Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski

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Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski
Michał Karaszewicz.JPG
Born (1893-01-05)January 5, 1893
Lwów, Austria-Hungary
Died May 22, 1964(1964-05-22) (aged 71)
Casablanca, Morocco
Years of service 1918 - 1945
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 19th Infantry Division
25th Infantry Division
6th Infantry Division
Awards Virtuti Militari Commander's Cross Virtuti Militari Silver Medal Polonia Restituta Commander's Cross Polonia Restituta Knight's Cross
Krzyz Niepodleglosci with Swords POL Krzyż Walecznych (1940) 4r BAR.PNG Krzyz Zaslugi

General Michał Tadeusz Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski, Coat of arms of Trąby pseudonym Doktor, Stolarski, Torwid[1] (b. January 5, 1893[1] in Lwów - May 22, 1964[1] in Casablanca, Morocco) was a Polish general, founder of the resistance movement "Polish Victory Service".

Early life[edit]

Michał served in the Polish Legions from 1914 until 1917, then in the POW (Polish Military Organization). He was a commanding officer of the "5th Infantry Legion Regiment" during the Polish-Ukrainian War, which fought in Lwów.[2]

After Poland regained independence in 1918, Michał served in the Polish Army. In April 1919 he participated in the Polish-Soviet War, when Wilno was seized by Poland. From 1924 until 1926 he was commanding the "19th Infantry Division" in Wilno, from 1928 until 1932 a commanding officer of the "25th Infantry Division" in Kalisz and from 1932 until 1939 a commanding officer of the Corps area (okreg korpusu) in Grodno, Lwów and Toruń.

World War II[edit]

Michał Tokarzewski as the second in command of the Anders Army while in Jerusalem during World War II.

During the Polish Defensive War of 1939, he was commanding the Operation Group (grupa operacyjna) of the "Armia Pomorze" (Pomeranian Army). He fought in the Battle of Bzura and was the second-in-command of "Armia Warszawa" (Army Warsaw) which was commanded by general Juliusz Rómmel, during the defence of Warsaw.

In occupied Poland, on 27 September 1939 he founded the resistance movement "Służba Zwycięstwu Polski" (Polish Victory Service)[1][3] and was its commander-in-chief until December 1939, when he became the commanding officer of the "3rd Lwów area (ZWZ)"[4] under Soviet occupation. Crossing the new German-Soviet border, in March 1940 he was arrested and imprisoned by the NKVD.[5]

After being released from prison, Michał was appointed a commanding officer of the "6th Infantry Division" of the Polish Army in the Soviet Union (Anders Army) in August 1941. From March 1943 until 1944 he served as the second-in-command of the Polish Army in the East. In 1944 he became a commander of the 3rd Polish Corps which was formed in Egypt.

After World War II[edit]

Michał Tokarzewski gravestone in Brompton Cemetery, London.

After the war he stayed in exile in England and settled in London. From 1954 on he was the General Inspector of the Armed Forces of the Polish forces in exile. He died on May 22, 1964 in Casablanca, Morocco. In September 1992 the urn with his ashes was transferred from Brompton Cemetery in London to Poland and buried at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.

In 2006, General Tokarzewski's medals and battledress came up for public auction. Two Canadians, who were aware of the unfortunate history of Poland during World War II, were successful in their bid and brought the items to Canada. The two then donated the entire collection to "Poland and the Polish people" during a ceremony at the Polish Combatants' Association, Branch#20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The collection was displayed at the Branch #20 museum until March, 2007, when it was packed up and shipped to Warsaw to be displayed in the Warsaw Military Museum in that city.

Awards[edit]

Traby Coat of Arms
Military offices
Preceded by
Polish Restsiance movement established
Commander of the Service for Poland's Victory
1939–1940
Succeeded by
Stefan Rowecki
(Armia Krajowa)
Preceded by
Władysław Anders
General Inspector of the Armed Forces
1954–1964
Succeeded by
Stefan Dembiński

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Jozef Garlinski Poland in the Second World War, ISBN 0-333-39258-2 Page 40
  2. ^ Rosa Bailly A city fights for freedom Leopolis 1956 Pages 276-310
  3. ^ Norman Davies God's Playground VolumeII Clarendon, 1986 ISBN 0-19-821944-X Page 464
  4. ^ Jozef Garlinski Poland in the Second World War, ISBN 0-333-39258-2 Page 50
  5. ^ Jozef Garlinski Poland in the Second World War, ISBN 0-333-39258-2 Page 51