A SOLDIER OF TWO MILITARY OCCUPATIONS
Cursed Soldiers. Cursed because betrayed in 1939 by England and France. Cursed because betrayed in 1945. Cursed because murdered by the Soviets during the ‘Burza’ action which was being conducted by the Polish Underground against the German occupants. Cursed because murdered by Polish communists in the 40s and 50s in the borders of the Second Polish Republic and today’s Poland. Cursed because persecuted by communists till 1989.
Fates of the murdered by the Soviets or Polish communists are today known only to a small extent. Many of these heroes are buried in nameless graves. Like the soldiers of the so-called Augustow roundup murdered by the Soviets. Thousands of others are buried without the cross, without a grave. Sometimes under rubbish dumps or toilets, like it took place in a graveyard in Warsaw. They were prosecuted, tortured and imprisoned sometimes till the 70s of the last century. They were deprived of not only dignity but also the right to speak about themselves. Only in the time of the Third Polish Republic they were slowly given the right to the truth.
Mieczysław Huchla, nicknamed Wacław
One of those thousands who did not agree to the new military occupation was deceased in 2010 Mieczysław Huchla (Wacław) – 90-year-old General, who had been a soldier of the National Army and the Freedom and Independence association, a co-founder of ‘Historic notebooks of the Freedom and Independence association’, which restored memory about cursed soldiers of the independence underground; soldiers of the Polish-German war and the time of the Soviet occupation. – There was no time to wonder if they would arrest me. Both when I was fighting against the German or the Soviet occupation – as gen. Huchla, a soldier of the two military occupations was saying. – Both in the first and the second case the occupants were equally atrocious. I was rescued from the German occupation by my friends. In the case of the Soviet one, there was not such a possibility. Our chances in the fight with the both occupants were unequal. Both of them had millions of armies. We, as a partisan army, were weakly armed group of soldiers. In 1939 our allies were to help us: England and France. But when we were attacked by those with whom we had entered into agreements of non-aggression: Germany and the USSR, our previous friends did not oppose to them militarily. So, although we were losers we stood in defence of our Homeland.
During the war Miechysław Huchla graduated from the Underground Cadets’ School. He was fighting against the Germans under the leadership of a young officer awarded with the Order Virtuti Militariin 1939– Łukasz Ciepliński. After the war, in 1951, Ciepliński (nicknamed Pług) was murdered by communists in a prison on Rakowiecka street in Warsaw. At that time he was a chairman of the Fourth Main Board of Management of the Freedom and Independence association. In the Third Polish Republic he was awarded with the Order of the White Eagle.
The first military occupation
In 1941 Huchla became an adjutant of the institution in Tyczyno near Rzeszów in the linear combat division. His task was to maintain contact with particular plutoniums in villages, and also conduct any secretarial issues: reports. Within his work in the Office of Information and National Army Propaganda, he was also given the task of editing the magazine ‘On post’. – In 1943 Łukasz Ciepliński recommended me to organize also a magazine of social character. I set it up in a short time. It was entitled ‘Dawn’ – mentioned Mieczysław Huchla. – Teachers, officers, clerks wrote for this magazine. It was addressed not only to soldiers but also civilians. Its purpose was to cheer people up. I rarely wrote for it but I used to organize the technical side of the magazine. I edited information coming from foreign radio stations, mostly the English and German ones. In 1943 we managed to edit 7 issues of the magazine. However, the German gendarmierie uncovered our printing house.
The military group, in which Mieczysław Huchla was fighting, consisted of 300 people in 1942. It undertook many military actions against the Germans, among the others, in barracks of ‘Bałdyst’ in Rzeszów. Its purpose was to gain weapon. Thanks to the successful expedition, German uniforms, weapon, ammunition and a typewriter were gained. In December 1943 Huchla got promoted to the degree of lieutenant. However, in a short time he enjoyed another officer’s degree. In a half a year later, in July 1944 he was arrested by the Germans. As a result of the ‘give-away’ in Cracow archive materials of the National Army in the province of Cracow got into the hands of the Germans, including promoting letters of officers. After a few weeks the gestapo in Rzeszów organized another roundup. Mieczysław Huchla was arrested with his brother and a few other people from the division. However, they did not reach to the prison – after several hours of fight against the Germans they were rescued by their friends.
The military occupation after the military occupation
The action ‘Burza’ whose task was to fight against the German occupant in the district of Rzeszów, started in July 1944. German armies fell more and more often into military traps prepared by the underground. However, at the same time, the Soviets became the enemy again. They were arresting soldiers of the Polish underground army and were imprisoning them in the castle in Rzeszów. – We had already known that in Lvov the all commanders of the National Army had been arrested. We heard earlier that the Soviets had been murdering on our Eastern lands they had occupied – said Mieczysław Huchla. – Maybe not completely, but we were aware that already in Teheran in 1943 the English and Americans had sold us to the Soviets. In our understanding what was happening there was a betrayal. I was frustrated, I saw the tragedy of our nation. But I was also aware that we had to live on. We had to maintain the identity of the nation and accept any form of resistance. We had to get organized. A lot of people were busy with their everyday life, they were tired of the war. During discussions we were saying that if we had to fight in order to maintain identity of the nation, we would fight. Even if we were to be killed, we would, but maybe thanks to our sacrifice Poland would once be free.
MIeczysław Huchla knew that he was being watched by the Soviets. He terminated the division formally in February 1945. Other divisions functioning on this area were terminated, too, although it was decided to maintain contacts. Soldiers of the National Army, wanting to avoid being arrested, were setting off to the so-called regained lands. They were trying to ‘disappear from the sight’ of occupants somewhere in Gdańsk, Szczecin and Wrocław. Mieczysław Huchla went to Katowice. There he started work and in Cracow he continued studying law, which he had started before the war, and he finished his studies in 1948. After the war he made a contact with Mjr. Józef Maciołek in Katowice from the Delegation of Military Forces in the country. As a result, in September 1945 he took over the organizational unit of the Freedom and Independence association and became its chief. And, from the moment of arrests, in 1948 he held various functions. In 1946 he was a chief of the unit of contacts in the district, and in the following year – a chief of the organizational unit and the deputy of the chairman of the District of Cracow of the Freedom and Independence association, and after arresting of one of officers, he took over his function of an inspector in the Western region, he also had duties of the president of the district. In the beginning he was dealing with contacts between a commander of the region and district councils of the Freedom and Independence association on the area of Cracow district. He collected all information concerning the situation in the region and he passed it to the press of the Freedom and Independence association. Some of these materials were used in a report on the situation in Poland, made by the Freedom and Independence association and the United Nations Organization.
Arrest by another occupant
In the beginning of April 1948, the lieutenant Mieczysław Huchla was arrested in the street. He was being tortured for 3 hours. He was also subordinated to the so-called conveyor, in this case he was being interrogated while standing without any sleep. When he was falling asleep or losing consciousness, he was being poured with water and tortured. Investigators changed every few hours. They were beating him and told him to write his curriculum vitae. They were asking about various events from the time of post-war conspiracy. He found out that someone of the arrested had reported against him.
In July 1948 Mieczysław Huchla was sued to court in Cracow. He and his messenger Józefa Petriczek were being judged and earlier arrested Zbigniew Zawiła. They three were being judged according to the article which was not included in amnesty.
The verdict of 7 years of imprisonment, as for those times, ‘exaggerated’. 3 months later Huchla was placed in a prison in Montelupich near Cracow. Despite malaria and the temperature of 40 degrees, he was taken to another interrogation, this time to the Provincial Public Safety Office in Rzeszów. There the atrocious interrogation took place again. The ill was being tortured for a few days and nights. – They told me that I should make an account of the institution in Tyczyn from the period of fights during the war. They were asking where our weapon had been buried, who was functioning in divisions; they were demanding from me to report against them – says Huchla. – They arrived with me to make a search in my house. I was trying to escape from there. I was aware that I did not have any chances, but I preferred to be shot and killed, than undergo this interrogation again. I was weakened with a terrible temperature. The world appeared to me as unrealistic…
However, my escape was not successful. My hands were cuffed and I had a cape on my head. During the search I ran out from a barn. One of the Safety Office functionaries shot at me twice. He aimed easily. One missile stuck in my shoulder joint, another one passed by my heart and stuck close to my vertebrae. God was taking care of me again. I did not lose blood completely. I was taken to a doctor in Tyczyn, who dressed my wound, and then he closed me in a small cell in the Provincial Public Safety Office in Rzeszów. After 2 days I got to a prison ward of the ill at the castle in Rzeszów or in the Provincial Public Safety Office – I do not remember it. There I had my missiles extracted. In November 1949 I was taken to prison again at the castle in Rzeszów.
A few weeks later Mieczysław Huchla was sued to court again. This time he was accused of ‘resisting to the authority’. He had 2 years added to the verdict of imprisonment. Together 12 years. The additional 5 years for owning weapon. In total he had 17 years of imprisonment.
Being sentenced, he was slowly regaining health in the heaviest prison – in Wronki. He was acquitted under amnesty in 1955. During the years of the Polish People’s Republic he was being harassed. Despite finishing his studies of law, he could not find employment till the year 1975. Later he was employed in Plants of Alcohol Production in Wrocław and it was thanks to the pre-war activist of the Polish Socialistic Party. From 1980 for 16 months he was serving to Solidarity with his advice. As a lawyer, he also advised the Curia in Wrocław. He was being invigilated till 1989 by the Safety Service. In the beginning of the 90s he became a founder of the Historian notebooks of the Freedom and Independence association’. He gathered prominent historians of the young generation around them, who are not indifferent to the fates of the nation and cursed soldiers.