The last execution in the occupied Kraków

In the cell I, the largest cell of the former Gestapo detention centre (2.8 x 4.3 m), we can read the message left behind by Czesław Mika. During the war, he was an employee of a tailoring cooperative in the Main Square. During the occupation, he fought as a partisan in the Peasant Battalion unit near Skawina. In December 1944, he was detained in Podgórze as a result of a denunciation. He was arrested and transported to the headquarters of the Gestapo in Kraków at 2 Pomorska Street. While in detention, he left a symbolic inscription:

“Mika Czesiek does not despair because he will die for his homeland 4.I.45”.

Above the inscription there is a drawing of an eagle.
11 days after scratching the eagle and his inscription, Czesław Mika was killed in the execution in the Dąbie district of Kraków. He was buried in a mass grave at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków.
The figure of Czesław Mika is also presented at the permanent exhibition Cracovians against terror 1939—1945—1956. He was one of 79 people who lost their lives in the last mass execution in Kraków. In the corner of the exhibition hall, there is an installation consisting of coats, symbolising the victims of the execution. The names of the people who died on that day are placed on the pane.
One of the victims – Jan Hajduga - survived the executions. Hajduga, like the others, was shot in the head, but the bullet slid over the bone and only cut the skin. He laid still, pretending to be dead, fearing he would be killed if he gave any signs of life.
Zbigniew Wlazło, a teenage boy, also died during this execution. His story is presented by the only surviving member of his family, his brother Marian. The memories of Marian Wlazło have been filmed and are presented in the form of a short clip. The Wlazło brothers lost their father during the occupation. Their mother, Franciszka, looked after them. Zbigniew Wlazło and his mother were arrested in their home during a round-up. Zbigniew was not in the group of people chosen for execution, but he decided not to leave his mother alone. Being the last arrested group, they were brought to the place of execution in the vicinity of the flood embankment in Dąbie. That is where they were killed.

Elaborated by Grzegorz Jeżowski (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), © all rights reserved