At the beginning of the German occupation, in the first months of 1940, two landowners: Karol Tarnowski from Chorzelów and Leon Krzeczunowicz from Jaryczów at the headquarters of the Kraków Area (Obszar Kraków) of the Union of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej, ZWZ) put forward a plan to create a paramilitary organization of landowners, which would support the activity of the Union of Armed Struggle. After receiving approval they created a undeground network based on the system of threes. At the end of 1943 nearly every owner of land estates joined the organization as well as many owners of industrial and agricultural establishments in the General Government [excluding the District of Galicia (dystrykt Galicja)]. ‘Cultivation’ also, though to a limited extent, came into being in Greater Poland (Wielkopolska), which was directly incorporated into the Third Reich.
Commanders of ‘Cultivation’
Leon Krzeczunowicz, alias ‘Express,’ ‘Roland’
Roman Lasocki, alias ‘Prezes’
Logistics Section Consultant of the High Command of the Union of Armed Struggle—Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK)
Brigadier general Stanisław Rostworowski, alias ‘Odra’
Roman Lasocki was in regular contact with the Headquarters of ZWZ-AK via the chief of Supply, Section IV of the ZWZ-AK High Command, who received general reports on the activity of ‘Cultivation’ in respective Areas (Okręg).
The Warsaw Area (Obszar Warszawa)—Leon Popławski, Paweł Żółtowski, alias ‘Ogończyk’, Konstanty Radziwiłł (executed in 1944 near Zegrze)
Kraków Area (Obszar Kraków): Karol Tarnowski, alias ‘Leliwa.’
Kraków Region (Okręg Kraków) Leon Krzeczunowicz, alias ‘Express’ (until August 1944), Krzysztof Morstin, alias ‘Pług’
Lublin Region (Okręg Lublin): Lieutenant Jan Zamoyski, alias ‘Florian’
Poznań Region (Okręg Poznań)—Franciszek Unrug, alias ‘Dąb’
Tasks of ‘Cultivation’
- aid the families of servicemen and underground soldiers who were killed or imprisoned
- in the initial period of the organization’s activity, helping in the transfer of couriers abroad and in taking over transports of money from Hungary sent from Polish Army units which were interned there.
- securing current territorial needs of the Union of Armed Struggle–Home Army structures, organizing a network of contact flats, permanent quarters
- helping and hiding underground activists who were in danger
- helping the representatives of Polish intellectuals who were left destitute
- supplying the soldiers of the underground with the necessary means, especially food and clothing
- organizing sanitary aid, creating underground hospitals, aid stations, gathering medical supplies, helping in organizing medical training
- organizing means of transportation, providing transportation (podwoda) regardless of the time of day, helping in arms transport
- preparing a network of dens, weapon storages, bunkers, and dugouts
- helping the Jewish population
- helping children from cities, organizing vacation for them in the estates
- helping prisoners-of-war and prisoners, sending them packages, making efforts to secure their release
- helping deportees
- help in providing documents to those in hiding, threatened by arrest or deportation to the Reich; employing them or acquiring false certificates of employment
- creating the necessary environment for clandestine teaching and secret military trainings
- cooperation with partisan detachments, supplying them with food, giving them warnings, sheltering the wounded
- gathering financial means for the needs of ZWZ–AK—above all, covering the costs of buying weapons, medical supplies, the costs connected with caring for the wounded as well as with keeping underground activists in hiding, and providing them with documents
- acquiring weapons from different sources and storing them, securing the production of combat supplies
- ad hoc tasks, e.g., helping victims of pacifications, maintaining communication and transferring orders in the event of exposure and any other difficulties the regular structures of the Home Army may encounter
- counterintelligence field tasks, especially within the scope of industrial espionage
It is estimated that ‘Cultivation’ provided ZWZ-AK with funds amounting to 50 milion złoties. The clothes and provisions supplied were of similar value. It is difficult to estimate the value of medical supplies, services of providing shelter or means of transportation, which mainly constituted carriages and saddle-horses.
The pharmacy at Floriańska Street in Kraków, run by Jadwiga and Zygmunt Karłowski, made an enormous contribution to supplying the Home Army field structures and the aid stations of ‘Cultivation’ with drugs, medical dressings, and equipment. Only in the summer of 1944 they prepared sixteen crates of medical supplies. Arrested on August 11, 1944, they were soon murdered by the Gestapo during interrogation.