Remains of WWII hero returned to Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
The remains of Polish Admiral Józef Unrug, a hero of World War II, are being transported to Poland for reburial.
Józef Unrug. Photo: Światowid weekly/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)
Unrug’s remains are to be buried in Gdynia, in Poland’s north, on October 2.
The Prussian-born Pole helped rebuild Poland’s navy after WWI, after leaving the ranks of the German navy to join Polish forces when Poland was restored to the map of Europe in 1918 following more than 120 years of partitions and foreign rule.
He served as the Polish Navy’s commander-in-chief in the opening stages of WWII, defending the coastal towns of Hel and Gdynia from attacks by German Nazis in 1939.
After Hel and Gdynia fell, he was a prisoner of war in a number of German-run camps and was treated well because he was a former German officer, but refused to speak in his native German, saying he forgot the language in September 1939, when WWII broke out, according to reports.
After the war, he fled from persecution by communists to the UK before moving to France, where he died in 1973.
Dariusz Gwizdała, an official from Poland’s National Security Bureau who first made an effort to recover the admiral’s remains two years ago, said a dignified burial was impossible during Poland’s post-war communist era because Unrug was an “enemy of Bolshevism and never came to terms with Soviet dominance over our country”.
Jarosław Szarek, the head of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, said Unrug’s state funeral was “more than 45 years too late”.
Unrug is to be buried alongside his fallen subordinates, whose graves were long kept secret by Poland’s former communist authorities. (vb/pk)