The First Divine Intervention
Saturday, August 14th, 1920: At 3:30am the Bolsheviks initiated a violent attack at the army of students who quickly retreated backwards to the village of Ossów to use the homes as cover. Many trembling with fear were only concerned with avoiding death instead of advancing towards the enemy. At 5am with the sunlight, the view of the battlefield was terrifying. The Bolshevik machine gun fire mercilessly mowed down the kids that were fighting as well as those that were fleeing. Polish officers tried to stop the young retreating soldiers by threatening them with a revolver, but nothing helped.
In the light of day, the 236th Regiment of Academics was heading towards the battlefront at the village of Ossów accompanied by Father Jan Skorupka in his cassock. A commander noticed that they were heading in the wrong direction and led them towards the front while pointing to the position of the enemy. Father Skorupka broke the line and headed to the front in order to lead the line of young soldiers. With his left hand he showed the direction of the enemy and in his right holding tightly a cross. They knew they were approaching the front as the sound of more and more bullets wizzing by could be heard. He saw the chaos amongst the young who didn’t know where and at whom they were shooting. He knew that the young soldiers would overcome their fear and face the enemy and wanted to give them an example of courage and show them that death is not terrible. He faced the direction of the enemy and holding the cross in front in one hand and pointing towards the enemy with the other he shouted “For God and the Fatherland!” and then a Bolshevik bullet hit his forehead and he fell on the battlefield.
Nobody suspected that the moment of death of Father Jan Skorupka would be the turning point of the battle, of the war, and of history.
There appeared a strange glow in the sky and suddenly the Bolsheviks were struck with terror, dropped everything and rushed to run away! The Polish soldiers did not know why or what was going on. “The retreat of the Bolsheviks took place in panic. The groups fled using all roads across the fields …carts broke, horses dropped, and the roads were littered with them.” Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski later wrote in his diary: “The Bolsheviks taken as prisoners recalled that they have seen a priest in a cassock with a cross in hand and above him the Mother of God.” This was the beginning of the end of the Bolshevik march across Europe.
Later that day, Piłsudski received alarming and panicked communications about the brutal attack around Radzymin and the situation in Warsaw with requests to bring back his troops or hasten the attack. This bad news convinced him of the urgency of striking and striking hard. He did not change his plan but instead chose to strike 24 hours earlier on August 16th instead of the 17th in order to help relieve pressure.
The Second Divine Intervention
Sunday, August 15th: shortly after midnight, on the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, ten miles north of Ossów, Officer Stefan Pogonowski was executing orders from General Lucjan Żeligowski. He was leading his small battalion of soldiers to a village to wait for oncoming Polish divisions. Pogonowski for some reason, perhaps unknown to even himself, chose to disobey orders from the chain of command. Instead, he took his small battalion to the village of Wólka Radziminska (close to Radzymin) and singlehandedly launched an attack on the Bolsheviks in the dark of the night. Such a decision was inconceivable as the consequences of disobeying orders would mean being sentenced to death by military courts. Unknown to Officer Pogonowski, his little battalion was advancing on Bolsheviks who were resting for the night in order to begin their advance on Warsaw in the morning. However, this wasn’t just any group of Bolsheviks, but the entire 27th Division, the heart of the main offensive front!
Pogonowski’s battalion launched an attack on the resting Bolsheviks causing confusion and a fierce fight ensued. Pogonowski himself died a soldiers death. But as a result of this surprise attack, the entire Bolshevik battalion fled in panic!
From the accounts of captured Bolshevik prisoners, they said that they unexpectedly saw a huge, powerful female figure in the dark sky, from which light shone. It was neither a ghost nor an apparition but a living person! There was a luminous halo around her head, in one hand she was holding something like a shield against which deflected the shells fired at the Poles which then returned to explode in the Bolshevik positions! They clearly saw how the flaps of her wide, navy blue garments waved in the wind and covered Warsaw. She was accompanied by a force of terrifying winged hussar knights, clad in glistening steel armor covered with leopard sows (the type that won the Battle of Vienna and saved Europe from Islam in 1683). These winged hussars were ready to fight! At the sight of this, the Bolsheviks escaped in indescribable panic, so fast that it was impossible to catch up with them. The descriptions of the Mother of God given by the Bolsheviks matched that of the image in the Jesuit Church of the Gracious Mother of God in the old town of Warsaw (shown below).
Pogonowski’s soldiers were not aware that the Most Holy Virgin appeared above their heads. They had no idea that the Gracious Mother herself accompanied them in their struggle with the enemy and covered them with her cloak. The only thing they could see in the light of the exploding shells was the seemingly unfounded panic escape of the Bolsheviks from the battlefield.
Villagers who witnessed the behavior of the retreating Bolsheviks described them as being mad with terror, seeking any shelter they can find. They were in a state of nervous shock. They had frightened, goggled eyes, chattering teeth, acting mindlessly, trying to hide anywhere such as in a doghouse. On their knees, they begged the Poles to hide, openly admitting that they were escaping from the Tsarina – Matier Bozyu (Mother of God). The accounts of the Polish villagers on the behavior of the Bolsheviks and the depth of the fear they experienced cannot be explained by any mortal threat of this world, but only something that would reach down to the core of their soul, something from the realm of the supernatural. Witiwt Puna, the Bolshevik general of the 27th division commented: “It was clear that we were forced to retreat, that means not just our division, but the whole army”
The apparition of the Mother of God to the Bolsheviks also likely served a second purpose, it was a gift from God for them to see the state of their souls in the light of God were they to die at that moment. It allowed them to instill in their souls during their finite mortal lives the fear of God in order to repent before death and escape eternal damnation.
August 16th: At dawn, Piłsudski’s attack plan was executed. Piłsudski himself chose to be on foot in the first ranks of the infantry contrary to the advice of his generals as it would be risky. Unknown to Piłsudski, the main Russian forces were already in retreat following the apparitions of the Mother of God. The resulting attack was not as he expected and is best described from Piłsudski himself:
On the 16th, I let loose the attack— if one can call it an attack. Only the 21st Division of Infantry came into action, and engaged in a light and easy combat… The other Divisions made good progress, practically without encountering the enemy, save for a few skirmishes of no importance here and there with small parties who, as soon as they came in contact, dispersed and fled. It could hardly be called a real attack. … I must say that by the evening all Divisions had covered thirty or more kilometres towards the north… Moreover, it was before this imaginary Apocalyptic beast that several of our Divisions had been retreating. It was like a dream.
Piłsudski couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. He was convinced that there was a trap by the enemy somewhere so he ordered a division to act as a reserve just in case and rapidly but cautiously advanced forward.
August 17th: Piłsudski wrote:
The 17th of August came, but brought no solution to these enigmas. I spent the whole day motoring, seeking for traces of the phantom enemy, and endeavoring to discover the traps which I feared.
Future French President Charles de Gaulle, who served as a military adviser during the war, wrote on August 17:
Our Poles have grown wings. The soldiers who were physically and morally exhausted only a week ago are now racing forward in leaps of 40 kilometers a day. Yes, it is victory! Complete, triumphant victory!
Lord D’Abernon recalled in his diary:
On the 16th and 17th the Polish force under Pilsudski covered an immense distance.… The mobility of the troops on both sides was remarkable, especially that of the Poles. They covered distances unattainable by the best European armies, and this on poor rations with or without boots.
On the same day the funeral of Father Ignacy Skorupka took place in Warsaw, attended by government representatives and General Haller who posthumously gave him the rank of “major.” The funeral occurred with full military honors.
Piłsudski ordered a division to advance to Minsk and pursue the fleeing Soviet army. On August 18th he headed to Warsaw to meet with the divisions that were responsible for defending the capital. Expecting to find soldiers joyful at the change of tide of the battle, he was met with disappointment, as the soldiers did not believe that much has changed, they were expecting that Bolsheviks were regrouping for an actual attack. Clearly the soldiers were completely unaware of the divine intervention that took place above their heads. Piłsudski struggled to convince them that they were victorious.
Meanwhile, as the Bolsheviks were retreating East to Russia, the villagers who previously witnessed the fearsome unstoppable march towards Warsaw now witnessed their panicked and hectic retreat. And along with this retreat came hundreds if not thousands of testimonies from retreating Bolshevik soldiers all saying that they saw the Mother of God and escaped in fear of her. A testimony passed down in the family of a resident of Zambrów (a town 60 miles east of Warsaw) from of his great grandfather explains:
Around the 20th of August, the Bolsheviks retreating in disarray said that they were advancing well towards Warsaw, but they did not conquer the city, because they saw the Mother of God on the capital and… they could not fight her! They also said that someone had taken their ability and willingness to fight near Warsaw…
Similar testimonies were also given by the Red Army in other places in eastern Poland. The Bolsheviks that ended up in prisoner of war camps openly told the Poles what they witnessed. At first the Poles thought that they were making it up in order to justify their retreat or were drinking too much alcohol. However their stories were all consistent, even between those who witnessed the Mother of God on August the 14th at Ossów and the 15th at Wolka Radzimierska which were ten miles apart!
One Bolshevik stated:
You we are not afraid of. But we will not fight with her.
The advancing Polish Army discovered the atrocious aftermath of the retreating Bolsheviks. They saw fields of bodies of their own soldiers, many only in underwear with their faces mutilated, eyes stabbed. They were not killed during the battle, but were prisoners killed after it was clear that the battle was lost. Anna Kamienska the nurse commented:
In the pursuit, when the Bolsheviks saw that they could not escape, [some] gave up, but some showed berserk ferocity and then not only shot or stabbed with bayonets, but they bit! We received wounded with bitten ears, torn cheeks and scratched eyes. It was not a fight but murder. One cannot believe that man, created in the image of God could permit himself to inflict such cruelty and torment on prisoners and wounded.
When the English Generals were shown the atrocities committed by the retreating Bolsheviks they were speechless. They witnessed the true empathy of true socialists.
According to General Toukhatchevsky’s account, it was only on this day that the Command of the Soviet front learned about the retreat:
Unfortunately, the Commandant of the Soviet front was not informed of the Polish offensive until 18th August by means of telephonic conversation with the Commander of the Sixteenth Army; the latter had only been informed of the situation on 17th August ; the Mozyrz Group had made no report on events.
September 20th: The last significant battle of the war took place, known as the battle of the Niemem River by Grodno. It ended in a Polish victory and forced the Soviets to take peace talks seriously: Trotsky wrote:
Our troops were chased away 400 kilometers and more …we only have defeated divisions, into which we poured more and more raw human material. And although Lenin insisted on continuing the war, he did so without conviction and faith.
October 18th: An armistice between Poland and Russia was concluded and Piłsudski gave the official order to end the war with heartfelt gratitude for the work, sacrifices and perseverance of the Polish soldiers in defense of the homeland.
March 18th, 1921: The peace treaty was finally signed in Riga. Amongst other matters, it defined the eastern border of the Second Poland Republic, which ended up much further to the East then anyone originally expected.
Read part IV, Aftermath: the Masonic Conspiracy of Silence
 Ewa J.P. Storożyńska and Józef M. Bartnik ,SJ., Matka Boża Łaskawa A Cud Nad Wisłą (Krakow: Wydawnictwo AA, 2020), 235-236.
 Ibid., 237-238.
 Ibid., 62.
 Ibid., 240.
 Ibid., 250.
 Ibid., 252.
 Ibid., 253.
 Ibid., 252-253.
 Ibid., 258.
 Ibid., 259.
 Viscount D’Abernon, The Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World: Warsaw 1920 (London: Hyperion Press, 1977), 145.
 Ibid., 146.
 Ibid., 85.
 Ibid., 118-119.
 Storożyńska and Bartnik, op. cit., 240-243.
 D’Abernon, 147-148.
 Storożyńska and Bartnik, 253.
 Ibid., 30.
 Ibid., 259-260.
 Ibid., 260-261.
 D’Abernon, 162.
 Storożyńska and Bartnik, 262.
 Ibid., 262-263.
 Ibid., 268.
Peter Dabrowski is a cradle Catholic that rediscovered the faith and discovered the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass and the rich tradition of the Church. He is the author of the book Good Government According to God: A Critical Analysis of Scripture. His study interests include theology, politics and government and he speaks three languages. He currently resides in Warsaw, Poland and can be contacted at [email protected].