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Polish Home Army commemorative armband issued to veteran of Warsaw Insurrection

Object | Accession Number: 2010.459.2

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    Polish Home Army commemorative armband issued to veteran of Warsaw Insurrection


    Brief Narrative
    Red and white armband commemorating the Warsaw Insurrection issued to Ryszard Przemyski, a member of the underground resistance group, Armia Krajowa [Home Army], known as A.K. The armband has his group number VII, pseudonym Ruczaj, A.K., and the date. The Warsaw Rising or Insurrection, August 1-October 5, 1944, was the attempt by the Polish Home Army to retake Warsaw from the German occupying forces. They retook much of the city, but without the promised aid from Western Allies or the Soviet Union, whose forces were within sight of the city, the resistance was crushed. The Germans massacred or deported the populace and Hitler ordered the city burnt to the ground. Ryszard was a 15 year old high school student when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. He was captured during the Warsaw Uprising in fall 1944 and sent to Stalag III-A prisoner of war camp in Luckenwalde, Germany. On April 22, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the camp and Ryszard joined the 2nd Polish Corps, a division of the British Army, in Italy. He met fellow A.K. member Ewa Lada in Rome. The war ended in May, and the couple moved to Camp Foxley, a displaced persons camp in England.
    commemoration:  1944 August 01-1944 October 02
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Eve Przemyski
    Subject: Eve Przemyski
    Subject: Richard Przemyski
    Eve Przemyski (Ewa Łada) was born in 1923 in Warsaw, Poland to lawyer and civil servant Tadeusz Łada (1877-1941?) and Maria Horoch Łada (1887-1967). Following Tadeusz’s retirement, the family lived on a working farm in Sosenski, Poland, near Równe (now Rivne, Ukraine). Eve and Maria moved to Równe following the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland in September 1939, and Tadeusz rejoined them in June 1941, after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He was arrested in August 1941 for illegally listening to the BBC news and is presumed to have been executed.

    Maria and Eve moved to Warsaw in May 1944 and lived with Eve’s maternal uncle, Jozef Horoch, at 12 Mokotowska Street. When the Warsaw Uprising began in August 1944, Eve joined the Armia Krajowa (Home Army), became a stretcher bearer, and met Danuta Szeniawska (1922-2007). The Polish forces capitulated in October, and Eve and Danuta were among 1,000 Polish young women insurgents taken to the Sandbostel POW camp (Stalag X-B). Eve worked cleaning offices and fashioned a handmade diary from German payroll documents and pencil stubs she pilfered. She and Danuta were transferred to the Oberlangen POW camp (Stalag VI-C) in December 1944, where Eve worked digging peat moss. They were liberated by Polish troops in the First Armored Division of the British Army in April 1945 and moved to nearby Niederlangen. When the British authorities announced that they would permit family unifications with Polish soldiers serving with the Polish Second Corps (Anders’ Army) in Italy, Danuta decided to join her step father, Captain Rozwidzki, and Eve accompanied her, having invented an uncle in Italy. Eve took a Morse typing course in Mottola and worked as a Morse code telegraph operator for the British Army.

    Eve moved to Rome and met her future husband, Ryszard Przemyski (1924-1999). Richard had also fought in the Warsaw Uprising, survived the Luckenwalde POW camp (Stalag III-A), and joined the Polish Second Corps in Italy. The young couple was transferred to England, married in 1946, settled in Herefordshire, and had two children. In 1956 a distant relative in America arranged for the Przemyski family to immigrate to the United States, and they settled in Pennsylvania and Americanized their names to Eve and Richard.
    Ryszard Przemyski was born on November 24, 1924, in Poland. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and, by September 29, they occupied Warsaw. The schools were closed but Ryszard, a high school student, continued his studies in secret. He joined the Armia Krajowa [Home Army], known as A.K., a non-Communist underground resistance group. He was a member of Group 7 and his pseudonym was Ruczaj.

    On August 1, 1944, the Warsaw Insurrection broke out. Believing they had the support of the Soviet Army who occupied the western half Warsaw, the A.K. attempted to liberate the city. The Russian troops did not come to their aid, and on October 2, 1944, the Germans defeated the Polish resistance. Ryszard was captured and sent to Stalag III-A, a prisoner of war camp in Luckenwalde, Germany. Food was scarce, generally just enough to stay alive. Ryszard often stole potatoes and in turn was beaten with a rifle butt. He worked cutting wood in light clothing; it was thought that prisoners would not work well if they had a coat to keep warm. On April 6, 1945, the Germans deserted the camp and left the gate locked. On April 22, Russian troops liberated the camp. The prisoners stayed until an administrative team arrived. Ryszard and some friends found weapons, went into the country, and took a pig from a German farmer. A butcher in their group killed it and they brought the meat back to the camp. Having been previously starved, some ate too much and died. Ryszard watched as Soviet tanks moved toward Berlin as hundreds of people fled the city.

    The Russians liberated Berlin on May 6, 1945. In June, Ryszard was sent back to Poland and found out that the Russians were arresting resistance members. Ryszard and a friend decided to head west. They buried themselves in a coal car headed for Berlin, hid in a bombed out house, and made their way to the American occupied Templehof Airport. There, they joined the Polish 2nd Corps, a unit of the British Army, stationed in Italy.

    Ryszard met fellow A.K. member, Ewa Lada, in Rome. The couple moved to Camp Foxley, a displaced persons camp in Hereford, England. They married and lived in a barrack with another family. Ewa worked as a field hand and Ryszard worked in a carpet factory. They had two children.

    In 1954, Ewa’s relative, Malida Ray, who lived in the United States, visited the family and arranged for them to emigrate to the US. They arrived in New York on May 7, 1956, settled in Pennsylvania, and Americanized their names to Eve and Richard. Richard died on March 24, 1999, at age 75.

    Physical Details

    Military Insignia
    Physical Description
    Rectangular band made from 2 narrow strips of synthetic cloth sewn together on the long sides; the top strip is white and the bottom strip is red. Polish text and numbers are screen printed in black ink. The short edges are slightly frayed, and the long edges are unevenly cut. There is no mark indicating the ends were sewn together to form an armband. There are fold creases and a dark stain.
    overall: Height: 19.875 inches (50.483 cm) | Width: 4.500 inches (11.43 cm)
    overall : synthetic fiber
    : ink
    : thread
    front, center, black ink : VII zgrup. A.K.,, RUCZAJ“ / 1 - VIII - 1944r.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Polish Home Army commemorative armband was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Eve Przemyski, the wife of Ryszard Przemyski.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 12:47:48
    This page:

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