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Wiesław Chrzanowski „Wiesław”
Lieutenant Wiesław Chrzanowski “Wiesław” was born 4 December 1920 in Sosnowiec. He graduated from the Joachim Lelewel high school and Sapper Reserve Cadet School in Modlin with the rank of Second Lieutenant, Sapper. He fought in the defense of the Modlin Fortress in September 1939. From 1940, he was active in the National Military Organisation (NOW), and later from 1943, in the Home Army (AK) “Antoni” Battalion “Anna” Company. He conducted trainings in the underground Cadet School. During the occupation, he studies at the 2 year State Technical High School – occupied Warsaw University of Technology – completing the pre-war Technical University program through the underground education system. In the Uprising, he took on the responsibility of leading of the 2nd platoon in company ‘Anna’, Battalion ‘Gustaw’ ‘Róg’ Group in Old Town, and after crossing the sewer canals, in City Centre North. After the capitulation, he was interned in the Fallingbostel Stalag XI B, Bergen-Belsen Oflag XI B/Z, Grossborn Oflag II D, Sandbostel Stalag X B and Lübeck Oflag X C. He returned to Poland in November 1947, after finishing his studies at Munich University of Technology. He worked for Silesian steel mills in Chorzow, Ursus Factory – producer of agricultural machinery, and gave lectures at the Warsaw University of Technology. He lived in Warsaw. Chrzanowski died Easter Sunday, 24th April 2011.

 

  • During the Uprising, Wiesław Chrzanowski took 145 photos in the Old Town, and in northern City Centre and after the Uprising in POW camps. He was using 35mm Kodak Retina and Kine Exakta cameras, on Agfa Ultrarapid, Agfa Isopan F, Agfa Isopan ISS and Mimosa films. He hid some of his undeveloped films in a basement at 3 Wilcza Street; the rest he succeeded to smuggle to POW camps. While interned at Bergen-Belsen and Lübeck, he took more than 90 photos with the Exakta. His photographs are similar to those of other photographer-soldiers, showing the backstage of fighting – resting, meals, and Insurgents practicing in mock attacks. However Chrzanowski’s images also depict some of the most tragic events of the time, such as the explosion of a German explosives carrier on Kilińskiego Street on August 13th, people being evacuated along the streets of the destroyed city; as well as portraits of his colleagues, who had just lost those nearest to them. The most interesting and best known are those showing the trench across Aleje Jerozolimskie Street, connecting the northern and southern parts of the City Centre; as well as those showing Insurgents collecting sacks of barley in the warehouses of brewery Haberbusch & Schiele to make ‘spit soup’, made of grain grounded in a coffee grinder. 
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