Dąbrowski, Franciszek.

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Dąbrowski, Franciszek, born 17-04-1904 in Budapest as the son of a nobleman, from the Jelita coat of arms the General Romuald Dąbrowski and a Hungarian countess Elisabeth, began his military service in November 1918 at a cadet school in Krakow. In December 1937, he became Deputy Commander of the Military Transit Depot at Westerplatte. After graduating from school and promoted to senior lieutenant on 01-07-1932, he was assigned to the 3rd Regiment of Podhale Rifles in Bielsko served in this unit in the 1920s. He then served in the School Battalion of Infantry Officers in Biedrusko. In 1932 he was at the disposal of the head of the infantry department of the Ministry of Military Affairs. From 1932 he served in the 29th regiment of Kaniowski Riflemen in Kalisz. Stefan Szlaszewski was the commanding officer of the Polish 2nd Podhale Rifles Regiment. At the beginning of December 1937 he was transferred from Kalisz to Gdańsk, formally to the Military Department of the General Commissariat of the Republic of Poland in the Free City of Gdańsk, in fact – to the position of Deputy Commander of the Guard Department of the Military Transit Depot on Westerplatte. The main duties of Captain Dąbrowski, specialist in machine guns, were responsible for training depot soldiers in the protection of facilities in the facility’s closed buildings. He also held briefings with guard commanders, well-known patrols and officers’ positions with objects and areas of observation and tapping. Commander of the sentry unit and deputy commander of the military transit depot at Westplatte was from December 1937 to 07-09-1939. The JTS defended itself until 7-09-1939, when Major Sucharski finally decided to give up the facility.  When the German attack began on 01-09-1939, he led the defense with Major Henrijk Sucharski.   Sucharski surendered to General. Friedrich Georg Eberhardt. After the German air raid on September 2, Dabrowski convinced his superior to continue the defense, despite the ever-deteriorating situation. That lasted until 7 September. In September 1939 he served at Westerplatte military transit depot which took part in the Battle of Westerplatte, as the German battleship the “Schleswig-Holstei shoot the first grenades in the harbour of Danzig  The Polish garrison fought against overwhelming odds and repulsed all German attacks from 1 to 7 September. After the surrender he was imprisoned in several German POW camps, like Oflag II C Woldenberg ( Dobiegniew ) now a museum. During the liberation of prisoners of war in Deetz by the Red Army, there was a tragedy. The Soviet tank leader’s tank shot a shot in the shed where a group of prisoners were staying. About 50 people were killed and injured by the spray bullet. They usually rest at the cemetery in Dziedzice, as well as in Barlinek and Gorzów. Dabrowski on the middle photo, right next to Mieczysław Słaby

  Mieczysław Mikołaj Słaby (born 09-12-1905 in Przemyśl, died 15-03-1948) – captain, doctor of the Polish army of the Second Polish Republic and major of the Polish People’s Army, defender of Westerplatte, victim of UB- repression. He received the Order of Virtuti Militari.

After the war, Dabrowsky’s health was seriously affected by the poor conditions in captivity. Nevertheless, he served in a battalion of the navy in Gdansk-New Haven, opposite Westerplatte. He was one of the founders of the “Union of Defenders of Westerplatte” and led the establishment of the cemetery for the fallen defenders. But the communist government in 1950 found his past and social origins inappropriate, and expelled him from the army. Dabrowski therefore fell into poverty. From Ustka, he and his family had to move to Krakow. He had no job and no opportunity to continue the necessary spa treatment. After many efforts to get a flat, he got a single room without a toilet. To support his family, he started working as a cashier at KMPiK, sewing shoes in a house. He was removed from the party and was robbed of work after a wave of Stalinist cleansing. Nobody wanted to help the officer get rid of the party and work. Only when General Bolesław Kieniewicz, commander of the military district of Krakow, was informed by Arnold Mostowicz, was Dąbrowski allowed to work at an attractive point in Planty as a newspaper vendor at a kiosk, Arnold Mostowicz was born in 1914 in Lódz, Poland, Russian Empire. He was a writer, and died on 03-02-2002 in Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland.:

Death and burial ground of Dąbrowski, Franciszek.

Only after the political thaw around 1956 did his situation improve and he participated in the first reunions of the defenders of Westerplatte. In 1957 he published Wspomnienia z obrony Westerplatte (Reminders of the defense of Westerplatte), an extensive version of the book he had written immediately after the war. Franciszek Dabrowski died in Krakow in 24-04-1962, age 58. and was buried with military honor at the Rakowicki cemetery. My Czech friend Radek Hroch visited the the cemetery and sent me the grave photo’s.

During the post-war years, Wańkowicz’s mythologised account of Sucharski as a brave commander enduring under hopeless odds became the main source of information on Westerplatte action. The myth was propagated in numerous books and films. It is often thought that the Communist authorities preferred to maintain the myth of Sucharski, a heroic son of a peasant and shoemaker, rather than support his deputy, Dąbrowski who was born into a szlachta/nobility family. It was not until the 1990s that the truth about Sucharski and Westerplatte started to become more widely known.

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