Jan Freisler „Jan Woźny”, „Paweł Jemioła”, „Janek Sądecki”, „Xawery”, „Skowron”, „Czarny Jasio” (1914–1964)

Piotr Kazana

Jan Freisler,

born on 7 November 1914 in Nowy Sącz, in the family of Johan, a Sudeten German, and Maria, née Bielańska. The pre-war member of the “Sandecja” KS KPW in Nowy Sącz, he was a track and field athlete, a football player and a skier. According to the club records, in four official reserve team matches, he scored one goal.[1] It was a match of “Sandecja” II against “Strzelec” II Nowy Sącz.[2] He was also doing well in the skiing section; in 1933, together with Kwiatkowski, Władysław Czernek and Julian Zubek, he won the second place in the 15 km ski patrol run[3] during the KPW Kraków regional championships.[4] He served in the 2nd Air Regiment in Krakow, in the years 1940–1941 he was a courier of the “Romek” military base , then – until spring 1944 – of the political “W” Branch in Budapest, he also helped smuggle the Jwiesh people escaping the extermination through the border.[5] In the summer of 1944, he organized the “Świerk” Partisan Unit (Oddział Partyzancki, OP) and became its commander. In August 1944 he was assigned, as 1st platoon-leader to the 9th Company 3rd Battalion of the 1st Podhale Rifle Regiment of the Polish Home Army (1 PSP AK) commanded by Julian Zubek “Tatar”[6], becoming the second-in-command of Lt. “Tatar”. He was arrested in Slovakia several times but he managed to escape each time. After the war, he became involved in the formation of foreign communications association Freedom and Independence (Wolność i Niepodległość, WiN). He was arrested and imprisoned by the communists; initially he was sentenced to death, the sentence was later changed to 10 years in prison.[7] He was awarded the order of Virtuti Militari. He died on 23 November 1943 and was buried in the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.[8] Years later Kwiatkowski wrote about his friend: Ksawery – a skier, an athlete of extraordinary courage, a Romantic of the highest order, who valued friendship and honor above everything else. Adventurous, he could never be still for long. He was all over on all sections of the southern border […].[9]

Klemens Konstanty Gucwa “Gazda”, “Góral” (1909–1941), born on 23 November 1914 in Nowy Sącz in the family of Józef and Anna née Sówka. Gucwa family house was located at Zygmuntowska 37 Str., in the new railway workers’ colony of Nowy Sącz, located near the so-called “railway” church.[10] At first, he saw his future in education, he wanted to become a teacher. He even started studying at a Teachers’ College in Tarnów, but financial issues forced him to abandon his dreams and he began a three-years professional course to become a mechanic.[11] He was interested in sports, he was a competitor of the skiing section of :Sandecja” KPW in WKS 1 PSP, he trained football and track and field[12]. Gucwa was in Brest-on-the-Bug when World War II broke out. As an officer of the infantry supply vehicles of the march battalion of the 82nd Siberian Infantry Regiment from 14 to 17 September 1939, he fought defending the Brest Fortress, initially from the attacking German troops, then from the Soviet ones.[13] At the turn of October and November 1939, he established contact with the underground structures of the White Eagle Organization already active in Kraków. He was appointed to organize the courier-smuggling routes in the Sącz region, as a commander of the Sącz subsection of the Foreign Communications Department of the Union of Armed Struggle (ZWZ) with the cryptonyms “Poprad” and “Lubań”. In the spring of 1940, the Nowy Sącz Gestapo started tracking the underground activity of K. Gucwa. In the summer they arrested his borther Stanisław, whose house was one of the courier dens of “Góral”, in the autumn his sister’s house was searched, Antoni Zengel, Gucwa’s brother-in-law was arrested, but he did not give them away despite the cruel questioning.[14] “Góral” died on 18 March 1941 in Košice, wounded in a shootout at the Slovak-Hungarian border fulfilling his courier duties. He was buried in the war cemetery in Košice under the pseudonym Adam Opyrchal. He was awarded with the Virtuti Militarii Cross[15].


[1] Kronika KS KPW „Sandecja” 1939–1946, vol. 2, pp. 57–58.

[2] The match ended with “Sandecja” winning 2:1, “Raz, Dwa, Trzy”, № 44, 29.10.1935, p. 10.

[3] Today known as biathlon.

[4] „Kolejowe Przysposobienie Wojskowe”, № 3/1933, p. 16.

[5] IPN Bu 01236/496, Akta sprawy karnej przeciwko Janowi Freislerowi.

[6] Julian Zubek “Tatar” (1912–1981), a pre-war athlete – an all-round event player of “Sandecja” KS KPW, member of regional folk dance groups, scout, physical education teacher. During World War II, he was one of the organizers of the network that smuggled people to Hungary. Commander of the 9th Company 3rd Batallion of the 1 PSP AK Partisan Unit. See further: J. Zubek, op. cit.; P. Kazana, Przedwojenna sportowa działalność mjr. Juliana Zubka, „Almanach Nowosądecki”, № 96/97, Nowy Sącz 2016, pp. 67–85.

[7] Ibidem, pp. 154–155.

[8] See further; W. Frazik, Jan Freisler – kurier nie tylko do Budapesztu, [in:] Masz synów w lasach Polsko…, ed. by D. Golik, Nowy Sącz 2014, pp. 197–210.

[9] L. Kwiatkowski, Walka…, op. cit.

[10] J. Bieniek, Sądeccy…, p. 45.

[11] Wniosek o odznaczenie, Centralne Archiwum Wojskowe, AP 2441 KPR, Warszawa, p. 2.

[12] Echa święta 1 Pułku Strzelców Podhalańskich, „Głos Podhala”, № 33, 18 August 1931, p. 2; Sprawozdanie zarządu Podokręgu K. O. Z. L. w Nowym Sączu za rok 1935, „Głos Podhala”, № 49, 1935, p. 4.

[13] Rozkaz awansowy…, op. cit.;

[14] J. Oleksiewicz, Rudek…, p. 5.

[15] See further: P. Kazana, Klemens Konstanty Gucwa (1909-1941), „Almanach Sądecki”, № 3/4 2017, pp. 59–69.