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Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

Article about: I have a picture of my father circa 1945/46 in Polish Uniform (assume American Command) last served in Bamburg, Germany with Occupation Forces but after demobilization emigrated to Australia

  1. #1
    lonestarr1
    ?

    Default Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

    I have a picture of my father circa 1945/46 in Polish Uniform (assume American Command) last served in Bamburg, Germany with Occupation Forces but after demobilization emigrated to Australia in 1949. Can anyone advise reliable interpretation of shoulder patch insignia - I think its a Salamander denoting a Polish Guard Company - but any advice would be appreciated. Dad rarely spoke of his experiences during the war and now has dementia at 83 yo.
    Thanks
    Rob (son)
    Brisbane, AustraliaClick image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

    Hi Rob,

    The 'salamander' insignia was worn by former Holy Cross Mountains Brigade (Polish: Brygada Świętokrzyska) which was a fighting unit of the right-wing nationalist Polish underground NSZ organisation during World War II and in post war period became part of the US Guard.

    Following the end of the war in Europe, the presence of the Holy Cross Brigade in Czechoslovakia became a contentious political issue for the U.S. forces. The British War Office declined to accept the brigade as a reinforcement unit for Polish forces under their command and communist officials in Poland, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia raised accusations that the brigade had collaborated with the Nazis and should be turned over to communist authorities for trial. On August 6, 1945, the brigade was disarmed and moved to a displaced persons camp in Coburg. Ironically, this allowed Colonel Szacki to recruit from the Poles in the DP camp, and by November 1945, the brigade numbered some 4,000 personnel.

    Subsequently, men of the brigade were used in the formation of 25 Polish guard companies in the American occupied zone of Germany. The U.S. CIC kept tabs on the brigade's leadership during this time as the U.S. Army did not want any incidents with the Soviet forces. The brigade headquarters was demobilized on June 17, 1946 and, under the pressure of diplomacy from the communists, most of the Polish guard companies were disbanded in 1947. The formal alliances among members of the brigade are believed to have gradually dissolved by 1950, and later some of the senior officers of the brigade resettled in the United States.

    The Holy Cross Brigade archives are in Krakow, Poland:

    Fundacja Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodleg

    Some further photos of Holy Cross Brigade in Maciejow 1944 can be found on Polish NSZ site here:


    Fundacja Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodleg


    There are several threads on the forum related to the Brigade and if I knew how to link to them I would

    Do you have more photos that you could share here
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

    Hello Rob and welcome to the forum. Attached below is a better look at the NSZ “Związek Jaszczurczy” insignia.

    Regards,
    Tony

    PS good post 4th Skorpion!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  4. #4
    lonestarr1
    ?

    Default Re: Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

    I want to thank you people from the bottom of my heart for all the information you have given.
    It was just by shear chance that we identified the patch. You will appreciate that a lot of those men destroyed their personal possessions and some never had much anyway that survived their flight/plight. My father had said to me in the past that a lot of them destroyed photos and the like to sever links with their past because they were told at the time by their Command that they could never return home. The only option available for them was to emigrate.
    Although times have now changed, it was then and still is now a bitter pill full of bad memories and experiences for him.

    The only other war-time photo I think I have is a group picture of my great-uncle in Polish Home Army uniform before his unit went into the fight in 1939. He and many others did not survive the experience. I will have to search for the photo.

    Thanks once again for your help.
    Rob

  5. #5

    Default Re: Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

    Hi Rob, Happy to have helped in some small way!

    The Holy Cross Brigade is a very interesting story on a number of levels and often a misunderstood story at that.

    Quote by lonestarr1 View Post
    You will appreciate that a lot of those men destroyed their personal possessions and some never had much anyway that survived their flight/plight. My father had said to me in the past that a lot of them destroyed photos and the like to sever links with their past because they were told at the time by their Command that they could never return home.
    Quite true. My own father only had 4 family photos from his life before the war. Did not live long enough to see a free Poland

    Quote by lonestarr1 View Post
    The only other war-time photo I think I have is a group picture of my great-uncle in Polish Home Army uniform before his unit went into the fight in 1939.
    Rob, this photo would probably have been taken after 1939 as the Home Army was formed after the collapse of Poland. Would love to see it if you can find it and any other guards photos you might also have
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  6. #6
    lonestarr1
    ?

    Default Re: Attempting to research father's service history & related info (by Newbie)

    I recently accessed a site about the Polish Guard Companies at:
    USAREUR Units & Kasernes, 1945 - 1989
    and the photos shown on that site are the same as what my father still had in an album I viewed during the 1970's. Sadly I think he destroyed them afterwards. As a kid I stole a look at them one day and was chided afterwards by him.
    I still hope to locate someone from his unit/company before he dies...
    I will endeavour to locate the photo of my great-uncle.
    Rob

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