Piotr Śmietański 
June 27, 1899|
Zawady village, modern Poland, son of Anna and Władysław
|Died||February 23, 1950|
|Known for||State Security Services (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa)|
Staff Sergeant Piotr Śmietański (born 27 June 1899 in Zawady village son of Anna and Władysław– died probably on 23 February 1950), was a non-commissioned officer of the communist secret police Urząd Bezpieczeństwa and one of the main executioners in Stalinist Poland.
Śmietański was stationed at the Mokotów Prison in the Warsaw borough of Mokotów (Polish: Więzienie mokotowskie) known also as Rakowiecka Prison located at 37 Rakowiecka Street. From World War II until the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, Mokotów Prison – where Śmietański conducted his deeds – was a place of detention, torture and execution of the Polish anti-communist opposition.
Śmietański – nicknamed by the inmates as the "Butcher of the Mokotow Prison" – executed personally and supervised the executions of hundreds of opponents of the Stalinist regime in PRL. Among them were prominent politicians, social activists and Polish underground fighters, including Lieutenants Jerzy Miatkowski, Tadeusz Pelak, Edmund Tudruj, Arkadiusz Wasilewski, Roman Gronski, Capt. Stanislaw Lukasik, Comdt. Hieronim Dekutowski (killed by Śmietański in one day, on March 7, 1949). and Adam Doboszyński (August 29). Those executed after Śmietański's apparent death in 1950 include Major Zygmunt Szendzielarz, Lieutenants Henryk Borowski, Antoni Olechnowicz, Lucjan Minkiewicz (February 8, 1951), Capt. Stanisław Sojczyński, Lt. Antoni Wodyński from AK, and countless others, including victims of the notorious March 1, 1951 Mokotów Prison execution, who were given five consecutive death sentences each. Brig. General Emil August Fieldorf was hanged rather than shot as a humiliation.
The head of the Mokotów Prison, Alojzy Grabicki, was sometimes present at the executions. The victims' dead bodies – often undressed and placed in empty cement bags – were wheeled out at night and buried in unmarked graves, leveled out afterwards in the vicinity of different Warsaw cemeteries: in Służew (till mid 1948), the Mokotów and the Powązki cemeteries, or in open fields, in around Pola Mokotowskie, Kabacki forest and Okęcie.
On May 25, 1948, Śmietański personally executed Witold Pilecki, the founder of the Secret Polish Army and prominent member of the Armia Krajowa, famous for his daring mission to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Śmietański is believed to have been paid 1,000 Polish złoty for each execution he carried out, a substantial amount of money under Stalinism.
According to historians Szymon Hermański and Tomasz Wróblewski some pieces in Nasz Dziennik and Najwyższy Czas! falsely claimed he had emigrated to Israel in 1968, that he was born in the 1920s, was purposefully not listed in the population registry, and was possibly still alive in Israel. However he died from tuberculosis in the Korczak sanatorium on 23 February 1950 and was buried in Bródno Cemetery 4 days later.
In 2003 the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) launched an investigation in order to establish the whereabouts of Piotr Śmietański, with the intention of interviewing him about the remains of Pilecki. They found out that all personal data pertaining to Śmietański was earlier removed from official government records, including from archives of the Ministry of Defence, and the Prison Services. The investigation was halted in 2004. Historian Jacek Pawłowicz from IPN in his 2008 book about Pilecki claimed that Śmietański died of tuberculosis at the age of 50 in the year of his last known Mokotów executions.
Notes and references
- Photograph of Piotr Śmietański was first published in photo anthology by Jacek Pawłowicz, Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki 1901–1948, published by Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2008–2009, Warsaw, ISBN 978-83-60464-97-7. Press release. (in Polish)
- Polish Office of Births and Deaths (2011). "Biuletyn Informacji Publicznej Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej". katalog.bip.ipn.gov.pl. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Piotr Śmietański: Dane osoby z katalogu funkcjonariuszy aparatu bezpieczeństwa. Biuletyn Informacji Publicznej, 2007 Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, Komisja Scigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu. Source: J. Pawłowicz, Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki 1901-1948, Warsaw 2008, p. 26, 265. (in Polish)
- Tadeusz M. Płużański, "Strzał w tył głowy." Archived 2012-05-11 at the Wayback Machine. Publicystyka Antysocjalistycznego Mazowsza. 2010.
- Hermański & Wróblewski 2012, Kat z Mokotowa, p. 512 (3 in PDF).
- Józefa Huchlowa, Zrzeszenie "Wolność i Niezawisłość" w dokumentach, Zarzad Główny WiN, 2000, 420 pages. ISBN 83-902803-7-X. Page 407. (in Polish)
- The Doomed Soldiers. Polish Underground Soldiers 1944-1963 - The Untold Story. DoomedSoldiers.com
- The Doomed Soldiers. An Account of interrogation methods. Polish Underground Soldiers 1944-1963. The Untold Story. DoomedSoldiers.com (in English) (in Polish)
- Płużański, 2010. "Strzał w tył głowy." Archived 2012-05-11 at the Wayback Machine. Available also via the Internet Archive at: Tadeusz M. Płużański, ""Strzał w tył głowy"". Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved 2012-05-11., Publicystyka Antysocjalistycznego Mazowsza, 27 May 2004. Quote: "Pluton egzekucyjny to był jeden funkcjonariusz UB [etatowy morderca, starszy sierżant Piotr Śmietański, sądząc z podpisów na protokołach wykonania KS - ledwo piśmienny - red.]." Posted by Krzysztof Pawlak.
- Małgorzata Szejnert, Śród żywych duchów, Aneks Publishers, London, 1990, 261 pages. ISBN 0-906601-81-9. Page 63. (in Polish)
- Kon Piekarski, Escaping Hell: The Story of a Polish Underground Officer, Dundurn Press, 1989, 254 pages. ISBN 1-55002-071-4. Page 249. Google Books.
- Stéphane Courtois, Mark Kramer, Livre noir du Communisme: crimes, terreur, répression. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, 858 pages. ISBN 0-674-07608-7. Page 379.
- Piekarski 1990, p. 249
- Wyman 1976, p. 1148
- Hermański & Wróblewski 2012, Kat z Mokotowa, p. 522 (13 in PDF).
- Marcin Austyn, "Oprawca rotmistrza Pileckiego "zniknał" z ewidencji" (PDF), Archived 2011-08-18 at the Wayback Machine. Nasz Dziennik, 14 January 2009. Source: Niezależny Serwis Informacyjny
- Hermański, Szymon; Wróblewski, Tomasz (2012). "Piotr Śmietański (1899-1950), kat z Mokotowa" (PDF). Nr 1(10). Aparat Represji w Polsce Ludowej 1944-1989. pp. 511-522 – via direct download.
- Piekarski, Konstanty R. (1990), Escaping Hell: The Story of a Polish Underground Officer in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Dundurn Press Ltd., ISBN 1-55002-071-4
- Wyman, David S.; Garlinski, Jozef (December 1976), "Review: Jozef Garlinski. Fighting Auschwitz: The Resistance Movement in the Concentration Camp", American Historical Review, American Historical Association, 81 (5), pp. 1168–1169, doi:10.2307/1853043, ISSN 0002-8762