During the night of 5-6 June 1944, Antoni Heda’s (codename “Grey”) Home Army (Polish: “AK”) unit freed over 60 people from a German prison in Końskie. He was a Polish military commander and a notable veteran of the Polish resistance movement in World War II and later the independence movement against Soviet occupation following the war. Besides today’s anniversary, one of the best known of his partisan actions was the raid on the Communist prison in Kielce in August 1945, in which roughly 300 political prisoners were freed.
W nocy z 5 na 6 czerwca 1944 r. oddział AK Antoniego Hedy „Szarego” uwolnił ponad 60 osób z niemieckiego więzienia w Końskich. pic.twitter.com/KL4zBnI6IX
— Instytut Pamięci Narodowej (@ipngovpl) June 5, 2022
The commander Heda took part in a variety of actions against the Germans in occupied Poland. The partisans secured the entire city and set free the prisoners of a local prison during the Raid on Końskie on 5 and 6 June 1944.
After the Soviet-backed Polish communist takeover of Poland, the commander Heda – as a former prisoner of the NKVD – had to remain in hiding and joined the Polish anticommunist military resistance organization Ruch Oporu Armii Krajowej. Even though he used a false identity, the UB security forces arrested and then tortured his family. Two of his brothers and his brother-in-law were tortured to death.
After Poland managed to get back its independence from the Eastern Bloc, in 1990 Heda returned to service as a leader of one of veteran associations uniting veterans of all fronts of World War II. He also became the honorary commander of the Riflemen Union, a paramilitary youth organization. He participated in Polish political life. In 1997 he spoke against adoption of a new Polish Constitution (created by post-Communist Democratic Left Alliance) by saying: “is against the Polish nation, it is for atheists and communistic masons.”
He was honoured with the highest of Polish military awards, Virtuti Militari (4th and 5th class), as well as the Cross of Valour (Krzyż Walecznych) and other decorations.