The following is my translation of the article: “Kapitan Bolesław Kontrym “Żmudzin” – bohater odnaleziony na “Łączce“, authored by JW, which appeared on the website niezalezna.pl on September 28, 2014.
Captain “Żmudzin’s” soldiers remembered him as a hero of nearly insane bravery. They underscored his fatherly attitude towards his men. On August 27, 1944, he was decorated with the Cross of Valour (the third in his lifetime), and on September 15, 1944, with the Virtuti Militari V class [Poland’s highest military honor]. After the war, Bolesław Kontrym was murdered by the communists and found on the “Meadow” [a part of the Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw where communists buried their victims in unmarked graves].
The hero was characterized by Tadeusz M. Płużański, author of books about unpunished communist crimes: “Beasts”, “Beasts 2” and “Torturers. Crimes Without Punishment” (text published in the “Gazeta Polska Daily” in August of last year).
Bolesław Kontrym “Żmudzin” was a Wołyniak [of the Volhynia region straddling parts of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus], an heir to the insurgents of November  and January . His grandfather, exiled to Vyatka after 1863, noted in his journal: “The craft of warfare is best learned from the enemy, to better fathom his strategy and defeat him later with his own weapons.” Bolesław Kontrym remembered this advice well. Still in the Tsarist Army, he never forgot the highest priority – the fight for Poland. In the free Second Polish Republic he served in the State Police. While in Rubieżewicze his subordinate was kidnapped by the NKVD; Lieutenant Kontrym didn’t spend long reflecting. Under the cover of night, along with a squad of several people, he ventured several kilometers into Russia, using the element of surprise to attack a Soviet guard post, arrested its entire crew and led them with sacks covering their heads back to the Polish side. Here he officially arrested them. Next he informed his superiors of the apprehension of a Soviet patrol on the Polish side of the border and suggested their exchange for the imprisoned Pole. The prisoner returned to Poland.
From the beginning of 1939, until the outbreak of the war, Bolesław Kontrym was the head of the Investigative Department of the State Police Regional Headquarters in Vilnius. He fought against common and political crimes – mainly dangerous communist agents. After the September Campaign of 1939 – following many adventures – he got through to France and then Great Britain. After training to become a “Cichociemny” [“Dark and Silent”, special-operations paratroops of the Polish Army in exile] he was air dropped into occupied Poland on the night of September 1/2, 1942, becoming one of the commanders of the diversionary-sabotage organization “Wachlarz”. On the orders of the commander of the Home Army, General Stefan Rowecki “Grot”, he formulated a plan to rescue prisoners in Pińsk. Carried out on January 18, 1943, the courageous operation was led by his friend from the police service, Lieutenant Jan Piwnik “Ponury”.
Kontrym – as head of the special military unit “Sztafeta – Podkowa” [“Relay – Horseshoe”] protected the locales and apparatus of the Government Delegation for Poland and carried out verdicts of military and civilian courts of the Polish Underground State on German agents, Gestapo informants, collaborators and extortionists.
Bolesław Kontrym, as a result of his talent for leadership, was designated to lead the first organized attack on the PAST building [Polish Telephone Joint-stock Company] on Zielna Street. Due to the overwhelming firepower of the German defenders, the assault that he led on August 4, 1944, was repelled – with “Żmudzin” himself sustaining one of his many wounds during the Warsaw Uprising.
After the capitulation of the Uprising, he escaped from captivity and joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West. He served under General Maczek, receiving a number of decorations. Why did he return to Poland? “My father vocally expressed the view that emigration never built up Poland and our place is in the Fatherland” – remembered Władysław Kontrym, “Żmudzin’s” son. Even in Soviet-occupied Poland, he became the director of the managerial-economic division of the Central Administration of the State Fermentation Industry. On October 13, 1948, he was called out of work ostensibly for a business meeting, after which he was transported to an undisclosed location. Any trace of “Żmudzin” was lost for nearly four years. Not until 1952 – already after sentencing – did his family receive the first postcards from Mokotów Prison. Kontrym recounted to fellow prisoner, Józef Wesołowski, that after he was arrested he was in some sort of prison on the outskirts of Warsaw [today we know this was the secret villa of the Ministry of Public Security in Miedzeszyn], where he was driven blindfolded. There he was subjected to sophisticated tortures: his fingers and toes were stomped on, he was called for questioning every 15 minutes, buckets of water were dumped into his cell, which he had to gather with a spoon and collect into a bucket. In turn, Kazimierz Moczarski saw “Żmudzin” badly injured after one of the interrogations.
Based on documentary evidence, he was tortured by Edmund Kwasek, a security service interrogator. Most of all, the security services wanted him to betray the identities of Polish undercover agents working in the [pre-WWII] Polish Communist Party.
Predetermined at the highest levels of the government, the death sentence was formally handed down on June 26, 1952 by the Regional Court for Warsaw. Bolesław Kontrym, despite four years of brutal interrogations, never admitted to guilt for any crimes. The sentence was issued on the basis of witness testimony forced through torture. After his trial, he spent six months on death row. Even then he didn’t break down. Letters to his mother and son from this period are full of affection and concern for his loved ones, as well as optimism and faith that he will be pardoned.
The Supreme Court of Poland confirmed “Żmudzin’s” death sentence on October 9, 1952. The record of the execution indicates that death occurred on January 2, 1953, by hanging. There are suspicions however that Kontrym was executed on January 20, 1953 and was tortured to the end by security service agents. Kontrym’s body was thrown into a dump – today this area, known as the “Ł” quarter [“Łączka” or “Meadow”] is part of the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw. Bolesław Kontrym was posthumously cleared of all charges. On December 3, 1957, the same Regional Court for Warsaw which five years earlier had condemned “Żmudzin” to death, now determined that Bolesław Kontrym “valiantly and courageously fought with the occupiers and was one of the bravest members of the Home Army. His exoneration constitutes a full rehabilitation and restores his honor and regard, and moral satisfaction to his family.”
However, it wasn’t until Poland was free again did the memory about Bolesław Kontrym begin to be restored. The name “Żmudzin” was given to a square in downtown Warsaw – in the area of Zielna and Świętokrzyska streets, near the PAST building. A memorial plaque was unveiled on the facade of the Mostowski Palace, the onetime headquarters of the capital’s militia, now the Headquarters of the Capital Police. Every year on January 2, ceremonies are held on the anniversary of Major Bolesław Kontrym’s death.
In 1996, “Żmudzin’s” torturer, Edmund Kwasek, was sentenced in the “Humer Trial” (named after the main defendant) along with 12 other Ministry of Public Security interrogators to several years in prison. Yet from the Mokotowski Prison – the same prison where he tortured Polish patriots half a century earlier – he left quickly “due to poor health.” He died in 2002 in Warsaw.