PILECKI Witold (1901-1948)
pseudonyms „Witold", „Tomek", „Romek", conspirational surnames: „Tomasz Serafiński", „Roman Jezierski, „Leon Bryjak", „Jan Uznański", „Witold Smoliński", codename „T-IV"; officer of the Polish Army reserves, cofounder of the Polish Secret Army, voluntary prisoner of the KL Auschwitz, officer of the Main Headquarters of the Home Army and “NIE”, political prisoner of the Stalinist period, the victim of a judiciary murder.
signature Rotamaster Pilecki
Institute of National Remembrance The Historical Museum of Warsaw Dolnośląska Inicjatywa Historyczna

Biography

Rotamaster Witold Pilecki

 

1921-1939

In the beginning of 1921 he was released from his service, returned to Vilnus to school, to further commit to the scout movement and finally to carry out tasks for the National Security Association, which he joined in February, 1921. In May of the same year, he finally passed his high school exams (matura) in front of the Examining Commission for Former Soldiers. After accomplishing the non-commissioned officer (NCO) courses in the NSA – Pilecki became the commander-instructor of an NSA unit in Nowe-Święcice. At the break of 1921 and 1922 he served a 10-month course in the Cavalry Reserve Officers' Training Centre in Grudziąc.

In 1922, Witold Pilecki begun studying in the University of Stefan Batory, as an auditor extraordinaire of Faculty of Fine Arts (Wydział Sztuk Pięknych). Unfortunately the lack of sufficient funds, the serious condition of his father Julian, and the debt lingering over the Sukurcze estate, forced Witold to abandon his ambitious academic plans and take on a steady employment. In September of 1926 he has become the official owner of the estate, which he’d begun to modernize and develop in a way that it would become an example for the local landowners and military settlers.

In 1929 Witold Pilecki met Maria Ostrowska – a young teacher in a local school, who came from Ostrowia Mazowiecka. On the April 7, 1931, Maria and Witold got married and inhabited the Sukurcze estate together, where soon their son and a daughter were born.

He hasn’t limited his activity to working on his property and taking care of his family. He was a very active social worker. As Pilecki was a conscious landowner, he worked hard for the sake of others, also attempting to involve his family and friends in social work. He started an agricultural club and a milk factory, which he had presided over. Apart from this multitude of professional activities he managed to find time to practice his artistic skills as he was a devoted poetry writer and a painter. Until this day there are two paintings hanging in a parish church in Krupie, which were drawn by Witold Pilecki. There were several other mural paintings of a religious theme in the Sukurcze estate. Some fairytale paintings and drawings which Pilecki presented to his, and his friends children also remained to this day.

Maintaining the family legacy and raising it from rubble, starting a family, and generous social work have not managed to get the military life off of Witold’s mind. Still in 1925, he had went through a training practice in the 26th Lancer regiment of Wielkopolska. In 1926 he received a promotion to the rank of a second lieutenant of the reserves with seniority from 1923. During the consecutive years, he took part almost annually in the training drills of the 26th lancer regiment, and since 1931 – he did so in the Cavalry Training Center in Grudziądz. In 1932 he went about setting up a Military Horsemen Training – “Krakus” in the district of Lidzkie, which gathered the local settlers (former military men). He was soon appointed the commander of the 1st Lidzki Squadron of PW. In 1937 KPW of the Lidzkie district was placed under the command of the 19th Division of Infantry. In 1938, Witold Pilecki received the Silver Cross of Merit, for his devotion in social work and involvement in the community.

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