Zbigniew Ryś „Ryszard Grady”, „Zbyszek” (1915–1990)

Piotr Kazana

born on 1 January 1914 in Dzikowo near Tarnobrzeg as the fourth child of the marriage of Joseph and Helena née Malinowski. The Ryś family arrived in Nowy Sącz at the end of the 19th century and moved into a house at J. Matejki 2 Str.[1] From the age of ten Zbigniew was a scout.[2] At that time, his passion for sports was born; he took up track and field, skiing in the “Sandecja” KPW section [3], skating and canoeing. He went to school together with Tadeusz Sokołowski, Karol Głód[4] and Jerzy Iszkowski.[5] After graduating from the II Gymnasium in Nowy Sącz in 1933, he did his military service in 4 PSP in Cieszyn. In 1934, during the great flood that hit Nowy Sącz, he was awarded the Medal for Saving the Dying.[6] After being transferred to the reserve, he began legal studies at the Jagiellonian University, but due to material problems he was not able to complete them.[7] He joined the Border Guard, served on the Polish-Czechoslovak border in outposts Benowo, Sianka and Czystohorb near Komańcza.[8] He was active in the field of sports, among others, he participated in the Hutsul’s Route of the 2nd Brigade of the Polish Legions ski patrol marches.[9] During the defensive war in September 1939, he took part in the fights at Żółkiew and near Lviv[10]. He began his adventure in the underground movement by organizing the smuggling of people out of the country. Initially, it was spontaneous actions, he helped refugees together with Tadeusz Sokołowski, Karol Głód, Tadeusz Szafran,[11]Stanisław Suski[12], Józef Jenet[13] and Leszek Wojtyga[14]. He was sworn in the ZWZ in spring 1940 by A. Smulikowski „Kotowicz”. After the government emissary Jan Karski was caught in Slovakia he was given the task of freeing him from the hands of the Germans. On 28 July 1940 thanks to the help of dr. Jan Słowikowski[15], Jenet, Szafran, Głód, Feliks Wideł[16] and Jan Morawski the operation codenamed “Szpital” (Hospital) was successful.[17] In June 1941 Ryś started supporting the ZWZ underground foreign communication efforts; he organized a relay courier route with the code name “Karczma”[18] with the variant Warsaw – Waksmund – Harklowa – Białka – Krempachy – Dursztyn – Łapsze Niżne – Stara Wieś – Kežmarok – Poprad – Dobszyna – Poloma – Rožňava – Budapest. As a courier, he continued his underground work until the Wehrmacht entered Hungary in March 1944 After the end of World War II, he returned to the country. In October 1945, he enrolled in the second year of law studies at the Wrocław University. He disclosed his activities on courier routes to the communist authorities. In November 1945, he left for Kraków, and was accidentally detained by the Kraków Security Office.[19] On 1 June 1946, eight months after his arrest, he was released and returned to law studies, which he graduated.[20] Although the Security Office kept him under observation, he became a professional lawyer. He was thrice awarded with the Cross of Valour and the Order of Virtuti Militari; he died on 29 September 1990 in Wrocław. He rests there, in the Grabiszyński Cemetery.


[1] Ibidem, Z. Ryś, Ibidem

[2] Z. Ryś, Ibidem, p. 9.

[3] J. Zubek, Ibidem, p. 15.

[4] Karol Głód, born on 25.10.1914 in Stróże, athlete, officer of the Polish Army, ZWZ organizer in Nowy Sącz. He was arrested by the Gestapo in May 1941 in connection with the organization of the escape of emissary Jan Kozielewski vel Karski from the Nowy Sącz hospital in July 1940. On 23 February 1942, he was brought to the KL Auschwitz concentration camp and received the prisoner number 24766. He was killed by firing squad shot on 17 June 1942 (according to the SS documentation – 18 June 1942), Auschwitz-Birkenau. Miejsce Pamięci i Muzeum. Information about prisoners, http://auschwitz.org/muzeum/informacja-o-wiezniach, accessed on: 3.05.2015; More on the participation of K. Głod in the escape of Jan Kozielewski vel Karski see: Z. Ryś, Ibidem, pp. 16–21; S. M. Jankowski, Ibidem, pp. 118–148, Z. Rysiówna, Z przeżyć okupacyjnych (wspomnienia), „Rocznik Sądecki”, vol. 9, Nowy Sącz 1968.

[5] Jerzy Iszkowski Orczyk”, “Kord” (1914–1962), a major and pilot from Nowy Sącz, during World War II he served in the 304th (Land of Silesia) Bomber Division, a “cichociemny” special paratrooper, after completing the diversionary training, he was dropped at night from 27 to 28 April 1944 near Lublin. After the war, he was repressed and sentenced to death, the sentence was later changed to ten years in prison. He was awarded, among others, with the  Order of Virtuti Militari, see further; T. Kosecki, Jerzy Iszkowski (2014–1962), „Sądeczanin”, № 5/2014.

[6] Z. Ryś used a canoe to save 60 people from the completely flooded districts of Nowy Sącz, Z. Ryś, op. cit., p. 10.

[7] Z Ryś, Ibidem, p. 10-11.

[8] P. Kozłowski, Zapomniani obrońcy granic południowo-wschodnich II Rzeczypospolitej 1922–1939. Biography of officers, guards and contract staff of the Customs and border Guard, typewritten, Przemyśl 2010, p. 255; the rest of the career of Zbigniew Ryś in the Border Guard was described on the basis of the above work.

[9] Hutsul’s March of the 2nd Brigade of the Polish Legions – organized in the Eastern Carpathians in 1934–1939 see further; D. Dyląg, Marsz zimowy Huculskim Szlakiem II Brygady Legionów Polskich 1934–1939, „Kultura Fizyczna”, № 2/2013.

[10] Życiorys Z. Rysia, IPN Bu 01236/352, Wrocław, 8 May 1947, p. 30.

[11] Tadeusz Szafran – officer of Polish Armed Forces, executed on 21 August 1941 in Biegonice.

[12] Stanisław Suski  – student of the Jagiellonian University, executed on 21 August 1941 in Biegonice.

[13] Józef Jenet ( 1916-1941) – an athlete, schoolmate of Z. Ryś from the II Gymnasium in Nowy Sącz, one of the co-organizers of the successful “Hospital” operation, executed on 21 August1941 in Biegonice.

[14] Lesław Wojtyga (1914 – ?), a lawyer from Nowy Sącz, together with his brother he actively participated in the organization of people smuggling network; after the war, in 1945–1948 he was a member of the the Polish Workers’ Party, and then of the Polish United Workers’ Party; in 1945–1946 he was the head of the secretariat of the Minister of Public Administration; deputy director of the Main Control Office of Press, Publication and Performances in Warsaw (censorship), in the years 1951–1957 deputy chief director of the Supreme Cinematography Board in Warsaw; then in the years 1957–1958 he was a counsel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; from 1958 to1965 a counsel for cultural affairs of the Polish People’s Republic embassy in Moscow; in the years 1965–1969 department deputy director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[15] Jan Słowikowski “Dzięcioł” (1915–2010), doctor, professor of the Medical University, member of the ZWZ-AK, one of the co-organizers of J. Karski’s escape from the Nowy Sącz hospital in July 1940, after the war he was an outstanding specialist in pediatric surgery, see further: Leśniak J., Profesor Jan Słowikowski lekarz-bohater, “Rocznik Sądecki” vol. XL, Nowy Sącz 2012, p. 7–22.

[16] Feliks Wideł (1899 – 1943), a forester in the estate of Jan Morawski from Marcinkowice; in July 1940 he took part in the organization of emissary Jan Kozielewski’s escape from the hospital in Nowy Sącz, he harbored the fugitive in his lodge; as a result of a denunciation he was arrested by the Gestapo; he was taken, through prisons in Nowy Sącz and Tarnów, to the KL Auschwitz concentration camp, where he received the number 88577. There he died on 7 March 1943; Auschwitz-Birkenau. Miejsce Pamięci i Muzeum. Informacja o Więźniach, http://auschwitz.org/muzeum/informacja-o-wiezniach/, accessed on 03.05.2021; about F. Wideł’s participation in Jana Kozielewski vel Karski’s escape see further: Z . Ryś, Ibidem, pp. 16–21; S. M. Jankowski, Ibidem, pp. 118–148, Rysiówna Z., Ibidem, pp. 441-445.

[17] J. Ryś, Ibidem, pp. 30–38.

[18] Ibidem.

[19] Arkusz Streszczenia, IPN BU 01236/352, Kraków 7.05.1946, p. 10.

[20] Ibidem.