Poland’s unsung war-time hero turns 100
PR dla Zagranicy
General Stefan Bałuk, one of the last living members of the elite special-operations paratroopers of Poland's WWII Home Army celebrates his 100th birthday today.
General Stefan Bałuk in 2008: photo - CC
The general was best-known by his wartime non de guerre of 'Starba' but also as ‘Cichociemni’ (Silent and Unseen).
The Warsaw Rising Museum has launched a special “Thank you General for freedom” campaign, where people can send birthday wishes to General Bałuk on the Museum’s facebook page.
Stefan Bałuk was a law student at Warsaw University when World War Two broke out.
Having fought in the September 1939 Campaign, he then joined the Polish armed forces in the West, serving with the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade.
After training in Glasgow, Scotland, to be a parachute commando, he was dropped into Poland in April 1944 and worked for the Home Army’s department engaged in the production of false documents for Polish intelligence officers, made photo documentation of German military installations in Warsaw and took part in the Warsaw Uprising.
After the war he was imprisoned by the communists, and subsequently worked as a taxi driver for several years, before focusing on photography.
The general has published several photo albums and in 2008 he released a book of memoirs entitled ‘Byłem Cichociemnym’ (also available in an English translation under the title ‘Silent and Unseen: I was a WWII special ops commando’).
General Bałuk lives in Warsaw and his honours include the Virtuti Military for valour at war. (mk/pg)