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Łukasz Ciepliński „Pług”

Łukasz Ciepliński was born in the village of Kwilcz on 26 November 1913. He graduated from elementary school and enlisted in the Cadet Corps in Rawicz. In 1936, he graduated from the Infantry Cadet School in Komorowo, Ostrów Mazowiecka. In 1936, he joined the 62nd Infantry Regiment in Bydgoszcz.

In the defensive war of 1939, he was in command of an antitank company and fought in the Battle of the Bzura and in the Kampinos Forest. General Tadeusz Kutrzeba personally awarded Ciepliński the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari for destroying six German tanks and two commander’s vehicles with an anti-tank gun. He participated in the defence of Warsaw. Assigned with the mission to organise a transit route, Ciepliński crossed over to Hungary, and after receiving military training returned to Poland. He was arrested by Ukrainian policemen and imprisoned in Sanok, but managed to escape.

In the environs of Rzeszów, Ciepliński was active in the Organisation of the White Eagle/ZWZ (Union for Armed Struggle)/the Home Army. Not only was he involved in combat actions, but he also organised a successful intelligence and counterintelligence network responsible for liquidating German informers. His unit intercepted V-1 and V-2 rocket parts and his operatives located a secret headquarters of Adolf Hitler.

Ciepliński participated in Operation Tempest, which led to the liberation of Rzeszów. As he opposed the idea which required Home Army soldiers to reveal themselves to the other occupying power, the Soviets, he joined an underground movement. On the night of 7 October 1944, he conducted an unsuccessful operation to free 400 Home Army soldiers imprisoned by the NKVD (the Soviet secret service agency) at Rzeszów Castle.

Ciepliński continued his activity in other anti-Soviet organisations, including the NIE resistance movement, the Armed Forces Delegation for Poland and, ultimately, in the WIN (Freedom and Independence) association. In January 1947, he was elected president of the 4th Management Board of WIN, the direct organizational, personal and ideological successor of the Home Army. He mainly focused on intelligence and propaganda activity.

Ciepliński was arrested by the UB (Department of Security) in Zabrze on 28 November 1947. In the UB torture house at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw, he was brutally interrogated for three years. This is what he said about the interrogation: ”During the interrogation, I was lying in a puddle of my own blood. In these conditions, my mental state was such that I could not be aware of what the investigating officer was writing”. As a result of the beatings, he went deaf in one ear, and when he could no longer walk, he was carried for interrogations on a blanket.

On 14 October 1950, the court condemned him in a perjurious ruling to, “five death sentences, the loss of public rights and honorary civil rights forever, and the forfeiture of all property.” He told the Military District Court in Warsaw, ”I am facing the charge of treason against the Polish nation, but after all, I offered my life to Poland already in my youth and wanted to work for it. For me, the Polish cause was the most sacred thing.”

On 16 December 1950, in the majesty of Stalin-era lawlessness, the higher court upheld the ruling, and then President Bolesław Bierut, pursuant to the decision of 20 February 1951, refused to grant clemency in the case.

On 1 March 1951, the President of the 4th Management Board of WiN, Lieutenant Colonel Łukasz Ciepliński, was murdered with a shot to the back of his head in the basement of the prison at Rakowiecka Street.

Ciepliński was aware that he would not be buried, and that his body would be dumped under cover of the night into some nameless hole. Therefore, just before death he swallowed a scapular medal. However, this has so far been insufficient to identify his remains in the Meadow of the Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw.

Tadeusz Płużański