HenrykPO Top Contributor
Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Location: London ON, Canada
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:18 pm
Post subject: My Uncles in the Polish-Soviet War
I have been given copies of photos and postcards belonging to Jakub Bogal (my uncle) who obtained them during his service in the Polish Army in the Polish-Soviet War. Two other uncles, Andrzej and Jozef Bogal, are also in the photos. My uncle Jozef Bogal (12 in 1920) was a civilian visitor. Included were images of the text from the back of the photos.
To obtain an appreciation I have sorted the photos to a time line and determined the locations where the photos were taken and located them on a present day map of Northeastern Poland and Western Belarus.. Red text on the map below denotes locations given on the photos and green denotes reference points An additional location given on the photos, Zamosc, which is located in the center of Eastern Poland, is not included on the map.
Jakub Bogal (22 in 1920) served in the Telephone Platoon of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (Pulk Piechoty). Andrzej Bogal (20 in 1920) served in the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Company, Artillery Munition Supply. These were dangerous occupations on the front lines. Both first fought in Ukrainian area campaign and then participated in the Battle of Warsaw, but there are no pictures from these. From there they fought against the Soviets during their retreat to the northeast, during which most of the photos was taken. Jakub was still in service in 1921.
My uncle Jakub was bitter all through his life for the calling of the Battle of Warsaw, the Miracle on the Vistula. He said the victory was not due to God, but by the blood of the hundreds of Polish soldiers he saw on the battlefield.
My mother’s first cousin, Stanisław Mróz (22 in 1920), was a sergeant in the Polish Legion fighting in the War. All were decendants of peasants, residing in the rural village of Kolosy, Kielce. It is interesting to note that, contrary to the lack of support by the peasants to the January uprising (1863-1864), all classes were represented in post WWI war to free Poland and maintain its freedom.
Thanks to Don Stalkowski (grandson of Jakub) for the photo copies and to Andrzej Bogal (grandson of Andrzej) for translations of the text.
MAJOR EVENTS TIMELINE (North-East Poland only):
11 Nov 1918; Poland declares its independance.
16 Nov 1918: Soviet Western Army occupies Minsk and Wilno
Nov 1918-Jul 1919: Ukrainian War with the Western Ukrainian Republic, Poland won control to the River Zbrucz (former east border of Galicia)
12 Jan -12 Feb 1919: failure of Soviet Operation ““Target Vistula’’ to capture Warsaw
9 Feb 1919: first battle: Polish victory at Bereza Kartuska
Apr 1919: Polish Operation Wilno
20 Jul, Aug 1919: Polish Operation Minsk
3 Jan 1920: Polish operation Dwinsk (Daugavpils) against Soviets to capture it for Latvia
19 Mar 1920: start of major Soviet offensive
15 May- 8 Jun 1920: Battle of Berezina
May 1920-Jun 1920; Polish capture of Kiev.
Jul 1920: Soviet breakthrough in Belarussia
Aug 1920: Battle of Warsaw; Soviet defeat and retreat
20 Sep- 18 Oct 1920: Battle of Niemen River (Polish capture Minsk 18 Oct)
18 Oct 1920: fighting ceases
Map: Photo locations; present day North-East Poland, Western Belarus
Map: Battle of the Berezina, the Soviet Offensive-Belarus (Source: White Eagle, Red Star, Norman Davies p 134)
Map: Battle of the Niemen (Source: White Eagle, Red Star, Norman Davies p 234)
PHOTO 1: Andrzej Bogal on the right and another (undated)
PHOTO 2: Jakub Bogal, above the cross, standing between neighbor Jozef Lech Andrzej Bogal in front of Artillery Munition Depot (undated).
PHOTO 3: Soldiers at mealtime (undated)
PHOTO 4: On the train: cross marks my uncle,Jozef Bogal, (a mystery why a 12 year old would travel across Poland to visit his brothers in the Army during a war)(undated)
PHOTO 5: 3rd Infantry Regiment in reserve in the forest at the Berezyna River (May- Jun 1919?) (Note the helmets)
PHOTO 6: View of Minsk train station (Jul 1919)
PHOTO 7: 3rd Infantry Regiment on the march from Kojdanow (now Dzjarzynsk, Belarus), Jul 1920
PHOTO 8: 3rd Infantry Regiment At the distribution of Parliament’s (Sejm) gift I, 21 Sept 1920
PHOTO 9: 3rd Infantry Regiment At the distribution of Parliament’s (Sejm) gift II, 21 Sept 1920
PHOTO 10: 3rd Infantry Regiment disembarks at Sokolka, (undated, probably end of Sept 1920)
PHOTO 11: 3rd Infantry Regiment crossing the Niemen river at Licko I (present name unknown), 2 Oct 1920
PHOTO 12: 3rd Infantry Regiment crossing the Niemen river at Licko II (present name unknown), 2 Oct 1920
PHOTO 13: 3rd Infantry Regiment crossing the Niemen river at Zbojska I ( Zboysk), 6 Oct 1920
PHOTO 14: 3rd Infantry Regiment crossing the Niemen river at Zbojska II ( Zboysk), 6 Oct 1920
PHOTO 15: destroyed Grodno railway bridge, dated 26 Apr 1921
PHOTO 16: destroyed Grodno railway bridge, dated 26 Apr 1921
PHOTO 15r: original text on reverse (Polish Army post mark)
PHOTO 16r original text on reverse
Jakub Bogal immigrated to Canada in 1926, locating in London, Ontario. After bitter protests from “Galician Poles”, who said “Russian” Poles did not have the skills to run an organization, in 1935, he was elected as the first “Russian Pole” president as of the Polish National Association (Polskiego Stawarzyszenia Narodowego).
Andrzej Bogal remained in Kolosy and became foreman in the centuries old brick factory there. When the Communists took over, a party member was selected as a co-foreman, not having the experience to become foreman. He became jealous of the popularity and expertise of Andrzej. One day women in the factory saw him with a gun approaching wojek Andrzej. Their shrieking alerted the men, who disarmed the communist, saving wojek Andrzej.
When the Communists took over Kolosy, the Communists got the men very drunk and drove the men to tear down the local manor house. It was completely destroyed, even its foundations, and all the trees were cut down.
The pictures are in my post to the Axis History Forum:
“Memories From the Polish Soviet War”: