The Coup d’état of May 1926 and its consequences. The fate that befell General Rozwadowski and his colleagues

Author: Mariusz Patelski

During the night of 14th May 1926, Polish Prime Minister Wincenty Witos and Polish President Stanisław Wojciechowski tendered their resignations to the Speaker of the Sejm, Maciej Rataj. A couple of hours later Rataj issued a decree on “eliminating the events at the hands of Marshal Piłsudski”, who took over the Ministry of Military Affairs in the newly appointed Government of Kazimierz Bartel. These acts in reality finished the three-day fratricidal fights in the streets of Warsaw.


General Tadeusz Rozwadowski interned in Wilanów

On 22 May 1926 Marshal Piłsudski issued the famous order to the army, in which he accepted the arguments of both sides, announced that the defeated would not suffer any consequences, as well as promising harmony and unification. The following days showed that the Marshal’s promises did not include high ranking Officers who had fought on the side of the legal government. Generals Tadeusz Rozwadowski (1866-1928), Włodzimierz Zagórski (1882-1927?) and Bolesław Jaźwiński (1882-1935) were interned, at first in Wilanów, but the reason for their detention remained unclear.

Marshal Piłsudski carried out the coup d’état, justifying it with the necessity of eliminating thieving, scandals and other unlawful acts in the country. After the coup d’état these accusations had to be justified by prosecuting the alleged perpetrators. The disproportionate use of these accusations was used to heal the situation in the army, allowing the Marshal to remove his opponents from the army. Many decisions made by Piłsudski after the coup d’état concerned personal matters or a vendetta. The Marshal demanded, among others, that the Chief Military Prosecutor, General Józef Daniec and the President of the High Military Court, General Jakub Krzemieński, present a list of criminal and honorary cases concerning Generals: Władysław Sikorski, Michał Żymierski, Jaźwiński, Rozwadowski, Zagórski and Juliusz Malczewski. At the same time the Marshal recommended finding a legal basis on which he could conduct an investigation against Generals: Rozwadowski, Zagórski and Jaźwiński, “or at least keep them under arrest”.

Acquiescing to Piłsudski’s instructions, General Krzemieński delivered a dossier on 21st May concerning Generals Rozwadowski, Zagórski, Jaźwiński and Żymierski. On that day the head of the Corps of Inspectors, General Roman Górecki also presented an extensive report titled “Results of the inspection conducted by the Corps of Inspectors” concerning Generals Rozwadowski, Józef Haller, Żymierski, Zagórski and Jaźwiński. It was then that the official decision to arrest the detained Generals was made.

Soon Rozwadowski, Zagórski and Jaźwiński were sent (on 21 May) to the Military Investigation Prison No. l (WWŚ) in 19 Dzika Street in Warsaw, and next (on 26 May), on the orders of General Konarzewski (who was their formal superior), they were transported to the military prison in Antakalnis (Antokol) in Vilnius.

Justifying his decision to send the Generals to Vilnius, General Konarzewski stated: “In view of the fact that the detention on remand (…) is still commented by some as punishment for participating in the armed action from 12th to 15th May of this year, which has definitely influenced the level of public opinion and may even be a cause for civil unrest and influence the legal and judicial process in the above mentioned case, I am ordering a temporary removal of the accused from the capital city and sending them to the Military Investigation Prison in Vilnius…”.

Soon General Juliusz Tarnawa-Malczewski (1872-1940?) joined the prisoners in Antakalnis (Antokol). He was the former Minister for Military Affairs, who had initiated and founded the construction of the Grave of Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. The Minister was originally freed from Wilanów together with other members of the government. On that day, at his own request, he was dismissed from the position of the Minister for Military Affairs by the Speaker of the Sejm, Rataj, who was substituting for the President of the Republic of Poland. On 18th May the new Prime Minister, Bartel, visited the General and convinced him to agree to return to the place of his internment in Wilanów, in the name of solidarity with the other interned commanders of the Government’s army. As a result of this conversation, Malczewski was arrested again by Lieutenant-Colonel Juliusz Ulrych, but instead of being sent to Wilanów, he was imprisoned in the lumberyard in Czerniakowska Street. From there he was transported to the barracks of the Military Police in Praga district, and next, on 29 May, to the prison in Dzika Street. The next day General Malczewski was transported to Vilnius. The former Minister was accused of insulting the imprisoned light cavalrymen of the Ist regiment of light cavalry and of causing offence to Lieutenant-Colonel Kazimierz Hoser, Cavalry Captain Wacław Calewski, Lieutenant Aleksander Trebert and Warrant Officer Gontarek. Later on he was also accused of a bigger and graver insult – concerning Marshal Józef Piłsudski, about whom the General said “you listen to that old idiot Piłsudski”. The official documents, however, do not contain the information presented in some publications, that supposedly General Malczewski himself hit the imprisoned light cavalrymen with a horsewhip and spat in their faces.

Transporting the Generals from Warsaw caused roused public opinion. Strident questions of journalists from the opposition press finally forced the authorities to formulate official charges against the arrested. According to the announcement of the Office of the Minister of Military Affairs, General Rozwadowski was accused of “abusing his power out of a desire for profit with a loss to the army treasury, by supporting the “Labour Association” which exploited the army, of which he was a member and main representative on behalf of the military authorities, (…); of transgressions(…) committed by deceiving third persons into concluding unbeneficial property agreements; knowing it would be impossible to fulfill the contractor’s obligations towards them (…); of crimes (…) committed by abusing his official powers which resulted in losses to the army, concerning the acceptance of supply of military weapons”. It was characteristic that the new authorities did not order the arrest of General Józef Haller, who was also accused of abuses connected with the “Labour Association”. Contrary to Rozwadowski, General J. Haller did not take an active part in the May fights.

The above mentioned announcement also accused General Włodzimierz Zagórski that, as the former head of the Department of Military Aviation, he was responsible for abuses when purchasing aviation equipment for the Polish Army, which caused great losses to the treasury. Later another charge was added, of issuing an order to the air force to bomb the enemy’s formations, which supposedly caused great loss among the defenseless civil population. Finally, the authorities withdrew that charge.

The last of the above mentioned persons, General Bolesław Jaźwiński was accused, among others, that he deliberately did not prevent abuses by his subordinates at the Military Geographical Institute and “overused military transport for private benefit”. It is worth mentioning that during the coup d’état General Jaźwiński, according to eye witnesses, wanted to take the side of Marshal Piłsudski, but he was stopped by president Wojciechowski.

The announcement concluded with a statement, contrary to the truth, that: ‘The above allegations are not in any way connected with the current political situation or the events of the last few days in the capital city”. The Generals imprisoned in the Vilnius prison still remained under the jurisdiction of the Military District Court (WSO) No. l in Warsaw.

The mere choice of place of imprisonment was a specific insult for the arrested Generals. The living conditions in the Antakalnis prison were particularly harsh. The military prosecutor, Major Duczymiński, who visited the Vilnius prison on 29 May, wrote among others, the following words in his report to the Head Military Prosecutor: “I have found that the general condition of the prison building is poor and in need of repair; in many cells and corridors the plaster is falling off the ceiling, many walls are badly damaged…”. Because of the extremely poor state of repair, the prison’s isolation cells and most probably the medical clinic were closed. For this reason prisoners had to get medical care at the Military Hospital of the Fortified Area in Vilnius, which had to receive consent from the “competent commander” in Warsaw. It is clear the effectiveness of such medical care was problematic, to say the least.

In autumn, an additional hardship for the prisoners was the bitter cold in the cells. Because of the very poor condition of the furnaces and the fear of fire, the prison was heated sparingly. Despite all these safety measures, on 29 November 1926 at WWŚ No. 3, timbers lying on one of the furnaces caught fire, but fortunately the prison’s staff managed to put out the flames before the fire brigade arrived.

The prison commander, Captain Zygmunt Tymański and his assistants, one of whom had been the General’s subordinate during the defense of Lwów, tried to improve the prisoners’ living conditions. The prison commander used his own resources to repair the cells of the Generals situated on the second floor of the prison, with the view of the river Neris. Unfortunately, these Officers did not have any influence on the harsh prison regime that was applied towards the Generals on the orders of the authorities in Warsaw. In the beginning the prisoners were kept in isolation and were prevented from reading any press. It is believed that mounting negative public opinion and, most probably, also the intervention of the commander of the Corps Area No. 3, General Berbecki, changed this situation.

The requirement of contacting the authorities in Warsaw in all matters concerning the prisoners caused them additional problems. This made contacts with families and lawyers much more difficult, endlessly extending the period of waiting for any messages from and to the arrested, all correspondence being subject to strict censorship carried out in the capital city, and some letters did not even get to the addressees at all.

The conditions of the General’s imprisonment differed significantly from the standards adopted in other European countries. General Rozwadowski complained in his letter published in „Warszawianka” that: “After the Russian-like prison cells in Dzika Street, stuffy and insect ridden, here the physical location is better, but we are under the guard of Non-Commissioned Officers and simple soldiers, in view of and close to real criminals. This is not the way to imprison people for disciplinary reasons in civilized countries, even for lowest ranking Officers, not to mention distinguished senior Generals; and only for keeping their promise and honest, but painful, fulfillment of their soldier’s duty. Apart from Sovdepia, nowhere were Generals ever put in prison, at best they were interned temporarily at their homes, never were they deliberately mistreated the way we are, which is dictated by a resolve for revenge”.

A sophisticated defamation campaign was carried out in relation to the arrested in the Piłsudski-supporting and leftist press, its climax being the publication of the pamphlet “Zbrodniarze” (“Criminals”) around 30th May in the “Głos Prawdy” weekly. The author of the pamphlet was most probably Wojciech Stpiczyński. The aim of the publication was to discredit Generals Rozwadowski, Jaźwiński and Zagórski in the eyes of the army and the public by presenting their activities in the military and economical spheres that confirmed the criminal charges formulated against them. Undoubtedly this publication must have been printed at the inspiration or consent of the highest military authorities, because the anonymous author quoted a top secret report from the head of the Corps of Inspectors. The Director of this institution, General Roman Górecki, was highly indignant his report was disclosed and wrote a letter to Marshal Piłsudski in which he requested appropriate procedures and controls in this matter.

In view of these developments, General Rozwadowski, who did not see any further possibility of further work in the army, decided to leave it. In his letter to President Mościcki (of 20th June) the General asked to be retired from the army. He justified his request with the current situation in the army controlled by a “secretive clique, with whose activities I cannot agree, since I am an apolitical soldier. This clique has been keeping me in prison since the May coup d’état, only on the basis of trumped up charges and based only on the fact that I dedicated, unfortunately, my whole personal estate to save two state enterprises during the economic crisis. And, despite this very unfair detention has now lasted nearly three months, they have not managed, so far, to formally charge me”.

This letter, at the same time, presents General Rozwadowski’s attitude to the charges and to the ongoing investigation. This attitude can be called provocative because the General was not looking for a compromise with the new authorities; he did not want any special favors and he also rejected all attempts at mediation undertaken by third parties. On the contrary, he demanded the charges against him be formalized so that he could be indicted and wanted a quick start to his trial so that he could be cleared of all the allegations.

A similar attitude was adopted by General Zagórski, who in his complaint to the head of the Army Administration, General Konarzewski, protested against the illegal search carried out at his flat and demanded the repeal of his detention order and allow him an effective defense. In one of the letters written at the beginning of 1927 the General wrote: “We know perfectly well they would let us go free immediately, both the General [Rozwadowski – M.P.] and myself, if we agreed to go abroad voluntarily and not return to Poland, but we will not agree to that. We do not think that anyone is entitled to disinherit two Polish men of their homeland, only because … [Piłsudski -M.P.] wants that”. However, for many months the authorities delayed presenting indictments to Rozwadowski and Zagórski.

In the beginning the two other prisoners of the Vilnius prison, Generals Malczewski and Jaźwiński, also took a strong stand against the authorities. General Malczewski, indignant at being interned, demanded in his letter to the Military District Court, amongst others, “initiating the court proceedings and criminal investigations 1., Against all those who participated in the rebellion 2., to explain who and when the military rebellion was prepared, and point 3., Disclose all those guilty of murders, robberies and other major abuses”.

The case of the former Minister soon became the subject of heated press discussions and Parliamentary debates. A publicist from the Cracow “Czas” wrote that it would be ironic that even if the General was found guilty, he faced a punishment “of no more than two weeks in detention”. Members of Parliament demanded excluding the case from the military jurisdiction and submitting it to the State Tribunal, which, as was proven, was the only competent institution set up to check the General’s activity as the Minister of Military Affairs. The issue of detaining the Generals must have aroused great controversies among Officers employed at the Military District Court in Warsaw. Already in July 1926 the head of the Court, Colonel Armiński strictly forbade his subordinates to speak to the press and to discuss it in the presence of outside parties.

In the following months Malczewski was indicted with everybody expecting the trial to begin soon. Marshal Piłsudski, fulfilling the function of the Minister of Military Affairs and contrary to all legal principals, appointed General Gruber president of the Court, with two assistant judges. Despite subsequent announcements of the start of the trial, the date of the first hearing was repeatedly postponed. This caused much discontent in the opposition press, who expected that Malczewski’s trial would become the showcase of the perpetrators of the coup d’état. Fearing such an outcome the authorities strived to find a suitable solution.

Around 2 September Józef Piłsudski visited the Vilnius prison and met with Generals Malczewski and Jaźwiński; the subject of these talks were kept secret. Soon both Generals were released with Jaźwiński leaving the prison on 7 September 1926. The reason for the quick release was not only the Marshal’s intervention, but also his worsening heart condition.

General Malczewski left the prison a little later, on 18 September 1926. A few weeks later, the case against the former Minister for Military Affairs was discontinued under a resolution of the WSO No. l in Warsaw of 6 November 1926. The press reported that the reason for the discontinuation was based on the opinion of expert military doctors, who said that “General Malczewski is not mentally ill. However, he is a highly neurotic person and in May, when charges were brought against him in his indictment – he was temporarily emotionally disturbed which meant he was not of sound mind at the time”.

General Malczewski’s agreement to such a conclusion was received negatively by both his friends his enemies. Group Captain Adam Rozwadowski, involved in the case because of his close relationship to General Rozwadowski, wrote in his diary: “Malczewski, like a hysterical woman, surrendered and asked for forgiveness that in 1926 he dared to resist Piłsudski”. A month later General Żeligowski wrote a note that Malczewski had asked to see him. “He wants to reconcile the Government and the Right. He has changed his view. Probably this will lead to him asking to be re-admitted to the army. How do you name such a person? He opposed Piłsudski as the Commander-in-Chief; was controlled by the Right, fought thoughtlessly in May, demoralized his Officers. He lost. But he did not loose his honour and respect of the people. He is losing it now. He has changed sides and (…) is running after the winner. He is himself trying to bring an agreement with the Right. What is the moral value of such a person? Instead of focusing on his convictions (…) and maintaining his opinion, he is doing this (…) showing that he never before nor now had any convictions, that he is a mercenary, that he serves his Master, not Poland”.

Meanwhile General Rozwadowski, impatient at the lack of response of the court authorities to his continued requests to release him from custody, published a letter in the press to the Military District Court in Warsaw (of 18 September 1926). In the letter he accused the Military Court of a lack of competence in commercial cases and demanded moving the case of the Labor Association to the Commercial Court and releasing him from custody. “The revenge, wrote the General, shown so vividly by the continued detention of us, senior and meritorious Generals, because we fulfilled our soldier’s duty, is not compatible with the high position of the Marshal; nor with the dignity attributable to the Commander; nor with the authority of the Military Court; and it is particularly not beneficial to the interests of the Army and the whole Republic of Poland”.

Rozwadowski’s letter was criticized by the army command and so another charge was added to the earlier ones – “lack of respect for the military authorities”. At the same time the authorities also prevented Rozwadowski from retiring, which, in the opinion of lawyers, would have made it easier to move his case to the competence of a more independent civil court. In this scenario the lawyers maintained the only cases remaining to be decided by the military court would be the above mentioned charge of “lack of respect for the military authorities” and the earlier charge of insulting a gunsmith, whom the General supposedly called “an old oaf”.

On 12 October 1926 the Military District Court No. l issued a decision saying that having finalized the investigations and sent the files to the military prosecutor, there was no longer any reason to keep General Rozwadowski under arrest under par. 171 of the Polish Military Code (possibility of machinations) was no longer valid. Despite this ruling the General did not leave prison, the military prosecutor having ordered his continued detention because of, as it was claimed, “top-ranking military interests”.

Meanwhile public opinion was more and more against the long-term detention of Rozwadowski and Zagórski and mistrust of Marshal Piłsudski’s group was growing. The imprisonment of the Generals, which ignored the principles of law and order, exposed the pretensions of the principles of “moral reform” and justice – the slogans overused by the Marshal when justifying the coup d’état. It was not accidental that the Speaker of the Sejm, Rataj, wrote after opening the autumn session of the Sejm in 1926: “The imprisonment of Generals Malczewski, Rozwadowski and Zagórski has received much negative comment and has affected our society very badly. Members of Parliament have arrived with their ears full of complaints and accusations for submission to the Sejm”. The case of the Generals, especially Malczewski, was the subject of an emotional speech directed against the government by MP Jerzy Zdziechowski of the National Populist Union. Shortly afterwards (on l October 1926) the MP was beaten up in his own flat by unknown attackers wearing military uniforms.

The opposition defended Rozwadowski and the other Generals from the beginning. A special role in this respect was fulfilled by the Christian-Democratic “Głos Narodu” published in Cracow, whose editor Jan Matyasik ardently fought the dictatorship of Piłsudski and condemned the lack of actions aimed at releasing the famous General.

Towards the end of 1926 the petitioning campaign in defense of Rozwadowski became stronger. In accordance with Rozwadowski’s wish, to begin with, all types of social associations participated in these actions. They demanded a quick commencement of the trial and release of the prisoner. In December 1926, Speaker of the Senate Trąmpczyński received a petition from the Union of Polish Christian Women Association, with a demand to release General Rozwadowski, who “has been imprisoned for half a year without trial”. At the speaker’s request, the Senate Commission for Foreign and Military Affairs decided unanimously to present this petition to the government for its consideration. In January the petition of the Women Association was also presented at the plenary session of the Senate. In his long speech Senator Marian Kiniorski compared the military prosecution’s conduct in the Rozwadowski’s case, among others, to old practices at Russian courts and, after presenting the available documents, he supported the motion of the Commission for Foreign and Military Affairs to present the petition to the government. The motion was adopted by a majority of votes, with MPs of the Polish Socialist Party and the Polish People’s Party “Liberation” abstaining.

In the following months the number of interventions in favour of the imprisoned General Rozwadowski and General Zagórski grew rapidly. A resolution for releasing the prisoners was passed by the Chief Council of the Polish Christian Democratic Party. The case of the Generals, especially General Rozwadowski, was repeatedly discussed during sessions of the Senate and the Sejm, the “red” General Bolesław Roja announced a proclamation in this matter, priest Zdzisław Lubomirski intervened and important people from Cracow wrote an open letter to the Speakers of both the Sejm and the Senate.

The address of the Chancellor of Vilnius University, Professor Marian Zdziechowski, had wide repercussions. Zdziechowski was known as a Piłsudski sympathizer and, in May 1926, the Marshal had even proposed him for the position of the President of the Republic of Poland. In April 1927 the Professor wrote the famous pamphlet entitled “Sprawa sumienia polskiego” (“A matter for the Polands conscience”) in defense of General’s Rozwadowski and Zagórski. The pamphlet presented a detailed history of Rozwadowski and Zagórski’s imprisonment.

Meanwhile Rozwadowski watched with determination the events taking place outside the prison celi while waiting to be indicted. He took advantage of the time spent in prison by writing his memoirs from World War I as well as designing an aerial bomb. He also devoted a lot of time to reading various books. At the same time General Zagórski described selected episodes of the Polish-Soviet War, which were printed in “Szaniec”.

Despite the censorship, the prisoners in Antakalnis stayed in touch with the outside world; with the help of visitors they created a secret postal system. In the smuggled letters Rozwadowski wrote about his imprisonment, among others to his aunt Maria Rozwadowska: “I am trying to make the most of my enforced retreat here. I am working hard, conducting a rational therapy and trying to stay healthy, with a good and strong disposition and keeping cheerful. My conscience is completely clear, and this temporary persecution will not break me down; I mock at it and treat is as indifferently as possible!”

In his various correspondence the General was also very critical about the changes taking place in the army after May. He particularly strongly condemned the campaign escalated at the beginning of 1927 involving the dismissal of Officers. The campaign was initiated on the basis of the amended retirement act which lowered the age limit of retiring soldiers. Alongside really poor commanders, experienced and excellent Officers were often dismissed at the Marshal’s behest and their places taken up by legionaries loyal to Piłsudski.

The process of dismissing Officers from military service, initiated in May, brought an unexpected turnabout in Rozwadowski’s case. In “Dziennik Personalny” Issue 5 of 1927 the General was listed at the top of the list of Officers who were to retire on 30 April 1927. On that day the General was finally dismissed from the army, which he had been applying for without success since June 1926. Taking advantage of the General’s new situation, attorney Dwernicki applied again to the court to have him released. A direct consequence of these actions was that the Military District Court No. l (on 7 May) once again submitted a motion to the competent commander, i.e. General Konarzewski, to annul his custody or present, until 12th May, the military reasons why he should continue to be interned. At the same time the General was presented with his long-awaited indictment but the date of the trial had not yet been fixed.

The consequence of these interventions and, to the surprise of the prisoner himself, on 18th May 1927 Rozwadowski was released from prison. The events of that day were described in General Rozwadowski’s letter to Adam Rozwadowski of 20th May 1927. “I was taken secretly the day before yesterday, in the evening, straight from the Vilnius train to Belvedere, where I received from the War Minister a court decision releasing me from preventive custody and, in exchange, I had to sign an obligation to appear before a court whenever needed. The Marshal asked only for the reasons for appointing Malczewski and for documents I had given to General Kukieł (that are probably the most problematic for him, because he is supposedly still trying to change them to make himself look as favorable as possible) and, only just before my departure I raised the issue, saying: »I was and I will always remain a legalist, I only fulfilled my difficult soldiers duty the way it was supposed to be fulfilled, and now, after a prolonged investigation, I expect a court trial and I don’t demand anything else«… after that we parted with a cool bow…”. Rozwadowski’s release was received in many different ways by the press but they all stressed the high level rank of the meeting.

The last of the prisoners, General Włodzimierz Zagórski, remained in prison until 6 August 1927. On that day he left his cell, accompanied by Officers whose task was to escort him to Warsaw. After arriving in the capital city, the General unexpectedly went missing. The military authorities immediately accused him of desertion and fleeing abroad, but he was most probably murdered for political reasons. Numerous interventions of people and organizations demanding an explanation in this matter did not have any effect.

Eventually, none of the Generals kept in the Vilnius prison lived to see their day in court. General Tadeusz Rozwadowski waited in vain for his trial. He died a year later, on 18 October 1928, in Saint Joseph’s Clinic in Hoża Street in Warsaw. It was only in 1930 that the Court of Honour for Generals discontinued the proceedings against General Rozwadowski, justifying there decision with his death.

The events in the life of General Bolesław Jaźwiński were equally dramatic. In October 1927 the General’s case was excluded from the proceedings concerning the abuses at the Military Geographical Institute (WIG). The General, as a senior officer, was to answer before the court comprised of Generals. The case of the WIG case dragged on for the whole of 1928 and, according to the authorities’ announcements, the trial was to begin after judgement of his subordinates. On 30th November 1928 General Jaźwiński retired because of his severe heart condition. In subsequent years and, probably because of his imprisonment, General Jaźwiński suffered from paralysis of the right half of his body, which led to his premature death on 24th April 1935 in Buczek.

The case of General Malczewski, as I have already mentioned, was discontinued in 1926. After being released from prison, the General went to Poznań, where, together with General Józef Haller and Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki, he was a member of the Committee for National Defense. At the beginning of 1927 General Malczewski was dismissed from the army and in the following years he lived in Lvov, where most probably he stayed until the outbreak of the World War II. Shortly after the beginning of the occupation the General was arrested by the Soviets and was most likely murdered in 1940.

Probably the above mentioned Generals were not the only victims of the coup d’état that took place in May 1926. Long after that event Officers and Generals coming from the Austrian army or connected with military intelligence died in unclear circumstances, because, as we can guess, they knew too much.

During the Polish-Soviet War Lieutenant-Colonel Stanisław Laudański was the head of the political section of the 2nd Department of the General Staff (military intelligence). Later he served at the Historical Office of the General Staff of the Polish Army, where, among others, he gathered materials from the Polish-Soviet War. Next he was an officer at the General Inspectorate of the Cavalry commanded by General Rozwadowski. He committed suicide during the night of lst August 1926. In his letter to the head of the 10th Department he referred to “psychological breakdown: as the reason of his suicide.

Another mysterious case was the death of General Jan Thullie – a former Officer in the Austrian army. At the end of 1918 and beginning of 1919 the Officer was the head of the staff in the “East” Army commanded by General Rozwadowski. In 1925 he was a candidate for the position of the Minister of Military Affairs. He died on 22nd October 1927. The report stated the death was caused by consuming a poisoned fish while out on training exercises.

Also Jan Hempel – in the Austrian times the Head of the Intelligence Office of the lst Corps in Cracow, who died in extraordinary circumstances. On 22 September 1932 the General supposedly committed suicide while hunting in Potok, Krosno County.

This group includes also General Oswald Frank, who was also an officer at the Intelligence Office of the Austrian 1st Corps in Cracow. He died on 7 December 1934 as a result of complications (blood clot) after a “successful operation” conducted in one of the hospitals in Poznań.

Let us hope that research that is still being conducted by historians will at least partially explain the real circumstances of the deaths of the above mentioned Officers and also show the scale of the purge that took place in the Polish army after the May coup d’état.

The Coup d’état of May 1926 and its consequences. The fate that befell General Rozwadowski and his colleagues