Communist and Nazi Occupation Policies in Jedwabne, 1939-49
Presented at the Panel “Jedwabne – A Scientific Analysis”
Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, Inc.
Annual Meeting, June 8, 2002
Georgetown University, Washington DC
All data cited herein is based on my forthcoming monograph,
“The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, After.” M.J.C.
Extraordinary terror during the Second World War concerned exclusively the Jews during the Holocaust carried out by the Nazis. The attempt to exterminate the Polish Christian elite by the Germans and the Soviets also verged on the extraordinary. However, between 1939 and 1949 the ordinary people in Poland experienced ordinary terror by the Nazis and Communists. Ordinary terror was indispensable for the occupation regimes to maintain themselves in power and to carry out their policy objectives which aimed at total control of the population. I shall demonstrate the mechanisms of terror and describe its results using as my example the area of Jedwabne, the county of Łomża, in north-eastern Poland.
On September 2, 1939, the Nazis captured Jedwabne only to give it up to the Soviets at the end of the month. The Soviets occupied Jedwabne until June 23, 1941, when they fled the onslaught of the Wehrmacht. Between June 25, 1941, and January 26, 1945, Jedwabne remained under Nazi rule. Later, it experienced Soviet occupation by proxy.
During the first Soviet occupation, the invaders replaced the old Polish administration with one modeled on the civil bureaucracy of the Soviet Union. Imported Soviet officials headed the power structure which was also staffed with local collaborators and, on its lowest rungs, unwilling draftees. Next, the Nazis replaced the Soviet system with a commissary administration composed of local collaborators and unwilling draftees supervised by German overseers. Finally, during the second Soviet occupation following January 1945, the invaders initially installed a local Communist proxy administration. However, it was crushed by the Polish independentist underground by June 1945. Afterward, an uneasy compromise persisted until January 1949: the overt independentists ran the town and its environs; the Communists stayed away for the most part. Thus, the post-war political set up on the local level was to a certain extent a return to its pre-war shape or, more precisely, to the system reflecting the division of power within the war-time Polish Underground State.
As far as the question of power was concerned, the most significant difference between the war-time and post-war experience was the role of the security apparatus. The Soviet police of Jedwabne and its local militiamen (1939-1941) and the Nazi security of Jedwabne and its local auxiliaries (1941-1945) played a crucial role in the affairs of the town. However, with the exception of a brief spell of time when it enjoyed the protection of the local NKVD command (January-March 1945), the post-war Citizen Militia of Jedwabne failed to influence the affairs of the locality significantly unless it operated in concert with outside Communist security forces (1945-49). Thus, between 1939 and 1945 Jedwabne was constantly at the mercy of the local police force, whereas afterward it had to reckon intermittently with periodic raids by the outside Communist security units.
The human toll
Nonetheless, between 1939 and 1949, both occupiers practiced ordinary terror to achieve their political, revolutionary objectives. The avowed aims were to arrange the lives of the locals according to the ideologies of national socialism and communism. To control the population, the Nazis and Communists resolved to eliminate the actual and potential leaders of the local resistance as well as a broad category of people considered unfit. Both totalitarian occupiers often adhered to the principle of genetic responsibility. The Nazis of course applied their criminally insane policy of elimination to the Jewish people at large. That, however, was extraordinary terror. It resulted in the burning to death of about 400 local Jews in Jedwabne in July 1941 and shooting and gassing in Treblinka of about 300 more Jews of Jedwabne in November 1942 and afterward. (Note 1)
The measures against the local elite were milder and they oscillated between extraordinary and ordinary terror. Some members of the local elite were shot, but most “only” deported to camps, imprisoned, beaten, or otherwise persecuted. A few examples suffice. The Soviets shot two Catholic priests, the parsons of Jedwabne and Burzyn, for their involvement with the underground (Note 2). The local postmaster Kazimierz Burnus found himself sharing the same cell in a Communist prison with the future President-in-Exile of Poland, Ryszard Kaczorowski (Note 3). For an unknown reason the Nazis executed the teacher Henryk Pytluk of Burzyn. For defying them, they sent the town secretary Piotr Kulesza to the Majdanek concentration camp, where he perished on October 13, 1943. (Note 4)
Nonetheless, even ordinary terror observed the “blood principle” at least to a certain extent. The “enemies of the people” and their families were targeted, including innocent children, women, and elderly, as during the Soviet deportations to the Gulag (1940-1941); during hostage round-ups and deportations to forced labor and Nazi concentration camps (1941-1945); and during the police sweeps in search of the independentist insurgents (1939-1949). Incidentally, both Nazis and Communists referred to the Polish insurgents and their relatives as “bandits” and “bandit families” and treated them both with similar barbarity.
In terms of human losses, during the first Soviet occupation, about 20 Christian inhabitants of Jedwabne and its environs were shot. Approximately 250 Poles were arrested for underground activities. In addition, around 300 people, including up to 10 Jews, were seized and deported to the Gulag; an estimated 50 of them died in the process and later in the camps. Further, at least 100 young men, Poles and Jews, were forcibly impressed into the Red Army. Some of them died at the front following June 1941. (Note 5)
Ordinary terror intensified significantly during the Nazi occupation. In addition to the wholesale slaughter of the Jewish community, the Germans killed at least 220 Christian Poles of the town and parish (gmina) of Jedwabne. A minimum of 100 local Poles perished in the town itself and in the outlying villages; hundreds were sent to labor and concentration camp, where about 120 died. Three examples amply illustrate the nature of ordinary terror at its worst. In July 1942 the gendarmerie raided the local state-run retirement shelter in the village of Pieńki Borowe near Jedwabne. The Nazis arrested approximately 60 senior citizens who were subsequently shot in the forest near Jeziorko. The crime was perpetrated for no apparent reason at all other than to eliminate the need to feed the elderly out of the state coffers. Sometime in 1943, according to Antoni Nadara, the Germans allegedly shot a Polish family and sixteen Jews hiding on their farmstead near Jedwabne. On December 31, 1944, in Niesławice the occupiers shot and burned 41 peasants alive for having sheltered a Wehrmacht deserter. (Note 6)
Between 1945 and 1949, ordinary terror of the proxy regime focused primarily on the politically active in general, and on the insurgents in particular. When the Soviets re-appeared in January 1945, they immediately seized a few score of people, mostly connected to the underground. Probably a few were shot on the spot, while some others shipped off to the Gulag. In addition, within the next four years, the Communists may have killed about 50 opponents of the regime, chiefly the insurgents. Hundreds were arrested, and the property of some of them confiscated (Note 7). The secret police also maltreated many innocent by-standers, assuming that almost all locals were “reactionaries.” According to the Communist County Supervisor of Łomża, “the security authorities should conduct themselves with more tact and moderation toward the innocent population that has nothing to do with the reactionary bands [i.e. the insurgents]. Violent actions by the security authorities cause the local population to regard them disfavorably and at the same time hamper the administrative civilian authorties from fulfilling their duties.” (Note 8)
Ordinary terror consisted not only of shooting, beating, arresting, and deporting the inhabitants. It also adversely affected their economic, educational, and religious lives.
Economy and Property
Between 1939 and 1941, the Soviets confiscated all local enterprises and landed estates, the former impacting Jewish businessmen and the latter Christian noble landowners. However, most former Jewish owners were temporarily allowed to continue working as technical experts in their establishments. Better-off farmers had to pay confiscatory taxes and join the collectives. Poor peasants were given some land from confiscated estates, but not enough to make their farms economically sustainable. Moreover, they were coerced to surrender the food quota and perform forced labor. Police terror largely nullified their resistance. Soon, the supplies dwindled. Scarcity set in. (Note 9)
After June 1941, the Nazis took over all assets previously seized by the Soviet state and, in addition, confiscated Jewish property en bloc. Some of the properties, real estate and small industrial enterprises in particular, were rented to Polish Christians. Nonetheless, the Nazis continued demanding the food quota and consistently increased its size. The official need for forced labor likewise grew apace. Like the Soviets, the German occupiers coerced the peasants to obey them through terror. Poverty and deprivation deepened judged even by an abysmal standards of the Soviet occupation. (Note 10)
As a result of the war, about 10 percent of the town of Jedwabne was destroyed. At least 50 properties were seriously damaged in the town itself. In the parish of Jedwabne, 13 out of 38 villages were destroyed completely. Out of 532 farmsteads affected, 232 were completely annihilated. Most of the damage occurred as the front was rolling through the area. (Note 11)
Following the return of the Communists in January 1945, the economic situation improved. Some Jewish owners were able to reclaim their properties (Note 12), but not the landed nobility. Their lands were again distributed to the poorest of the locals but the measure failed to improve significantly the economic lot of that group (Note 13).However, because the central authorities initially lacked the means and manpower to control Jedwabne and other small localities, the town and its environs slowly recuperated and even began to prosper. To stress, the recovery occurred without the assistance of the central government and, in fact, despite its policies. In an economically punitive move, the Communists increased the food quota to a level higher than even that demanded by the Nazis. However, because the proxy regime lacked the means to enforce its demands, the people failed to surrender the quota and pay taxes. As late as as November 1948, the parish mayor of Jedwabne told his superiors that “without the special [security] team from the county… the taxes cannot be collected.” (Note 14) The people also mostly ignored official requests to report for forced labor. Thus, because of the weakness of the occupation regime, Jedwabne and its environs enjoyed a measure of prosperity from 1945 until 1949. However, already by the end of 1948 the collectivization drive commenced along with property confiscation among a few of the traditional elite. (Note 15)
Between 1939 and 1941, the attitude of the Soviet regime toward religion can be characterized as hostile toleration at best and mild prosecution at worst. The church and the synagogue were taxed heavily. Much of their property was seized, most notably the Catholic House. Religion was mocked; its symbols desecrated; and it was banned at public schools. Two priests were shot for political reasons. On the other hand, the rabbi was perhaps harassed but not arrested. And a few religious rituals were tolerated in public, funerals in particular. (Note 16)
The period between 1941 and 1945 was marked by hostile toleration of Christianity and total assault on Judaism. The Nazis, of course, exterminated Jewish religion together with its adherents. However, as far as the Catholic Church was concerned, the German occupiers eschewed attacking the religion per se but endeavored to use the institution as a conduit for their propaganda to expedite the economic exploitation of the area and spread anti-Communism and anti-Semitism. Otherwise the Nazi left the clergy pretty much alone, although during their retreat in 1945 German soldiers unsuccessfully attempted to destroy the church building. (Note 17)
After 1945, the Polish Communist proxies of the Soviets were initially too weak to undermine the Catholic Church. Thus, the Church and its parson largely returned to its pre-war ways and its influence on the local level even grew. The persecution of the Church commenced in the earnest only from 1949. (Note 18)
As far as education was concerned, the first Soviet occupation brought some benefits to the Jewish minority, but was mostly detrimental for the Polish majority. The Soviets established a Jewish high-school in Jedwabne (Note 19). On the one hand, some Jewish parents probably looked favorably at the educational opportunities that opened up for their children. On the other hand, at least some abhorred the new state schools as a conduit for Communist propaganda. Polish parents and pupils had more reason to chafe. In all schools Russian replaced Polish as the language of instructions. Many Polish teachers were dismissed, and some arrested (Note 20). A peasant complained that:
Religion and the clergy were persecuted by the NKVD. Roadside crosses and other [religious] statues were destroyed by tractors or tanks. Next, a chain was affixed to them and they were dragged in mockery through the villages. In our village school children were taught exclusively in Russian and Belorussian. The Polish language was abolished. Polish teachers were replaced with Belorussian newcomers and Jews. They ordered our children to take their crosses and [holy] medallions off their necks and they mocked our religion. (Note 21)
Under the Nazis, Jewish education was liquidated completely together with the teachers and pupils. The Nazis also shot at least three Polish Christian teachers and sent a minimum of two to concentration camps. Their colleagues were periodically held as hostages (Note 22). On the other hand, the Polish language was restored on the lowest level of schooling. Nonetheless, the occupation authorities removed Polish literature and history from the curriculum, which was additionally designed to foster inferiority and stupidity among Polish children. The deficiencies of the curriculum were somewhat remedied through clandestine teaching which most likely commenced already under the Soviet occupation. (Note 23)
Between 1945 and 1949, again because of the weakness of the Communist proxy regime, education returned to its pre-war form. Religion was back in the classroom. For the most part the local teachers ignored the Communist propaganda directives coming from the center and taught according to the pre-war standards. However, by the end of 1948, Stalinist orthodoxy again re-appeared in Jedwabne’s school.
Between 1939 and 1949 the human toll for Jedwabne and its environs was staggering. Extraordinary terror of the Holocaust claimed about 400 Jewish victims in the town itself and at least further 300 elsewhere (including about 150 who fled the original massacre on July 10, 1941). Ordinary terror, directed primarily against the Catholic majority, claimed at least 400 victims dead and probably three times as many incarcerated in Communist and Nazi concentration camps and jails.
To a certain extent, after 1944, the second Soviet occupation by Polish Communist proxy regime continued in the oppressive tradition of the first Soviet occupation (1939-1941) and the Nazi occupation (1941-1945). However, the second Soviet occupation was much milder than either of the preceding invasions. Of course, the Nazi period was the most ferocious. The human and material losses were indisputably the heaviest at the time. This was a function of both the radicalism of the Nazi ideology and the high degree of control exercised by the Germans over the area and its inhabitants. The chief victims of the Nazi occupation were of course the Jews. Nonetheless, the Germans also targeted the Poles, first the intelligentsia and then also the ordinary people. However, between 1939 and 1941, it was the Poles, specifically the Polish elite, who suffered most because of the ideological radicalism of the occupier bent chiefly upon destroying the Polish state and its institutions and a high degree of control imposed by the Soviets.
In contradistinction, after 1944, because the Polish Communist proxies of Stalin initially lacked the power to exercise total control over the area, Jedwabne and its environs experienced a period of unprecedented freedom. The independentist underground, which for the most part had played a secondary, and at times only a symbolic role between 1939 and 1944, became a significant factor in the countryside afterward. Because of the persistence of the armed resistance, the Communists were forced to tolerate an overtly independentist town and parish administration in Jedwabne until 1949. Further, because of the insurgent activities, the proxy regime failed to exploit the population economically. That was a welcome respite for the people who were robbed blindly and routinely forced into slave labor under both previous occupations (1939-1945). Nonetheless, after 1944, during the second Soviet occupation, Jedwabne sustained some human losses as well, in particular among the insurgents and the real and alleged supporters of the proxy regime who were mostly ethnic Poles.
Although in comparison to the first Soviet occupation and, especially, the Nazi period, the second Soviet occupation was mild, the ordinary terror experienced by the locals in Jedwabne and its environs was still more virulent than what most of Western Europeans experienced at Hitler’s hands. This crucial background is indispensable to understand why the Poles also considered themselves victims of the Second World War and why most Poles did not consider as liberation the entry of the Red Army into Poland in 1944.
Note 1. The statistics are quite problematic. Several hundred Jews left Jedwabne before June 1941 (they moved to other localities, were drafted into the Red Army, or were deported to the Gulag). Additionally, about a hundred fled with the Red Army in June 1941. A minimum of 250 and a maximum of 480 were burned to death in a barn on the outskirts of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941. About 150 escaped with their lives on that day, although Menachem Finkielsztejn claims that 302 Jews of Jedwabne survived the massacre. “They remained in Jedwabne in 3 houses until 11 November 1942.” See Menachem Finkielsztejn, Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego [afterward AŻIH], file 301/1846; Józef Grądowski, AŻIH, file 301-5825; George Gorin, ed., Grayevo Memorial Book (New York: United Grayever Relief Committee, 1950), 234 [afterward Grayevo Memorial Book]. See also Kazimierz Szyszkowski do Sądu Grodzkiego w Łomży, no date [12 July 1949], Archiwum Państwowe w Białymstoku, Oddział w Łomży, Sąd Grodzki w Łomży [afterward APBOŁ, SGŁ], Zg 121/49; Protokół, 6 September 1948, APBOŁ, SGŁ, Zg 234/48; the testimonies of Feliks Kowalski, 29 June 1971, Czesław Strzelczyk, 9 April 1974, Jan Michał Kiełczewski, 9 April 1974, and Julianna Sokołowska, 10 April 1974, Bundesarchiv-Zentralle Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Untersuchung der NS-Verbrechen in Ludwigsburg [afterward BA ZSL], file V 205 AR-2 233/74, 42, 52, 57; Julius J. Baker and Jacob L. Baker, eds., Yedwabne: History and Memorial Book (Jerusalem and New York: The Yedwabner Societies in Israel and the United States of America, 1980), 88-89, 94, 100–103, 107-109, 112-14; Zdzisław Sędziak, “‘Napiętowani znakiem śmierci,’” Ziemia Łomżyńska [Łomża] 2 (1986): 191, 194–95 [afterward Yedwabne]; Waldemar Monkiewicz, “Zagłada skupisk żydowskich w regionie białostockim w latach 1939, 1941–1944,” Studia Podlaskie [Białystok], vol. 2 (1989): 241–46; Obozy hitlerowskie na ziemiach polskich 1939-1945: Informator Encyklopedyczny (Warszawa: PWN, 1979), 208; Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, eds., The Black Book: The Ruthless Murder of Jews by German-Fascist Invaders Throughout the Temporarily-Occupied Regions of the Soviet Union and in the Death Camps of Poland During the War of 1941-1945 (New York: Holocaust Library, 1980), 244; Jan Tomasz Gross, Sąsiedzi: Historia zagłady żydowskiego miasteczka (Sejny: Pogranicze, 2000) [afterward Sąsiedzi]. An expanded English language version has been published as Jan T. Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001). (back to text)
Note 2. Father Marian Szumowski of Jedwabne was shot on January 27, 1941, in Minsk, Soviet Belorus. Father Stanisław Cutnik of Burzyn was most likely executed at the same time. See Ks. Marian Szumowski, Akta księży, Archiwum Diecezjalne w Łomży [afterward ADŁ]; the letter of the Consul General of Belarus in Białystok I. Khodasevich to Father Edward Orłowski of Jedwabne, 26 October 1994 (a copy in my collection). (back to text)
Note 3. “Wspominki prezydenckie,” Kurier Poranny [Białystok], 26 January 2001, 15. (back to text)
Note 4. Lista strat osobowych tutejszego samorządu terytorialnego w 1939-1945, APBOŁ, WPŁ, Zestawienie pracowników samorządowych, 1945, file 20. (back to text)
Note 5. The pertinent testimonies are in the files on Województwo Białostockie, powiat Łomża, gmina Jedwabne, the Hoover Institute Archives, Polish Government Collection and the General Anders Collection, Ministerstwo Informacji i Dokumentacji [afterwards HIA, PGC, GAC, MID], pp. 39–49. See also Jan T. Gross and Irena G. Gross, eds., W czterdziestym nas matko na Sybir zesłali… (London: Aneks, 1983), 330–32; Krzysztof Jasiewicz, “Sąsiedzi niezbadani,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 9–10 December 2000; Tomasz Strzembosz, “Uroczysko Kobielno: Z dziejów konspiracji i partyzantki nad Biebrzą, 1939–40,” Karta no. 5 (May–July 1991): 3–27; and an expanded version in Tomasz Strzembosz, , “Uroczysko Kobielno: Z dziejów konspiracji i partyzantki nad Biebrzą, 1939–40,” Ziemia Łomżyńska, vol. 6 (2001): 367-401; Michał Gnatowski, W radzieckich okowach: Studium o agresji 17 września 1939 r. i radzieckiej polityce w regionie łomżyńskim w latach 1939-1941 (Łomża: Łomżyńskie Towarzystwo Naukowe im. Wagów, 1997), 120, 124-27 [afterward W radzieckich okowach]; Michał Gnatowski, Niepokorna Bialostocczyzna: Opór społeczny i polskie podziemie niepodleglościowe w regionie białostockim w latach 1939-1941 w radzieckich źródłach (Bialystok: Instytut Historii Uniwersytetu w Bialymstoku, 2001); Michał Gnatowski, “Region łomżyński w granicach ZSRR (wrzesień 1939 – czerwiec 1941): Nowe aspekty i problemy badawcze,” Studia Łomżyńskie, vol. 3 (1991): 51-106; Michał Gnatowski, “Deportacja osadników i służby leśnej oraz ich rodzin z regionu łomżyńskiego na wschodnie obszary ZSRR w lutym 1940 roku,” Studia Łomżyńskie, vol. 7 (1996): 49-66; and, more broadly, Tomasz Danilecki, “Deportacje ludności cywilnej z Białostocczyzny,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 3 (2002). (back to text)
Note 6. Two-hundred and twenty Christian victims (listed by name) represent the losses sustained by the town and the parish of Jedwabne. That number excludes the Poles brought by the Nazis from Łomża and elsewhere and killed in the environs of Jedwabne. It also most likely does not include the pensioners of Pieńki Borowe,where it has been possible to identify the names of ten victims only, apparently Christians. In addition, on the same day the Nazis killed a separate batch of pensioners from Łomża, altogether 95 persons. Jerzy Smurzyński, who described the crime in some detail, mentions no Jews among the victims. However, the fact that the crime was committed when the Holocaust was in the full swing suggests that the murder of the pensioners may have been somehow connected, if only because the slaughter of the Jews radicalized the Nazis so that they treated the killing of the “superfluous” Poles as a casual affair. The losses among the elite in Jedwabne and its environs have not been calculated yet. However, the overall losses have been tabulated. According to local administration records and research by Franciszek Januszek and Jerzy Smurzyński, in the Łomża area 36,790 persons were killed by the Nazis, including 24,955 Jews, 11,683 Poles, and 195 Gypsies. In addition, the Germans killed approximately 200 Polish POWs in 1939 and 12,000 Soviet POWs after June 1940. Out of 276 teachers, 68 were arrested by the Nazis, 43 killed, and 25 survived jails and concentration camps. The Nazis also arrested 52 Catholic priests and killed 34 of them. To illustrate the extent of the losses in the area of Jedwabne, including both Jewish and Polish victims, we need only to compare pre-war and post-war demographic statistics. In 1939 the parish of Jedwabne boasted 8,050 people, while in 1947 only 7,040 remained. The population of the town of Jedwabne dropped from 3,000 to 1,850 inhabitants. Aside from the outright slaughter on the spot, many fell victim to deportation. Others fled, while still others were displaced as refugees or moved on their own never to return home. Some of them were replaced by refugees from other parts of Poland. See Wykaz osób zamordowanych przez Niemców, APBOŁ, Gminne Rady Narodowe Powiatu Łomżyńskiego, GRN w Jedwabnem, 1945-1954, Zarząd Gminny, Dział Ogólno-Organizacyjny, file 16; Kwestionariusz dotyczący rejestracji szkód wojennych, APBOŁ, Starostwo Powiatowe Łomżyńskie [afterward SPŁ], Referat szkód wojennych, file 73; Sprawozdania dotyczące szkód wojennych w gminach pow. Łomżyńskiego, 1945, APBOŁ, SPŁ, file 49; Ankieta dotycząca przebiegu działań wojennych oraz okupacji niemieckiej, 31 July 1945, APBOŁ, SPŁ, file 48, 1-2; Jerzy Smurzyński, Czarne lata na Łomżyńskiej ziemi (Masowe zbrodnie hitlerowskie w roku 1939, latach 1941-1945 w świetle dokumentów) (Warszawa: and Łomża Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Ziemi Łomżyńskiej, 1997), 36, 117-120, 135-36, 200-205, 214-17, 294-95 [afterward Czarne lata na Łomżyńskiej ziemi]; Januszek, Martyrologia nauczycieli polskich na Białostocczyźnie, 37; Jan Onacik, Przewodnik po miejscach męczeństwa woj. Białostockiego lata wojny 1939-1945 (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Sport i Turystyka, 1970), 111, 122-23; Waldemar Monkiewicz and Józef Kowalczyk, Bez przedawnienia: Pacyfikacje wsi białostockich w latach 1939, 1941-1944 (Białystok Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1986); Antoni Nadara, “Skończyć z oszczerstwami!” Nasza Polska, 13 March 2001, 12. (back to text)
Note 7. Of the most valiant insurgent commanders in the area, Lieutenant Stanisław Grabowski (“Wiarus”) of the NZW was killed in action by the Communists on March 22, 1952. Second Lieutenant Michał Bierzeński (“Sęp”) of the NZW was wounded and captured in 1952 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Captain Stanisław Cieślewski (“Lipiec”) of the WiN was seriously wounded in battle with the police and, to avoid being captured, committed suicide in 1952. Major Jan Tabortowski (“Bruzda”) of the WiN perished in a firefight with the police in 1954. His last underling, Sergeant Stanisław Marchewka (“Ryba”) of the WiN, was killed in action in March 1957. See Komendant Powiatowy Milicji Obywatelskiej do Starosty Powiatu Łomżyńskiego, 30 June 1945, APBOŁ, SPŁ, Meldunki o stanie bezpieczeństwa w powiecie, 1944-1946, file 8, 13; Urząd Wojewódzki w Białymstoku, Wydział Społeczno-Polityczny [afterward UWB, WSP] do Ministerstwa Administracji Publicznej, Departament Polityczny w Warszawie [afterward MAP, DP], Wykroczenia i czyny terrorystyczne, Meldunki za czas od 25.X. do 20.XI. 1945, 23 November 1945, Meldunki za czas od 1-go stycznia do 15-go I.1946, 19 January 1946, Meldunki za czas od dnia 2 – do 9 lipca b.r., 11 July 1946, UWB, WSP do MAP, DP, 26 July 1946, UWB, WSP do MAP, DP, 22 August 1946, Archiwum Państwowe w Białymstoku [afterward APB], UWB, file 496, 21, 33, 59, 62, 72; UWB, WSP, do MAP, Ob. mgr. Szenk, Dyrektor Departamentu Politycznego w Warszawie, 19 October 1948, UWB, WSP do MAP, DP, 30 April 1949, APB, UWB, file 497, 105, 121; Sytuacyjne sprawozdanie miesięczne Wojewody Białostockiego za miesiąc sierpień 1946 r., 30 September 1946, Sytuacyjne sprawozdanie miesięczne Wojewody Białostockiego za miesiąc wrzesień 1946 r., 27 September 1946, APB, UWB, file 235, 40, 47, 51; Tajne, Sprawozdanie Wydziału Społeczno-Politycznego za miesiąc styczeń 1947 rok, 15 February 1947, APB, UWB, file 96, 10; Miesięczne sprawozdanie sytuacyjne Wojewody Białostockiego za miesiąc wrzesień 1948 r., 12 October 1948, APB, UWB, file 240, 25-26; Wójt gminy w Jedwabnem Biedrzycki do Pana Starosty Powiatowego w Łomży, 8 July 1946, Starosta Powiatowy, Zestawienie wypadków zaszłych na terenie Powiatu Łomżyńskiego w czasie od 1.I. do 9.II. 1946, Starosta Powiatowy Łomżyński do Urzędu Wojewódzkiego w Białymstoku, 27 December 1945, Starosta Powiatowy Łomżyński do Urzędu Wojewódzkiego, Wydział Społeczno-Polityczny, w Białymstoku, 19 October 1948, Protokół, 30 September 1948, APB, UWB, file 509, 8, 15-16, 18, 103-104; Starosta Powiatowy Łomżyński do Ob. Wojewody w Białymstoku, 4 October 1948, Starosta Powiatowy Łomżyński do Ob. Wojewody w Białymstoku, 4 May 1949, APBOŁ, SPŁ, Sprawozdania sytuacyjne Starosty Powiatowego 1947-1948, file 7, 36, 55; Wykaz członków P.P.R. pomordowanych na terenie Białostockiego rok 1945 pow. Łomża, APB, Komitet Wojewódzki Polskiej Partii Robotniczej [afterward KW PPR], file 37, 112; Grzegorz Wąsowski and Leszek Żebrowski, eds., Żołnierze wyklęci: Antykomunistyczne podziemie zbrojne po 1944 roku (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen and Liga Republikańska, 1999), 170, 213–14 [afterward Żołnierze wyklęci]; Henryk Majecki, Białostoccyzyna w pierwszych latach władzy ludowej (Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1977), 135 n. 73, 181 [afterward Białostoccyzyna w pierwszych latach władzy ludowej]. (back to text)
Note 8. Poufne, Sytuacyjne sprawozdanie Wojewody Białostockiego za m-c luty 1946 r., 12 March 1946, APB, UWB, file 234, 359. (back to text)
Note 9: Józef Karwowski, testimony no. 2589, Województwo Białostockie, powiat Łomża, m. Jedwabne, HIA, PGC, GAC, MID, 45; Józef Mocorski, testimony no. 5761, Województwo Białostockie, powiat Łomża, gm. Jedwabne, w. Makowskie, HIA, PGC, GAC, MID, 47; Protokół Nr. 17, 6 December 1947, APBOŁ, Powiatowa Rada Narodowa w Łomży [afterward PRN], Protokoły posiedzeń MRN w Jedwabnem 1946-1949, file 34, 21. (back to text)
Note 10. For some statistics concerning the economic impact of the war and occupations see Statystyka, ankiety i zestawienia zbiorcze gmin dotyczące stanu gospodarczego, demograficznego, 1947, Województwo Białystok, Powiatowy Związek Samorządowy Łomża, APBOŁ, Wydział Powiatowy w Łomży, 1944-1950 [afterward WPŁ], file 69, 1-2. (back to text)
Note 11. In the county of Łomża, there were 555 villages destroyed, including 180 completely. Altogether 18,159 farmsteads were destroyed. See Wykaz zniszczonych gospodarstw rolnych, 14 August 1945, APBOŁ, SPŁ, Wykazy strat wojennych w rolnictwie, 1945-1946, file 133, 5, 15; Statystyka, ankiety i zestawienia zbiorcze gmin dotyczące stanu gospodarczego, demograficznego, 1947, Województwo Białystok, Powiatowy Związek Samorządowy Łomża, APBOŁ, WPŁ, file 69, 2; Wykazy ogólne szkód wojennych w nieruchomościach w gminach pow. Łomżyńskiego, Archiwum Państwowe w Białymstoku, Urząd Wojewódzki w Białymstoku, file 1803, 80, 82-83. (back to text)
Note 12. See Co 3/47, Co 35/47, Co 49/47, 52/47, Co 10/49, Zg 167/47, Zg 129/48, Zg 130/48, Zg 234/48, Zg 235/48, Zg 334/48, Zg 178/49, APBOŁ, SGŁ (some of these files are currently at the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw). (back to text)
Note 13. See Protokół Nr. 11, 27 May 1947, APBOŁ, PRN, Protokoły posiedzeń MRN w Jedwabnem 1946-1949, file 34, 13; Pieńki Borowe, gm. Jedwabne, właściciel Feliks Pieńkowski, APBOŁ, SPŁ, Dane statystyczne dotyczące parcelacji poszczególnych majątków rolnych w powiecie, 1945, file 140, 25; Wykaz gospodarstw powstałych w wzniku reformy rolnej w pow. Łomżyńskim, 1947, Majątek Jedwabne, gm. Jedwabne, APBOŁ, SPŁ, file 155, 5; Wykaz bezrolnych spośród służby folwarcznej nabywców działek z parcelacji majątków państwowych w powiecie łomżyńskim, 1947, file 152; Maj. Jedwabne, właściciel Ferdynand Hartwig, APŁ, SGŁ, Wykaz nieruchomości przeznaczonych do parcelacji, 1946, file 150; and for an overall view on land confiscations in the county of Łomża see the official reports in APBOŁ, PRN, Sprawozdania z działalności Powiatowego Urzędu Ziemskiego, 1945-1947, file 74. (back to text)
Note 14. Protokół konferencji burmistrzów, 17 November 1948, APBOŁ, WPŁ, Protokoły zebrań wójtów, burmistrzów, oraz sekretarzy miejskich i gminnych, 1945, 1947-1949, file 13, 19. (back to text)
Note 15. Entries for Jedwabne i gm. Jedwabne, Powiat Łomżyński, Sprawozdania dostaw pszenicy na czas od początku akcji do dnia 5.X.1945 r., 10 October 1945, Wykaz statystyczny dokonanych dostaw ziemiaków do dnia 5.X.1945 r., 10 October 1945, Statystyczny wykaz dokonanych dostaw żyta do dnia 10.X.1945 r., 13 October 1945, Statystyczny wykaz dokonanych dostaw jęczmienia do 10.X.1945 r., APBOŁ, SPŁ, Sprawozdania z obowiązkowych świadczeń rzeczowych, 1945, file 95, 1-10; Do Ob. Starosty Powiatowego w Łomży mieszkańcy wsi Karwowo gm. Jedwabne 20 April 1945, wsi Witynie, 20 April 1945, wsi Konopki Tłuste, 17 April 1945, and wsi Konopki Chude, 17 April 1945, APBOŁ, SPŁ, Podania w sprawie zniesienia lub umorzenia świadczeń rzeczowych, file 96, 21-24; Protokół, 21 December 1945, APBOŁ, PRN, Protokoły posiedzeń PRN 1944-1946, file 1, 35-36; Sprawozdanie zgodnie z zarządzeniem WRN w Białymstoku z dnia 24 lutego 1949, APBOŁ, PRN, Sprawozdanie z działalności 1949, file 32, 2-4; Protokół Nr. 9, 10 May 1946, APBOŁ, PRN, Protokoły posiedzeń MRN w Jedwabnem 1946-1949, file 34, 7; Protokoły posiedzeń GRN w Jedwabnem 1947-1950, APBOŁ, PRN, file 45; Poufne, Starosta Powiatowy Łomżyński do Urzędu Wojewódzkiego, Wydział Społeczno-Polityczny, w Białymstoku, 27 January 1949, APB, UWB, file 523, 21; Protokół nr. 3, 20 May 1949, APBOŁ, Zarząd Miejski w Jedwabnem, Referat Administracyjny, Protokoły posiedzeń MRN, 1945-1950, file 1, 81; Protokół nr. 9, 30 May 1949, APBOŁ, Wydział Powiatowy w Łomży [afterward WPŁ], Protokoły Wydziału Powiatowego 1949, file 6, 69, 90-92; Protokół Nr. 2, 11 April 1949, Protokół Nr. 9, 10 October 1949, APBOŁ, PRN, Protokoły posiedzeń MRN w Jedwabnem 1946-1949, file 34, 32-33, 45-46; Sprawozdanie z działalności PRN w Łomży za IV kwartał 1949 r., APBOŁ, SPŁ, file 18, 18-19; Jerzy Ramotowski, “Ze wsi – przez osadę – do miasta,” Ziemia Łomżyńska, vol. 2 (1986): 163. (back to text)
Note 16. (Sister) Alojza Piesiewiczówna, Kronika Panien Benedyktynek Opactwa Świętej Trójcy w Łomży, 1939-1954: Czas wojny, Czas okupacji sowieckiej i niemieckiej. Łomża w strefie frontowej. Czas zniewolenia (Łomża: Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Ziemi Łomżyńskiej, 1995), 70-73 [afterward Kronika Panien Benedyktynek]. (back to text)
Note 17. See Pokorna prośba mieszkańców parafii Jedwabne do Jego Ekscelencji księdza Biskupa Diecezji Łomżyńskiej, 4 August 1945, in Ks. Józef Kębliński, Akta księży, ADŁ; Zdzisław Szuba, “Jak zaszczuto ludzi w Jedwabnem,” Myśl Polska, 18 March 2001, 8; Małgorzata Rutkowska, “I z nami tak będzie,” Nasz Dziennik, 24–25 March 2001; Father Stanisław Dąbkowski’s note of 23 August 1961 in “Kronika Par.[afii] Jedwabińskiej,” Zbiory Parafii Jedwabne. For general background see Ks. Witold Jemielity, “Diecezja łomżyńska,” in Życie religijne w Polsce pod okupacją 1939-1945: Metropolie wileńska i lwowska, zakony, ed. by ks. Zygmunt Zieliński (Katowice: Wydawnictwo “Unia,” 1992), 66-78 [afterward “Diecezja łomżyńska,” in Życie religijne w Polsce pod okupacją]. (back to text)
Note 18. See Starosta Powiatowy Łomżyński do Ob. Wojewody w Białymstoku, 4 June 1948, 9 May 1949, and 4 July 1949, APBOŁ, SPŁ, Sprawozdania sytuacyjne Starosty Powiatowego 1947-1948, file 7, 133, 166, 168; and petitions and official correspondence in Archiwum Akt Nowych, Urząd do Spraw Wyznań, files 47/652 and 44/1531. (back to text)
Note 19. Wolna Łomża, 22 June 1940 in Czesław Brodzicki, “‘Wolna Łomża’ – czasopismo sowieckie z lat 1939–1940,” Zeszyty Łomżyńskie, no. 4 (8), 2 (November–December 2000): 19; Teodor Eugeniusz Lusiński do Instytutu Żydowskiej Historii [sic], 20 March 1995 (a copy in my collection). (back to text)
Note 20. By September 1940, in the Jedwabne raion 64 teachers (about 35 percent) were targeted by the NKVD. Thirteen were arrested for their involvement with the underground; an additional 7 were deported. The lucky 18 were simply fired, while further 26 prospective victims were placed under survelliance. See Gnatowski, W radzieckich okowach, 166; Witold Wincenciak, “Oświata regionu łomżyńskiego w okresie okupacji radzieckiej w latach 1939-1941,” Studia Łomżyńskie, vol. 7 (1996): 27-47; and for highly censored general background on education under Soviet rule see Franciszek Januszek, Jawne i tajne szkoły polskie w województwie białostockim w latach II wojny światowej (Białystok: Sekcja Wydawnicza Filii UW, 1975), 53-85 [afterward Jawne i tajne szkoły polskie]. (back to text)
Note 21. Józef Makowski, testimony no. 2545, Województwo Białostockie, powiat Łomża, gmina i wieś Jedwabne, HIA, PGC, GAC, MID, 39. (back to text)
Note 22. Franciszek Januszek, Martyrologia nauczycieli polskich na Białostocczyźnie w latach 1939 i 1941-44 (Białystok: Dział Wydawnictw Filii UW, 1985), 135, 153, 172-73, 214-15, 235, 260 [afterward Martyrologia nauczycieli polskich na Białostocczyźnie]; Małgorzata Rutkowska, “I z nami tak będzie,” Nasz Dziennik, 24–25 March, 2001; Danuta Wroniszewski and Aleksander Wroniszewski, “…aby żyć,” Kontakty – Łomżyński Tygodnik Społeczny, 10 July 1988; Janina Poradowska, “Karty śledztwa,” Polityka, nr. 28, 14 July 2001, 28. (back to text)
Note 23. See Januszek, Jawne i tajne szkoły polskie, 416-22; Jerzy Ramotowski, “Ze wsi – przez osadę – do miasta,” Ziemia Łomżyńska, vol. 2 (1986): 163; Grażyna Dziedzińska, “Nie pozwolę oczerniać Jedwabnego,” Nasz Dziennik, 2 April 2001. (back to text)