Elzbieta Zawacka

  • Born: March 19, 1909
  • Died: January 10, 2009
  • Location: Warsaw


Messenger for Poland's resistance forces during World War II dies at 99

Warsaw, Poland - Elzbieta Zawacka, who crisscrossed Nazi-occupied Europe to carry messages between Poland's exiled government and its resistance forces during World War II, died Saturday. She was 99.

Zawacka died in her hometown of Torun after a long illness, her assistant Izabela Kuczynska told the PAP agency.

During the war, Zawacka was member of the resistance Home Army and repeatedly risked her life crossing the borders of Nazi-occupied Poland on false documents to carry reports about the Nazi atrocities and the resistance to Poland's government-in-exile in London.

On one such trip, in early 1943, she traveled though Germany, France and Spain to Gibraltar, where she was airlifted to London.

In September of the same year, she was the first and only woman to be dropped by parachute into Poland, bringing orders and instructions for the Home Army. She also fought in the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising against the Germans.

In 1951, the newly-imposed communist authorities falsely accused Zawacka of espionage and treason. Tortured by the secret security forces, she was given a 10-year prison term, but was released in 1955.

For her bravery, President Lech Kaczynski promoted Zawacka to the rank of the general in 2006.

She had a degree in mathematics and was a professor at the Institute of Pedagogy at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun.

Zawacka was single and had no children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.