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Danuta Siedzikówna (pseudonym: Inka; underground name: Danuta Obuchowicz; born September 3, 1928 – died August 1946, Gdanskmarker) was a medical orderly in the 4th Squadron (created in the Białystokmarker area) of the 5th Wilno Brigade of the Polishmarker Home Army. In 1946 she served with the Brigade's 1st Squadron in Poland's Pomorze (Pomerania) region.

Early life

Memorial Stone for Danuta Siedzikówna in Sopot


Siedzikówna was born on 3 September 1928 in the village of Guszczewinamarker(Olchówkamarker?), near Narewkamarker, in the Bielsk Podlaskimarker district. Her father, Wacław Siedzik was a forester who had been sent to Siberia under the Tsarmarker for being involved in pro-Polish independence organizations. He came back to Poland in 1923. In 1940 he was arrested by the NKVD and once again deported to Russia. In 1941 he joined Władysław Anders' Polish Army (died in Teheranmarker in 1942). Her mother, Eugenia, née Tymińskia, was a member of the Home Army and was killed by the Gestapomarker in September 1943. Danuta Siedzikówna grew up with her siblings, Wiesława (1927 - 2004) and Irena (1931? - 1978), in the forester's lodge near Olchówkamarker, the girls attended grammar school in Narewkamarker until 1939. During the Second World War, until 1943 all three girls studied in the Salesian Sisters School in Różanystokmarker near Dąbrowa Białostockamarker.

Second World War and after

Memorial for Danuta Siedzikówna in Narewka


After their mother was murdered by the Gestapomarker in Białystokmarker, together with her sister Wiesława, Danuta joined the Home Army in late 1943 or early 1944. As part of the underground army's training she acquired medical skills.

After the Sovietsmarker took Białystokmarker from the German Nazis, she started work as a clerk in the forest inspectorate in Hajnówkamarker..

Together with other employees of the inspectorate she was arrested in June 1945 by NKWD and UB for collaboration with the anticommunist underground. She was liberated from a prison transport convoy by a patrol of a Wilnomarker group of ex-Home Army partisans commanded by Stanisław Wołonciej "Konus", a subordinate of Zygmunt Szendzielarz, "Łupaszko", who were operating in the area. "Konus" took the freed prisoners to "Łupaszko"'s camp where some of them, including Danuta, joined his group. Subsequently Siedzikówna served as a medical orderly in the "Konus" troop, and then in the squadron of lieutenant Jan Mazur, "Piast", and that of lieutenant Marian Płuciński, "Mścisław". For a short period of time her superior was also lieutenant Leon Beynar "Nowina", deputy of "Łupaszko", later known as "Paweł Jasienica" - a notable Polish historian and writer. During this time Danuta assumed pseudonym "Inka".

The "Łupaszko" brigade was dissolved in September 1945 and Danuta went back to work in the forest inspectorate in Miłomłynmarker in Ostróda Countymarker under the name "Danuta Obuchowicz". However, the brigade was re-mobilized in response to Communist repressions in January 1946. In the early spring of 1946 Danuta came into contact with second lieutenant Zdzisław Badocha "Żelazny", the commander of one of Łupaszko's squadrons. Afer "Żelazny"'s death, the new commander, second lieutenant Olgierd Christa "Leszek", ordered Danuta to travel to Gdańskmarker in order to collect medical supplies.

She was arrested by the UB again on 20 July 1946, in Gdańsk. While in prison she was tortured and beaten but refused to give up the information on her contacts in the anti-communist underground and their meeting points.

Trial and death

She was charged with taking an active, violent part in an attack on functionaries of the UB and the Milicja Obywatelska near village Podjazymarker as part of the Łupaszko unit, despite the fact that she was only a nurse. She was accused of shooting at the policemen and even issuing orders to other partisans. However, the testimony submitted by MO and UB members involved in the fight was contradictory, as some claimed to have seen her shooting and giving orders, while other denied the fact. One (Mieczysław Mazur) even testified that Danuta gave him first aid after he was wounded by other partisans. She was also charged with killing wounded policemen, which was also contradicted during her trial. Because of the conflicting testimony and the absurdity of the charges even the Stalinist court decided that she did not take a direct part in the attack. Despite this finding, and ignoring Danuta's young age (she was only seventeen at the time), the court still sentenced her to death. The president of People's Republic of Poland, Boleslaw Bierut refused clemency (the request was submitted by Danuta's public defender, and she herself refused to sign it). Danuta Siedzikówna was executed (along with Feliks Selmanowicz pseudonym "Zagończyk"), six days before her 18th birthday, on 28 August 1946, in a Gdańsk prison.

Memorial Grave for Danuta Siedzikówna in Gdańsk


The last minutes of her life are known from the testimony of Marian Prusak, the priest who was called to give "Inka" and "Zagończyk" last rites. According to Prusak both prisoners were calm before their execution. Siedzikówna, after taking the Sacrament of Penance, asked Prusak to inform her family of her death and gave him their address. Afterward the two were executed in the basement of the prison, tied to wooden stakes. They both refused blindfolds. When the prosecutor gave the order for the execution squad to fire, both shouted "Long Live Poland!" simultaneously. Danuta was still alive however and the coup de grace was delivered by the present prosecutor, Franciszek Sawicki (the members of the firing squad refused to do so).

Later events

Marian Prusak did deliver the news of Danuta's death to her family although they had already found out through other sources. Unbeknown to him he was being watched by the UB and in 1949 he was charged with "espionage" for revealing the information and spent three and a half years in prison. After the fall of communism in Poland, the main Stalinist prosecutor in Danuta's trial who demanded the death penalty, Wacław Krzyżanowski, was brought up on charges of judicial murder twice (in 1993 and 2001). However, both times he was declared innocent of the charges (Krzyżanowski argued that he was only marginally involved with the case).

Awards

On Independence Day 11 November 2006, Polish President Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Danuta Siedzikówna the order of Polonia Restituta.

Film

In January 2007, a movie about Danuta Siedzikówna last days, "Inka 1946. Ja jedna zginę", featuring actress Karolina Kominek-Skuratowicz in the title role and Natalia Korynckia-Gruz as a producer, was released by Teleplay.

Patronage



Memorials

  • Memorial plaque in the Marien Basilica, Gdańskmarker
  • Memorial in Park imienia Sanitariuszki Inki, Sopotmarker
  • Memorial near the parish church, Narewkamarker
  • Symbolical grave at the Garrison Cemetery, Gdańskmarker


See also



Sources and References



  1. Leon Kieres, "Odpowiedź na oświadczenie senator Anny Kurskiej, złożone na 38. posiedzeniu Senatu", June 26, 2003, accessed on Hune 4, 2009, [1]
  2. Piotr Szubarczyk, "Danuta Siedzikówna – bohaterka spektaklu „Inka 1946”", [2]
  3. Jerzy Morawski, "Lepiej, że ja jedna zginę" (It's better if I'm the only one to die), Rzeczpospolita 3/11/2000, [3]



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