Grobelny Julian

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The story of Julian Grobelny

A left-wing independence and social activist, a participant in the Śląsk Uprising, the author of socialist and free-thinking press articles and a member of the Association of Free Thought. From January 1943 to February 1944, as representative of the Polish Socialist Party - Freedom, Equality, Independence, he chaired the Council to Aid Jews "Żegota". He was the first post-War District Administrator (Starost) of Mińsk Mazowiecki. He was decorated with the Śląsk Sash of Valour and Merit (1921), the Independence Medal (1937) and the title of Righteous Among the Nations (1987).

Read the history of the Council to Aid Jews "Żegota"

He came from a poor, large family and. by trade, was an an electrician, He was twice married. While details of his first wife are unknown, his second wife was Helena Adamowicz (1900-1993).

During the years 1915-1921, he was politically active and active for independence. He was a member of teh armed squad of the PPS. In November 1918, he took part in the disarmament of the Germans. He organised the PPS People's Militia. In the years 1919-1921, he was a member of the Central Plebiscite Committee in Śląsk Cieszyński and was a co-founder of the Polska Drużyna Bojowa. He took part in the Second and Third Śląsk Uprisings.

From 1919 to 1930, he was an employee of the Łódż municipality. He was Manager of the Outpatient Department of the Department of Social Welfare. Later, he became Manager of the Department of Social Welfare's rest home. In 1930, he became unable to coniue working due to tuberculosis, contracted during his activities in the Śląsk region. He then had to retire. He spent the years 1930-1936 in Zaleszczyki in the Podole region, then in Cegłów near Mińsk Mazowieckiego.

Following the aggression of Germany and the USSR in 1939, as part of the PPS-WRN, he became active in helping the victims of war. In December 1942, he was that party's delegate to the Council to Aid Jews "Żegota". On 12th January 1943, he was elected as its Chairman. He devoted himself mainly to the rescuing of children and to propaganda activities. He fought against the blackmailers and demanded that these blackmailers suffer the death penalty. So as not to expose liaison personnel to danger, he often distributed both documents and money himself. He organised groups of doctors to treat people under care.He managed the largest network of RPŻ workers. However, his closest worker was his wife Helena, codename: "Halinka".

He remained in close contact with members of the Bund and with the Jewish Fighting Organisation (ŻOB), delivering explosives to them and instructing them in their production. He was severely affected by the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto. His wife recalls:

"During the liquidation of the ghetto, we walked along the ghetto walls while the ghetto was being gassed and burned 'Trojan' cried. It was the first time that I'd seen him so broken. With every gunshot, he responded with 'Our people are defending themselves'".

Walking along the ghetto walls had a practical purpose – to help those leaving through the city's sewer manholes, through which he had delivered plans to his Jewish collaborators.

On 1st March 1944, he was denounced and then arrested. He was gaoled in Mińsk Mazowiecki. He was then hospitalised, from where he was extracted and hidden, under the name of "Grabowski", in a sanatorium in Otwock. Despite being ill and often being forced to remain in bed, he was still active for "Żegota". He was succeeded as Chairman by Roman Jabłonowski of the Workers Party of Polish Socialists (May-August 1944) and then by Leon Feiner of the Bund (September 1944-January 1945).

On 10th October 1944, he was appointed by the Polish Committee of National Independence as the first post-War District Administrator (Starost) of Mińsk Mazowiecki. He performed that responsibility until his death. He was buried in the local military cemetery.