Romuald Rodziewicz – the last Hubal’s soldier died

Wręczenie Romualdowi Rodziewiczowi Krzyża Komandorskiego Orderu Odrodzenia Polski, fot. Katarzyna Kopacz/majorhubal.pl

“We just wanted to fight. We were looking for a fight, Germans were looking for us and in this way there was always some action. At that time, a man did not think about the possibility of being wounded or killed, or anything. Such thoughts did never cross our minds”. Those are his words from one of the last interviews for Xeni Jacoby from Patriae Fidelis. During 101 years of life, his experiences met with the dramatical history of Poland. The son of an exile, the soldier and the emigrant – he could not live in the country he fought for. On his life path, there is also an important place for Vilnius.

Romuald’s father, Antoni Bolesław, was a young engineer and the lecturer in the technical school in Vilnius, when in 1903, he was sent to Siberia for secret teaching of the Polish history. He was allowed to come back to Poland only for two weeks to be married to his fiancée, Natalia. After the wedding, the young couple moved to Manchuria from where Antoni never came back, and his wife left to their country only for short periods of time. During one of those stays, in the family property in Ławski Bród, Romuald Radziewicz was born.

The possibility of coming back to the Homeland appeared when Manchuria was taken over by the Japanese. However, only children benefited from it and the parents died in exile. After coming back to Poland, Rodowicz went to school in Vilnius, where he got prepared to take care of the family farm in Ławski Bród. Melchior Wańkowicz called that place a “Polish Switzerland”, where “Polish tradition is firm as an 100-year old oak and the language is so juicy and soft, and there is a constant unreasonable readiness for sacrifice”.

He was 26 at the moment of the outbreak of World War II. He took part in the September Campaign as a non-commissioned officer of the 102nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment, which was a part of “Wołkowysk” Group. Afterwards, he joined the 110th Cavalry Regiment under the command of lieutenant colonel Jerzy Dąbrowski, with whom he moved on Warsaw. After the capitol’s fall, he did not stop fighting. He joined Dedicated Troops of Polish Army under the command of Henryk Dobrzyński, pseudo. “Hubal”.

From March 1941, he operated in Vilnius region again. This time he worked in the military intelligence in Vilnian North Center I. In the middle of 1942 he joined Home Army, and more than a year later – in August – he got arrested by Germans. After the 3-month long stay in prison in Mołodeczno, he was sent to Auschwitz. However, it was not the end of his path – he was then sent to Buchenwald, and finally to Rhineland where he worked with the railway renovation. He regain freedom in May 3rd, 1945 in Austrian Innsbruck. After 5 weeks of recovery, he decided to fight again so he left to Italy to join II Corps.

After the War, still in Italy, Malchior Wańkiewicz wrote a book “Hubal’s Soldiers” which was based on Rodziewicz’s story. In 1947, he was demobilised and he settled in England.

In July 1st, 2008, great achievements for the independence of the Republic of Poland were acknowledged by President Lech Kaczyński who decorated him with Commander’s Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland.

Romuald Rodziewicz died on October 24th. The burial ceremony will take place on November 6th at 1.30p.m. in Polish church in Huddersfield.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/zmarl-romuald-rodziewicz-ostatni-hubalczyk

Tłumaczenie by Aneta Gębska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Aneta Gębska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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