Thousands of Warsaw Uprising documents rescued from RUBBISH SKIP after being thrown away by mistake
Thousands of historically valuable books, photographs and documents belonging to a Warsaw Uprising hero have been saved after they were thrown into a rubbish skip in Warsaw.
The trove of documents was spotted by eagle-eyed passers-by who noticed them as a nearby flat that was being emptied and alerted local media.
It was soon established that the archive belonged to Eugeniusz Tyrajski, an insurgent who had fought in the famous Baszta battalion of the Home Army.
Tyrajski died at the end of December last year and the death of the wartime hero was reported widely in the Polish media.
In his lifetime, he was vice-president of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents and a close associate of the late General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski.
When staff from the Warsaw Rising museum arrived on Belwederska street, the skip had disappeared, which led to a race against time to recover the archive before it was destroyed at a refuse processing plant.
Volunteers from the Zgrupowanie Radosław Historical Association received a tip off about the registration number of the rubbish truck that had emptied the skip. With the help of the skip-hire company, they established the sorting centre that the truck was heading to and they raced through heavy traffic to get there in time.
With the permission of the centre, they started to rifle through piles of refuse until they found the documents and books among heaps of rubbish.
Dr Tadeusz Krawczak from the Central Archives of Modern Records, where the documents and books are being kept, said that the materials are of huge historical value.
They include Tyrajski’s personal documents from the occupation, original examples of newspapers published by insurgents during the fighting, documents relating to his imprisonment, liberation and repatriation to Poland, archive documents and photographs from veterans activities of the Baszta battalion, documents relating to release of Polish prisoners from POW camps and even handwritten poems.
The documents and books were thrown away by the insurgent's granddaughter. However, she said that the collection had been thrown out by mistake by a company the family had hired to empty the flat.
She said that she had kept valuable items and that only double copies of books and invitations to various ceremonies were thrown out.
She said that her grandfather had the habit of keeping personal documents inside books and that was the reason so many important documents and photographs had ended up in the skip.
She added that she had made sure that the books were placed at the top of the skip so that people could pick out what they wanted.
“I grew up on stories about the Warsaw Uprising. I would never knowingly throw these things away. […] It was my fault. I'm so glad these items were saved,” she said in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza.
The family has now said it will deliver the remaining part of Tyrajski’s archive, which is still in their possession, to the Central Archives of Modern Records.
Eugeniusz Tyrajski was 93 when he died in 26 December last year. He was a member of the Grey Ranks, Poland’s underground paramilitary scouting movement that actively resisted and fought the Germans during the occupation.
During the Warsaw Uprising, he fought in Sadyba and Mokotów. After the war, he was the vice-president of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents.
He received many honours, including the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Medal Pro Patria civilian award.
For 71 years he was married to Teresa Kuklińska, a nurse he met during the Warsaw Uprising, with whom he received the Medal for Long Life in Marriage.