The Institute of National Remembrance found his trace not earlier than in the 21st century. Indeed all his commanders were killed either by Germans or communists. He us 94 years old. Not long time ago was an opinion expressed on him by an arrogant official that he had been an activist of the security office, and precisely speaking ‘a strengthener of the communist authority’. And it was as follows.

Alfred Kalinowski was born in northern Mazowsze, in Ziemia Dobrzyńska, near Płock, in Tłuchów. In September 1939, as a 15-year-old volunteer he joined self-defence. It was mainly limited to fighting forwarding diversion, and in his case – it was controlling the volksdeutsch – the neighbours. It had lasted a few days till he entered the Wehrmacht. Whereas the German authority punished a lot of participants of self-defence. Some of them were arrested. One of the grandma’s relatives, my wife’s grandpa – Zygmunt Jabłoński was arrested and then killed.

In 1940 grandpa Alfred and his family was deported from the household. And later he was sent to compulsory work in the Reich. Luckily it was near, as in the Pruss, exactly in Grosse Werder, near Gdańsk. And bauer was very mild. In spring 1941 the grandpa was afraid of the Eindeutschung, that is, being forced to admit to his German origin, and what it implies – being taken to the army of the Third Reich.

In fact he escaped without any adventures. He simply went to a station, bought tickets, bought beer, opened a German newspaper and pretended to be the enemy. He even saw a railwayman on his way, with the Swabian gawk on his hat, and the railwayman told him in Polish what the timetable of the train was. The grandpa got on the train and got to Mazowsze. Later he got home. Since that he had been living in an illegal way. He was hiding in his own village. Soon he joined conspiracy of the Union of Military Fight. Such an organization was simply in the neighbourhood and the fugitive was recommended to it. As burnt and wanted, he became a soldier of diversionary sabotage under the command of the platoon of Stanisław Gujski (‘Stef’), a commander of the institution Łęg-Słupia in the region of Pułtusk. He took part in a few dozen fighting journeys, trap – setting and executions in various places – from Płock, through Pułtusk and to Sierpiec.

After some time Alfred Kalinowski was in the groups of conspiracy and, exactly speaking, in the Conspiracy Polish Army where the captain Witold Pilecki served. His direct commander was a lieutenant Stefan Broniarski (‘Leaf’). Later the Conspiracy Polish Army of northern Mazowsze (with a big part of the Union of Military Fight) was included in the National Military Forces. What is characteristic is that everybody in the national organization called one another ‘mate’. Sometimes who was older was addressed to as ‘Mr. mate’. Formally, military degrees were certainly used and which were officially acknowledged by the authorities, when the National Military Forces were included in the National Army.

In spring 1944 the whole fighting action of the ‘Leaf’ became a division of Kedyw of the National Army of the Inspectorate of Płock and Sierpiec. Like before, Alfred Kalinowski took part in all important actions, among the others, in Lingenschaft, that is, on the land property taken over by the Nazis, where soldiers of the National Army had carried pour a liquidation action of a German trustee of that land property. The action was unsuccessful, as the German’s Alsatian attacked a patrol of three people and warned his owner by barking who had begun to shoot at to-be assassins. The grandpa remembers a fight with the enraged dog which was finally killed with a bayonet.

The National Army of north Mazowsze, including Kedyw, was getting prepared to help in the Warsaw Uprising, pursuing a few battles with the occupational forces, including the so-called Ostlegion- collaborating divisions consisting of eastern Slavs (miscalled ‘Ukrainians’). Finally, the commandment of the local National Army decided that helping Warsaw was a suicide. The division was spoiled in October, except for the very core in which grandpa Kalinowski was. He also obtained a Pluto degree in the National Army.

At the moment of the Soviets’ invasion in January 1945, the ‘Leaf’ and his sub-commanders faced up unexpected situations. The National Army was formally dissolved but in practice activists of Kedyw considered themselves as soldiers of Fighting Poland. Some of them decided to continue an active fight. The ‘Leaf’ became first a deputy of the commander of the sub-district of the Northern National Military Unification and then a commander of the Mazowsze District West (locally called the Northern Military Unification).

In spring 1945 the most urgent issue was – beside the survival – awaiting a particular solution. It seemed that something bad was going to happen. Everyone was naïve in hoping for intervention from the West and then a miracle of Stanisław Mikołajczyk. In the meantime the ‘Leaf’ ordered his boys and girls to hide and be prepared for mobilization again. It also concerned Alfred Kalinowski.

Because in spring 1945 mobilization for the army managed by the communists was announced, the grandpa volunteered to hide there. However, he did it not in Płock or Ciechanów but in Olszytyn – far away from home. He was recruited by a pre-war officer of the Warsaw Uprising sub-colonel Staszewski – a chief of the Staff of the 15th Infantry Division. He was first appointed to the squad of staff of a lieutenant Krzyżanowski within the 50th infantry regiment which was commanded by a sub-colonel Jerzy Jotkowski. But soon gendarmerie transported the whole division of the grandpa to Suwałki where soldiers were recruited to a separate battalion of artillery (mortars 120 mm).

In summer 1945 his battery was sent as support ‘to fight bands’ on the area of August. Their lieutenant of the Jewish origin refused to travel by chauffeur and travelled with gunners calling them ‘mates’. It was safer in a truck if the truck got into hands of anti-communist insurgents. They were travelling across wilderness and returned to their barracks. Nothing happened. It was just an episode of strengthening the communist authority’. The grandpa naturally did not reveal anybody that he had served to the National Army or his real degree. When they wanted to nominate him from the cannoneer to the corporal, unfortunately, he stuttered to his commander . It made a terrible report to Szmersz ( a military counterintelligence ofscommunism) and the grandpa landed in a military prison in Olsztyn. He was imprisoned for half a year. Later he was taken to criminal campaign in Rembertow, to a factory ‘Pocisk’ belonging to Welliszów, that is, the former POW camp and then to the NKWD camp which had been broken by post-National Army divisions and liberated prisoners. Alfred was imprisoned in the camp in Remebertow till the half of 1946. When he was released from the army, he returned home and to the anti-communist underground state. Formally he was in the National Military Union and informally he simply cooperated with his colleagues and friends from all groups, including the Anti-Communist military resistance organization whose soldiers got subordinated to the national structures in those areas.

Considering his belonging to organizations, the grandpa became a soldier of the 11th Operational Group of the National Military Forces. He was mainly serving on the area of his home commune Tłuchów. He took part in various operational actions, mainly as a person responsible for arranging and concealing, that is, in the counterintelligence and logistics. Traditionally, however, he joined actions if it was necessary. Every day he pretended to be an ordinary farmer and if it was necessary, he set off with such boys as a sergeant Wiktor Stryjewski (‘Cacko’) and others. He supplied them with everything and gave them a hide.

Once I was really surprised to hear a story of the grandpa about how anti-communist insurgents ‘hit’ a communist secretary of a communist party Władysław Rypiński in November 1947. He was a chief of the communist ‘squadron of death’ which kidnapped and murdered peasant movement activists and revealed soldiers of the underground state, for example, three brothers Gujskich from Łęg: Ryszard, Julian and Kazimierz (in fact a chief of Rypiński, from the Guard of the Peasant Army and Polish Workers’ Party, Jakub krajewski, in November 1945 he kidnapped the manager of the cooperative bank in Płońsk and murdered him, as well as my grandpa’s younger brother, Wacław Milczarczyk from the Polish Peasant, and a conspiracy activist of the Peasant Party ‘Roch’ during the German occupation. Nobody knew details of the operation of removing Rypiński. All participants had died. But the grandpa Alfred knew everything as he must have been there, although he usually smiles mysteriously when talking about these issues. Generally, insurgents from the 11th National Military Forces killed 33 people in a fight, who were from the communist terror apparatus. Also 16 people, suspected of reporting to the communists, were killed.

Revenge of communists was terrible. They arrested the ‘Leaf’, ‘Cacko’ and others. They shot them to death. There was no forgiveness to others. So, insurgents often committed suicide not to get to the hands of the communists. Ordinary people paid a lot for helping insurgents. As Mariusz Bechta and Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński describe in a book ‘Against Pax Sovieta. National Military Unification and political structures of the national movement against the communist regime 1944 – 1956’ (Warsaw: National Remembrance Institute, 2017). ‘Even 22 soldiers from fighting patrols of the 11th Operational Group were killed (among 130 insurgents). 103 people were arrested and the Military National Forces gave out a death penalty towards 24 conspiracy activists – verdicts were executed on 19 of them. Other 3 people died during hard investigations. Repressions also comprised the civilians supporting the underground state – they touched nearly 2000 people (over 380 of them received verdicts of imprisonment from one up to 15 years. Communists got the possession of the property of the sentenced, confiscating everything what they had’.

It was what breaking the steadfast looked like. There was also a horror of collectivization of villages, with mass persecutions, torturing farmers and their families and labour camps. But nobody reported against Alfred.

The grandpa Kalinowski got married in 1952. He devoted his life to keeping household and family. He taught his family Catholic faith, not telling anybody, even his wife, about politics or his past. I remember when grandma Kalinowska was shocked to hear one of stories which the grandpa told me. Not earlier than in the 70s of the last century did he admit to his participating in the National Army. Only after the year 2000 the National Remembrance Institute uncovered the grandpa and began to tell others about him. Please, remember how deeply communism was at authority in a village.

The year 1989 was a breakthrough year for Alfred Kalinowski. He admitted that it was exactly the same what had happened in 1956, that is, communism would re-hold the authority. He thought that if there was thaw he had very little time to commemorate his colleagues who had been killed by the nationalists and communists. He decided to build a monument for them in Tłuchów. He asked the local authorities for permission. Communists told him that he would receive permission if he joined a combatant organization run by them – the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy. Alfred agreed to that suggestion in May 1989. It was the price of commemorating the killed.

The monument was built and then on the area of a commune and nearby. The grandpa used his funds to a large extent. But an activist of the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy enrolled the grandpa as ‘a supporter of the communist authority’. The reason? A journey by a truck of the ‘communist’ Polish army to Augustów in 1945. As Leszek Żebrowski says, it was a standard procedure of communist bureaucracy in order to enlarge the number of members of the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy. Everybody enrolled to this ‘communist’ Polish Army was considered as a ‘supporter’. And Leszek knows it as he as a chief of a verification body in the Office for Combatants.

Unfortunately, limited knowledge prompted a bureaucrat to make an attempt to honour the grandpa with the national distinction. There should be a rule that first a request is verified and then an evaluation is given. The Grandpa is not an activist of the security office.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 48/2018 (2 XII 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: