Confessions of a Home Army Executioner (Hardback)
A Memoir of the Polish Home Army
“This book is moral dynamite. It reveals not only what men can do in war but also what war can do to men.” – Norman Davies, historian and academic
Stefan Dąmbski joined the Polish Home Army in 1942 when he was just 16 years old. The Home Army formed the military wing of the Polish Underground, the resistance movement established to fight the Nazi occupation of Poland during the Second World War. During this occupation, the Home Army passed death sentences on hundreds of individuals – both Nazi enemies and colluding Polish compatriots. As one of the few Home Army members who volunteered to carry out these death sentences, the young Dąmbski quickly became a seasoned executioner.
In July 1945, Dąmbski was transferred to the West and ended up in the United States where he remained until his death in 1993. In his final years, Dąmbski recorded his story in fascinating, shocking detail. After his death, his memoirs came into the possession of his niece and nephew before eventually arriving at the KARTA Foundation in 2005. Initially published in the original Polish, Sobieralski’s translation of Dąmbski’s records now gives English-language readers a hugely important insight into the mind of this seasoned executioner. Readers are made aware of the facts and actions of Dąmbski’s life, but are witness to the lifelong moral struggle that accompanied these actions and led him to reflect on ideas of heroism, patriotism, guilt and on the very act of war itself.
Marek Sobieralski, based in Wiltshire, regularly writes for History of War magazine and published his first book, The Katyn Diaries, in 2021. This was a collection of diaries of Polish military officers murdered by the NKVD in 1940, translated into English. He continues to work on various diverse writing projects.