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    Today is the death anniversary of Captain Władysław Raginis

    Captain Władysław Raginis was a Polish military commander during the Polish Defensive War of 1939 of a small force holding the Polish fortified defense positions against a vastly larger invasion during the Battle of Wizna. Because the positions were held at great cost for three days before being annihilated with few survivors, Wizna is referred to as the Polish Thermopylae and Captain Raginis as a modern Leonidas.

    In anticipation of the outbreak of the Second World War, on September 2, 1939, Major Jakub Fober gave Raginis command of all the Wizna Fortified Area, a buffer of 9 kilometres (5.6 miles) between the Narew River and Biebrza River, which was part of defensive line of Independent Operational Group “Narew” on the right wing of Polish forces. “Wizna” secured a major artery of communication, the Łomża – Białystok road and the Zambrów – Osowiec railway. It is worth noting that some of the shelters were incomplete as war broke out, some had little to no ventilation, many of them not camouflaged and some were not fitted with armored observation domes. The incomplete state of the shelters significantly reduced the combat capability of the emplacements.

     September 10, 1939 – The Polish position near “Wizna” was lost, the commander Capt. Władysław Raginis committed suicide. Honour and glory to Heroes!

    Capt. Raginis had sworn an oath before the battle that he would not give up the defended positions alive. After exhaustion of ammunition and issuing the order to surrender – to save the lives of the last subordinates – he remained in the command post. He committed an honourable officer’s suicide by tearing himself with a grenade.

    According to Wikipedia, Seweryn Biegański, who was the last to leave the shelter, describes the moment;

    “The captain looked at me warmly and softly urged me to leave. When I was at the exit, I was hit on my back with strong gust and I heard an explosion.” Raginis decided to end the resistance and committed suicide by throwing himself on a grenade.

    “Comrade, tell the Motherland that we fought to the end, fulfilling our duty.” 

    ~Captain Władysław Raginis


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