Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Cursed Soldiers Wolf's Trail Run

On the first of March I took part in Bieg Pamięci Żołnierzy Wyklętych Tropem Wilczym: Cursed Soldiers Wolf's Trail Run in my town. Runners from our region and neighbourhood came to pay tribute to soldiers of the Polish anti-communist underground.
 All participants were given black t-shirts, each with a white picture of a Polish Cursed Soldier chosen from:

rtm. Witold Pilecki “Witold”                                  por. Henryk Borowy-Borowski “Trzmiel”
por. Tadeusz Pelak “Junak”                          ppłk NSZ Stanisław Kasznica „Wąsowski”
mjr Hieronim Dekutowski „Zapora”                      mjr Zygmunt Szendzielarz „Łupaszka”
mjr Bolesław Kontrym „Żmudzin”                    ppłk Łukasz Ciepliński „Pług”
ppłk Antoni Olechowicz „Krzysztof”            Stanisław Abramowski „Bury”
Ryszard Widelski „Irydion”                                  Danuta Siedzikówna „Inka”.

They were not just t-shirts. People wearing them could choose their patron for this day. This initiative was not only an excuse to compete in a running event but also it encouraged people to read something about the Polish history so that the names of the cursed soldiers are not forgotten.

I picked ‘Inka’. She was the only girl among the cursed soldiers commemorated on our t-shirts and I really wanted to learn something about her. I read some information about her in Polish but translating it into English would be too challenging to me so I decided to cite the website:

“Danuta Siedzikowna codenamed "Inka" (1928-1946) , a 17-year old medic from the Major "Lupaszka's" unit of the Home Army. Executed by the Polish Secret Police, the UB on August 28, 1946.”

65 Years Ago, August 28, 1946, at 6:15 A.M., two Armia Krajowa (Eng., Home Army; Polish Patriot: military) Soldiers from the Major "Lupaszka" unit - "Inka", Danuta Siedzikowna; and "Zagonczyk", Feliks Selmanowicz - were executed by the UB (Urzad Bezpieczenstwa; Eng., Public Security; Polish Communist: secret police)

"I am sad that I have to die. Tell my grandma that I conducted myself with dignity". - These were the farewell words of the seventeen-years-old medic Danuta Siedzikowna, nom de guerre 'Inka', who along with Feliks Selmanowicz, nom de guerre 'Zagonczyk', was murdered 65 years ago, by the Urzad Bezpieczenstwa. This brief message was sent secretly to her sisters Halina, and Jadwiga. To this day, their families have not been able to locate where "Inka" and "Zagonczyk" were buried. Their death sentences were not only a "Morderstwo Sadowe" (Eng., "Court Sanctioned Murder"), but also, an act of revenge against Major "Lupaszka's" unit, of which both were soldiers. Major "Lupaszka's" unit, was particularly hated by the Gdansk's WUBP (Wojewódzki Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego - Eng., Voivode Office of Public Security; Polish Communist: government police ministry), as it effectively frustrated its efforts to, unopposed, reign terror upon the defenseless population in the region. Major "Lupaszka's" unit conducted many daring, and successful operations against the UB, among them, their well known raid throughout the Starogard, and Koscierzyn counties on May 19, 1946.”
I’m proud that the cursed soldiers were honoured in this way. Taking part in this ceremony with my sister and our dog, surrounded by friends, was great. It was preceded by the Polish Anthem and a short lecture. Some scouts with Polish flags, who symbolized the cursed soldiers, run on a shorter symbolic distance of 2 km.

There were two distances to choose from: 7 km and 2 km. I had a permission to participate in the run with my dog so I chose the shorter route in order not to tire Helmut, but it was long enough to fully participate in this event and take pleasure from an exercise in the fresh air. Our friend from the running club also took a dog with her: a yellow crossbreed dog named Luki. He was rescued from a shelter. Now he’s about 6 months old. Our dogs get along together very well and they enjoyed each other’s company, although both of them were cautious and treated each other with cool resentment and a dose of curiosity. They were distanced at the beginning but after the run they both felt much more confident and relaxed and their mutual affection blossomed. Our friend made a beautiful black bandana especially for Helmut and Luki. It was a great gift and I love it. It’s so beautiful that Helmut wears it on our walks and even at home now.

The route was very demanding. It was organised right next to the Kazimierzowski Castle and inside the Park surrounding it. There were a lot of precipitous ascents and winding roads. I wasn’t tired that much after 2 km but advanced runners competing on a longer distance said that they had to face an extreme challenge. The first place prize was a trip to Brussels and some money, so the competition was fierce. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was surprisingly warm at that time of the year. It didn’t rain at all. Kaziemierzowski Castle is the best place possible for organising that type of celebration.
I have to say a few words about how my dog behaved and what he experienced. Helmut was amazing! He was calm and playful, although, at the beginning of the run he was worried. He wondered why all those people suddenly started to run and why we joined them. There was a loud signal to start, people were screaming with excitement. I lead Munio on a leash and gave him some time to understand what the run was all about and I spoke to him with a calm voice. After a moment he realized that there was nothing to worry about, he relaxed and had a lot of fun with us. I’m glad that I could introduce Helmut to this psychological challenge. It helped him gain more confidence and he understood that he was safe with me, even if people around us were behaving unusually and strange. Loud music, the excitement of the crowd, strangers leaning towards him trying to pet him – it all was emotionally stimulating but in a very positive way. Munio is respectful and friendly towards dogs and he’s calm around people, however, he needs some time to let them touch him and to trust strangers. I had certainty that he wouldn’t bite anyone. Helmut did better than I could have expected from him. He found a new friend, a cocker spaniel who played with him enthusiastically. The dog was running like crazy around with excitement. Helmut is not used to such an eagerness to play so he didn’t join the spaniel but he approached the dog curiously and sniffed him. Though he prefers less energetic behaviour at other dogs, he didn’t show the slightest signs of irritation. He accepted his new friend even when the dog bounced at him and collided with him with full speed. I’m very proud of Helmut. He made an amazing progress because in the past he was timid and nervous. He matured and made a lot of hard work developing his confidence. We supported him on his way to finding balance and his success is precious to me.
People took photos of me, my sister and Helmut and they were very kind to email them to us. I’m the one with long hair and my sister is wearing an orange cap and pink sleeves. I hope you know Helmut. We had chips measuring our time and at finish we all got medals. I’ll remember this day for a very long time and I consider trying to run for 7 km in the next year celebration of the 1 March in the Wolf’s Trail Run.

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