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Henryk Świercz „Świerszcz”

Lance Corporal Henryk Świercz „Świerszcz” („Cricket”) was born 2 January 1923 in Bydgoszcz. In 1939, he was a high school student. As a result of the German oppression towards the Polish inhabitants of Bydgoszcz during the occupation, he fled to Warsaw with his family. He passed his high school final exams in underground courses. From 15 February 1941, he joined the underground National Military Organisation (NOW). He completed the underground infantry cadet training program with the  National Armed Forces (NSZ). He served with the National Armed Forces Władysław Sikorski Regiment (aka ‘Sikora’) – till 4 August around Theatre Square, and later, around Czackiego Street. From 9 August, he was with the ‘Sikora’ assault team (later platoon). The actions he took part in included the capture of the Polish Telephone Joint-stock Company building (known as PAST), and the Holy Cross Church. In September, his unit was directed to move outside of Warsaw. Faced with the impossibility in doing so, the unit joined with Second Company ‘Ziuk’, ‘Milosz’ Battalion. After the capitulation, his whole unit volunteered to join Company ‘A’, which was tasked with the supervision and protection of soldiers and civilians departing Warsaw, as well as with specific instructions to document the destruction of the city. He was interned in Stalag IV B at Mühlberg. He lived in Łódź, Szczecin and Koszalin after the war. He died 23 December 1992 in Koszalin.

 

  • The photographs of Henryk Świercz, next to Jerzy Kokczyński’s works, are another collection from the National Armed Forces (NSZ) soldiers. They were taken in September 1944 in northern-central Warsaw, after the ‘Sikora’ attack platoon had joined ‘Ziuk’ Company, and show Insurgents around Aleje Ujazdowskie, Książęca and Frascati Streets. Świercz’s negatives were stolen in Germany in 1945. The films were found some years later in Canada, where a soldier from Świercz’s platoon reprinted them and sent to the author.
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