Tadeusz Kutrzeba

Last updated
Tadeusz Kutrzeba
Tadeusz Kutrzeba.jpg
Born(1885-04-15)15 April 1885
Kraków, Galicia, Austria-Hungary
Died 8 January 1947(1947-01-08) (aged 61)
London, United Kingdom
AllegianceFlag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918).svg  Austria-Hungary (1903–1918)
Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg  Second Polish Republic (1918–1939)
Service/branch Wappen Kaisertum Osterreich 1815 (Klein).png Austro-Hungarian Army
Orzelek legionowy.svg Polish Legions
Orzelek II RP.svg Polish Army
Years of service 1903–1945
Rank Major General

First World War
Polish–Soviet War
Second World War

Tadeusz Kutrzeba (15 April 1885 – 8 January 1947) was a general of the army during the Second Polish Republic. He served as a major general in the Polish Army in overall command of Army Poznań during the 1939 German Invasion of Poland. [1]

Second Polish Republic 1918-1939 republic in Eastern Europe

The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland's neighbours were Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It had access to the Baltic Sea via a short strip of coastline either side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland also shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of European theatre of World War II.

Invasion of Poland invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent

The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, and in Germany as the Poland Campaign (Polenfeldzug), was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.



Tadeusz Kutrzeba was born in Kraków, a part of Austria-Hungary, since the 1795 partition of Poland. His father was a captain in the Imperial Austrian Army. In 1896, he was admitted to a military school for children in Fischau near Wiener Neustadt. He then continued his studies in the city of Hranice. Kutrzeba completed his secondary education in 1903. He graduated with distinction from the Military Technical Academy in Mödling and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, in an explosives ordnance unit. On account of his performance in school, he was given the option of choosing the location of his first posting. He chose to return to his native Kraków where he was posted from 1906 to 1910. In 1910, Kutrzeba continued his military education in Vienna, studying engineering, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1911. From 1913 to 1914, he was posted to Sarajevo, where he witnessed the immediate catalyst for the outbreak of the First World War: the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

Kraków Place in Lesser Poland, Poland

Kraków, also spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Austria-Hungary Constitutional monarchic union from 1867 to October 1918

Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe from 1867 to 1918. It was formed by giving a new constitution to the Austrian Empire, which devolved powers on Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary (Transleithania) and placed them on an equal footing. It broke apart into several states at the end of World War I.

Wiener Neustadt Place in Lower Austria, Austria

Wiener Neustadt is a city located south of Vienna, in the state of Lower Austria, in north-east Austria. It is a self-governed city and the seat of the district administration of Wiener Neustadt-Land District. The city is the site of one of the world's oldest military academies, the Theresian Military Academy, which was established by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1752 to train officers for the Austrian army.

World War II

During the invasion of Poland in 1939, General Kutrzeba commanded the Poznań Army, composed of four infantry divisions (14, 17, 25, 26) and two cavalry brigades (Wielkopolska and Podolska). He devised the Polish counterattack plan of the battle of Bzura and commanded the Poznań and Pomorze Armies during the battle. In the aftermath, he fought his way to Warsaw and arrived in the capital on September 22, where he briefly became the deputy commander of the Warsaw Army. At the behest of major general Juliusz Rómmel (commander of the Warsaw Army), he began capitulation negotiations with the German 8th Army. On September 28, he signed the official surrender documents.

Warsaw City metropolis in Masovia, Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.765 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Juliusz Rómmel Polish general

Juliusz Karol Wilhelm Rómmel was a Polish military commander, a general of the Polish Army and a member of the civil rights movement.

Capitulation (surrender) form of surrender

Capitulation is an agreement in time of war for the surrender to a hostile armed force of a particular body of troops, a town or a territory.

After the siege of Warsaw, he was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in several prisoner of war camps: Hohenstein, Königstein and Oflag VII-A Murnau. General Kutrzeba remained a prisoner of war until April 1945, when Oflag VII-A Murnau was liberated by American forces.

Siege of Warsaw (1939) battle during WWII

The Siege of Warsaw in 1939 was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army garrisoned and entrenched in the capital of Poland (Warsaw) and the invading German Army.

Prisoner of war person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether combatant or non-combatant, who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates to 1660.

Gen. Kutrzeba arriving to negotiate the surrender of Polish capital with General Johannes Blaskowitz, the Commander of German 8th Army, 1939 The Nazi-soviet Invasion of Poland, 1939 HU106370.jpg
Gen. Kutrzeba arriving to negotiate the surrender of Polish capital with General Johannes Blaskowitz, the Commander of German 8th Army, 1939
General Kutrzeba shortly before signing the capitulation of Warsaw in 1939 Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1976-032-19, Kapitulation Warschaus.jpg
General Kutrzeba shortly before signing the capitulation of Warsaw in 1939

In April 1945 he was called to London, where he was offered the position of Minister of Defense in the Government-in-Exile, which he declined. Instead, he chose to head a historical commission that focused on the Polish Army’s military campaign in September 1939 and the contributions of Polish soldiers fighting in the West from 1939 to 1945.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Military promotions (Second Polish Republic)


General Kutrzeba was given an opportunity to return to Poland. Due to poor health, however, he was unable to travel. General Kutrzeba died in London on 8 January 1947. Reportedly, the cause of his death was cancer.

Honours and awards


Virtuti Militari award, Polands highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war

The War Order of Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war. It was created in 1792 by Polish King Stanisław II August and is one of the oldest military decorations in the world still in use.

Order of Polonia Restituta Polish state order for extraordinary and distinguished service

The Order of Polonia Restituta is a Polish state order established 4 February 1921. It is conferred on both military and civilians as well as on foreigners for outstanding achievements in the fields of education, science, sport, culture, art, economics, national defense, social work, civil service, or for furthering good relations between countries.

Cross of Valour (Poland) Polish military award

The Cross of Valor is a Polish military decoration. It was first introduced by the Council of National Defense on 11 August 1920. It is awarded to an individual who "has demonstrated deeds of valor and courage on the field of battle." It may be awarded to the same person up to four times. The medal is given only in wartime or shortly after.


Related Research Articles

Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski Polish military leader

General Tadeusz Komorowski, better known by the name Bór-Komorowski was a Polish military leader. He was appointed commander in chief a day before the capitulation of the Warsaw uprising and following World War II, 32nd Prime Minister of Poland, 3rd Polish government-in-exile in London.

Battle of the Bzura battle in the opening campaign of World War II during the 1939 German invasion of Poland

The Battle of the Bzura was the largest battle of the 1939 German invasion of Poland, fought between 9 and 19 September 1939, between Polish and German forces. It began as a Polish counter-offensive, but the Germans outflanked the Polish forces and took all of western Poland.

Walerian Czuma Polish general

Walerian Czuma was a Polish general and military commander. He is notable for his command over a Polish unit in Siberia during the Russian Civil War, and the commander of the defence of Warsaw during the siege in 1939.

Roman Abraham Polish general

Roman Józef Abraham was a Polish cavalry general, commander of Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade during German and Soviet Invasion of Poland in September 1939, in Battle of Bzura commander of Polish cavalry.

Oflag VII-A Murnau prisoner-of-war camp

Oflag VII-A Murnau was a German Army POW camp for Polish Army officers during World War II. It was located 2 km (1.2 mi) north of the Bavarian town of Murnau am Staffelsee.

Edmund Knoll-Kownacki Polish general

Gen.bryg. Edmund Stanisław Knoll-Kownacki was a Polish military officer and a high-ranking commander of the Polish Army.

Władysław Bortnowski Polish historian and general

Władysław Bortnowski was a Polish historian, military commander and one of the highest ranking generals of the Polish Army. He is most famous for commanding the Pomorze Army in the Battle of Bzura during the invasion of Poland in 1939. Also notable for serving as president of the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America between 1961 and 1962.

Wiktor Thommée Polish general

Wiktor Thommée (1881–1962) was a Polish military commander and a brigadier general of the Polish Army. A veteran of the Great War and the Russian Civil War, he is best known for his command over Piotrków Operational Group and the battle of the Bzura during the Invasion of Poland of 1939.

Franciszek Latinik Polish general

Franciszek Ksawery Latinik was a Polish military officer, Colonel of Austro-Hungarian Army and Major General of the Polish Army.

Tadeusz Pełczyński Polish general

Tadeusz Pełczyński was a Polish Army major general, intelligence officer and chief of the General Staff's Section II.

Łódź Army

Łódź Army was one of the Polish armies that took part in the Invasion of Poland of 1939. It was officially created on 23 March 1939 with the task of filling the gap between Poznań Army in the north and Kraków Army in the south. Commanded by Juliusz Rómmel, it consisted of five infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades with support from the air force.

Antoni Szylling Polish general

Antoni Szylling was a Polish general, considered, along with Generals Wiktor Thommée and Stanisław Maczek, to have been one of the most successful Polish Army commanders during the Invasion of Poland of 1939.

Franciszek Alter was a Polish general.

Antoni Wereszczyński Polish colonel

Antoni Wereszczyński was a Colonel in the Polish Army.

Bruno Olbrycht was a soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Army and officer of the Polish Army both in the Second Polish Republic and postwar Poland. Born on 6 October 1895 in Sanok, Austrian Galicia, Olbrycht fought in Polish Legions in World War I, Polish–Ukrainian War, Polish–Soviet War and the Invasion of Poland. He died on 23 March 1951 in Kraków.

Zygmunt Podhorski Polish officer

Zygmunt Podhorski was General brygady of the Polish Army. Born May 25, 1891, Podhorski fought in World War I, Polish–Soviet War and the Invasion of Poland. Altogether, he served in the military from 1914 until 1946.

Jan Berek was a soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Army and Generał brygady of the Polish Army, who fought in World War One, Polish–Soviet War and the Invasion of Poland.

Marian Turkowski was a soldier of Polish Legions in World War I and Polish II Corps in Russia, and officer, later General brygady of the Polish Army. Altogether, Turkowski served in different military units from 1914 until 1948, with the exception for World War II, during which he was kept as a German prisoner of war at Oflag VII-A Murnau.

Władysław Bończa-Uzdowski Polish officer

Wladyslaw Boncza-Uzdowski was a General brygady of the Polish Army and sports activist, general manager of the Polish Football Association.