Rydz-Smigly, Edward

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Rydz-Smigly, Edward, born 11-03-1886 in the village of Łapszyn near Brzeżany, Tarnopol Voivodship, Galicia, to a non-commissioned officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army. He was orphaned at the age of thirteen. He went on to study philosophy and history of art at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, then studied art in Kraków, Vienna, and Munich. In 1910, he enrolled in the reserve officer’s academy in Vienna, but declined a commission in the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army. In 1912, he took part in the founding of the paramilitary Riflemen’s Association (Związek Strzelecki) in Poland. In Jul 1914, Rydz was drafted into the Austrian Army, then in the next month transferred to the Polish Legions. He fought against Russians in Southern Vistula valiantly, but his unit was disbanded and its men imprisoned in 1917 after the unit’s refusal to swear allegiance to Austrian authorities. Rydz, however, was not imprisoned due to health reasons. He returned to Poland, adopted a nom de guerre Rydz-Śmigły, and led the Polish Military Organization. In October 1918, he joined the socialist government of Ignacy Daszyński in Lublin as the Minister of War. In the following month, the government submitted to Józef Piłsudski’s government, and became a General in the Polish Army.   Ignacy Daszyński died 31-10-1936, aged 70, in Bystra, Poland  In this role, he became a famed leader of the Polish-Bolshevik War, and was awarded the position of Inspector General of the Polish Army in the Vilna district and later Warsaw. In 1926, he participated in Piłsudski’s successful coup d’etat. On 13-05-1935, after Piłsudski’s death, Rydz became the Inspector General of the Polish Armed Forces. On 10-11-1936, he was named Marshal of Poland. At this time, he legally changed his name to his former nom de guerre Rydz-Śmigły. He served rather obediently under President Ignacy Mościcki,

  but the gap between the two men increased gradually

Handshake of Polish Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły and the German attache Generalmajor Bogislav von Studnitz during the “Independence Day” parade in Warsaw on 11-11-1938. Photo notable for the fact that the Polish hits particularly tied to the capture of Cieszyn Silesia, who implemented the previous month. At the parade was held specially column Těšínské Poles, and in Germany on the eve of 9 to 10 November 1938 there was a so-called “Crystal Night”, the first mass action of direct physical violence against Jews on the territory of the Third Reich. Generalleutnant Bogislav von Studnitz was killed in a “suspicious” car exident on 13-01-1943, age 54, near Larissa, Griekenland.

At the eve of the Germany invasion of 1939, Rydz-Śmigły claimed that he had foreseen all the signs of invasion. Even if he did, however, he had too little time to prepare the defences. As commander of all Polish forces, he fought the German forces the best he could, while he evacuated Warsaw of its civilians. To his disappointment, reinforcements from Britain and France never came. On 17-09-1939, Russian forces began their invasion from the east. Attacked from both sides, Rydz-Śmigły ordered a withdraw southward toward Romania, where he was interned. While interned in Romania, his leadership role was assumed by his political opponent Wladyslaw Sikorsky, but Rydz-Śmigły continued to organize Polish resistance against German occupation. On 10-12-1940, he escaped his imprisonment and fled into Hungary. Upon learning this news, Sikorski issued an order for Rydz-Śmigły’s arrest and transport to Britain. Rydz-Śmigły, now known by his alias Adam Zawisza, returned to Poland in 30-10-1941 to take part in the Polish resistance as a common soldier.

Death and burial ground of Rydz-Smigly, Edward.

  Before he made any significant contributions, however, he died of heart failure on 02-12-1941, age 55 and is buried on the cemetery Powaski in Warsaw. Close by the graves of Generals Stanislaw Sosabowski, Antoni Chrusciel and Flyer ace, Wing Commander, Jan Zumbach.


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