Last soldier of Warsaw Uprising deaf unit Karol Stefaniak "Kajtek" dies at 90
Warsaw Uprising veteran Karol Stefaniak, nom de guerre "Kajtek" has died at the age of 90. He was the last soldier of the legendary deaf unit. Its members were called "fearless", as they weren't afraid of the sounds of exploding bombs and gunshots.
Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski informed about the Uprising hero's passing. "Terrible news. Mr Karol Stefaniak 'Kajtek' has died - a "Miłosz" Battalion rifleman, the last deaf Warsaw insurgent. Thank you for your courage and sacrifice for Warsaw. The capital city will never forget Your heroism and that of all deaf soldiers of the uprising" - the mayor wrote.
Polish Press Agency reported that Karol Stefaniak died on Tuesday, January 11.
Fellow soldiers called them "fearless"
Karol Stefaniak was born on August 31, 1931. He was a pupil the Institute for the Deaf in Warsaw. Within the walls of this institute a 30-strong Home Army Deaf Platoon was formed. They had to wear armbands with an inscription saying "Taubstumm" (deaf-mute), which proved helpful in carrying orders and conspiracy press, as they would not raise the Germans' suspicion.
In the first days of the Uprising, he joined "Miłosz" Battalion and was assigned to auxiliary service. In the following days, the unit fought for the Soldatenheim building located at Three Crosses Square, and took part in the capturing of the YMCA building. Their collegues called them "fearless", as they weren't afraid of the sounds of exploding bombs and gunshots.
"We didn't fully understand what was happening. We felt the ground was shaking. Those who could hear were afraid when bombings would begin. We only saw praying people. We could see they were trembling with fear. We saw they were terrified," Karol Stefaniak recalled in a 2007 documentary film "Explosion of silence". Holding a rank of rifleman, Stefaniak served as a runner and supported his colleagues.
The insurgent was wounded during fighting near Three Crosses Square on September 5
After the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, majority of deaf soldiers walked out of the city along with the civilians. "Kajtek" was among them. In 2007, the last living soldiers from his unit were decorated with Officer's Crosses of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Order of Polonia Restituta Fourth Class).
Rapper Pjus dedicated "Louder than bombs" to "Kajtek"
Rapper Pjus (who had lost sense of hearing due to Neurofibromatosis type 2 and had it restored thanks to a series of complex surgeries) dedicated his song "Louder than bombs" to "Kajtek" and his fellow insurgents. Pjus, whose real name was Karol Jerzy Nowakowski died during surgery on Wednesday, January 12 - one day after Karol Stefaniak.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvnwarszawa.pl
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Urząd m.st. Warszawy