The statue of General Leopold Okulicki

Here are six photographs from February in beautiful Bochnia Town, near Krakow in Poland. All shot with Nikon D7200 and Nikon 12-24mm f4.

And here is a bit about the town, General Okulicki and the statue:

Bochnia Town:

Bochnia, located on the river Raba at the border of the Carpathian Foothills and Sanndomierz Basin, is the oldest town in Lesser Poland. As a result of the discovery of rock salt here, in 1248, Bochnia was granted town privileges 4 years before Krakow.

General Leopold Okulicki:

The statue of General Leopold Okulicki in Bochnia Town, Krakow, Poland February 2019.

The statue of General Leopold Okulicki in Bochnia Town, Krakow, Poland February 2019

General Leopold Okulicki ( N1898 – 1946) was a General of the Polish Army and the last commander of the anti-German underground Home Army during World War II. He was arrested after the war by the Soviet NKVD and murdered while imprisoned at Butyrka prison.

Nazi-German occupation: In 1939 he was made commander of one of the departments of the Polish Commander-in-Chief’s Headquarters. After Edward Rydz-Śmigły evacuated his staff from Warsaw, Okulicki remained in the Polish capital and served in various posts during the Siege of Warsaw. After the capitulation of the Polish troops defending the capital, Okulicki evaded capture by the Germans and joined Służba Zwycięstwu Polski, one of the first underground resistance organizations formed in Nazi- and Soviet-occupied Poland.

Soviet occupation: Arrested by the NKVD in January 1941, he was imprisoned and tortured in various Soviet prisons. Released after the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement of 1941, he joined the Polish Army re-created in the USSR, where he assumed the post of the chief of staff. After a brief period as the commanding officer of the Polish 7th Infantry Division, he was moved to London for training in the Cichociemni training camp and then transported to occupied Poland. In July 1944, during Operation Tempest, he became the commander of the 2nd Echelon of the Home Army. General Bór-Komorowski, predicting his arrest by the Soviets after the Warsaw Uprising named him his deputy and successor. Okulicki fought in the Uprising, among other posts as the chief of staff of the Home Army. After the capitulation of the Uprising, he managed to evade being captured by the Germans and moved to Kraków, from where he started to reorganize the Home Army. On 3 October 1944 he became the commander of the entire organization. On 19 January 1945, after the Soviet takeover of Poland, he ordered the disbandment of the Home Army, fearing that future existence of an Allied force in Poland would only lead to more people being murdered or arrested by the Soviets. Following an NKVD provocation, he was arrested and imprisoned in Moscow.[1] According to him, “In comparison with the NKVD, the Gestapo methods are child’s play.”

Sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in the staged Trial of the Sixteen, he was murdered on 24 December 1946 at Butyrka prison. His body was burned and the ashes disposed of at the New Donskoy Cemetery, Moscow.

The statue of General Leopold Okulicki “Niedźwiadek” is situated in the centre of a square that bears his name. It was erected in 1996 at the initiative of the Bochnia branch of the Association of Home Army Soldiers, part of a joint effort by combatant associations from the whole Poland and other countries. It was erected and funded thanks to public generosity and the support of the local government of Bochnia.

The monument, designed by Professor Czesław Dźwigaj from Cracow’s ASP, is made of bronze and weighs more than 7 tons. The insurgent wings are a reference to the symbol of the Hussars. They are 4.28 m high and about 8 m wide and are situated on a base shaped like the Virtuti Militari Cross, creating (together with the Cross) a symbolic emblem of Fighting Poland. Framing the P-shaped opening in the vertical structure, on one side, is a fragment of the last order of the Chief Commandant of the Home Army supported by a symbolic anchor formed from the arms of the Virtuti Militari Cross. On the other side is the figure of the General wearing his general’s coat and holding a cap in his left hand. Bronze cartouches with reliefs presenting the emblem of “Fighting Poland” and the crest of Bochnia are positioned on both sides of the road leading to the statue from the east.

Based on Jan Flasza’s book “Bochnia. Town guide.”


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