Colonel Jozef Hartman - ‘’father of the Silent Unseen’’

Colonel Jozef Hartman - ‘’father of the Silent Unseen’’

Pseudonyms: ‘’Roch’’, ‘’Slawek’’, ‘’Tata’’ (eng. ‘’Dad’’)

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Colonel Jozef Hartman


born October 27, 1898 in Swaryszów near Jędrzejów, d. April 24, 1979 in London - a colonel of the Polish Army of the Second Republic of Poland, a longtime adjutant of President Ignacy Mościcki, a soldier of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, commander of the training center of the Cichociemni in Audley End STS 43, chief of training of Division VI of the Supreme Commander's Staff, called "father of the Silent Unseen"..


In 1910 he graduated from elementary school in Tarnawa near Jędrzejów, then he started education in the middle school in Szczekociny. In the school year 1913-1914 he attended pedagogical courses in Warsaw. In the years 1916-1917 he studied at the Public Teachers' Seminary for Men in Jędrzejów. He graduated as a teacher "in public folk schools with Polish as the language of instruction". From June 1917 to July 1920, he headed the school in Krzcięcice.


41_cc-Tobie-Ojczyzno-grupa-250x139 płk. Józef Hartman - "ojciec cichociemnych"Table of Contents


Independence activities
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Col. Józef Hartman with brother Stanislaw, Cieszyn 1931

While studying at the gymnasium in Jędrzejów, at the age of sixteen he became involved with the Polish Rifle Teams and completed a shooting course in 1914. On May 3, 1916, he joined the Polish Military Organization (POW) in Jędrzejów, assuming the pseudonym Roch. In 1917 he passed his high school diploma and completed the POW instructor course in Kielce, then in 1917 a non-commissioned officer course in Jędrzejów.

On November 7, 1917, protesting against the appointment of the Regency Council, he organized a demonstration in the market square in Jędrzejów together with about 200 members of the POW (Polish Military Organization). In a clash with Austrian and German troops, he was wounded (stabbed in the leg with a bayonet). The next day, he was arrested by the commander of the military police in Sędziszów and imprisoned in Kielce. He escaped thanks to the help of POW.


Service in the Polish Army
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Marshal Józef Piłsudski is entered in the scouts' commemorative book. Behind the Marshal in a uniform (with an inkwell in his hand), Lieutenant Józef Hartman. Sulejówek, March 19, 1926.
Source: NAC

He entered the army voluntarily in July 1920. Assigned to the 25th Infantry Regiment in Miechów, he went to the front with the 204th Volunteer Battalion of the 4th Legions Infantry Regiment. He fought in the Battle of Warsaw. After the battalion was dissolved, its company was incorporated into the 2nd Podhale Rifle Regiment. He fought with the Bolsheviks, incl. in the Battle of Nemen, the Battle of Kock (August 14-16, 1920). September 22, 1920 wounded during the Bolshevik counterattack along the Grodno-Kuźnica railway line. After the end of hostilities, he and his regiment joined the garrison in Krosno.

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President R.P. Ignacy Mościcki with his adjutants: Maj. Józef Hartman, Capt. Stefan Kryński

From February 14 to June 30, 1921 at the Infantry Cadet School in Warsaw. On July 11, 1921, he was sent to an internship in the 1st Legions Infantry Regiment in Vilnius as a platoon commander. From February 1925 to March 1931 in the Maneuver Battalion at the Infantry Training Center in Rembertów as platoon commander, training platoon commander and as a substitute company commander.

In 1923 he met the marshal Józef Piłsudski, as the commander of his protective platoon during his stay in Druskininkai and Świątniki. From 1925, he often visited the Piłsudski manor house in Sulejówek, looked after his daughters and helped in the garden. During the "May Coup" of 1926 he fought on the Marshal's side against government troops, incl. in the vicinity of the Kierbedź Bridge and the Castle Square.

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Funeral of Marshal Józef Piłsudski. Third from the left President of the Republic of Poland Ignacy Mościcki, fourth from the left adjutant to the president, Capt. Józef Hartman. May 17, 1935, Warsaw, Pola Mokotowskie.

From March 1931, he commanded a platoon in the 5A Infantry Reserve Officer Cadet Battalion in Cieszyn. In 1932 he was transferred to the Infantry Department of the Ministry of Military Affairs. In 1934 he completed a parachute course in Jabłonna, organized by the 2nd Balloon Battalion.

From January 24, 1934, on the recommendation of Józef Piłsudski, adjutant adjutant of the President of the Republic of Poland, prof. Ignacy Mościcki. He accompanied the President of P.R. in the uniform of the Mountain Division, of which he was a soldier, becoming a symbol of the Polish Army. A veteran of the POW, took part in the war against the Bolsheviks, he was said to be handsome, blonde, 190 cm tall, fluent (spoken and written) in English, French and Russian.


World War II
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Józef Hartman, spadochroniarz, Audley End, 1941-1943

Zwykly_znak_spadochronowy-120x300 płk. Józef Hartman - "ojciec cichociemnych"After the outbreak of the war on September 17, 1939, he crossed the Polish-Romanian border with the President of the Republic of Poland. He ended his service as an adjutant to the President of the Republic of Poland in December 1939. He joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West under French command, from January 1940 assigned as company commander and instructor of the anti-tank weapons course in Nemours.

In July, he was evacuated with Polish soldiers to Great Britain. He joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West under British command. In the fall, he renewed his pre-war knowledge of the parachute course with Capt. Maciej Kalenkiewicz. His friend was Cpt. Jan Górski, both of the men were heavily involved in coming up with a plan to create a means of communication between Poland and Britain. The Captains presented to Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski innovative concept of air communication airline with the country. With the consent of the Commander-in-Chief, he joined them both. He was tasked with training specialists of various kinds, intended for the jump to Poland, to support the Home Army.

Hartman-skan13441-300x253 płk. Józef Hartman - "ojciec cichociemnych"He was one of the first to undergo extensive training, including the Shooting course at Inverlochy Castle and organizers of the underground fight in Briggens. On April 1, 1941, he was sworn in as a soldier of the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (ZWZ), he assumed the pseudonym Sławek. He completed his parachute training in Ringway (Parachute Sign No. 0010) and started the communication course in Dunkeld.

During it, he was transferred to Division VI (Special) of the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief. He was not thrown to Poland due to the high risk of exposure - he was too known as a longtime adjutant to President Mościcki. Gen. Sikorski was supposed to say - “instead of sending him to Poland, shoot him in the head right now. It will do one thing "...


"Father of the Silent Unseen’’

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Audley End. Maj. Józef Hartman using the Thompson machine gun during exercises, 1941 - 1943. IPMS, reference number arch. coll. 604/9. Source: Karolina Brąkowska, Łukasz Karolewski, Colonel Józef Hartman, ed. NAC and Fundacja im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy AK, p. 91

Due to the risk of being exposed, he participated in only two commando expeditions to the French coast.

In the years 1941-1943 commander of the underground combat course in Briggens, Polish commander of the Training Center of the Special Branch of the Supreme Commander's Staff in Audley End (Great Britain), together with the British commander - Col. Terrym Roper - Caldbeck, head of the Training Department of the Supreme Commander's Staff, head of the Department in the Special Division of the NW Staff. 

From July 1944 deputy chief of Division VI (Special) of the Supreme Commander's Staff. He actively participated in the training of all the cichociemni. For his paternal relationship he is called "dad". With time he was called "the father of the Silent Unseen"...

He spoke about them, saying:

All of our and my boys "chosen by themselves" - the most beautiful flower of the army - all of them were another, unusual army! They never stood together as one unit, they did not parade to the sound of the orchestra. They did not receive a banner, they did not have a holiday dedicated to what they did, and they did not enter the battle collectively! The "chosen ones" entered the fight individually, at once losing their current civilian and military personality. Death had been waiting for them from the moment they broke away from English land, it [death] accompanied them for a long time on their own land, and when it reached them it was cruel

Katarzyna Brąkowska, Łukasz Karolewski – Pułkownik Józef Hartman
NAC, Fundacja im. Cichociemnych, Warszawa, 2018, ISBN 978-83-927590-8-9


After the War
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Audley End Commanders: British, Col. Terry Roper - Caldbeck and Polish, Maj. Józef Hartman

On December 2, 1945, he was transferred to the Vocational Training Department of the NW Staff, in 1946 appointed head of the Liquidation Committee of the Special General Staff. After the dissolution of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, from January 1947 in the Polish Resettlement and Deployment Corps. He documented the course of service, promotions, decorations of jumpers, emissaries, demobilized soldiers, helping them to obtain the right to reside in Great Britain.

On August 13, 1948, he completed his military service, in 1964 he was appointed by gen. Wladyslaw Anders to the rank of colonel. He remained in exile in Great Britain and lived in London. The authorities of the People's Republic of Poland deprived him of his citizenship, accused, inter alia, for espionage. In 1959 he became a British citizen.

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Audley End. The commandant of the center, Maj. Józef Hartman, reports to General Władysław Sikorski, August 28, 1942, CAW WBH - list no. 2381/13, appendix 104, file no. A.27902. Source: Karolina Brąkowska, Łukasz Karolewski, Colonel Józef Hartman, ed. NAC and the Foundation Silent Unseen, p. 91

Sick, he was active in the veterans' milieu, he was active in the London Circle of Silent Paratroopers of the Home Army. He worked in the Main Verification Commission of the Home Army. Until the end, he dealt with the fate of the Cichociemni, wrote letters, collected publications about the Polish Armed Forces in the West and the Home Army, and met his former subordinates. After the death of each Cichociemni, to commemorate his memory, he planted a rose bush in his garden in front of his house (he planted about a hundred of them).

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Fot. Ambasada RP w Londynie

He maintained contact with the family of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, as well as with President Ignacy Mościcki (until his death) and his wife. In the years 1956-1978 he wrote 220 letters to Maria Mościcka and received 191 personal replies from her. When in 1965 he was in a car accident, which resulted in serious injuries and spent 8 months in the hospital, he received a fur coat of prof. Mościcki.

Zmarł 24 kwietnia 1979 w swoim mieszkaniu przy 10 Ambassador Close w Londynie.  Urnę z prochami pochowano na cmentarzu New Brentford Cemetery w Londynie.


Family Life
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The Hartman family: From the left, stand: Jan, Jadwiga, Tadeusz, Stanisław, sit: Małgorzata, Karol, Emma (wife of Stanisław)

Son of Karol Hartman and Małgorzata née Białek. Grandparents Fryderyk and Karolina were illiterate and landless peasants living with their hosts, living off the wages from the work that they carried out for the hosts. They were both Lutherans of German descent. The family converted to Catholicism, father Karol was baptized in the Roman rite. At the beginning of the 20th century, Karol Hartman became a forester in the Bugaj estate. In gratitude for his excellent service he received four hectares of land and a forester’s lodge in a small village called Szalas.

He had four brothers: Antoni, Stanisław, Jan and Tadeusz, and a sister, Jadwiga. On February 15, 1947, he married Grace Leborgne, widow of the English test pilot. Not having the right to a British pension, he lived very modestly and undertook simple jobs, incl. the orderly in the hospital and the dishwasher in the restaurant. 




Orders and decorations


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Grave of Col. Józef Hartman and his wife Grace at New Brentford cemetery, London

  • Pour le Merite – 1938
  • Steave Romanniei in gradul de ofiter – 1938
  • Medalia Amintirei Carol second class
  • Order of the Crown (Romania) – 1939
  • Commenndatore deil’ordina della Cirina d’Italia – 1939



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okładka albumu pt. Pułkownik Józef Hartman – do pobrania plik pdf

  • Own sources
  • Wikipedia
  • Roman Lewicki, Wojciech Markert, Józef Sławomir Hartman 1898-1979 Adiutant prezydenta i Ojciec Cichociemnych, OW Ajaks, Pruszków 2004
  • Katarzyna Brąkowska, Łukasz Karolewski – (pdf do pobrania) Pułkownik Józef Hartman, wyd. Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe oraz Fundacja im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy AK


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