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Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski

Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski

General Count Tadeusz Komorowski (1895 - 1966), better known by the name Bór-Komorowski (Bór being his wartime code-name), was a Polish military leader. Komorowski was born in Lwów (then officially Lemberg in the Austro-Hungarian Empire). In the First World War he was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and after the war served as an officer in the Polish Army, becoming commander of the Grudziad Cavalry School.

After taking part in the fighting against the German invaders in 1939, occupation, Komorowski was one of the organisers of the Polish underground in the Krakow area, with the code-name Bór. In July 1941 he became deputy commander of the Home Army (AK), and in March 1943 was appointed its commander, with the rank of Brigadier-General.

In mid 1944 as the Soviet forces advanced into central Poland, the Polish government-in-exile in London instructed Bór-Komorowski to prepare for an armed uprising in Warsaw, so that the government could return to a city liberated by Poles and not by the Soviets, and prevent the Communist take-over of Poland which Stalin was clearly preparing.

Bór-Komorowski surrenders to SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski

The Warsaw Rising began on 1 August 1944, and the insurgents of the AK seized control of most of central Warsaw. The Soviet Army was only 20km away but on Stalin's orders gave no assistance: Stalin described the rising as a "criminal adventure." The British were able to drop some supplies by air but could give no other assistance. The Germans employed large forces of SS and regular troops, plus auxilliary forces made up of Soviet Army deserters, who were particularly brutal.

After two months of fierce fighting Bór-Komorowski surrendered to the Germans on 2 October, on condition that the AK fighters would be treated as prisoners-of-war, which they were. Bór-Komorowski was imprisoned in Germany. He was liberated at the end of the war and spent the rest of his life in London, where he was active among Polish emigres. From 1947 to 1949 he was Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile, which no longer had diplomatic recognition. He wrote the story of his experiences in The Secret Army (1951). He died in London in 1966.