Sopot, 15 listopada 1993 r.
I, Leon Augustyn Torliński, b. 4 November 1913 in Wielka Wieś, Puck district, pomorskie voivodeship, son of Leon and Małgorzata Torlińki, holder of ID [...], hereby state the following:
As soon as orders were given to stand by for Operation “Burza” [storm] in the Sandomierz- Opatów inspectorate, that is, on 17 July 1944, I learned from Lt. Col. Antoni Żółkiewski that he was assigning me to the headquarters of the 2nd Legion Infantry Division of the Home Army as an operations officer. At that time, I was serving as a captain in the Home Army. I handed over my duties as head of the inspectorate’s intelligence to Lt. “Paproć”, an intelligence officer of the Sandomierz district. I began my service at the Division’s headquarters on 27 July as the first and only staff officer. Joining us later were, in chronological order, captain of the navy Witold Sagaj “Sandacz”, minesweepers’ officer Maj. Tadeusz Struś “Kaktus”, quartermaster Cpt. Planeta “Bogdan”, and finally the Division’s chief of staff Cpt. Michał Mandziara “Siwy”.
In the Sandomierz district, fighting began on 26 July 1944, at the crossing of Baranów and Annopol. There were no clashes in the direction of Sandomierz.
Around 30 July, our troops advanced toward Baranów and Annopol, where significant strongholds were captured, and it seemed as if these two forces would converge in the region of Lipnik. The Germans’ entire efforts were concentrated on preventing these two strongholds from converging, so that the German troops involved in the defense of Sandomerz would be able to retreat. The fortified Sandomierz, which was supposed to be the keystone and the base for defending the Baranów-Annopol section, was outmaneuvered without a fight.
The Home Army troops involved in the action in the Baranów stronghold, fighting side by side with Soviet frontline troops, were advancing westward. In the direction of Annopol, Cpt. Szczepanik “Paweł’s” battalion fought their way to the Ćmielów region, while in the direction of Baranów, fighting took place to take control of Staszów (“Pochmurny’s” battalion) and Klimontów (“Tarnina’s” battalion).
On the night between 30 July and 1 August, the troops of the 2nd Legion Infantry Regiment entered the Opatów district to continue fighting as part of Operation “Burza”. In the Bardo- Wszachow region, the Division was joined by the “Zawisza” partisan unit (5th company, 2nd battalion of the Legion Infantry Regiment), while the diversionary unit of the Opatów district and the execution squadrons of the intelligence joined the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division as the defense unit “Bartnik”. The commander of this unit was Lt. Zenon Krzekotowski, until then the head of the Opatów district intelligence. The Division’s headquarters placed me with this unit as their officer in charge. This is where I met one of the finest soldiers – tested in numerous operations of the underground network – Witold Szymański, nom-de-guerre “Trembowski”.
Until 15 October 1944, I met the soldiers of the “Bartnik” defense unit every day. Once the 2nd Legion Infantry Division was demobilized, that is after 15 October, I lost touch with the units. I was transferred to Kielce to prepare IDs and civilian clothes for those who did not have any.
I came across Witold Szymański again in March 1945 in Chorzów, where he had come from Poznań with Bruno Nadolczak, a Silent Unseen (a paratrooper from England). At that time, I worked at the Chorzów Coal Union “Skarboferm” under the name of Kazimierz Ogonowski. Living in my flat at that time was Zenon Ciekański “Pożar”, a friend of Nadolczak and of Tadeusz Sokół “Bug-Irkus”, the three of them being paratroopers from England. Back then, we were active in the “Nie” organization in katowickie and opolskie voivodeships. During one of my visits to the Opole region, I was assigned the additional task of going to Kudowa-Zdrój to evaluate the possibility of crossing the Polish-Czech border in Kudowa and into the town of Nachod on the other side of the border. In Duszniki-Zdrój, I looked up Witold Szymański, who, to keep up appearances, was employed at the Municipal Military Command under a false name (which I do not remember). The commander was a former Home Army soldier, who helped Witold. Witold Szymański facilitated my stay in the border zone, found me temporary accommodations in a local guest house, and provided me with food as I prepared to cross the border. To that end, Witold used his connections in the Military Command of Duszniki-Zdrój.
I had visited the border zone twice, at intervals which made it possible for me to familiarize myself with the terrain. When I finished my second reconnaissance and returned to Katowice, I was faced with entirely different circumstances. Zenon Krzekotowski (“Bartnik”), Zenon Ciekański (“Pożar”), as well as Tadeusz Sokół (“Bug-Irkus”) had been arrested. The latter two were Silent Unseens.
The border crossing which I had set up thanks to the help of Witold Szymański was used, among others, by Zbigniew Kabata “Bobo”, an officer with the “Jędrusie” guerilla unit, Maj. Tadeusz Struś “Kaktus”, a staff officer of the 2nd Infantry Division, and myself, Leon Augustyn Torliński, as well as a number of soldiers from the “Jędrusie” unit. Witold Szymański’s help enabled us to get to the West. At that time, Witold was wanted by the Public Security.
I submit the present statement at the request of Witold Szymański, currently residing in the United States, in order to hand over said statement to Witold’s children and his family abroad.
The events depicted in the present statement regarding the period of my service in the Home Army, as well as the facts concerning the service of the persons named, are true and span the period of the Home Army’s activity before its dissolution, as well as until the summer of 1945 and my crossing of the Polish-Czechoslovak border.
I append my handwritten signature to the present report, in the presence of a witness, as a member of the World Association of Home Army Soldiers, Gdańsk district. While in the Home Army, my nom-de-guerre was “Kret”.
Leon Augustyn Torliński (“Kret”)