Kustroń, Józef Rudolf.

Back to all people

- Medals

Kustroń, Józef Rudolf
polandArmyBrigade General

Kustroń, Jozef Rudolf, born 16-10-1892 in Stry, in the family of Andrzej Kustron and Magdalena, born Fedoryk. He spent his childhood in the southern town of Nowy Sącz, where his family had settled. In high school, he was an active member of youth organizations fighting for Poland’s independence (see Partitions of Poland), such as the ZET Youth Association. The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years.

In 1910 he began studying law and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and two years later joined the paramilitary Riflemen’s Association. After the outbreak of World War I, Kustron joined the Polish Legions, and was promoted to platoon commander in the Second Infantry Regiment of the Legions. On 29-10-1914 he was wounded during the Battle of Molotkowo and, after recuperating, was promoted to porucznik (lieutenant). Transferred to the 4th Infantry Regiment, he fought against the Russians in the area of Lublin, and in Volhynia, and was promoted to captain. After the Oath crisis, Kustron was demoted by the Austrians, and moved to an infantry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Army. From 1917, he was an active member of the Polish Military Organisation, and in late autumn of 1918, he participated in the disarmament of Austrian troops in Kraków.

After Poland regained independence in late 1918, Kustroń worked for the Ministry of Military Affairs. During the Polish-Soviet War, he oversaw military rail transportation from July 1920 and, three years later, he was awarded the Virtuti Militari order.

In the inter-war period, Kustroń served in several infantry units. He was deputy of the 42nd Infantry Regiment in Białystok,  then commander of the 55th Infantry Regiment in Leszno. During the May Coup, the coup overthrew the government of President Stanisław Wojciechowski and Prime Minister Wincenty Witos. Kustron supported Józef Piłsudski, and prevented his regiment from going to Warsaw to fight for the lawful president. In the late 1930s, he commanded the Pomeranian 16th Infantry Division from Grudziądz and, in 1935, he was appointed commander of the 21st Mountain Infantry Division from Bielsko-Biała. With this unit, he took part in the annexation of Zaolzie (Cesky Tesin) in 1938 (see Independent Operational Group Silesia) and was promoted to Brigadier General in March 1939. Józef Piłsudski, died 12-05-1935, aged 67, in Warsaw, Poland

During the Polish September Campaign, Kustroń’s division was part of the Kraków Army, and was engaged in heavy fighting with the advancing Wehrmacht from the first day. of the war.

Here an inspection of the garrison of Poznan by General Tadeusz Kasprzycki: from left: General Edmund Knoll-Kownacki, General Tadeusz Kasprzycki , General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski, and then colonel Józef Kustroń  After several battles and skirmishes, the division, retreating east, found itself near the town of Oleszyce on 16 September. Trying to break through German lines and reach Lwów, the Poles fought a battle with Wehrmacht’s 45th Infantry Division. , under command of Generalleutnant Friedrich Materna ,

Death and burial ground of Kustron, Jozef Rudolf.

The 21st Division was now surrendered by the Germans forces. Kustroń was killed at around 2 p.m. during an attemped escape from the woods in Mszczanów. Together with 230 men the escape failed and they were shot from all sides with artillery and mache guns.. Kustron was killed and only a 60 men survived. He was buried on the battlefield in a  field grave in Ułazów, and in 1953, his remains were moved to Nowy Sącz. He was the first Polish General to die in the Poland invasion, and the second general officer casualty of the campaign overall; the first was Wilhelm Fritz von Roettig. General Wilhelm Fritz von Roettig was the first General to die in the Poland invasion. He was killed at about 14:15 on 10-09-1939 near Opoczno, Poland. He was killed when his staff car was attacked by Polish troops armed with heavy machine guns. Von Roettig was then shot in the head. The first General after Von Roettig was also Polish General Józef Kustroń, who died in battle on 16 September. Subsequently, the next German general was to die Werner von Fritsch,  who was killed on September 22. Friedrich Matena survived the war and died 11-11-1946, aged 61, in Vienna, Austria.

Kustroń was married in 1916 to Aleksandra born Dagnan. Children: Stanisław (born 1918), Krystyna (born 1922), Adam (born 1927) [5].

In April 2016, the archives of the Polish Institute found General Wladislaw Sikorski‘s letter in London to General Aleksandra’s widow, addressed to General Stanisław Maczek   in the fall of 1939, asking to confirm her husband’s death near Ułazów .





Share on :