Poland has had very poor press coverage througout its history! Bastion of Europe, along with its partner Lithuania and long time ally Hungary. They protected Europe from Turk, Tartar, Mongol and the fire and sword of Islamic invasion. A very Christian position and very non Woke in the 21st century.
A Commonwealth of people stretching from the Baltic to the Black sea. Republican in a world of Empires and Monarchies. Their Constitution, the very first in Europe sealed their doom, for it was partitioned out of existence before such Polish values spread beyond its borders. The central geographic position of the Republican Commonwealth meant it was surrounded by the rising powers of Russia, Austria, and Prussia who tolerated no such ideas of freedoms and tolerance.
Poland disappeared from the maps of Europe in 1795, partitioned by the three invading empires only emerging again after numerous fights and revolutions in 1918. Poles fought on all battlefields in WW1 to etablish their 2nd Republic. Invaded and partitioned again in 1939 in WW2 between Germany and the USSR. Despite being a staunch ally of Britain the country was sacrificed to the Comunist regime, only truly emerging in freedom again in 1989 as the 3rd Republic.
A country that existed since the 10th century CE it provides a wealth of stories, tales and romance! Here are my offerings.
A gripping story of the Polish Diasopora in the times leading into the 2nd World War. From Canada to Britain to Poland and back.The dilemma of any second generation immigrant as to whom they belong.
The Engineer features the diaspora of Polish people which had taken place since the Polish Revolutions of the 1830s.This diaspora is called “Polonia” and a young Canadian represents the experience and feelings of immigrant communities of any nationality. His eventual involvement in the Secret Service of Britain gives him insights into the betrayals that politicians make.The Sikorski affair and the failure of Allied support to the Polish underground takes this novel onward to Stolen Lives.
Teddy Labden is the adopted name of Tadeusz Labycz, Tadek for short. His parents have some mysterious past which is never told as he grows from boy to young man in the idyllic but tough countryside near Calgary in Canada.
He is the ‘favourite son’ of those adults around him and surrounded by affection. He is mad on airplanes and in love with nature.
As he grows he realises that as an outsider a low class even amongst the pecking order of nationality immigrant groups that life is tough. His bitterness born of a need for acceptance leads him to yearn to be ‘English’ and his scholarship to Cambridge enables him to taste the good life of the thirties.
His new friends introduce him to a decadent world and a class structure. He now finds himself to be a colonial. In, but on the fringe of society and accepted by his growing wealth due to his parents success he meets the shady characters of the Right and Left providing the illicit to the wealthy, whether drugs, guns or information.
Studying aircraft engineering and as a war looms he joins the Royal Air Force and is soon seconded into the Secret Service due, as he discovers to his surprise, his father’s past involvement with the British espionage services. As a Polish speaker he is sent to Warsaw before the outbreak of war to keep tabs on the Polish Air Force and to obtain plans of their new aircraft.
In Warsaw, Teddy has to question his identity and eventual loyalties. He has been naïve about politics and soon finds that his new circle of friends also naively believes in French and British guarantees. The September campaign starts and Teddy is infuriated by the Press who do not report the heroic fight of the Polish army and Air Force who rather report the German propaganda of a walkover and ‘blitzkrieg’.
The Poles fall back, counter attack with success and wait for the Allies attack on the Western front agreed for the 15th day. Instead on the specified day the Soviets invade in the Polish rear under a secret agreement with the Germans. Teddy has to run with his new friends through Romania and then to England.
In England, Teddy rethinks his loyalties and origins. He under orders from The British, assists but also spies upon the reborn Polish Air Force and the story describes its travails in Britain. Poles become heroes as they turn the tide in the Battle of Britain and achieve fame as their squadrons become the aces and highest scoring squadrons. Poland is now not only the first to fight but Britain’s greatest ally.
As the war progresses the Polish forces grow and the Exile Government led by General Sikorski establish a vast underground army and state back in Poland ready to make a move as soon as the tide turns against the Germans.
With a Polish intelligence officer Teddy enters occupied Poland on a secret mission. He is caught and tortured, the mission successful and Teddy, rescued by the Polish Underground. He witnesses first hand the brutality of the Germans in Poland.
Germany invades Russia and a second Polish army is formed in Russia from those POW’s captured in 1939. This army is destined to join the British in the Middle East but no officers can be found. The Germans discover their mass graves in Katyn an atrocity of the Soviets. Sikorski wants the Red Cross to investigate. Stalin balks; Churchill needs Stalin more than Sikorski.
Sikorski is assassinated and Teddy feels his advice was the method used by the killers. He is confused and betrayed and realises he is betraying those around him. His friends are dying in various ways, time circumstance and war.
His parents are murdered; he inherits money. He becomes more confused about who he is but determines to find the killers of Sikorski and in so doing discovers a web of infiltration by the Soviets into British intelligence and the Foreign Office.
He and his colleagues are in danger now from those in the Security Services who realise they are a threat to the Soviet moles. At the same time the Warsaw uprising is crushed and the hope of a free Poland begins to fade and Teddy realise the duplicity of the Allies and the terrible consequences and terrible personalities of the Big Three.
Poland is handed to the Soviets. Teddy still continues to ‘investigate’ the Sikorski death but his enquiries are most unwelcome. The Polish forces are excluded from the victory parades in London at the personal request of Stalin and this is the last straw for Teddy. On the same day he is caught in a honey trap but warned by an old friend in the now defunct but still active now Polish Exiles Security Services he escapes being caught for murder.
He at last accepts who or what he is and is proud to be Polish vowing now to fight for his country which he at last accepts.
|Paperback: 364 pages|
Publisher: Derwen Publishing (6 April 2009)
A strange period of war weary times follows the WW2 as the Cold War begins to bite and in politics old friends and allies are thrown to the dogs as the public looks for a brave new Socialist way to prosperity. Stolen Lives is a book honouring the many people of Poland and Ukraine who fought against the Soviet invasion of Europe.
Tadek Labycz otherwise known as Teddy Labden is a renegade freelance intelligence man from the official British perspective. Or is he a deeply embedded Z man a system set up before the new Labour government?
He is certainly looking to expose the moles in the British Intelligence services placed there by the Soviets. He is certainly looking for the perpetrators of the assassination of the exiled Polish Prime Minister in Gibraltar in 1943. He is also certainly a member of Dwojka the Polish Secret Service of the London based Exile Government but now opposed by the British.
It has been reliably reported that the daughter of Sikorski whose body had mysteriously never been found had been spotted alive in a Soviet gulag. Tadek and his old friend Kryszka are assigned to find out the facts. They enter behind the Iron Curtain into a terrifying world of deceit and betrayal. They are moved from one country to another by the remnants of the wartime resistance movements to the Nazis and who are now fighting the Reds who have with Western complicity stolen their countries.
They meet up with the Polish underground which still control parts of Poland but who get no support from the West despite the public line taken by the Americans. They find the old Polish wartime spies for the British have been handed to the Soviets for elimination whilst the Americans try to re establish an espionage ring using suspect Nazi criminal intelligence officers.
The resistance to the Reds is still very much alive in Poland with two groups in alliance: WiN, whose operatives assist in escapes and identifying collaborators, providing intelligence and the NSZ or forest soldiers who fight with firearms the puppet Polish Government’s security troops. Tadek and Kryszka observe at first hand the consequences of the deportations and ethnic cleansing ordered b Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.
The two, along with the partisan leader Witek, take part in a joint operation with Ukrainian nationalist fighters and they learn of the problems in the Ukraine.
The Polish underground gets the two Dwojka men across the border from Poland into the Soviet Ukraine where they are immediately arrested. They were expected.
In the clutches of the notorious MGB Tadek or Teddy is badly tortured and confesses to what he is ordered. Suddenly he is exchanged to the custody of the MVD and placed in a mental hospital. The man Witek now appears as a Soviet Security officer and after the initial shock Tadek is treated well and comes to understand and like Witek now properly named Medvedev.
Medvedev grooms Tadek further in the craft of espionage and offers him his freedom in exchange for acting as go between for the plotters and Western Intelligence and to be the main actor, the killer, in a plot to replace Stalin with the hated Beria. The price of freedom also includes a revenge action in Poland used as a cover for him and Kryszka’s escape.
Now a hardened freelance and espionage expert Tadek is accepted by the some in the Foreign Office and MI6 and certainly by the new CIA. Kryszka is a changed man by his experiences and settles in Britain. Ever more embittered Tadek too is mentally shattered yet driven by loyalty and honour. He seeks solution and absolution in his old home in Canada. He recovers his equilibrium and mental strength and decides to outwit them all and survive.
In America he sets up a gun running operation with help from the CIA but with Russian complicity. He is used as bait to draw out the spy Burgess and kills his attackers allowing Medvedev to do a double blind death and confuse the MGB. Tadek makes the connection for MI6 to Kim Philby. The list of good faith supplied by Medvedev starts the ball rolling for a clear out in America of Comintern spies.
Returning to England to clear up his personal affairs Tadek is eventually shipped out by the Russians to run guns to the NSZ. Posing as an MVD officer eventually he is able to actually deliver the guns by subterfuge and allow an action that defeats the local Polish Special troops. This is a personal message to Medvedev that Tadek is as capable as his mentor.
Travelling to Moscow as a returning hero of the MVD Tadek joins Beria’s staff and meets Stalin. The plan is deceptively simple but cruel in its immediate consequences for individuals. Tadek finds himself part of the system of terror but now has the mental strength to remain aloof from the turmoil and tragedy. As the day approaches Tadek finds out what Beria’s plans are to remove the iron Curtain set up by the West and has to realign his thinking at the possibilities that Beria could open up to many people.
Stalin is dead, assisted by Tadek. Tadek returns home to quietly disappear. He watches cynically as Beria is outmanoeuvred by the West, which favours the arms race. The Iron Curtain remains drawn.