Danuta Siedzikówna

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Danuta Siedzikówna
Danuta Siedzikowna Sopot.jpg
Danuta Siedzikówna
Birth name Danuta Siedzikówna
Nickname(s) Inka
Born (1928-09-03)3 September 1928
Guszczewina, Poland
Died 28 August 1946(1946-08-28) (aged 17)
Gdańsk, Poland
Allegiance  Poland
Rank Orderly
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Polonia Restituta Polonia Restituta (III Class)
Memorial Plaque for Danuta Siedzikówna in Gdańsk Basilica

Danuta Siedzikówna (nom de guerre: Inka; underground name: Danuta Obuchowicz; born 3 September 1928, Guszczewina – died 28 August 1946, Gdansk) was a medical orderly in the 4th Squadron (created in the Białystok area) of the 5th Wilno Brigade of the Polish Home Army.[1] In 1946 she served with the Brigade's 1st Squadron in Poland's Pomorze (Pomerania) region.

Early life[edit]

Memorial Stone for Danuta Siedzikówna in Sopot

Siedzikówna was born on 3 September 1928 in Guszczewina, near Narewka, Bielsk Podlaski. Her father, Wacław Siedzik, was a forester who had been sent to Siberia under the Tsar for being involved in pro-Polish independence organizations. He came back to Poland in 1923. In 1940 he was arrested by the NKVD and once again deported to Russia.

In 1941 he joined Władysław Anders' Polish Army (died in Teheran in 1942). Her mother, Eugenia, née Tymińskia Prus III coat of arms, was a member of the Home Army and was killed by the Gestapo in September 1943. Siedzikówna grew up with her siblings, Wiesława (1927–2004) and Irena (1931? - 1978), in the forester's lodge near Guszczewina (when were exiled Wacław they moved to Narewka), the girls attended grammar school in Narewka until 1939. During the Second World War, until 1943 all three girls studied in the Salesian Sisters School in Różanystok near Dąbrowa Białostocka.[2]

Second World War and thereafter[edit]

Memorial for Danuta Siedzikówna in Narewka

After their mother was murdered by the Gestapo in Białystok, together with her sister Wiesława, Danuta joined the Home Army in late 1943 or early 1944. As part of the underground army's training she acquired medical skills.[2] After the Soviets took Białystok from the German Nazis, she started work as a clerk in the forest inspectorate in Hajnówka.[2]

Together with other employees of the inspectorate she was arrested in June 1945 by NKWD and UB for collaboration with the anticommunist underground. She was liberated from a prison transport convoy by a patrol of a Wilno group of ex-Home Army partisans commanded by Stanisław Wołonciej "Konus", a subordinate of Zygmunt Szendzielarz, "Łupaszko", who were operating in the area. "Konus" took the freed prisoners to "Łupaszko"'s camp where some of them, including Danuta, joined his group. Subsequently Siedzikówna served as a medical orderly in the "Konus" troop, and then in the squadron of lieutenant Jan Mazur, "Piast", and that of lieutenant Marian Płuciński, "Mścisław". For a short period of time her superior was also lieutenant Leon Beynar "Nowina", deputy of "Łupaszko", later known as "Paweł Jasienica" - a notable Polish historian and writer. During this time Danuta assumed pseudonym "Inka".[2]

The "Łupaszko" brigade was dissolved in September 1945 and Danuta went back to work in the forest inspectorate in Miłomłyn in Ostróda County under the name "Danuta Obuchowicz". However, the brigade was re-mobilized in response to Communist repressions in January 1946. In the early spring of 1946 Danuta came into contact with second lieutenant Zdzisław Badocha "Żelazny", the commander of one of Łupaszko's squadrons. Afer "Żelazny"'s death, the new commander, second lieutenant Olgierd Christa "Leszek", ordered Danuta to travel to Gdańsk in order to collect medical supplies.

She was arrested by the UB again on 20 July 1946 in Gdańsk. While in prison she was tortured and beaten but refused to give up any information about her contacts in the anti-communist underground and their meeting points. Danuta's brutal interrogations were personally supervised by the Head of the Investigations Department at the Voivodeship Office for Public Security, (WUBP), (Polish Secret Police) in Gdańsk, Józef Bik, vel Jozef Gawerski, vel Jozef Bukar.

In 1968, Bik, vel Bukar emigrated to Sweden. An IPN indictment against Bik, vel Gawerski, vel Bukar reads: "Jozef B. is accused of participating in court-sanctioned murders[clarification needed] perpetrated against members of Polish Democratic Forces (pol. Polskie Siły Demokratyczne) and Polish Secret Army (pol. Polska Armia Tajna) whom he was beating and torturing in order to extract confessions”.[citation needed]

Trial and death[edit]

She was charged with taking an active, violent part in an attack on functionaries of the Communist UB (Polish secret police) and the Milicja Obywatelska near village Podjazy as part of the Łupaszko unit, despite the fact that she was only a medic. She was accused of shooting at policemen and even issuing orders to other partisans. However, the testimony submitted by MO and UB members involved in the fight was at best contradictory, as some claimed to have seen her shooting and giving orders, while other denied it altogether. One, named Mieczysław Mazur, testified that Siedzikówna had given him first aid after he was wounded by other partisans.[2] She was charged with killing wounded policemen, a charge contradicted during her trial. The court decided she had not played a direct part in the attack.[citation needed]

Despite this and Siedzikówna age (17), the court still sentenced her to death. The president of People's Republic of Poland, Boleslaw Bierut refused to grant her clemency (the request was submitted by Siedzikówna's public defender, which the prisoner herself refused to sign). Siedzikówna was executed (along with Feliks Selmanowicz, whose nom de guerre was "Zagończyk"), six days before her 18th birthday, on 28 August 1946, in a Gdańsk prison.[3]

Memorial tribute to Siedzikówna, Gdańsk, Poland

The last minutes of her life are known from the testimony of Father Marian Prusak, the priest-chaplain called to give "Inka" and "Zagończyk" the last rites.[2][3] According to Father Prusak both prisoners were calm before their execution. Siedzikówna, after taking the Sacrament of Penance, asked the priest to inform her family of her death and gave him their address. Afterward the two were executed in the basement of the prison, tied to wooden stakes. They both refused blindfolds. When the prosecutor gave the order for the execution squad to fire, both prisoners simultaneously shouted (in Polish) "Long Live Poland!" She remained alive and the coup de grace was delivered by Franciszek Sawicki (other members of the firing squad refused to do so).[2][3]

Her Protocol of Execution was signed by: Major Wiktor Suchacki (prosecutor), 2nd Lt. Franciszek Sawicki (firing squad leader), Captain Mieczysław Rutkowski (attending physician), and Jan Wójcik (jail warden).[citation needed]

Later events[edit]

Memorial Plaque for AK Soldiers in Gdańsk Basilica

Father Prusak did deliver the news of Siedzikówna's death to her family, although they had already found out through other sources. Unknown to him he was under UB surveillance, and in 1949 was charged with "espionage" for informing Danuta's family about her death. For that alone, he spent three and a half years in Communist prison.[3] After the fall of communism in Poland, the main Stalinist prosecutor in Danuta's trial who demanded the death penalty, Wacław Krzyżanowski, was brought up on charges of judicial murder twice (in 1993 and 2001). However, both times he was declared innocent of the charges. (Krzyżanowski argued that he had been only marginally involved with the case.)[3]

Awards[edit]

On Polish Independence Day (11 November) 2006, President Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Danuta Siedzikówna the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.[citation needed]

Film[edit]

In January 2007, a movie about Siedzikówna's last days, "Inka 1946. Ja jedna zginę", featuring actress Karolina Kominek-Skuratowicz in the title role, was released by Teleplay.[citation needed]

Patronage[edit]

Monument in Jordan Park in Kraków

Memorials[edit]

  • Memorial plaque in the Marien Basilica, Gdańsk
  • Memorial in Park imienia Sanitariuszki Inki, Sopot
  • Memorial near Narewka parish church
  • Symbolical grave at the Garrison Cemetery, Gdańsk
  • Monument in Jordan Park, Kraków

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leon Kieres, "Odpowiedź na oświadczenie senator Anny Kurskiej, złożone na 38. posiedzeniu Senatu", 26 June 2003; accessed 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Piotr Szubarczyk, "Danuta Siedzikówna – bohaterka spektaklu „Inka 1946”", [1]
  3. ^ a b c d e Jerzy Morawski, "Lepiej, że ja jedna zginę" ("It's better if I'm the only one to die"), Rzeczpospolita 11 March 2000; accessed 6 May 2014.

Links[edit]