Soldier, participant of the Warsaw Uprising, president of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents, a member of the initiative group for the Warsaw Uprising Museum, General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski, nickname Butterfly, is celebrating his 100th birthday.

general Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski

Gen. Ścibor-Rylski

Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski was born on 10 March 1917 in Browki in the Zhytomyr Oblast (now Ukraine) in a noble family. Soon after his birth the October Revolution broke out, which eventually led to his family moving out from their property.

After graduating from high school, he completed a course in gliding in Ustianowa and started his education at Cadet School of Aviation in the technical group in Warsaw, where he studied, among others, to fly aircrafts such as PZL.37 Moose, PZL.23 Karaś and PZL P-7 fighter. He was supposed to continue education at the Warsaw Okęcie airport in the 1st Aviation Regiment, but the Second World War broke out, and his plans were shattered.

On 6 Spetember 1939 his military group left the capital heading east. Later he joined the Independent Operational Group “Polesie” commanded by gen. Franciszek Kleeberg with whom he fought and surrendered in the last battle of the September campaign of Kock.

He tried to get to Romania, but was taken to German captivity, where he was sent, among others, to work in a brick factory. He managed to escape and break through to Warsaw, where he joined the conspiracy, in which, among others, he participated in setting deployment spots for Cichociemni. Officially, he was employed by Commerce and Industry Chemical Plant. In the years 1941-1943 he fought with the partisans in Kowelszczyzna, where he was seconded by his superiors.

Since the beginning of 1944, as a company commander in the 27th Division Army Volyn he reached the Lublin region. In late July, he was sent to Warsaw to negotiate a discharge of weapons. After the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising he fought in the “Radosław” Grouping in “Czata 49” battalion, taking part in the fights in the Wola district, in the city centre and the district of Mokotów. He was awarded the Cross of Valor and the Cross of Military Virtue for his bravery.

Col. Jan Mazurkiewicz “Radosław” wrote about him:

An outstanding officer. Equipped with a great initiative, intelligent, extremely generous and courageous.

After the capitulation of the Warsaw Uprising Ścibor-Rylski managed to get some civilian clothes and walked out of Warsaw, along with the locals. He was taken to a transit camp in Pruszków, then he got to Łowicz, planning to continue underground activities. There he was staying when the war ended. He made the decision to leave the conspiracy, and moved to Poznań, where he found work in the Motozbyt Renovated Cars Office.

In 1984 he was one of the members of the Civic Committee of the Celebrations of 40th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, and also a member of the initiative group for the creation of the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Later, he was in the Honorary Council of the Museum. In 1990 he became president of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents. In 2005 he was promoted to brigadier general.

As a former insurgent he referred to the existence of the Warsaw Uprising Museum with satisfaction:

…long after we’re gone it will exist, teach, pass to the next generations that which was, is and will be most dear (…) may freedom acquired by us be never counted in crosses.

Gen. Ścibor-Rylski received numerous awards, among others the War Cross of Military Virtue, the Cross of Valour and the Commander’s Cross with Star of “Polonia Restituta”.


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