Roman Stramka „Bardiowski”, „Romek”, „Kowboj” (1916–1965)

Piotr Kazana

Roman Stramka,

born on 13 July 1916 in Ptaszkowa, where his mother Maria née Wysocka was from.[1] His father was a highlander from Harklowa, a railwayman, Ludwik. Roman came from a large family, he had nine siblings.[2] In Nowy Sącz, he attended the elementary school and the Trade Gymnasium, he also graduated from the Trade Institute in Vilnius[3]. In his youth years, apart from studying and working on a family farm, he practiced sports, which over time became his life passion. He was a track and field athlete, a canoer, a footballer and a cyclist, but from all of the disciplines he loved skiing the most. As the youngest member of the “Sandecja” KS KPW skiing section, he has developed into one of its most outstanding athletes. In 1931, at the age of fifteen, he achieved his first sports success, winning a ski run during the the KPW Sports Clubs Championship in Zakopane.[4] On 8 May 1932 he placed third in the track and field running in Nowy Sącz.[5] In 1934, together with the ski patrol team of the “Sandecja” KPW he won first place at the nationwide competition of the KPW centers in Sławsko.[6] In 1938, he worked on the construction of a road in the area of the water dam being constructed on the Dunajec River in Rożnów, and then spend the earned money to buy a racing bike.[7] At the outbreak of World War II, he and his friends went east, to escape the approaching front line, only to return home after a few weeks.[8] Together with Franciszek Krzyżak and the Świerczek brothers, in autumn 1939, he commited sabotage in the Nowy Sącz Railway Workshops.[9] In October 1939, Kwiatkowski and Freisler involved him in the organization of the network to smuggle people to Hungary. For the first time Stramka reported for duty in the “Romek” base in Budapest in early 1940. In February 1940, Stramka was exposed smuggling throught he border Jerzy Pracki “Jurek”, a courier of the SZP-ZWZ main command. They were arrested and at the turn of April and May 1940 they were selected for a transport to the concentration camp in Oświęcim. Stramka was released by the Germans by mistake and he returned to Nowy Sącz.[10] He repeatedly got away from the hands of the Germans, and his most famous escape was getting out from behind the walls of Gestapo prison in Nowy Sącz on 18 October 1941[11] After the escape he returned to the courier routes. After the end of the war, in 1945, he left for Lower Silesia, near Kamienna Góra. In 1946, he received a job at the State Agricultural Industry Plant in Maszewo (Lębork county).[12] On 31 March 1947, he presented himself before to the amnesty committee of the District Offices of Public Security (Powiatowy Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, PUBP) in Nowy Sącz.[13] During his work at the State Agricultural Industry Plant in Maszewo, he was worked out by PUBP in Lębork.[14] From 1949, he was under surveillance of the Security Office.[15] On 23 June 1953, after interrogation in Krakow, he signed an obligation to cooperate with the SO under the pseudonym “Przystojny”. He was recruited to provide information about other couriers and to help secure the border areas. In July 1956, the leading officer, Mieczysław Korczyński, positively assessed the results of cooperation with Roman Stramka and passed over further contacts with him to the SO in Zakopane. However, the partially surviving personal file of the informer “Przystojny” show that “[…] during the cooperation, he provided no valuable materials and the only information obtained was limited to characterizing the activities of the Budapest outpost and the activities of the Budapest couriers.[16] On 7 March 1958 Stramka was removed from the list of agents, because “[…] even in the period before October he was dishonest and reluctant to continue cooperation. After October, he avoids meetings entirely. […] He is hostile towards the People’s Republic of Poland […]”.[17] From 1948, he lived in Zakopane, where he worked as a warehouse worker at the Physical Culture Centre on Chałubińskiego Str., and then, in the years 1951–1956, as a seasonal winter sports instructor at the Central Military Sports Club Zakopane in Gronik[18]. At that period, he achieved numerous successes in ski sports.[19] He returned to Nowy Sącz, and got involved in organizing sports life in “Start” Nowy Sącz and “Poprad” Rytro Sports Clubs. He died on 1 September 1965 of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Biegonice. He rests at the municipal cemetery in Nowy Sącz at Rejtana Str. He was awarded with the Cross of Valour and with the Virtutti Militari Cross.


[1] Raport o wytypowaniu kandydata do werbunku, IPN Kr 009/5788, Kraków, 12.04.1951, p. 009.

[2] Relacja Marii Stramki-Ryby, Nowy Sącz, 22.05.2015.

[3] Katalog Szkolny Szkoły Handlowej w Nowym Sączu, cl. 3, APNS/SHNS/7; Z. Mordawski, Roman Stramka (1916–1965), „Rocznik Sądecki”, vol. XXIII, Nowy Sącz 2000, p. 332.

[4] „Kolejowe Przysposobienie Wojskowe”, № 3/1931, p. 16.

[5] Commemorative medal for the third place in the cross-country run, Nowy Sącz, 8.10.1932, from the collection of the Stramka family.

[6] Commemorative medal from the 1934 Main Skiing Competition of the Railway Military Training, from the collection of the Stramka family; “Kolejowe Przysposobienie Wojskowe”, № 4/1934, p. 14.

[7] Z. Mordawski, op. cit.

[8] Ibidem.  

[9] W. Frazik, Roman Stramka, Polski Słownik Biograficzny, vol. 44, Warszawa, 2005–2006.

[10] Protokół przesłuchania R. Stramki, Teczka personalna agenta-informatora ps. „Przystojny”, IPN Kr 009/5788, Kraków, 23.06.1953, p. 12

[11] J. Bieniek, Między… , p. 329.

[12] W. Frazik, Ibidem.

[13] Oświadczenie R. Stramki, IPN Kr 009/5788, Teczka informatora ps. „Przystojny”, Nowy Sącz, 31.03.1947, p. 17.

[14] Akta sprawy agencyjnego rozpracowania kryptonim „Maszewo”, dot. kontroli operacyjnej środowiska byłych członków AK i NSZ na terenie Państwowych Zakładów Przemysłu Rolnego w Maszewie, podejrzanych o działalność antypaństwową, IPN GD 0027/614.

[15] Ibidem.

[16] Charakterystyka informatora „Przystojny”, IPN Kr 009/5788, Teczka informatora ps. „Przystojny”, Kraków, 26.07.1956, p. 45–47

[17] Ibidem.

[18] Życiorys R. Stramki, Archiwum Romany Stramki-Kroczek, Nowy Sącz, 5.10.1962.

[19] Relacja Marii Stramki-Ryby i Romany Stramki, Nowy Sącz, 22.05.2015.