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Maria Wittekówna and other Polish Women in The AK

Barney 16 | 1,669
12 Nov 2009 #1
Maria Wittekówna who in October 1939 took charge of the Women's Auxiliary Service - of the 1st Bureau of the Polish Victory Service (Służba Zwycięstwu Polski - SWP) GHQ

Many women soldiers of the AK received decorations. In the Lwów district (Area III) 20 percent of those who received the Cross for Valour were women, likewise 40 percent of those who received the Silver Cross of Merit with swords and 50 percent of those who received the Bronze Cross of Merit with swords. In a few exceptional cases women were decorated with the Order Virtuti Militari (class V).

it should be stressed that the actual active engagement of women in the national liberation movement (in military operations both at home and abroad) was far greater than what was stated in official figures. Indeed, at the start of 1940 the Commander of the Union of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej - ZWZ), Col. Stefan Rowecki, declared that the women in Poland were carrying out the same types of military service as the men, and thus decreed that the term Women's Military Service be used.

The result of her mission (which coincided with legislative work being carried out by the Polish government and the Polish Supreme GHQ Command) was that the Polish President issued a decree, dated 27th October 1943, stating that 'female soldiers have the same rights and obligations as male soldiers.


Has anyone any stories or pictures of women in the Armia Krajowa?

  • Maria Wittekwna

  • Radoslaw Unit

  • warsaw-1944

  • cc
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
13 Nov 2009 #2
Maria Wittekówna

She was born in 1899 in Trębki and moved to Kiev where she became the first female student but was first sworn into the Polskiej Organizacji Wojskowej (POW). She briefly took over military command after the arrest of the leadership.

The Bolsheviks placed a bounty on her head equivalent to her weight in gold. After the arrival of Polish troops (in Ukraine) she joined them and served firstly in the intelligence service headquarters, and then in the Sixth Army, returning to Poland, she took part in the defence of Lwow during the Polish-Bolshevik war, for which he was awarded the Srebrnym Krzyżem Virtuti Militari. (Silver Cross?).

She spend most of the rest of the 1920's until 1934 training women for service in various Military auxiliary services

During the second world war she was head of communications for the AK also fighting in the Warsaw uprising and avoiding capture.

After the war she was arrested and imprisoned by the communists working the rest of her days in a newspaper kiosk.

Lech Walesa appointed her Brigadier General in 1991

She died in 1997, ten years later a life-size bronze monument of her was unveiled at the Army Museum in Warsaw.

You have to excuse this as the sources are mostly in Polish Google translate and educated guesses have been applied.
[] - Link1
[] - Link2
[] - Link3

Have a think the next time you are buying a newspaper.

  • Polish Soldiers 1920
sjam 2 | 541
13 Nov 2009 #3
Have you read :

Silent Is The Vistula by by Irena Orska
Published in 1946, Longmans, Green

This is a truly great book of the courage of Polish women during the Rising, 1944.
1jola 14 | 1,877
13 Nov 2009 #4
Danuta Siedzikowna codenamed "Inka" (1928-1946) , a 17-year old medic from the Major "Lupaszka's" unit of the Home Army. Executed by Polish Secret Police, the UB on August 28, 1946.

"I am sad that I have to die. Tell my grandma that I conducted myself with dignity".
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
13 Nov 2009 #5
Who said "Women dont have Balls"?
They do, just higher up.

Danuta Siedzikowna

Shocking!, executed at 17 years of age.

I cant see the images as I'm in work will check them out later.

Silent Is The Vistula by by Irena Orska

I'll keep an eye out for it.

I intend to read the last Beevor book and some of Janusz Tazbir's stuff (as Recommended Here) over Christmas and New Year.
1jola 14 | 1,877
13 Nov 2009 #6
Taking the oath:
sjam 2 | 541
13 Nov 2009 #7
Maria 'Marylka' Sobocinska one of very few women awarded Virtuti Militari. Born in 1920 and still actively involved with womens veteran affairs .

'Marylka' organised the Women's Military Service and served as a courier and was involved in many other underground activities. After the war she was arrested by the Polish communist security service and was sentenced to six years for her activities in the A.K. but was released in November 1948.
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
13 Nov 2009 #8
Maria 'Marylka' Sobocinska

The Order Virtuti Militari (Latin for "To Military Valour") is Poland's highest military decoration for courage in the face of the enemy. It was created in 1792[1] by Poland's King Stanisław August Poniatowski and is considered as one of the oldest military decorations in the world still in use.[2]

  • Marylka

  • Sobocinska

  • Virtuti militari
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
13 Nov 2009 #10
Such a shame she wasnt mentioned my thread

I did see that thread at the time but didnt know about her until Yedterday, I was reading a thing about Women Rebels and did a search and found this woman.

The thing that struck me was her working selling newspapers probably having to put up with all sorts.

Look at Maria Sobocinska who would have thought
sjam 2 | 541
14 Nov 2009 #11
Look at Maria Sobocinska who would have thought

I had the great pleasure of meeting the diminutive 'Marylka' Sobocinska in Warsaw a year ago and am in the process of having her memoirs translated into English. This book should be on sale in autumn 2010 :-))

Maybe you should add Zofia Kossak-Szczucka to your list.

Despite holding openly antisemitic views she wrote "Protest," a leaflet in support of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto:

The world, Kossak-Szczucka wrote, was silent in the face of this atrocity. "England is silent, so is America, even the influential international Jewry, so sensitive in its reaction to any transgression against its people, is silent. Poland is silent...

Zofia Kossak-Szczucka went on to co-founded Provisional Committee to Aid Jews which became Zegota with Irena Sendler.

Zofia Kossak was a well known author of historical fiction before the war and one her later books Angels in the dust a novel of the First Crusade is definitely worth finding a copy of and reading it was published by Roy Publishers of New York , 1947.
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
15 Nov 2009 #12
Elżbieta Zawacka(19 March 1909 - 10 January 2009[/url]), known also by her war-time nom de guerre Zo, was a Polish university professor, scouting instructor, SOE agent and a freedom fighter during World War II.

She was awarded The Virtuti Militari, Order of the White Eagle and The Cross of Valor

Zofia Kossak-Szczucka an interesting anti-semite

I had the great pleasure of meeting the diminutive 'Marylka' Sobocinska

Good luck with the Memoirs

  • Elżbieta Zawacka

  • Elżbieta Zawacka
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
15 Nov 2009 #13
Not every Woman Soldier was decorated

Battalion "Czata 49." Had at least two women serving.

"Xenia" Louis Wyszomirska was a courrier

"Ewa"Anna Wyganowska (No Info)

Not all women soldiers fought with the AK and some were murdered out of hand. The third image is of two Jewish women/Girls on the point of execution during or just after the Ghetto rising

  • Anna Wyganowska

  • Louis Wyszomirska

OP Barney 16 | 1,669
15 Nov 2009 #14
That woman in the third picture of post #4 is Zofia Domańska or "Zocha"

Zofia Domańska Died in September 2009,11,,4498,Zofia-Doma%C5%84ska-nekrolog.html
SeanBM 35 | 5,792
15 Nov 2009 #15

Description of the image: Col Stanisław Koszutski is getting the report back from the cf. from Maria Milewska.
Date of the event: 1945 / 04 / 12
Place: Oberlangen
People in the photo: Stanisław Koszutski, Maria Milewska,
of objects Passwords: prisoners of war, women, armour, camps prisoner of war,
Other proper names: 1 armoured division, the Home Army,

click here for photo

Description of the image: freed Poles.
Date of the event: 1945 / 04
Place: Oberlangen
of objects Passwords: camps prisoner of war, prisoners of war, women, Other proper names: the Home Army
From here =143&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dkobiet%2B%25C5%25BCo%25C5%2582nierzy%2Bak%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26channel%3Ds%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-GB:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

After the war she was arrested and imprisoned by the communists working the rest of her days in a newspaper kiosk.

I'll never look at a woman in a kiosk the same way.

Really great Thread Barney.
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
15 Nov 2009 #16
Those images are what I have been looking for (names,dates and places)

Its difficult to get stories, thats what I have been looking for. I dont know Polish so have to rely upon online translations as most sources are in polish, I will keep searching.

SeanBM 35 | 5,792
15 Nov 2009 #17
Those images are what I have been looking for (names,dates and places)

Description of the image: photographic portrait.
Date of the event: 1930 - 1950
Keywords: the resistance movement, women,

Lovely eyes :)

Danuta Siedzikowna

There's more on her


Wanda Gertz codename: Lena, Kazik

In 1942-1944 she organised and was commander of the "DYSK" (an initialism for "Dywersja i Sabotaż Kobiet" or "Women's sabotage unit").


* Virtuti Militari, V class
* Polonia Restituta
* Krzyż Walecznych, five times
* Krzyż Niepodległości, with Swords
* Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami, Golden with Swords

Maria Wittek codename: Mira, Pani Maria


* Virtuti Militari, V class - twice
* Krzyż Walecznych,
* Krzyż Niepodległości, with Swords
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
16 Nov 2009 #18
When the Warsaw Uprising ended the Germans granted over two thousand Polish women soldiers prisoner-of-war status. Women officers were sent to Oflag Molsdorf, whereas women of lower ranks were sent, among other places, to Stalag Oberlangen.

Oflag Molsdorf

Oflag IX C Molsdorf was created after the collapse of the Warsaw Rising. It was a small camp, capable of accommodating 400 people, and it was a branch of the Buchenwald concentration camp

The Polish OC was Major Wanda Gertz a.k.a. "Kazik" (Pictured above Post #22)

Conditions were harsh with temperatures dropping to minus 17 celsius The German Commander forbade the use of small cookers and prevented the supply of firewood.

"this camp looks surprisingly like a concentration camp, not like any Oflag that I have seen."Dr. H. Landolt of the Red Cross

There are some good images in the second link.

Stalag Oberlangen

Oberlangen accommodated 1.721 women from the Warsaw Rising. They were aged between 14 and 60. Many concealed their officer military ranks so as to be placed together with the women soldiers in the Stalags. Their task was to train the hundreds of young women who were not accustomed to military discipline to form a military group.

Captain Maria Irena Milska "Jaga", posing as a sergeant, was the camp's commander.

In October 0f 1944 Strafflager VI C Oberlangen was removed from the official list of the prisoner-of-war camps [by Germans] because its living conditions were beyond any acceptable standards. The International Red Cross did not realise that it was the place where the Polish women prisoners of war were transported.

Maria Irena Milska "Jaga" died in 1988 in Krakow

  • Maria Irena Milska

  • The emblem of the women society of Oberlangen
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
17 Nov 2009 #19 - Film of Polish women soldiers

Location unknown (It looks like Britain to me plus the uniforms)

PS give it time to load, may be a bit stop/go depending on your connection.
McCoy 27 | 1,268
17 Nov 2009 #20

Janina Lewandowska

Polish singer, glider and airplane pilot, aviation pilot of the Polish Army, a victim of the Katyn massacre, posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

One of these dynamic leaders was Second Lieutenant Janina Dowbor Musnicki Lewandowska. She was born Janina Dowbor-Musnicka around 1910. Her father was the commander of The Polish Army First Corps. Early in life, Janina developed three major passions: flying, parachuting and singing. She excelled at each.

OP Barney 16 | 1,669
8 Dec 2009 #21
Marzena Schejbal
Pictured above on the left, the woman on the right is Anna Przylipiak below is a picture of them with Wanda Gutowska another AK soldier, they were going to the 60th anniversary reunion. - This is a great wee article about them

Marzenna joined 3 Company "Wkra", Pine Group, and soon acted as messenger, nurse, stretcher-bearer, forager for medical supplies and jack-of-all-trades. On August 6, 1944, sporting a white-and-red AK armband - ubiquitous symbol of the Rising.

These couriers were very brave, pictured is one working under fire.

  • Three ladies

  • POW card and original armband

  • Very young courier

  • Courier under fire
czesia - | 1
17 Mar 2010 #22
My mother also was a courier during the Warsaw Uprising, her name was Barbara Chojnacka. She delivered arms and carried messages in the cities sewers. She wound up in Oberlangen, and was liberated by the Polish First Armored Division.
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
5 Aug 2010 #23
Franz Kutschera
Was a particularly nasty individual, He joined the NSDAP in late 1930 and the SS in late 1931.

He distinguished himself in the fight against the Resistance with his fanaticism and skill. Hence, he was appointed SS and Police Leader, first from April 1943 in the Mogilev district of the Soviet Union and then as of September 1943, and until his death on 1 February 1944, the Police leader of the District of Warsaw in the occupied Poland.

Zofia Franio

Was head of the elite Armia Krajowa DYSK unit (Women's Diversion and Sabotage), they provided the intelligence for the removal of this man. The DYSK also sourced and manufactured explosives and other armaments during the Warsaw rising. They were active in sabotaging rail lines, bridges, eliminating Gestapo and gathering intelligence.

  • Zofia Franio
isthatu2 4 | 2,694
5 Aug 2010 #24
Sorry matey,youve fallen into the classic trap. That photo of 3 "young girls" in the AK,bottom left in the top post,is actually of 3 young boys,not girls,infact Im sure the lad at the front is(or was untill recently) still alive.
OP Barney 16 | 1,669
6 Aug 2010 #25
That image has been released into the public domain ie devoid of copyright and as such became very famous. For example it's found on sites discussing child soldiers with no direct interest in Polish history.

The subjects were members of the Szare Szeregi briefly, a mutated form of scouts.

"The structure of the Szare Szeregi was based on the prewar structure of the ZHP, modified to suit the new circumstances of occupation and persecution. The basic unit of ZHP was a drużyna (troop), consisting of 20 boys or girls."

The image comes from the archives of Audiovisual Documentation Archiwum Dokumentacji Audiowizualnej and is clearly labled "Young boy and girl scouts fighting in the Warsaw uprising, Author unknown"

The young girl and two boys were about 17 years old and its almost impossible to identify the individuals (Archiwum Dokumentacji Audiowizualnej couldnt) I can say that the individual at the front looks like a young woman to me. If you have additional information I and others would be grateful for identification.

isthatu2It appears that you are correct. My apologies

Tadeusz Rajszczak is the name of the young boy (aged 15) wearing the helmet.
He fought with Batalion Miotła

The picture was taken on the 2nd September 1944 by Jerzy Tomaszewski.

featuring Tadeusz Rajszczak.

I posted this last night but there appears to have been a restore at some point before now.

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