Aleksander Tarnawski pseud. “Upłaz” is 101 years old

Major Aleksander Tarnawski pseud. “Upłaz” celebrates its 101st birthday. This is the last living cichociemny, that is, a commando of the Polish underground from World War II. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki expressed his wishes to the veteran.

Aleksander Tarnawski’s 101st birthday was recalled by, among others, the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland via the PL1918 profile on Twitter and the Polish Embassy in Great Britain.

The veteran was also greeted by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. “Today, Major Aleksander Tarnawski aka ‘Upłaz’ celebrates his 101st birthday. Cichociemny, a model of a soldier, inventor. A modest and devoted man,” Morawiecki wrote on Twitter. “Mr. Major, I would like to express my deepest words of respect and gratitude for your service to a free Poland,” he added.

Information about the birthday of Cichociemny was also posted on the “Don’t forget about us, Warsaw Insurgents” page on Facebook. “During World War II, he belonged to the commando elite of the Polish underground. Cichociemni were specialists in subversive, silent elimination of the enemy, conspiracy and underground combat. 316 of them jumped to occupied Poland” – we read in the entry. “Mr. Major, thank you for fighting for a free Poland and we wish you much, much health!” – added.


The last silent one

Aleksander Tarnawski was born on January 8, 1921 in Słocin in the Rzeszów poviat. In 1938, he graduated from the gymnasium in Chorzów and began studies at the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Lviv. After the outbreak of the war, in October 1939, he made his way through Hungary to France, where he was assigned to the 1st Grenadier Division. After being evacuated to Great Britain, he was assigned to the 16th Armored Brigade, where he was trained for special tasks, and later to the 1st Armored Division.

He underwent intensive training for cichociemni, i.e. commandos of the Polish underground. These soldiers came from all units of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. They shared an ethos of service in the most dangerous conditions and the strictest secrecy. In 2016, Major Tarnawski recalled his training in Great Britain. – One day, it was the end or the middle of 1943, I was asked to visit the company chancellery, where a colonel from London was waiting, who asked me if I wanted to go to Poland. Because once, when I was 22 at the time, and secondly, there was a war all over the world, and I was sitting here idly, I agreed to go to Poland without hesitation – he said.

Tarnawski was transferred to the country and on the night of April 16-17, 1944 on board the Halifax JP 181 from the 300th Bomber Squadron, which took off from the Allied base in Brindisi, Italy. He was assigned to the Nowogródek district of the Home Army. He carried out difficult conspiratorial missions, and was also involved in training AK soldiers.

In Tarnawski’s opinion, the risk taken by Cichociemni should be explained by the patriotic upbringing received by the first generation born in independent Poland. – During my childhood and youth, after so many years of captivity, patriotism and the need to sacrifice oneself for the motherland were the main slogans. And if a young man like me grew up in such an atmosphere, it was as it is – he said.

After the war, he moved to Gliwice and graduated in chemistry from the Silesian University of Technology. He tied his entire professional life with Silesia – with the Silesian University of Technology, the Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals and the Institute of Plastics and Paints in Gliwice.

According to historians, Major Tarnawski is the last of 316 Cichociemni. In September 2014, in Książenice near Grodzisk Mazowiecki, 70 years after being dropped to Poland, Tarnawski jumped again with a parachute, this time with former and current GROM soldiers.

2014-09-07 |  In honor of the commander.  The parachute jump of 94-year-old Cichociemny

In honor of the commander. The parachute jump of 94-year-old CichociemnySkydiving not for 90-year-olds? When it comes to memory and the testimony of history, anything seems possible. One of the last living Cichociemni, Second Lieutenant Aleksander Tarnawski, jumped with a parachute. His feat is a reminder of the events from 70 years ago, when 13 Cichociemni were thrown in the vicinity of the village of Książenice near Warsaw. It is also a tribute to the legendary founder of the group – Major Jan Górski.TVN facts

Main photo source: Leszek Szymański / PAP

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