Kedyw (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkɛdɨf], partial acronym of Kierownictwo Dywersji ("Directorate of Diversion")[1] was a Polish World War II Home Army unit that conducted active and passive sabotage, propaganda, and armed operations against German forces and collaborators.[2]


Kedyw was created on January 22, 1943, from two pre-existing Armia Krajowa organizations: Związek Odwetu, and Wachlarz. Initially the units were small and town-based. Eventually, as more were formed, some moved into forested areas to begin partisan warfare. Kedyw organized weapon and munition factories, military schools, intelligence, counter-intelligence, field hospitals, and a communication network.

Most members of Kedyw were Boy Scouts from Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego and its wartime organization, Szare Szeregi. Many of the officers were cichociemni, special agents trained in the United Kingdom and parachuted into occupied Poland. Selected Kedyw groups (patrole) carried out operations all over occupied Poland. Notable types of operations included:

  • the sabotaging of rail lines, bridges and roads
    • the burning of trains and fuel depots
  • the destruction or damaging of weapon factories working for the Wehrmacht
  • the liberation of hundreds of prisoners and hostages
    • a famous operation of this type, which took place on March 26, 1943, is known as "Akcja pod Arsenałem"
  • executions of Nazi collaborators and traitors sentenced by an underground court
    • one of these involved Igo Sym, a Polish actor who had been informing the Germans about Home Army operations
  • executions of particularly brutal individuals among the German occupation troops, Gestapo, SS and police known as Operation Heads[3]
    • those executed included SS and police General Franz Kutschera, killed on February 2, 1944, SS-Hauptscharfuhrer August Kretschmann, commandant of the Gęsiówka concentration camp, SS-Rottenführer Ewald Lange , SS-Obersturmführer Herbert Schultz, SS-Oberscharführer Franz Bürkl and many others (more than 2,000 people). Such individuals were officially sentenced to death for their crimes by Polish Underground State court and such sentence had been delivered to those individuals - many could not stand the pressure and returned to Reich.
  • Operation Belt

Warsaw Uprising

Prior to the Warsaw Uprising, most of the Kedyw units in the Warsaw area were moved into the city and grouped into infantry battalions. Notable among them were "Zośka", "Parasol" and "Miotła". After fighting broke out, most of the Kedyw forces joined the Radosław group. Kedyw units were among the most successful in the Uprising. The boy scouts not only had more experience than many regular soldiers, they had also managed to collect more supplies and arms.

Kedyw units first took part in seizing control of Warsaw's Wola district. After 10 days' heavy fighting in the Powązki Cemetery, in which all German attacks were repulsed with heavy casualties, the units withdrew overnight to the city center and Starówka (the old town), where they regrouped and defended their sectors until the capitulation of the Uprising in October 1944.



  • HENRYK WITKOWSKI "KEDYW" OKRĘGU WARSZAWSKIEGO ARMII KRAJOWEJ W LATACH 1943 - 1944", Instytut Wydawniczy Związków Zawodowych 1985, ISBN 83-202-0217-5,
  • Rybicka Hanna "Kedyw okręgu Warszawa Armii Krajowej Dokumenty - rok 1944", Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego 2009, ISBN 978-83-235-0508-2
  • Drzyzga Bernard "Kedyw Okręgu AK Łódź i 60 Pułk AK", 1988,
  • Jan Gozdawa-Gołębiowski "Kedyw "Białowieży", Książka i Wiedza 1990, ISBN 83-05-11968-8, ISBN 978-83-05-11968-9,

See also


  1. Lerski, George J. (1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. Greenwood Press. p. 251.
  2. (in Polish) Konflikty Zbrojne, Artykuły, Historia, II wojna światowa: Kedyw
  3. Tomasz Strzembosz, Akcje zbrojne podziemnej Warszawy 1939-1944, Warszawa, 1978

  • Struktura Organizacyjna Armii Krajowej, Marek Ney-Krwawicz w: Mówią wieki nr 9/1986.
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