Franciszek Dąbrowski

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Franciszek Dąbrowski
Monument to Franciszek Dąbrowski in Nowa Huta, Kraków

Franciszek Dąbrowski (17 April 1904 in Budapest - 24 April 1962 in Kraków) – was an officer of the Polish Navy during the Invasion of Poland in 1939. In September 1939 he served at Westerplatte military transit depot which took part in the Battle of Westerplatte. The Polish garrison fought against overwhelming odds and repulsed all German attacks from 1 to 7 September. After the surrender he was imprisoned in several German POW camps.

He wrote two books about his experiences during the Battle of Westerplatte - Dziennik Bojowy załogi Westerplatte (1945) and Wspomnienia z obrony Westerplatte (1957). Dąbrowski was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari V class, the Gold Cross of Merit, the Medal for Odra, Nysa and the Baltic and the Grunwaldzka Badge.

During the post-war years, Wańkowicz's mythologised account of Sucharski as a brave commander enduring under hopeless odds became the main source of information on Westerplatte action. The myth was propagated in numerous books and films. It is often thought that the Communist authorities preferred to maintain the myth of Sucharski, a heroic son of a peasant and shoemaker, rather than support his deputy, Dąbrowski who was born into a szlachta family. It was not until the 1990s that the truth about Sucharski and Westerplatte started to become more widely known.