Henryk Minkiewicz

Henryk Minkiewicz

Henryk Minkiewicz was born on the day 19 January 1880 year in Suwałki, in the family of an official of the Tax Chamber, Kazimierz Minkiewicz. His mother, Karolina née Michałowski, she came from Rajgrod, and my father from Filipów, from a middle-class family, about noble origin and patriotic traditions, playing an important role in the life of the town. Henryk, together with parents and siblings, left Suwałki at the latest on 1888 year to Marijampole. He graduated from gymnasium here and v 1898 year he went to St. Petersburg, where he undertook natural science studies and became involved in conspiratorial political activity among supporters of the Polish Socialist Party. He did not complete his studies and moved to 1902 year to Krakow. Here, with the same result, after a year, he completed his education in medicine at the Jagiellonian University and in 1904 year – at the School of Fine Arts. By profession, he considered himself an artist painter, but he did not record any major achievements in painting.

From 1904 He has already decisively engaged in political activity, organizing PPS cells in Lublin. W 1905 He was elected to the Central Workers' Committee of that party for a relatively short period of time. He was then an ardent supporter and defender of the independence ideas of Józef Piłsudski, he also became his close associate. After the split in the party, in 1906 He joined the Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist Party – Revolutionary Faction, a w 1907 year – to the underground Active Fighting Union. On behalf of both organizations, he was an emissary to the territory of Ukraine, creating there outposts and military circles among Polish youth.

W 1909 he performed in Rome, together with Kazimierz Pużak, a death sentence on the traitor and provocateur Edmund Taranowicz. W 1910 He was the commander of the ZWC branch in Krakow and joined the legal shooting movement. In the fall 1912 year he became the commander of the branch “Sagittarius” in Zakopane and served as the commander of the Podhale region of this organization. Probably due to the handicap of the Zakopane branch “Sagittarius” there was a sharp conflict between Minkiewicz and Piłsudski, who was the chief commander of the organization. The case ended with the removal of Minkiewicz from “Sagittarius” and the Union of Active Struggle and its cooperation with the Union of Podhale Teams.

Antagonism with Piłsudski caused, that after the outbreak of World War I, Minkiewicz did not find himself in the units subordinate to the Commander, but at the end of September 1914 he joined the ID Infantry Regiment, which later became part of the 2nd Legion Brigade. He started his service in the Legions with the rank of lieutenant and company commander, and he finished with the rank of lieutenant colonel and commander of the 3rd Regiment. Day 6 July 1916 He was wounded in the battle of Kostiuchnówka and taken prisoner by the Russians. Have to admit, that while in the 2nd Brigade he showed himself to be good, hard, demanding, caring for soldiers, brave commander on the battlefield, as well as an open critic of Piłsudski's actions and policies.

After a year, Minkiewicz managed to escape from captivity. After returning, in July 1917 year, he joined the Polish Armed Forces. In this formation he was, among others, the commander of the infantry brigade, he was promoted to colonel and completed his military education.

Extremely important, Minkiewicz in November has probably played an underestimated role so far 1918 year. Appointed commander of the garrison of Warsaw and the surrounding area, he led the action of disarming German troops and seizing important facilities by soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces.

In years 1918-1920 participated in hostilities on the Eastern Front, first as commander of operational groups, fighting against the Ukrainians, later in the rank of general (from 1 June 1919 year) at the head of the 2nd Legions Infantry Division against the Red Army. From the date of 25 July 1920 He was deputy general-governor of Warsaw and commander of the 1st Army, General Franciszek Latinik. Already during the period of peace, he was appointed deputy commander of the corps' district.

W 1924 year, he was promoted to the highest level in his career: He was appointed commander of the Border Protection Corps and appointed Major General. Minkiewicz fulfilled the difficult task of the organizer and commander of the KOP efficiently and effectively. The formation managed to eliminate or seriously limit the undesirable phenomena in the eastern borderlands in a relatively short time. Despite this, day 7 May 1929 year, on behalf of Piłsudski, in an unusual way and for unknown reasons, Minkiewicz was dismissed from the post of commander.

After being released, Minkiewicz moved to the military settlement of Jamno in the Brześć Litewski poviat on the Bug River, a w 1934 year he was retired. After the outbreak of World War II, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets and in the Kozielsk camp. There he took a special position as an arbiter among the officers, counselor and tutor of younger colleagues, which earned him their recognition and respect. Day 7 April 1940 year, the fourth transport of prisoners set out from Kozielsk, among others with General Minkiewicz and Major Adam Solski, whose notebook was found at the scene of the execution in the Katyn forest. It follows from the last entry in it, that Major Solski was murdered on the day 9 April. It is almost certain, General Minkiewicz died on the same day.

It was a character, perhaps not of great format, but significant and interesting, with quite broad and diverse interests, though without any special giftedness. Minkiewicz did not become a politician, he was primarily a soldier, a good tactical commander, especially ranks, and organizer. He probably lacked a deeper military education.He was not helped by his antagonism with Piłsudski., not only on the battlefield, but also civil.

Area, poetess, Maria Markowska, older than her husband by two years, died in 1939 year, and their marriage remained childless.

By order no 112-48-07 President of the Republic of Poland Lech Aleksander Kaczyński of 5 October 2007 was appointed posthumously to the rank of lieutenant general. Promotion has been announced 9 November 2007 in Warsaw, during the ceremony “We Remember Katyn - Let's celebrate the Heroes' Memory”.

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