Świętochłowice, 1 September 1989


Editorial Office of the “Zorza” weekly
“List of persons reported missing”
for the attention of engineer Jędrzej Tucholski

In connection with your appeal published in “Ekspres Wieczorny” and the “Zorza” weekly, I would hereby like to submit data concerning my father. I would like to add that I have already sent a similar letter to the editorial office of “Ekspres Wieczorny”, however I do not know whether you received it.

Here are the data presented as per the questionnaire:

1. Bronisław Mikołaj Szczyradłowski, son of Stanisław and Józefa née Szadorska, born on 5 December 1887 in Mikulińce, district of Tarnopol, in September 1939 resident in Lwów [at] Na Bajkach Street 27.
2. He was a graduate (1913) of the Faculty of Law and Political Skills at Lwów University, and went on to serve as a professional army officer, attaining the rank of Lieutenant– Colonel.
3. Until 1933, he was the deputy commander of the 53. Infantry Regiment [of Borderland Rifles] in Stryj in the rank of Lieutenant–Colonel, whereafter he was transferred to the fortress in Brześć on the River Bug. In 1936 he was transferred again, this time to Lwów, while in 1937 he retired, remaining registered with Corps District Command IX in Brześć. In September 1939 he served as the deputy commander of the Lwów defense force under General Langner, with whom he signed the act of capitulation to the Soviet Army; when the Russians entered the city, he was responsible for handing over warehouses containing weaponry, uniforms and food.
5. During the night from 9 to 10 December 1939 he was arrested by the NKVD and incarcerated at the “Brygidki” prison at Kazimierzowska Street in Lwów. While being arrested, father was deprived of his entire uniform.
6. Mother and I did not receive any news from father. We only knew that he was still alive because he signed for the parcels which we left for him at the prison. Mother and I remained in Lwów until April 1940, and throughout January and February mother carried parcels to the prison; all of them were signed for by father. On 13 April 1940, mother and I were deported to the USSR, to Kazakhstan, however we arranged that the parcels would then be delivered by father’s brother, who lived in Lwów, but he wrote us that they were no longer accepted, and that the wardens had told him that father was no longer present there. We never once received a letter written by father himself. Only in April 1941 did mother receive a card from Lieutenant Drabczyk, who had been sentenced to eight years of penal servitude in the Urals, and he wrote that he knew someone who had been together with father in the prison in Lwów, and that the two had been transferred to the prison in Kiev, where father (who apparently felt more or less alright at the time) stayed for only one day, in a transit cell. I was informed that father had perished in Katyn only after the War, by a cousin of mine who lives in Lwów to the present day. His mother – my aunt – found father’s surname in a newspaper that was published during the occupation.
7. I have attached four photographs to the letter, these presenting my father in uniform (they are described overleaf). I have also sent a group photograph (men seated at a table) because it shows the officers of the 53. Infantry Regiment [of Borderland Rifles] from Stryj, whose surnames figure in the Katyn list in the book “Katyń. Lista ofiar i zaginionych [jeńców obozów Kozielsk, Ostaszków Starobielsk]” authored by Mr A. L. Szcześniak. These are: Captain Leon Grzegorz Szuchatowicz (wearing glasses), born in 1900, the intelligence officer of the 53. Infantry Regiment [of Borderland Rifles] in Stryj (p. 351 in the book), and – so I think – Major Władysław Załuski, with a mustache (the book mentions Second Lieutenant Stefan Załuski, p. 256). I have also heard of the following men: Second Lieutenant Józef Świerk from the 53. Infantry Regiment [of Borderland Rifles] in Stryj (p. 165), Captain Józef Stolarski [from] the Staff of the 53. Infantry Regiment [of Borderland Rifles] in Stryj (p. 348), and Franciszek Jan Nowak, born in 1896, aide–de–camp to the commander of the 53. Infantry Regiment [of Borderland Rifles] in Stryj (p. 332). These officers were my father’s subordinates. I have further sent a photograph which shows my father (in the background) together with the commanding officer of the 11. Carpathian Infantry Division, Brigadier General Kazimierz Łukoski–Orlik (p. 325). I have more photographs of officers and military men from before 1939 who may well have perished in Katyn, however I do not remember all the surnames for I was only 12 when war broke out.
8. My name is Krystyna […] and I am the daughter of Lieutenant–Colonel Bronisław Szczyradłowski (my mother, Józefa Szczyradłowska, died of hunger in March 1944 in Russia). My address: […]

I would like to supplement my letter with the following piece of information: in May 1946 I was returning to Poland from the Soviet Union in a transport which finally reached our homeland in the beginning of June, and passed through Chełm. During the return trip our transport stopped near Katyn station, in an empty field near the forest, whereupon the engine driver declared that the train would go no further, for he had no more fuel – the menfolk had to go to the forest and fetch some wood. At the same time the soldiers who were guarding our convoy stated that we were to go to the forest to the see the graves of Polish officers. And so we went to the forest. We walked along a sandy road and entered a mixed copse (albeit predominantly coniferous). Near the edge we saw an enormous pit – a grave that contained human remains partially covered with shreds of uniforms; many were mummified, at least in part, for the soil was sandy. These bodies were arranged in layers and there were a great many of them. The sight was both shocking and terrifying. The uniforms clearly indicated that these were Polish military men. We fell to our knees at the edge of the grave and burst out crying. I think that this wasn’t one of the graves which had been discovered previously, for according to the map printed in the book that pit was located elsewhere (if I remember correctly).

By way of ending, I send you Dear Sir my kindest gratitude and wish you fruitful work on your book.

Yours very sincerely,