUDENJAGD (hunt for the Jews). They most certainly did not.]
GL-AL MURDERS OF NON-COMMUNIST POLISH UNDERGROUND
Already in 1943, and notably in the Lublin area, the Communist GL-AL bands murdered A. K. (ARMIA KRAJOWA) soldiers and especially their officers (for example, in a perfidious AK/GL-AL „meeting” staged by „Cien”: pp. 68-71). In time, the A. K. retaliated against the GL-AL, but never at the same scale. The GL-AL, at the time, had little effective support from the Soviet Union, and the A. K. could easily have wiped out the GL-AL. However, in the interest of minimizing fratricide among Poles, the A. K. leadership chose not to do so. (p. 76).
THE NKVD TERROR
The imposition of Communism followed upon the heels of the advancing Red Army. Active Soviet intervention was at first the norm, as the Communists initially had almost no support among the Polish population. Author Jerzy Slaski quotes a 1992 publication, DOKUMENTY DO DZIEJOW PRL, p 22, 77, in which Wladyslaw Gomulka and Boleslaw Bierut candidly admitted that, without the active involvement of the NKVD, not only would Communism not be victorious, but the „People’s authority” would be swept away in a matter of days! (p. 169).
Contrary to the many whitewashing biographies of Wladyslaw Gomulka, this work tells the truth. Notwithstanding Gomulka’s arrest by Stalin for „nationalist deviation”, Gomulka played a key role in the brutal suppression of the anti-Communist opposition in the years 1945-1947. (p. 27).
WARNING: The graphic cruelties of the Communists are described, and the sensitive reader is advised to avoid this work. I will not elaborate on them, and will instead provide some general information.
Author Slaski focuses on the Pulawy area. The NKVD and U. B. (Bezpieka) forces engaged in mass, arbitrary arrests, and bogus grounds for the arrests. (e. g, p. 163-on). Livestock, farming equipment, etc., was confiscated. (e. g, p. 204). The imprisoned were deprived of medical care, hygiene, etc., and were subject to tortures.
In time, the Communists scaled back on collective punishments. They reckoned that such actions would, in the long term, make it more difficult to secure the acquiescence of the captive population to Communist rule.
Unlike many other works on the ZOLNIERZE WYKLECI, this one does not emphasize the actual anti-Communist guerrilla actions as much. However, it provides notable details on the often-spectacular mass liberations of imprisoned Poles. (e. g., pp. 147-on).
The Communists literally used every trick in the book to gain and secure power. The so-called People’s Referendum of June 30, 1946 (also called „Three Times Yes”) not only involved a falsification of the vote itself, but also a preceding wave of Communist terror and lesser pressures. Peasants were warned that even one „No” vote could mean a confiscation of their cattle and an increase in agricultural dues, and urban workers were told that even one „No” vote could mean getting fired from their jobs and seeing their children removed from schools. (p. 31).
The anti-Communist Underground almost always executed U. B. members who fell into their hands. Many of those were Jews, simply because the U. B. officers were so disproportionately Jewish. Slaski stresses the fact that no U. B. member was executed for being a Jew, but only for being in the U. B. (p. 189). In fact, the author polemicized with an elderly Jewish woman who accused the A. K. (and successor organizations) for being (what else?) anti-Semitic for shooting her husband, even though her husband was a U. B. (Bezpieka) officer. (p. 190).
Bandits, including especially deserters from the Red Army, were common. (p. 194). Bandits had also been a chronic problem during the earlier German Nazi occupation. (p. 55). [How many killings of Jews were conducted by bandits?].
GOING ON WITH ONE’S LIFE: RESIGNATION TO COMMUNISM
Local support for the Soviet-imposed Communist government at first consisted of Poles who were illiterate, or with criminal background [not to mention Jews]. [The two groups were respectively called the CHAMOKOMUNA and the ZYDOKOMUNA].
As it became increasingly obvious that Communism was here to stay, some Polish peasants and workers gradually came to support the new government in order to function and advance in society. Some Poles also believed that Communism could be Polonized and made democratic. (p. 129). [In a sense, this eventually happened–in 1989].
Published with the author’s permission.
- Title image: „Żołnierze Wyklęci” by Jerzy Slaski – part of cover / On image: Marian Bernaciak – Orlik / selected by wg.pco
, 2018.10.29. / up 2020.03.01.