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Feliks Selmanowicz alias „Zagończyk”

Born on 6 June 1904 in Vilnius. He had completed 5 grades of middle school before the outbreak of WWI. In September 1918, he volunteered to the Vilnius Vigilante Organization, and later to the 1st Battalion of Neman River Rifles with which he fought in the Polish-Soviet War. He subsequently worked for the People’s Militia in the Neutral Zone – an area under international control after fighting between Lithuania and Poland was over. In free Poland he worked as a civil servant and ran a farm. He was probably associated with Polish as well as French military intelligence.

In August 1939, he was mobilized to the Border Security Corps as a sergeant. He took part in the fighting against the Red Army on 17 September 1939. After being interned by the Lithuanian authorities, he managed to escape from the camp in November and returned to Vilnius, where he became involved in the Polish conspiracy movement. In January 1940, he was arrested by the Lithuanian police, but was released because no evidence was found to prove his guilt. When the Soviets marched into the town, he was arrested once again, handed over to the NKVD (the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs), and condemned to death for espionage. However, the death sentence was not executed since he fled from the transport after the German troops entered Vilnius.

From January 1944 he fought in the Vilnius Brigades of the Home Army: the 3rd Brigade of Col. Gracjan Fróg alias Szczerbiec, the 5th Brigade of Mjr Zygmunt Szendzielarz alias Łupaszka (deputy platoon commander), and the 4th Brigade of 2LT Longin Wojciechowski alias Ronin (company commander). Promoted to second lieutenant, wounded twice, he received the Cross of Valour.

In July 1944, following the disarmament of his troop by the Soviets, he was interned in Kaluga. In April 1945, he managed to escape and return to Vilnius, from where he was repatriated to Poland six months later. At the end of 1945 and the beginning of 1946, he established contact with Major Szendzielarz, who was reassembling the 5th Vilnius Brigade of the Home Army in Pomerania. He took command of a 5-strong independent combat and diversionary patrol of the Gdańsk and Olsztyn region, whose task was to obtain funds for organisational activity and to conduct propaganda campaigns.

He was arrested on 8 July 1946 in a conspirators’ flat in Sopot; three Security Office (UB) functionaries were said to have been killed during his attempted escape. He was then transported to a remand centre in Gdańsk and subjected to a brutal interrogation. He made a failed escape attempt. On 17 August the District Military Court in Gdańsk sentenced Second Lieutenant Selmanowicz to death. He was murdered on 28 August 1946 at 6.15 am in the cellar of the Gdańsk prison in Kurkowa Street, together with Danuta Siedzikówna alias Inka, a medic of the 5th Vilnius Brigade of the Home Army. Both of them cried “Long live Poland!” before their death.

The Provincial Court in Gdańsk cancelled the death sentence in 1997. In 2014, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) found the remains of Feliks Selmanowicz hidden by the communists under paving slabs at the Garrison Cemetery in Gdańsk. On 28 August 2016, a ceremonial state funeral of Zagończyk and Inka was held there to mark the 70th anniversary of the death sentence. President Andrzej Duda posthumously promoted Second Lieutenant Selmanowicz to lieutenant colonel.

Tadeusz Płużański