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Renisław Kowalski pseudonym “Czerkies” - defender of PWPW REDOUBT died

On 11 July 2017, at Bródnowski Cemetery in Warsaw, funeral ceremony was conducted for the late Renisław Kowalski, pseudonym Czerkies, participant of the Warsaw Rising.

Mr Renisław Kowalski was born on 15 September 1925 in Warsaw. He completed his elementary school before the outbreak of World War II. During the war, he started apprenticeship for a craftsman making shoe uppers. From 1943, he undertook underground activity in the Home Army under pseudonym “Czerkies”. He participated in carrying out “disciplinary” penalties against those who collaborated with the Nazis.  He belonged to the 3 rd riflemen company (called “Wolska” company) under Captain Stanisław Stefaniak, pseudonym “Stefan”, during the Rising forming part of the “Leśnik” Home Army Concentration.

At the “W” Hour (outbreak of the Rising), his initial weaponry consisted of only grenades. His units began the Rising with a Holy Mass in Karolkowa Street in the Saint Clement Church, where the participants were absolved from sins in the face of death ( in articulo mortis).

His unit fought in the Muranów district, on the line along the Warsaw Ghetto, up to the Gdański Railway Station. After that, there was the Old Town and the PWPW building in Sanguszki Street, where “Czerkies”, wounded with shrapnels in the chest stayed in the field hospital under the care of Dr Hanna Petrynowska, pseudonym Rana. During the evacuation of the PWPW Redoubt, he was taken out from the hospital by his brother Tadeusz, pseudonym Smukły and two nurses, and they managed to get to Warecka Street in the Śródmieście District through the sewers.

After his wounds healed, he continued fighting along with his brother in Powiśle and Czerniaków districts of Warsaw. Before capitulation, he exchanged his VIS pistol for a “Belgian six-shot” pistol and cash. For the money, he and his brother Tadeusz bought coats, because it was getting cold. He hid his pistol in the cinema theatre room of the YMKA building.

Wehrmacht was guarding the Home Army soldiers who were leaving Warsaw. The Wehrmacht soldiers were not making any searches at the time of leaving Warsaw. They went to captivity as an entire unit, on the way they would escape one-by-one from the transport. Brothers Tadeusz and Renisław used the opportunity and also relatively quickly after leaving Warsaw escaped and hid in a potato field. They were helped by a farmer from the Grodzisk area.

In 1945, Renisław went back to the empty Warsaw to get his pistol.  He would later tell that he was searching for it in darkness and, based on his sense of touch, he thought that everything was covered with mould – but he quickly came to realize that these were rats in large numbers. After some time, he exchanged his pistol for food. He managed to get to his family in Płońsk, and from there he went, after some time, to the Polish People's Army.  He served in Poznań, but he refused to be an orderly, and landed in the Bieszczady mountains. He served there as a telegrapher in Sanok. After returning to civilian life, he started working as a printer, completed master courses and worked in this craft until his retirement. He worked in the RSW-Prasa printing works in Okopowa Street.

In 1949, he married Jadwiga Jakubowska. In 1949, son Tadeusz, and in 1954 daughter Elżbieta, were born to the family. He had four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was decorated for:

  • Long-time Marriage,
  • Partisan Cross,
  • Silver Cross of Merit,
  • Warsaw Uprising Cross,
  • Home Army Cross,
  • Commemorative Medal on the 70 th Anniversary of the Warsaw Rising.

He died on 4 July 2017.

Mr Renisław Kowalski was buried in Bródnowski Cemetery in Warsaw in the 35E-3-1 section.

The Management Board, Supervisory Board and all employees of Polish Security Printing Works S.A. would like to express their deep sorrow and compassion due to the death of the indomitable Home Army Soldier and Defender of the PWPW Redoubt.

PWPW (Polish Security Printing Works)

1 R. Sanguszki Street
00-222 Warsaw, Poland
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tel. (+48) 22 235 20 00
fax (+48) 22 235 24 50