The attack by UPA on the Przebraże self-defense base (July 5, 1943)

The Przebraże Defence, which withstood attacks by UPA and was able to save 20,000  Poles from being slaughtered. It co-operated with Soviet partisans, but as the Red Army returned in late 1943, the partisans started murdering AK and partisans' leaders.

A translation of some extracts of  "Przebraże – bastion polskiej samoobrony na Wołyniu", 

Przebraże, the Polish Self Defence Bastion In Wołyn.

Author:  Władysław Filar

Part 1

67/72 The attack  by UPA  on the Przebraże self-defense base (05 July, 1943)

For a long time, UPA forces had gathered their strength and had made preparations to carry out on a wider scale, a strike against the Polish population gathered at  Przebraże. At the start of July 1943, the Ukrainians decided to carry out their plan.

The action started on the night of 4/5 July, with the liquidation of Polish villages lying near Przebraże. Ethnic Polish places to the north of Przebraże were attacked and set aflame: Gruszwice, Łisa Góra, Zacisze, Cegielnia, Krakowszczyna, Chmielówka, Kruchlik, Horodyczyn, Łaka, Wielki Las, Pniów and Ignatowska. Polish homes in Ukrainian villages and farms in Trościaniec, Jaromel, Stara Czołnica, and also villages situated near Kiwerc. At daybreak a horde of over a thousand Ukrainian nationalists neared Przebraże. That night on the horizon the sky was lit up all around by the glow of fires. Those who survived the pogrom of the Poles fled to Przebraże, but only a few managed to save their own lives.

At 3.00 am UPA units started the attack, striking the outposts at Zagajnik, trying to wedge in the defensive formations in the north. The surprise and numerical superiority of the enemy forced Tadeusz Mielinik’s 3rd Platoon to retreat from the captured positions. The inhabitants of Zagajnik fled to Przebraże, were amongst the people, the first symptoms of panic broke out.

A counteract by the reserve platoon led by Henryk Cybulski dislodged the Banderists from Zagajnik, and the situation in this section was under control. Meanwhile, in the forests to the east of Przebraże, a few groups of the enemy came to reconnoiter the terrain. One of them coming from Majdan Jezierski stumbled upon defensive outposts. The Banderists were forced to retreat from machinegun fire, suffering heavy losses.

In a similar manner, another group of Banderists trying to enter Przebraże from the side of Jażwin were repulsed. The other sections were put on battle readiness. Young men, for whom there were not enough firearms, armed with pitchforks, scythes, and axes, formed a reserve to be used in the event of penetration by the Banderists into the center of the village.

The attack on Zagajnik was only a reconnaissance battle. UPA’s main strengths were concentrated in the south-west and west. They blockaded Przebraże from that side but had not yet been brought into action. A horse patrol led by Marcel Zytkiewicz which was sent in that direction surprised and shot at a unit of Banderists marching in chaos, and forced them to retreat. Before noon the Banderists fired at Chołopiny, which resulted in a few being set ablaze.

However, it was not a signal for the start of a general attack on Przebraże. Around noon 5 July the action carried out by the patrol of Zygmunt Sinicki in the village of Majdan Jezierski (which lays outside the ring of defense) finished with the defeat of the Banderists who had tried to force their way into Przebraże from that side. At the same time forces which started the dawn attack on the outposts at Zagajnik retreated in the direction of Jaromel. The main strength of the UPA forces had not decided on a direct attack. After the unsuccessful probes to the center of the base, they organized the total arson of all the neighboring Polish villages, after which they retreated in the direction of Kołki.

The defenders of Przebraże remained at the defense outposts through the whole night. In the morning, an armed patrol moved through the nearest colonies burnt down by the Banderists. In the regions of the colonies: Dermanka, Dobra, Marianówska, Huta, Józefin, and Majdan Jezierski were encountered several dozen people saved from the slaughter and hiding in the cornfields or forests. In the villages and colonies through which the hordes had passed baying for Polish blood, lay the murdered. In the Ukrainian village near Łyczki, near Trościaniec the Banderists had murdered five members of the Zawadzki family, 60-year Gałęzowski, 30-year-old Lyczyński and his Ukrainian wife. In the colony of Chmielówka a mother and her 15-year-old daughter were murdered in a cruel manner. They were pierced with pitchforks and hacked with axes. In the colony of Czernia, a T-bar from a cart was used to murder A Szpryngla. In Horódyczyn, Łozinska and Kaminska were burnt alive in their blazing home.

Baltazar Trybulski an inhabitant of Dermanka who survived the pogrom wrote this about the nightmare of the scene of the crime and the death of his nearest relatives, “On that bleak night as my place of vigil, I decided together with my brother on the roof dungeon of the building directly adjoining the homestead. Outside it was relatively quiet. In the distance only the dark forest stirred and the lone trees loomed. Suddenly at midnight, a UPA band burst into the place. My wife and two children were dragged out with their mouths tied with barbed wire.

First my boys were killed against the walls of the home, and then they set about murdering my wife with knives. I thought that my heart had frozen at the sight of the torture that was taking place and that I would perish in a similar death with my brother. In spite of looking at this from the roof dungeon, we stopped each other with our hands to each other mouths, so as not to explode in groans and not collapse completely.

54 M. Łozinski, B Rosiński  Obrońcy Przebraża, Lublin 1997 p25-26

Stanisława Bermacka, one of the surviving refugees, with words full of experience, draws the last moments of her village. “The furious bandits with flaming firebrands made short work, going from cottage to cottage-like vultures, setting fire to everything to everything that was in their path. As I lay with my family in the corn I watched how the armed rabble surrounded the house of Aleksandr Kownacki in which we had hid that night.

I had the feeling I would never see my elderly mother who could not keep up with us when we jumped out of the cottage, she remained in it with a small girl. Dazed in all the tragedy, we prayed in person for our dearest going away from us and suddenly something incredible. In the middle of the flames, my mother appeared holding the little girl in her arms, melting away in her bare feet over the glowing coals. The breath stopped our lungs. What had happened was that she had crawled out from under the stove, and unnoticed by the Banderists she had crossed fortunately through the whole hell of the fires.

S5 Tamże 21

There was only a few of the victims of the slaughter carried out by the Banderists in the onslaught on Przebraże on the nights of 4/5 July 1943. At that time in total several hundred Poles were killed at the hands of the Ukrainian Nationalists. All the people that were found alive, wounded or murdered were transported to Przebraże. The living and wounded were given help, and the murdered were buried in a newly created cemetery.

The analysis of the course of the first organized attack, carried out by the self-defense command found many shortcomings and deficiencies. Attention was drawn on the too few numbers of pillboxes and barbed wire entanglements, as well as the unsatisfactory state of the trenches It was necessary to turn out changes in the dispositions of forces in the system of defense as well increasing patrolling of the outer perimeter.

The most serious threats occurred in the sector at the village of Zagajnik and in the northeast direction from the side of Jaromel-Zofiówka, which needed strengthening. Also needing to be discharged were the symptoms of panic and defeatism which came amongst the gathered people during the attack and after it finished. Some voices were even raised about the hopelessness of further battle and with this an eagerness to abandon the base and of going to Kiwerc or Łuck to be under the care of Germans. The command of the self-defense set about with energy to immediately remove these shortcomings.

72/73 Raid on the UPA base at Trościaniec

After the unsuccessful attack on Przebraże on 4/5 July 1943 the Banderists withdrew to Ukrainian villages lying within a short distance. In that way, 100 man UPA units surrounded the self-defense base in a tight ring and at any moment they could engage in a new probe to destroy the Polish population. With the aim of preventing Banderist attacks on Przebraże from such a short distance the leaders of the self-defense decided to carry out several accosting and preventive campaigns on the UPA garrisons.

The first of these campaigns was the raid on Trościaniec, a village seven kilometers from Przebraże, to which groups of Banderists groups of Banderists always retreated to after contact with Poles. The action was carried out on 12 July. Taking part in it was a battalion assembled from 3 companies led by Henryk Cybulski. At 11 am on 11 July, they were concentrated at the Mosty colony, from where they moved marched out towards Trościaniec. The attack was carried out at dawn.

- 1 platoon from 4 company led by Franciszek Zylkiewicz approached Trościaniec from the south side and closed the road going in the direction of the forest. The remaining forces of 4 company blocked the road leading to Żurawicz.

- 2 platoons from 2 company led by Henryk Cybulski. Controlled the road in the direction of Kołki and the wide half roads of Łyczki

- I company led by Franciszek Malinowski attacked the school in which the Banderists were quartered as well the district agricultural college.

Surprised by the unexpected attack, the UPA unit was beaten. The Banderists saved themselves by escaping, seeking shelter in the corn and haystacks. A UPA relief column coming from the side of Łyczki was forced to retreat. A portion of the buildings in the village was set on fire and its residents were ordered to relocate to other villages further from Przebraże. The fall of Trościaniec was a warning to Ukrainian nationalists. For the Polish population in Przebraże the action had a big psychological meaning because it raised the morale of the defenders and population.

74/79 Akcja zniwna / Operation harvest

Faced with starvation, in late July work parties of peasants with wagons escorted by soldiers rode out to the abandoned fields around Przebraze to harvest the wheat. For several there were skirmishes with UPA patrols who harassed the work parties, shooting at them from a long-range. On 31/7/1943 near Chmielowski & Jaromel, several UPA units launched a major full-scale attack on the Polish escorts resulting in a fierce day-long battle, the battlefield stretching over several kilometers. The Polish defenders deployed their 2 improvised artillery cannons - 45m cannons which had been salvaged from abandoned Soviet tanks. One shell hit &  blew up a UPA ammunition wagon. UPA forces then retreated leaving behind 25 dead. 3 Poles were killed in the action. No further attacks were made on the work parties after that. 

Cybulski had a treaty with the nearby Ukrainian village of Jezerio and maintained good relations with it, as it was not was under UPA control. Some of the wheat was transported there for milling However 3 Polish soldiers were caught and arrested after robbing Ukrainian farms near the village, and selling meat stolen from the farms on the black market. A court-martial ordered the execution of the soldiers.

Several men caught making alcohol from wheat were expelled from Przebraze.

A married couple sent by the Gestapo to spy on the Defense were caught, court-martialled and executed

79/80 Health Service

81/84 The strength of the armed forces and defense systems of Przebraze

85/90 External contacts

90/ 97 Repulse of the UPA assault (30 August 1943)*

*  Based on the masters work of   Stefan Chojnecki “ Samoobrona Ludności na  Wołyniu w latach 1943-1944 [ The self-defence of the population in Volynhia during 1943-1944]  ”.

After repeated unsuccessful probes to destroy Przebraże, UPA decided to gather sufficient forces, so that a general assault would liquidate the Polish self-defense base. In the second half of August 1943 it started to concentrate units in the regions of Kołki, Rudnik, Swoz, Czetwertni, and Żurawicz. There they brought in 100 man units from more distant regions, formed new units and also organised greedy looters from groups of Ukrainian peasants coming from Żurawicz, Mykowa, Silna, Domaszowa, Jaromel, Trościaniec, Sitmcy,  Słowalycz, Swoz, Starej Czołnicy, Dodowycz, Kołki as well as from other villages and farms. For stories were told of riches and all kinds of goods, that the Poles has amassed in Przebraże. In Rudnik and the surrounding district, UPA carried out the mobilization of men from the ages of 16 to 50.

The great weight which the command of UPA applied to the business of destroying Przebraże, is evidenced by the fact it deployed from Eastern Malopolska selected 100man units with battle experience (around 3,000 troops). Joint UPA forces concentrated with the aim of breaking up the Przebraże self-defense numbered around 6,000 men as well the same number of so-called axmen and robbers. For fire support there was amassed 66 heavy machine guns, 20 light machine guns, 17 mortars, and 2 artillery guns.

To carry out the campaign, the “Ukrainian staff for the attack on Prezbraze” was appointed, with its headquarters in Swoz, which issued the secret “Order and plan to destroy ‘kubłla’ Prezbraze.” Probably included in them were:

- the concentration before the coming dawn, of all the essential existing forces and means of fire in the vicinity of  Przebraże

- firing off  at 04.45hours, several artillery rounds from the village of Wincentówka to Przebraże at the moment of confusion, disorientation and panic among the ‘Lachy’, the rising threat of building fires, the campaign will start on the western side - from the direction of Bodziazczow, Nowy and Stary  Czołnicy and Swoz, to keep the enemy convinced that the offensive had started in earnest

- positioning four 100man units in the area of Siekierzyce  with the aim of cutting off the roads of retreat from Przebraże in the southwest direction to Kiwerce

- concentrated concealed forces would strike at the east of Przebraże in the regions of: Marianówka, Budy, Majdan Jezierski, Zofiówka, Las Jaromelski,  Józefin and give protection with strong ambushes

- gathering of transports and wagons provided for loot at Zofiówka

- at 15.00 hours the general attack would commence, the united ‘unexpected’ and strong strike from the eastern direction- the ultimate destruction of ‘kubłla’ Prezbraze

Before the attack, UPA forces participating in the campaign on Przebraże were concentrated in the forests of Jaromel, Puczacki, Palecki, and Sierkiecyce from where stonas (100 man units) and kurens (400/800 man units) had a short distance to their marked out launching positions.

The principal idea was the execution at dawn of a surprise blow from the west and an invasion of the fortified camp which would tie up the main Przebrażan forces, and next to the forces amassed in the forests to the East of the base would move in a general assault with the aim of liquidating the self-defense base and the populace gathered there.

The leadership of the self-defense in Przebraże became aware of the increased movement of UPA units. Information and intelligence about this flowed in from various sources. The outer perimeter of Przebraże was constantly patrolled by the soldiers of the self-defense: regions further away were controlled by long-range mounted reconnaissance patrols. The concealed approaches of the Banderists to the region of Majdan Jezierski were detected effectively and early and reported to the staff of the Przebraże defense by the commander of the positions at Chołopiny. Therefore the intentions of the Banderists for a surprise attack were not to be fulfilled. At dawn on 30 August 1943, the fortified camp of Przebraże was alive with military life. Soldiers were armed and hurried to their prepared outposts. Due to the high discipline of the staff and the commanders of the outposts, even before the Banderists had stepped on the attack all the sectors of the defense were ready for combat.

Taking part in the in the defense of Przebraże were:

- 1 Company led by Franciszek Malinowski defending the sector from the groves (1Km northeast of the Korma colony) to the road leading to Stara Czołnica, with the task to protect any approaches from the southwest side.

- 2 Company led by Marcel Żytkiewicz encompassing the sector from the road to StaraCzołnica to woodpile (1km to the northwest from grid ref 204,4), with the task of protecting the base from the west and northwest.

- 3 Company led by Tadeusz Meilnick, defending the sector from the woodpile to the roads entering the forests at the western edge of Zagajnik from the north.

- 4 Company led by Tadeusz Wojinski encompassing the sector from the western edge of Zagajnik to Jażwin, protecting approaches from the direction west to Chołopiny.

The status of individual companies attained at the time ranged from 150 to 200 men, from this it may be deduced that across the whole lines of defense there was about not more than 600 to 800 defenders. The defense positions were assembled in supporting strong points with interconnecting crossfire, constituting a defense system adapted to circular defense.

The southern direction was defended by the self-defense in Rafalowce (about 170 armed men) and the fortifications of the self-defense at Kormarowka (about 30). As well protecting the defenders was the extensive Blola Werchany, which was hard to traverse. At the time in the region of Rafalowce and Kormarowka, there was stationed a unit of AK partisans led by lieutenant Rertki “ Drzazgi”, which could at any moment reinforce the southern sector of the defense or make contact in order to penetrate into the heart of the enemy’s defense.

Held in the reserve of the command of the self-defense was Stanislaw Koprowski’s mounted unit as well as a reserve company armed with different types of firearms, numbering over 200 men. It was to counterattack the Banderists, in the event that they were to break through the defense lines of Przebraze. A few kilometers from Przebraze in the forests near the wilderness of Hynin, was the resting place for a unit of Prokopuik Soviet partisans of, with whom there had been concluded a treaty of mutual assistance.

When at 04.45, 30 August 1943 the Banderists opened fire with their artillery and mortars, which were deployed in the region of Wincentowka, it did not surprise the defenders. Przebraze was ready for battle. Only a few buildings were set ablaze from the rounds fired at the base, however there no casualties among the populace. After a short “artillery preparation” the Banderists attacked with impetus, the Kowali sector defended by 2 Company. With supporting fire from 2 artillery guns, the soldiers of 2 Companies repelled the attack. From the UPA side, it was only a diversionary action, with the aim of drawing away attention from the main assault. In the east (in the region of Jozefina) the main forces and firepower of the Banderists were ready to act decisively at the appropriate moment of the assault.

On the sector of 1 Company the Banderists advanced to the barbed wire, dug in, and harassed the defenders with sporadic fire. Taking advantage of the passiveness of the attackers, a counterattack in that direction beat and pushed back the Banderists. In the region of Wydranek and Zagajnik, on the juncture point of 2 & 3 companies, strong columns of Banderists moving forward on the Troscaniec-Jeziero road were repelled by 2 companies. Fresh troops entered in a skilful breach, the entry of, controlling the roads and blocking the flow of Ukrainian reserves from Kolek. In the direction of 3 companies, the enemy’s penetration into the heart of the forest to the north of Zagajnik ended unsuccessfully.

The command of the forces attacking Przebraze relied on the tactics of arranged attacks on individual sectors, with the aim of wearing out the defenders, so as to ensure that in this way that the general assault would succeed. Having the advantage of strong reserves, fresh troops were constantly brought into battle. The Banderists had the situation in place, when they approached within 500 meters of the Polish positions, however, the fire of handheld and machine guns of the defenders forced them to retreat every time. In difficult situations on the most threatened sectors of the self-defense three members of the leadership of the self-defense appeared: Ludwick Malinowski “Lew”, Henryk Cybulski “Harry”, Albert Wasilewski “Orzech”, lifting the spirits of the fighters with their own examples. Fear was overcome. The situation became extremely grave.

After undertaking the identification of the Banderists forces at the individual sectors, it was affirmed that Przebraze was surrounded by significant Ukrainian forces from the west, north, and east and that on the south side only the patrols of the enemy were operating. After considering the great advantage of the Banderists, the command of the self-defense took upon itself to turn for help to the commander of the Soviet partisan unit, colonel Prokopuik. This unit consisted of about 150 infantrymen and sixty cavalry that was in the woodlands region of Dobra, where a plan was set to ambush the Banderists.

The free road of escape (the lane between the trenches of Przebraze going towards Jaromel) was blocked by Koprowski’s mounted unit. Prokopuik’s cavalry cut off the escape routes to the east and to the North West, cutting the Majdan Jezierski road. The rout of the Banderists was complete. At the same time, the Banderists at the remaining defense sectors soon fled.  The casualties of the Ukrainians amounted to about 400 killed and many wounded. Around 40 prisoners were taken into captivity, and captured with other arms were 17 heavy machine guns, 6 light machine guns, and six mortars.

This is how the great expedition of the Ukrainian nationalists finished. Despite the decisive advantage in forces and resources, the Banderists did not achieve their planned aims. The self-defense fought for the lives of the inhabitants gathered in Przebraze. The morale of the defenders was high as they realized that for them there was no retreat. The civilian populace also passed the test, in the base, there were no signs of panic. The health services and the quartermasters functioned well. The command of the self-defense led ably. Due to the victory, the plans of the Banderists for an easy conquest of Przebraze were dashed. For a long time, the threat of a direct attack had eased.

97/ 108 of the Przebraże defenders against UPA bases

After the repulse of repeated assaults by Banderists, and in particular the last one, the Poles who were gathered at the base considered Przebraże a secure place, that allowed the harshest times to be waited out and for the saving of life. The number of people staying at the base of Przebraże constantly increased. Winter was approaching. This placed a responsibility on the self-defense leadership not only for the defense against the Banderists but also to safeguard materials for survival in winter.

Even though the harvest season had passed, the continuation of expeditions under escort was organized to lands under threat, to gather the remains of crops left in the fields. Sorties were also organized for building materials, wood, metal kitchen sheets, and other materials, which remained in burnt-out and abandoned Polish villages. Everything that could be used in the building of new dugout shelters and homes, or for improving protection against the forthcoming winter was collected.

Matters relating to the assurance of security for the Polish population staying at the base were not neglected. In reality, after sustaining the severe defeat of 30 August, it was difficult for the Ukrainian nationalists to gather the necessary forces for an assault on Przebraże, and it was necessary to count on units of Banderists stationed in the nearby districts to be able to undertake attempts to surprise the defenders with an unexpected attack.

For that reason the self-defense strengthened its ability to defend, perfecting the rebuilding of the defense system, and replenishing ammunition shortages. New Polish families arrived from Łuck and Kiwerc, bringing with them a number of young men who reinforced the military units of the self-defense. On 30.12.1943, the AK unit of Władysław Kochański “Bomba” under the command of 2nd Lt Feliks Szczepaniak “Słuck” arrived from Zasłucza and was dispersed in the region of Zagajnik, actively joining in the defense of the Polish population gathered at the base. 

Former experiences of the Przebraże self-defense indicated that it was not possible to only organize a passive defense and await Banderist attacks in stationary positions. In order not to allow for the certainty of an attack, the command of the self-defense itself attacked know UPA bases, which were found in the near vicinity of Przebraże. One such strong UPA base was Hauczyce, from which there were regular attacks on Rafałówka. Negotiations with the Banderists did not achieve any results, and the Rafałówka self-defense did not have at its disposal sufficient forces to liquidate this UPA base. At the end of September 1943, a force consisting of 100 man unit from Przebraże, commanded by Władysław Górala and Zygmunt Sinicki, members of the outposts at Komarów and the self-defense unit from Rafałówka under the command of Apolinary Oliwa destroyed the UPA garrison at Hauczyce. The village was totally burnt down and its residents were ordered to relocate to Kotów, a village further away from Rafałówka.

At the beginning of October 1943, the command of the self-defense received a proposal from captain Kowalenko (the deputy of colonel Prokopiuk) for a joint operation on Ome

Where an NCO academy was located. Reconnaissance undertaken by Drzewiecki and his agents established that the Banderists in Omelno had at their disposal over 200 armed men, of whom 120 were cadets of the NCO academy. The village was fortified from the south. The plan for the raid on Omelno was arranged by the command of the self-defense with captain Kowalenko, in the Hynin wilderness. 150 troops from Prokopiuk’s unit and over 300 Przebraże took part in the  performance of the operation. The units marched out in the evening from two places. The attack was carried at dawn on the signal of a mortar round. The first to strike was the Soviet unit of captain Kowalenka, reinforced by one Polish unit, who forced the Banderists from the village. The Ukrainians attempted to withdraw to Sitnica and Kolek, but here they across the entrenched troops of Cybulski, and most of them were killed. Another UPA base was liquidated in this way.

THe next operation of the self-defense was the campaign on Słowatycz, which lay about 20 km from Prebraże. Taking part in the was a unit composed of 2 companies (about 200 men), commanded by Tadeusz Wojnicki and Szczepan Kamiński, a platoon from the “Drzazgi” partisan unit and a unit of Prokopiuk’s partisans. In the evening of 27 October 1943 the unit moved out for the operation from Wydranek, and at the Tworymerski farms' district and met up with Prokopiuk’s partisans led by captain Kowalenko. The task of the Prezbrażians was to take over the cemetery on the eastern edge of Słowatycz, and to occupy positions of advantage, and to await the assault from Kowalenko’s unit, which after going around the village was to strike from the west. The Poles very quickly and without any losses took over the cemetery, which was manned only by enemy sentries, and occupied defensive positions. During this time Kowalenko’s unit had not yet managed to skirt around the village and go through on the attack. The alerted Banderists, therefore, struck at the self-defense unit at the cemetery. The Przebrażians withheld their fire until the attackers got close to their positions, and then decimated them with machine gunfire. When the Soviet partisans arrived, the attack of the Banderists collapsed. Ukrainian losses were several dozen killed and many wounded. In the UPA base, there happened to be a unit of Uzebs, made up of deserters from the German services. The Uzbeks surrendered as a whole unit. About 100 went over to Prokopiuk’s unit.


Of great significance to the population gathered at Przebraże was the raid on Żurawicz. A reconnaissance had detected that Banderists were holding about 1,000 head of cattle, which had been robbed from Poles. The reconnaissance had also detected that there was quartered a UPA unit of several hundred men in strength, as well the chief of staff of the group, on the grounds of the former children’s sanatorium of Kirylenki, only separated from the village by broad meadows,. Access to the village itself was obstructed from the south and north-west, but the eastern part of the village was protected by a boggy valley, through which flowed a river. Three roads led to Żurawicz (from Horodyczyn, Mykowa, and Kłobuczyna) through three causeways about ½ km in length. When drawing up the plan for the operation, the command of the self-defense took into account the harsh terrain. Most of all it counted on the element of surprise, as Żurawicz lay away from roads and railway lines, the Banderists regarded this area as calm and not likely to be attacked.

The drawn-up plan envisaged that the village would be attacked at dawn 26.11.1943. On the evening of 25.11.1943, the battalion of the self-defense (approximately 700 on foot and 40 from the mounted reconnaissance unit) was assembled in the Zagajnik district, from where they marched out in the direction of Żurawicz. After five hours of marching, bypassing Jaromel and Domaszow, the battalion reached the district in the destined vicinity, the companies separating at the causeways. In concealment and silence they awaited the signal to attack.

At breaking dawn, the assault on the village began. The main force (3&4 Companies under the command of Henryk Cybulski) attacked the village through the causeway at the Horodczyn side of the village. 1 Company commanded by Franciszek Żytkiewicz attacked through the causeway on the Kłobuczyn side. 2 Company and the mounted reconnaissance unit passed through the causeway, first galloping through the village, occupying the posts to the north, and drawing fire from the Banderists quartered at the sanatorium.

The rest of the companies after crossing the causeways quickly occupied the whole village. They did not encounter any Banderists in it. It turned out they were only quartering in the sanatorium. After the sanatorium was attacked by the main force, the Banderists did not engage in combat and withdrew to the forest. The aim of the mission was accomplished. The cattle that had been robbed from Polish people were found in Ukrainian towns outside Żurawicz: in Rudniki, Czorniź, and other places, and recovered. A large amount of wheat and flour was requisitioned from the mill which was working to supply the needs of UPA. The returning mission was shot at from a distance by Banderists without any loss to the self-defense soldiers. On returning the cattle were divided in the order of need, milk cows were divided amongst families with children, beef cattle were handed over to companies, and a portion of the cattle was allotted for the short-term needs of newly arrived people.  

Czerwone Noce- Henryk Cybulski

The railwaymen from Kiwerce were also aware of our needs. Having contacts with railwaymen from all of Poland they soon struck the right colleagues. Among others was a certain train driver, who regularly ran between Poznan and Wołyn, Warsaw and Kiev. This daring man personally brought to Kiwerce and handed over to the railwaymen over there around 100 rifles and several hundred grenades which in no time found their way to Przebraźe. He also provided us with several dozen sub-machine guns. The source of these generous gifts was not known to us. Evidently, our benefactor must have had contacts with the top echelons of the underground resistance, from whom he managed to obtain arms of the highest quality in such large quantities. It was not until autumn that the Germans caught up with the activities of that railwayman. One day, when his train was due to arrive from Warsaw, a strong patrol of military police arrived at the rail yard in Kiwerce. The local railwaymen were aware of who the Germans were seeking. When the train pulled into the station, they gave hand signs to the engine driver to flee. He understood. He stopped the train at a semaphore, jumped out of the locomotive, and began fleeing in the direction of the forest. The Germans instantly spotted him. Their shots caught the brave railwayman, just in front of the forest, when he already counted on being able to evade the pursuit.   



One day rumors reached us that the Huta Stepańska self-defense center, similar in structure of the organization to Przebraże, had been smashed by UPA bands and its people had scattered into the forests.

It was necessary to immediately verify this news. I sent out a three-man patrol, which by side roads was to reach Huta and collect accurate data on group losses. The task was difficult, the patrol had to travel around 70 kilometers, with many UPA troops along the way. 

After four days weaving through the wilderness and forests, the patrol returned to Przebraże confirming the many rumors about the scattering of the inhabitants of Huta Stepańska. Our people had not met a living soul in this until recently living artery of the center of resistance. Homes were burnt out, tens of dead were not buried, bodies were spread out, lying in buildings, fields, and on the fringes of the forests.

The tragedy of Huta Stepańska was a heavy blow for me. I decided to withhold this fact from the people of Przebraże. I did not want panic to break out in the camp. For me personally and for the entire Przebraże leadership too, this became now the most difficult day. We did not doubt that after the liquidation of Huta, it was the turn of Przebraże. Yet only we stood as an obstacle to the utter liquidation o



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I am using this platform to continue the battle against revisionism and propaganda. Poland fought and suffered and are now being attacked in a variety of ways for various agendas.

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In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act

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