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Major Franciszek Jerzy Jaskulski (September 16, 1913 - February 19, 1947), aka 'Zagończyk', was a soldier in the Polish Home Army and a commander in Freedom and Independence[1] (a Polish underground anticommunist organization) in the Radom region of Poland. In 2007 the Polish president Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Jaskulski the order of Polonia Restituta.

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Early life

Jaskulski was born in Castrop - Rauxel in Germany, to a family of Polish emigrants. When he was 7 he returned with his parents to Poland. They lived in Zduny in Greater Poland. After finishing his studies in Krotoszyn he started working at Borough Office in Zduny. He was also studying law.In 1937 he graduated from Cavalry NCOs School in Grudziądz. In 1939 he volunteered for the Polish Army. During Polish Defensive War he served with distinction in the 68 Regiment of Infantry. He fought during the siege of Warsaw. He was taken captive but succeeded to escape in October 1939. Later he returned to Zduny where from 1940 to 1942 was working at the railway and he was organizing unit of conspiracy. He was also editing a newspaper, which was called Zagończyk. In December 1939 he joined Union of Armed Struggle (underground army formed in Poland following her invasion in September 1939 by Germany and the Soviet Union) which in 1942 renamed the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). In 1943 after deconspiracy of many units of Home Army in Radom region he escaped to Lublin region where he was the commander of Home Army units in Garwolin region. He was then promoted and transferred to Puławy.Where he had to fight not only with Germans but also with Soviet guerilla warfare. In 1944 he got promoted to lieutenant and became the commander of unit called "Pilot".

Imprisonment

Like many other polish officers and soldiers of the Home Army, Zagończyk got arrested by the NKVD (The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs- the public and secret police of Soviet Union during Stalinist era) on November 3, 1944 and imprisoned at Lublin Castle. On January 8, 1945 he was sentenced to death. The main reason of this severe sentence was that he was a member of Home Army, which fought for independence of Poland and Russia didn`t want Poland to be independent, free country anymore. He wasn`t a bandit, but a hero who got Virtuti Millitari Order, the highest polish military decoration for courage in the face of the enemy, and The Cross of Valor ( it`s decoration for courage too). He got both decorations for fighting with Germans. Two weeks later the death penalty was annulled and he was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. In September 1945 he escaped from prison in Wronki. He took advantage of the fact that he was working out of prison.

Fight with communists

After his escape Zagończyk returned to Pulawy. At those times underground army was scattered and divided into many small units, fighting on their own, without one strong aim. Many young people was escaping to forests and becoming guerillas in order to avoid being arrested or killed by NKVD and Red Army. After a few weeks Zagonczyk got an order to move to Kozienice region and take command of units in this region. On October 22, 1945 he took part in unsuccessful try of liberation Home Army`s soldiers from communist prison in Dęblin. In the beginning Zagonczyk was commanding of the units in Pulawy region but soon he became the commander of units in the whole Radom region. He was also the commander of organization called Związek Zbrojnej Konspiracji. The main aim of this organization was to fight with Soviets, inform people about real situation of the country. They were issuing many leaflets informing soldiers and people living at the Radom region about situation in Poland and at Europe. This action was to help to win the referendum in 1946. All attempts were useless because the communists had falsified the results of referendum. But Zagonczyk and his soldiers was still fighting with communists and units of Citizen`s Militia.

Treason, death and rehabilitation

On July 24, 1946 Zagonczyk liberated prisoners from railway transport near Jedlnia-Letnisko. There was suspicion that all action was inspired by communists in order to arrest Zagonczyk. On July 26, 1946 Zagonczyk got arrested. Communists tried to force him to tell names of people who were involved in fight with them. Zagonczyk didn`t agree to that. On January 11, 1947 he was sentenced to death. He was executed in secrecy till now we don`t know where he is buried.

After his death underground army was still fighting. Till 1950, was fighting unit of Alexander Młyński "Drągal" and Tadeusz Zieliński "Igła". After Zagonczyk`s death, communist propaganda accused him of all sorts of crimes, from crimes against humanity, robbery and common theft to membership in UPA. After the fall of the communism, in 1991, Jaskulski was rehabilitated and declared innocent of charges which he had been accused of.

On 2007 the Polish president Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Jaskulski the order of Polonia Restituta (795).

References

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