I have been honoured to receive the Badge of Honour – Cross of Merit for organization of soldiers of the Home Army Uprising Special Forces “Jerzyki” (“Swifts”) (Odznaka Honorowa Krzyż Za Zasługi dla Środowiska Żołnierzy AK Powstańcze Oddziały Specjalne “Jerzyki”). The Special Forces “Swifts” was the most prominent Polish underground resistance movement during the Second World War committed to achieving Polish independence from Nazi occupation and to taking an active part in the rescue of Jews from the ghettos in Warsaw, Podole and Lviv. It was said that by 1942-43 the group numbered some twelve thousand, and it had by then become an effective military force with a number of victories against the regime to its credit. The name “Swifts” derived from the nickname of the Polish commander Jerzy Strzałkowski.
In peacetime, the Swifts have maintained an association for veterans and to commemorate their members’ service during the war. An annual ceremony is held in memory of fallen colleagues (see photograph above). In 1987, the Republic of Poland conferred upon the Special Forces “Swifts” the Gold Cross of the Order Virtuti Militari.