Grey Ranks was a code-name for the underground Polish Scouting Association during World War II. The organisation was created on 27th September 1939, in Warsaw. They were the best trained troops of the Home Army (functioned as the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II when German occupied Poland).
All new member of the Szare Szeregi swore to service to the people and their country. They followed the lines:
I also swear to you that I shall serve with the Szare Szeregi (Grey Ranks), I shall keep the secrets of the organisation, follow the orders and shall be ready for self-sacrifice .
Scout Law Zawisza Czarny (fragment of painting by Jan Matejko Battle of Grunwald ) Zawisza Czarny is one of the most famous medieval Polish Knives. He is known all over the Europe. He took part in the battle of Grunwald against the Teutonic Order in 1410.
Scout fulfils his duties as set out in the Scout Promise.
You can rely on the word of a Scout as much as on the word of Zawisza.
A Scout is useful and carries help to others.
A Scout sees all people as close to him, and regards every other scout as a brother.
A Scout is chivalrous.
A Scout loves nature and tries to get to know it.
A Scout is obedient and listens to his parents and all his superiors.
A Scout is always cheerful.
A Scout is thrifty and generous.
A Scout is clean in his thoughts, words and deeds, does not smoke cigarettes and does not drink alcohol.
Tomorrow - preparations for the all-national uprising and liberation of Poland;
The Day After - preparations for reconstruction of Poland after the war;
ZHP - the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association
The Polish Scout movement was established in 1910. It was called ZHP - the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association
ZHP was one of the most important and one of the biggest social and educational associations in Poland.
After the German Invasion of Poland in 1939 Nazi Party branded the ZHP criminals. Many Scouts were executed.
During the war the ZHP became nicknamed the Grey Ranks. They co-operated with the Polish underground state and the Home Army resistance. During operation Tempest and the Warsaw Uprising, all scouts - the young and the older, participated in combat. The Grey Ranks units were ones of the most effective in the fighting .
On 1st May 1944, the Grey Ranks had about 8 500 members. There were troops for children between 12 -14 years of age. Their code-name was Zawisza Czarny. They were named after a famous Polish mediaeval knight.
The units did not take part in active resistance but they were busy with delivering the secret messages in Scouting Postal Service .
Children also attended the secret schools. They were taught for their new duties in liberated Poland.
Assault Groups were troops formed by the young of age17 and up and carried out armed resistance. The units were organised into several battalions. Among them were the famous battalions "Zośka", "Parasol" and "Wigry”.
The troops were directly subordinate to the directorate of Diversion of the Home Army. Their main task was to struggle against the occupants. They carried out various missions.One of the most important was liberating prisoners from German prisons and transports, the second one was blowing up railroad bridges.
The groups were trained in secret officer schools for the commanders of motorised and engineering units. Many of Assault Groups members were also studying at the secret Universities.
Tadeusz Zawadzki code-name „Zośka”,a Polish Scoutmaster Tadeusz Zawadzki, code-name Zośka, was born on 24th January 1921 in Warsaw. He was a second lieutenant of the Home Army. He died in action at night on 20 and 21 August 1943. He was very young and very brave. He is one of the heroes of the book Kamienie na Szaniec by Aleksander Kamiński. We like reading this book very much. It tells about young scouts like we and like Zośka who fought during the WW2.
Jan Bytnar, code-name Rudy was born on 6th May 1921 in Kolbuszowa. He was a Polish Scoutmaster and also a lieutenant of the Home Army.
He was arrested by the Germans on 23 march 1943. He was interrogated and at the same time tormented by Gestapo. Three days later Assault Groups rescued him during the so-called Arsenal Action. On 30 March He died of injuries sustained during interrogations.
The extremely brutal interrogation of Rudy was conducted by SS Obersturmfuhter H. Schulth and SS Rottenfuhrer E. Lange . In the retaliation they both were shot by Assault Groups of Grey Ranks.
Jan Bytnar, code-name Rudy - a hero of the book by Aleksander Kamiński
Maciej Aleksy Dawidowski, code-name Alek, was born on 3rd November 1920 in Drohobycz. He was a Polish Scoutmaster and a second lieutenant of the Home Army during the WW2
He was a member of Grey Ranks and Wawer organisation. He took part in many sabotage actions against the German forces.
On 26th March he was injured during the Arsenal action in Warsaw. Four days later he died.
Aleksander Kamiński wrote about him in his book as well.
The Girl Guides formed auxiliary units working as nurses, liaisons and ammunition carriers.
" Poland Fights " Polska walcząca This is the emblem of the Polish Resistance. It is in the shape of the Anchor. This anchor is formed from the letter P for P olska - Poland, and the letter W for W alcząca - fights