The Great Scout [Wielki Skaut]
[Note: this reads like a speech or an oration]
by Artur L. Waldo
There never was, nor ever will be, a greater Polish scout than he.
Andrzej Malkowski, a national hero -- whose name is wreathed in glory, is a name around which a magnificent legend will grow.
His full, and extremely busy life, is a poem of living and it calls to and affirms the freedom of the Homeland [Fatherland]. [His life] was a reflection of the aspirations of the younger generation of which he was a member and also a leader.
Oh, American Polonia, through how many cities, homes and streets did he walk among you for no less than three years! He walked like a sower, who spread healthy and worthwhile seed onto the soil of our national community life. Do you know him? Do you at least remember him?
He was the "Father of Scouting in Poland." A strange and a true honor for us was the coincidence where Malkowski simultaneously became not only "the father of Polish Scouting in America" but also the participant in an emigree independence movement. His life deeply became involved in the Armed Effort of the American Polonia.
For us and because of us he came to America; for us and because of us he became a member of two armies -- the Canadian and the Polish one in America; for us and because of us he never returned to Poland; for us and because of us he gave up his young life while on duty.
He rendered Poland a great service before coming to America. He rendered American Polonia a great service -- becoming a member who brought it honor coming from the Homeland and working among the emigrants in our common community.
It is with enthusiastic joy I can say today that I was connected to Malkowski by sincere friendship which began on American soil. It lasted through the years 1915-1918. I saw him and was his friend first in the United States then in Canada, and finally in France. There our ways parted forever.
I feel a deep and sincere affection for Malkowski's memory.
He moved through the history of American Polonia like a phantom, like a spirit, a great spirit, a creative spirit who would have made a true revolution in the education of Polish youth in America, had the war not broken out. This remorseless force consumed him and he was lost to us passing into a sphere to which the living have no access.
Malkowski -- an idealist; Malkowski -- the Great Emancipator of Youth.
I remember how one day we were sitting before the Falcon meeting house in Nantickoe and spoke about the development of scouting. I started to explain how all our main effort is going into military preparedness, while the education of Polish youth in America, starting at an early age, is given very little thought under these conditions.
He answered me as follows:
"You (Polonia) is always consuming something and will continue to consume. You are not able to limit your responsibilities. You have created one great goal for yourself and this you serve. Meanwhile, life is creating dozens of aims. We must be able to act toward all of these aims, thought must be parcelled out, effort must be divided up."
"It is difficult enough to get everyone to contribute to a single goal, but what would happen if the effort was divided and aims separated out," I said in defense of Polonia.
"That's not it... Poles in America do not know how to live. After all the Polish peasant, who is now an American, did not sow only one crop on his field. He divided up the field, so that he would have everything. Here this same man cannot or does not want to do the same."
He thought for moment, then he added:
"It is an interesting thing, how in this great America, with such tremendous possibilities, the Poles are not doing anything for their youth. I am sure that this will eventually boomerang on Polonia. The biggest future problem of Polonia will be with its youth. I am ready to bet on this. And the fault will be the lack of a program, of a general program, in the matter of youth."
He said this because the work the Falcons were doing to organize Polish scouting in America was progressing with frightening difficulty and this was was discouraging. While in Poland all if society was enthusiastic about scouting, American Polonia was sleeping when it came to scouting. Malkowski was bothered by this and his prognosis for the future was very bad. He forecast the downfall of morality among the Polish-American youth, the spread of all evil, and even crime. At the time, too many young people were going on their own, and the family home was not able to extend care over them, as was required by life in a big city.
"The youth here will go bad in increasing numbers from year to year. A countryman will do everything for another countryman, but nothing for his children," concluded Malkowski.
These words imbedded themselves deeply into my memory. Only Malkowski could think this way -- he who was truly the great educator of youth, who felt its needs then, while this need and the danger to Polish youth in America would be generally felt only 25 years later.
He loved youth and lived for it. From his young years he worked in the youth circles in Poland, for example in the secret National Organization of Youth in Lwow. Long before the founding of scouting in England, Malkowski was searching for the right form of working with youth. Despite his young age he was known as an educator who was caring and penetrating. Two years after the beginning of scouting in England by General Baden-Powell, he was so taken by the idea od scouting that he began to implement its principles in Poland. He knew the English language and in 1910 he translated Baden-Powell's book "Scouting for Boys" into Polish. In no time this book became the bible of youth. Youth groups introduced scouting, and it began to make great strides forward in Poland, even so that in Lwow in 1911 a Scouting Command was established and Malkowski was one of its most active members.
Malkowski read Baden-Powell's books with great interest, and having a lot of experience in this type of work, he eventually came to the conclusion that he had found the right way. He became an enthusiast and one of the most ardent promoters of the scouting ideal in Poland and later in America among the Poles here.
In that same year of 1911, Malkowski published a book [in the Polish language] entitled "Scouting as a system of bringing up youth." He gave lectures, traveled, and on a daily basis gained friends in Poland for this great cause. When he married, the same work as he was doing among the boys, was begun among the girls by Mrs. Olga Drahonowska-Malkowska.
On October 15, 1911 the first issue of the magazine "Scout" appeared in Lwow; a colorful and lively publication edited by Malkowski. In the very first issue he stated:
"We are here to serve the national cause in full, we will be serious when taking up serious problems, we will be joyful in our work, we will laugh when we play..."
And he maintained this attitude always in his continuing work among the younger generation.
The idea of scouting grew in Poland. Malkowski finally noted the need for a set of scouting regulations, then he toured the larger cities of Malopolska [Little Poland] and organized scouting [groups] alongside the Falcons [nests]. His influence could be felt everywhere, everywhere he was able to ignite a true and great fervor for his idea.
The work went well in Malopolska, and ultimately this news reached the American Polonia. After all, the press in Lwow was full of praise for the scouting idea. These publications reached America as a way of communicating with the home country. The press from the old-country was most accessible to Polonia journalists in America. They were the first to take up the idea. Already in 1911 the Society of Polish Writers and Journalists in America conducted a survey in the emigrant press on the matter of organizing scouting and in 1912 the thought was taken up by the Polish Falcons, according to a project by Andrzej Malkowski.
The Falcons started to make definite plans, yet outside the Falcons the Polish scouting movement did not find a receptive audience among American Polonia.
Meanwhile, in Poland, the scouting organization was now standing on strong legs, and in 1912 Malkowski left for England to familiarize himself with scouting there. He maintained his contact with the editors of "Scout" and in this publication he placed extremely interesting stories about his impressions from his experiences in England.
After returning from London he continued to be active and write. His enthusiasm infected the youth. He called for the self-organization of troops and divisions under the slogan "A scout must be able to cope with any contingency." In this way he opened up the possibilities for a show of energy, initiative and a further development of scouting in Poland.
I was getting ready for my departure for America when on July 6, 1913 a gathering of Falcons, and the scouting organizations allied with them, took place in Lwow. The gathering was organized for the 50th Anniversary of the January Uprising. There was a great demonstration [march?] in Lwow. Attending the gathering were 7,000 Falcons and 1,100 scouts. The field exercises were conducted by none other than Jozef Haller, later the commander of our army in France, then the commandant of the Falcon units. I had no idea then that in the regular army he would be my commander, that I will see him in France, and even twice in America.
When in 1913 there was the Great Scout Jamboree in England, in Birmingham -- Poland was represented there by a group of Lwow scouts, and a report in the name of this group was given to Baden-Powell by Andrzej Malkowski.
The memorable for Poland departure of scouts took place on the day of June 29 - consisting of 42 scouts and 11 scout officers [leaders ?]. It is to him [Malkowski] that Poland owes this first Polish [scout] expedition to England and the interest that the visit aroused for Poland in the international sphere. After returning he published his experiences in an extensive and well illustrated book "How Scouts Work," which even today may be read with great pleasure, seeing how well he touches upon every sector of the then young scouting movement.
For Polish scouting in America 1913 was a breakthrough year. The Falcons started their organizational work intensively and many scout troops started in various places in affiliation with the Falcon nests. A quantity of Malkowski's Scouting handbooks was imported and using this system the troops were organized among the emigrants. Here already, we see Malkowski's influence in this matter.
At the beginning of 1913 the "Polish Falcon" publication in America carried the following article:
"After receiving news from Lwow that the supplies of the "Scouting Handbook" by Andrzej Malkowski were exhausted, there is nothing else for us to do than to reprint in the "Falcon" all the descriptions and directions which are used to teach the basic principles of scouting.
"Though it will be six months before a new edition to be produced, it will be corrected and will take under consideration our conditions here and will be less like the original English book."
During the reprinting a small book came out called the "Scout's Vade Mecum" which was an important listing of directions in the form of a pocket-book, that addressed the technical side of scouting.
This little book became very popular among the scout instructors, among whose number I found myself. True to its promise, when the reprinting on the pages of the "Falcon" ended, the Falcon leaders in 1913 published a book "Scouting" based on the works of Gen. Baden-Powell and edited by Andrzej Malkowski. At the bottom of the front page we read: "This reprint in a shortened edition for the use of scouting instructors in America." This was dated 1913. I keep a copy of this book still and with great piety, because it brought me into contact with my first work in society. This was work with youth and it is a spiritual link to the unforgettable Andrzej Malkowski.
In May 1914 in Krakow, there were held exercises for the local scout groups under the direction of Olga and Andrzej Malkowski.
By then the idea of scouting was coming alive in the Kingdom [Russian sector of partition] Unfortunately, I did not get to see it because by then I was already deeply involved in similar work among the Falcons in the United States. Malkowski's handbook gave great service in Warsaw and in other cities of the Congress Kingdom, as did the reprint among the Falcons in America.
In 1914 there was a new scout publication in America. It was the "Scouting Handbook" in two parts, written by Stanislawa Osada [a woman], printed by the Wydawnictwo Prasy Narodowej in America at a Chicago printing house. The author who propagated this idea in 1911 returned to the original plan, explaining it in the introduction to this "Handbook" as follows:
"The greatest concern for those who have come from Poland to this land of freedom, who are putting down foundations for a lasting Polish national social organization to be also used by their successors, is that the future generations should not wander away from the aspirations, convictions, and faith of their fathers, that -- because they were not able themselves to pay back the tribute of blood on the altar of the Homeland's freedom -- then their sons, and grandsons may be able to do so.
"They however look in fear on the devastation in the ranks of our youth done by Americanization, which creeps even into the most secure of our neighborhoods in various forms, especially through recreational and sport organizations.
"All of those who hold the future close in their hearts, have long ago understood, that we cannot give our youth the same amount of experience and the same recreation that they may receive from the American recreational and sport organizations. We can lose this youth once and for all, not only to our national identity but to our religion as well. That is why we endeavor to support the Falcon nests and many parishes seek to secure a hall for entertainment and a place for the youth clubs in parish buildings.
"Experience tells us that the Falcons alone are unequal to the task, because their ranks are mostly filled by youth freshly arrived from the old-country while American-born youth, which we most seek to retain, avoids membership. Even the recreation and sports clubs in the parishes, when left to their own devices, soon become Americanized and the only evidence left of their Polish origins are the names of the organizations.
"Yet, until our eyes are buried under sand in the grave, we will not yield without a fight, especially when it was proven that with the proper effort the children of the third generation are more Polish than their mothers and fathers of the second.
"From this care for the future, for a lasting existence, for the Polishness of the soul in future generations, there is born an idea that can be injected into the fertile soil of our Polish schools -- SCOUTING.
"It is an English organization that today is educating millions of young souls to the glory of that nation in the direction of lofty ideals, and in a manner where youth is enthusiastically oriented and devoted to the organization. The whole world is imitating this [organization]. It has found thousands of enthusiastic supporters in Poland and in America. We already have several tens of thousands of scouts and the number is growing year by year encompassing greater and greater areas even in our colonies. So, that if we don't organize our youth into scouts then they will be organized by the Americans, but not for our but for their own benefit.
"We must then of necessity confront this early, because only we can do this work in a way where America will not lose the benefit (as it gets benefits from all our other organizations) and so will Poland, by maintaining that to which it has a right: the soul of Polish youth.
"Scouting educates and entertains, and provides recreation and ennobles the soul -- maintains a faith in God and loyalty to his commandments, while Polish Scouting -- as a rule, presents Poland and its concerns to the children and youth.
"Scouting will give our children an American uniform, the organizational form, recreation, sport and field trips that are the same and allow them to be among the children of our American neighbors. This is what they, in their youthful soul want and desire. They will have it all but with instruction in the Polish language, from the lips of their own elders, who love them, who are maintaining the rule, telling them what we want them to know, so that the youth would not forget.
"Organized scouting will create an initiative and will aid in caring for school children and be a school even in such parishes where it was difficult to think about such things. It is easier to imitate an existing example and use already existing rules and handbooks, than to crete something quite new from the beginning.
"All instruction, directions and education will be worked out and presented in such a manner, so that every parish [can have a scout troop] where a lay teacher may not be found, either the organist or the instructor from the local Falcon nest, or even one of the younger assistant priests, or even someone from the intelligentsia, who could organize and lead the scouts. Even the Teaching Sister should be able to take care of this with the help of properly trained and selected boys who would be patrol leaders.
"In this way, in a short time, every Polish parish school could have its own scout [troop] -- perhaps not conducted in the regular way, but if we will move toward this goal, then we will find the means and methods to introduce reforms and improvements.
"At the head of this, with an initiative toward this end, stands the Polish National Council in America [Polska Rada Narodowa w Ameryce] which calls upon all the parishes to organize local committees, where an Executive Committee would oversee the entire matter, that would look to care for the growing children in their own parish.
"Regulating in this way the organization of Polish scouting in the whole United States we are not creating anything new, but are imitating the scouting organization of America, because even there is a central administration that coincidentally has the same name -- National Council -- which is composed of some of the most outstanding men in the nation, who are assisted in this work in the towns and villages by Local Councils, where adult citizens guide the movement."
Basically these projects were based on the American system of scouting which was adopted in the United States a year after the movement started in England.
The parishes, in truth, were not eager to take upon their shoulders an additional responsibility. The Polish National Council did not think this an appropriate activity to take up as its goal. So only the Falcons remained, and they continued the activity alongside their nests in various Polish communities.
Meanwhile, the World War broke out. This important moment caught Malkowski in [the mountan resort town of] Zakopane, where among other activities he was leader of the scout troop in the city.
Beautiful and moving in its simplicity, is the fragment of his activity during this time and it was recorded by [writer Stefan] Zeromski among his memories about Adas [Andrzej Malkowski] the scout. He wrote:
"Since Mr. Andrzej Malkowski returned from his trip to Warsaw making his way through the warring armies, the Zakopane scout troop here was well organized and taken into a strong hand.
"Life again started to churn.
"Work went on, day and night
"Things were brought, gathered, taken to the mountains, carried in secret from place to place.
"Once a commander of the 3rd Platoon was riding his horse, named Lyska, in a hurry. All was done in great, the greatest secret.
"Another time Adas [diminutive for Andrzej], who was constantly working on something, was bent over his workbench. He was making a great bow of juniper wood, twisting an exceptionally strong bowstring and fabricating metal tips for arrows.
"When the great bow was ready, he began to train in the art of shooting at a target and despite his poor eyesight he could hit a mark at a great distance.
"All these preparations were going on at a hurried pace, apparently on orders from above. It was not possible to learn what they meant, it was not proper to delve into scouting secrets, these were maintained by oath to the leaders.
"Finally, a conversation on the road with Mr. Andrzej Malkowski explained things. It was straight and simple -- it was Thermopylae. Malkowski decided to establish a Thermopylae [like place] in the Tatras and hold up the Muscovites that were coming this way. They were not to pass through the Tatras, [he would] close certain valleys and rather die with his scouts than allow them passage through our mountains.
"He decided on a terrible undertaking, a heroic example that would shake Poland from end to end and wake it from its slumber of captivity.
"Somewhere in mountain caves there were hidden weapons and supplies; some arms and ammunition, and even when the ammunition ran out they were to block the road to the enemy... With the juniper bows and the metal tipped arrows aimed at enemy chests. These were what Adas and his scouts and junior officers [troop leaders] were making in their workshops.
"As was there a heartless command to burn the scout uniform blouses, so were these preparations to throw upon the altar of sacrifice these young bodies in a brave fight without limits and sacrifice without qualification. This dream of glory -- which was to be won by bows in the time of machine guns, hand grenades, poison gas, flame throwers, big guns that could strike at a distance of one-hundred kilometers, bombs dropped from airplanes -- was frozen in mid-air when the Muscovites turned coward and decided not to come to Zakopane. Perhaps they were fearful of the youthful soldiers in the mountains..."
Not wishing to be a mere bystander to what was happening, Malkowski joined Pilsudski's Legions where he was involved in intelligence gathering, several times making his way through the army lines to Warsaw, often on missions given him by Commandant Pilsudski.
In 1915 he was invited by the Falcon Union in America. He received a release from service in the Legions and through Switzerland made his way to America on an important new mission -- to organize Polish scouting on American soil among the largest expatriate community in the world. Actually he went to raise the standard of scouting, for because of his handbooks Polish scouting existed in America since 1913, though the idea was introduced earlier in 1911.
It should be mentioned that in fact, in Polish communities in America, American scouting was first to make inroads after the idea was brought to this land a year after the formation of scouting in England. Polish parishes in Buffalo were especially effective in this pioneering work, and many troops of American scouts were established there in 1911. There were several thousand American youth organized under the American slogan "Be Prepared." It was only later that the National Council supported the Osada project for establishing Polish scouting in the parishes.
The Falcons then decided to go a step further and to put scouting on the proper level they brought Andrzej Malkowski to America.
He took with him his wife and two children, but circumstances forced him to leave them in England for the time being. He came to the United States first by himself, later he brought his wife and children who spent a longer time in Chicago.
On American soil he started his work by giving a series of courses. He gave lectures at organizational and area courses that encompassed military gymnastics-scouting. These lectures belong to the very pleasant hours spent at "cadet training" for Falcons, where scout-masters were trained under the Falcon banner, as well as future officers of the Polish army.
This work was fruitful, as new scouting troops started to be founded. He also communicated directly and through the "Falcon" to the leaders of men's and women's Nests on the matter of organizing new youth groups for both genders.
Had it not been for the war, he would have had exceptional results in America because he was a first-class instructor, and he understood youth better than anyone else.
It was characteristic that despite having served in two armies, Malkowski was never a soldier, a so-called "militarist." Even in an army uniform he felt as if he were in civilian life. His spirit would not be regimented, [nor would he accept] the conformation of intellect, or harmonized discipline and command in service. Freedom, liberty, individual work on one's own initiative, individualism -- these were the basic concepts of Malkowski's life.
In every way he was the Great Scout -- neither a soldier, nor a warrior. He was a man born to live in peace, not in war. He was the ideal of the New Man, as is looked for by the nations of the world so that all wars would end, and to build a nation and its character. This was the kind of man that was Andrzej Malkowski.
Therefore, Malkowski was often misunderstood by military men. No one could accuse him of dereliction of duty or slack service. No. He did everything better than was required. He was accurate to extremes. No detail escaped his attention. In this regard he was indeed an Eagle Scout. His eyesight was keen, his thought like lightning.
There were, however, lapses when he was in the regular army when he stopped being a soldier and was a scout -- at least on the surface. Wojciech Albrycht has some episodes that he wrote down:
Andrzej Malkowski, the creator of Scouting in Poland, was with us in the (Canadian) officers' school in Toronto. He was a man of ideals, intelligent, and by profession a physical education teacher.
We knew him from before, from the course that he organized for us in Pittsburgh. We knew him from his valuable articles in the Falcon publication. He was a good man, his character was without blame, his soul noble, and also he had exemplary virtues, a type [of person] to be dreamed up. But he had two great worries: one - about his wife, the conditions and situation in which she had to live, whom he left with two children in London; and two - to make sure that all the lectures at the officers' school were carefully written down.
Though he spent a short time in America he knew English well. He learned it in his young years but spoke with an accent, like every non-native speaker. But he could write extremely well in English, with proper grammar, better than many "long-time Polish-Americans."
Malkowski never much worried about discipline. He never tried to be in any military "fashion" and the lack of this never bothered him. Because of this we had a few funny episodes with him, that cause much fun and also much argument. I am putting them down because they illustrate in detail the interesting and unusual shape of his character -- his dislike of militarism, of war and the destruction of others.
This incident took place at a lecture about service life, on the subject of cleanliness and personal order that each soldier must have. These lectures were given to the Polish officer candidates along with [cadet] platoons from the Canadian army.
At the end of the lecture senior sergeant Nobel, the instructor at the school, turned to his audience asking if all understood his lecture and if there were any questions.
Malkowski had heard how everything must be washed cleaned, polished, folded, worn with the "last button done up" so that one would look like a "doll." Apparently, deep inside he was mocking the idea of the "dolls" which eventually must be sent out to their deaths as "cannon fodder," so he stood up and asked:
"How often must we wash our socks?"
The Canadians all smiled sensing a good joke coming up, but we were ready to fold up in two [cringe], fearful that we might be misunderstood. The sergeant however felt the ironic note and said:
"I believe, it should be done at least once a month."
This resulted in a salvo of laughter. But Malkowski was not thrown off his track and added:
"Ee! No. You must throw one sock against the ceiling and if it falls down then it is safe to wear, but if it sticks, the socks must be washed."
Of course, there was even more laughter and even the stern sergeant gave in to the merriment.
Another time it did not go as well.
It was a regulation at the school that each cadet had to shave on a daily basis.
One could not shave in the evening, because the duty officer would come to the platoon at morning assembly and would stop at each one suspected of having shaved the night before. He would stop, look at the chin and sometimes even ask:
"Have you shaved this morning?"
If one had shaved the previous evening, then he could not say "no," as this was against orders. It was not proper to say "yes" because honor would not allow one to lie. Morals were at a high level in the school.
But one time Malkowski came with an "unhappy [growth of] beard" and was in a dilemma.
It happened as follows. Malkowski had a habit of writing late into the evening to finish his various reports in a most careful way. In this regard he was unsurpassed. I had never seen a more diligent student. He believed that "all must be put down on paper" and he wrote whether it was required or not.
Whoever writes a lot, then he makes many notes. He who takes many notes needs notebooks and pencils, and also paper. The pockets of his uniform, contrary to requirements for Canadian officers, Malkowski had stuffed with notebooks, pencils and pens.
How an officers with stuffed pockets looked mattered not to him. His belt was crooked, the tall fur hat sat on his head in various ways -- often back to front; his coat was not always properly aligned. Malkowski did not have a soldier's "attitude," he did not have the so-called military "step."
On the other hand, we tried to maintain discipline and order in such a way as to outdo the Canadians. We cared for the appearance of the entire platoon to such an extent that we would wake each other in the morning on time so that not one of us would be late and thus disgrace the entire unit.
One morning Malkowski got lost somewhere or otherwise escaped our attention. To general dismay he did not show up for assembly before we marched off for exercises.
It was after the horn sounded "align to the right" and Major Branfitt inspected the Canadian cadet platoons, proceeding to the front of our platoon, looking intently at each face.
Then the door of the school opened and slowly Malkowski came down the steps. He came to join us as if nothing had happened.
It took our breath away.
His hat sat askew on his head, the coat was unbuttoned, his belt was in one hand, his carbine in the other and his chin overgrown -- a horror.
He stood at attention before the major, while the major had to take a moment to get his breath. At last he blinked a few times a like a man who was still dreaming or had just awakened from a heavy sleep. He asked:
"What is the meaning if this?"
"I have come for the exercises," answered Malkowski.
The major started blinking faster, finally not knowing what to do with his, he said:
"Did you shave today?"
"Yes," came the brazen answer. In such moments Malkowski had the habit of uncomfortably shifting from one foot to the other moving a few inches from right to left, at the same time not bothering to conceal his civilian disdain for military routine.
This stung the major to the quick. Malkowski's shifting around affected the old soldier's nerves, until he boiled over.
"Stand at attention!" he hollered with all his might. Then he turned to Sergeant Noble and added:
"Sergeant, take this man to the barber!"
I will not try to describe what happened among our ranks. This affected us deeply. Such disgrace! Such shame, and in the morning as well! Our entire day was poisoned.
Mumbling under our noses we marched off to the training field. After 15 minutes Malkowski was brought to the field under escort. Only at dinner did we get a chance to "talk it out." We threw ourselves at him in the way that bees would at a man who stuck a stick in their hive.
"Why did you do it? Why did you make us look bad? What will the school administration think of us now?" were the questions that were directed at Malkowski's head.
At last the volcano quieted down and Malkowski started to talk. "As true soldiers I have done badly by you. I am sorry and you have my sincere apologies. I did not wish it this way. But this was unusual. I was writing late into the evening and fell asleep. Of course, I overslept and missed the assembly."
"You should have stayed in the school and skipped assembly altogether," we protested.
"I could not have done that," he stated, "after all I would have not gotten the instruction and points. Better to be a little late than totally miss the lessons."
My God, how he understood it. He had no time for formalities or discipline!
"Why did you tell him that you had shaved in the morning?"
"A man will shave every morning as a matter of course, and in the hurry I forgot about my growth -- I thought I had shaved because I always shaved in the morning. Simply, I was confused."
"You have disgraced us by this."
"I would not say that. What harm did I do? Do you think that when you are at war you will have time to shave your chins everyday? It's funny. You, my dears, still don't know anything about war. At the front your beards will reach your belts. How many great men had unshaven faces? I would have disgraced you had I committed some crime; but by working on course work at night I have harmed no one. You see, my dears, the beard can be, or may not be, but a brain is always necessary."
He was a strange man. Very pedantic, extremely precautionary, just like a true scout. Everything he did had to be calculated to the minute, but he had his lapses.
It was probably due to overwork. The lessons absorbed him in an unheard of way. In his notebooks the order was exemplary, that is why in the service, in exercises, in muster, order was not always dominant.
He never expected to have military muster in scouting. He thought that military matters should be held at far distance from youth. He was often bothered when the platoon's military exercises were given to his supervision.
The Canadian officers had a habit of speeding up the tempo of the exercises by designating a specific time for completing a certain formation.
"Why are they in such hurry?" Malkowski often said after the exercises. "Better to do it well but slower, than to do it badly in a hurry."
So Malkowski had another such incident. It was during final exams. Malkowski was given the entire company to execute three formations [changes] and 6 minutes to do it.
Malkowski made a face and murmured something under his nose. I think it was "I'll show them."
He came in front of the company and gave the command to the platoon leaders, and before they managed to assemble the platoons in the correct formation he gave the second command, then shortly after he gave the third.
We coalesced into an ungainly crowd; the platoons were out of order; the [colored?] cords we wore to distinguish the various platoons appeared in other units, while Major Kirk, the examining officer, paced on the field holding his head in his hands.
"What are you doing?" we hissed at Malkowski.
He answered in a peaceful manner. "Let them see what haste will do. They gave 6 minutes and now 6 minutes have elapsed. This was the result."
When Major Kirk learned that the confusion was caused by Malkowski due to a lack of time, the major assured him that he could take all the time he needed to complete the formations. After this assurance Malkowski conducted the formation changes in an absolutely masterful way.
Albrycht recalls one other incident, an important one it must be admitted, which caused Malkowski to transfer to the regular Canadian army after completing the course at the Canadian cadet school. He writes:
"After completing the lower level course, a few of us took part in the upper level course lectures, while those who did badly had time to repeat [some courses]. After the course the Canadian authorities designated Malkowski, Sierocinski, Albrycht, Osielski and Skarzynski to a commission that was to translate English military regulations into the Polish language. These were to be used by the Polish army which did not yet exist.
"This is where a disagreement took place between Skarzynski and Malkowski. It led to both of them transferring into the Canadian army. It was about the form of the translated commands. The disagreement was of such proportions that the work could not move forward. Finally Col. LaPan, commander of the school, got involved in the matter and accepted my idea that Dr. T. Starzynski, president of the Polish Falcons, be brought in from Pittsburgh to help. Eventually Dr. Starzynski came to Toronto. He quickly settled the disagreement, encouraged us with important political news from Europe and departed. Skarzynski changed his mind and though he was in the Canadian army he joined the staff of instructors and later took one of the instructor positions at Camp Borden, training cadets. Meanwhile, Malkowski transferred for good into the Canadian cavalry."
Later, when I was in Toronto, I accidentally met Malkowski who was on furlough and in a cavalryman's uniform. We went for dinner at a restaurant. We talked about the past and the years of work with the Falcons and scouts. He was very interested about how the Falcons were managing their scouting program.
"After your departure for school in Toronto the work started to die out. But this is understandable. We were totally involved in creating fighting units. All our thoughts were concentrated on the creation of a Polish Army, not in organizing children during such a breakthrough period."
"The war, the war! How many changes were made, how many are to come," he said quietly and with sadness. He was most bothered when he thought about the "dying out" of scouting. One could not be surprised. After all this was his ideal, it was his "child" that he had brought up with great piety. He left it himself, to serve the Homeland, to fight for Poland's freedom.
I could not come to terms with his transfer to the Canadian Cavalry.
"Was it due to the disagreement about the Polish military handbooks?" I asked.
"No, I had a different guiding thought," he said. "You probably noticed that all our military efforts were directed toward the infantry. My dears, you have no idea how important cavalry is for an army. Looking over the regulations, I got the idea that now, after completing the infantry courses, it would be worthwhile to get acquainted with Canadian cavalry methods. After all they have been taking part in the European war for a few years and have had much experience with it. Since I would have to be in the Canadian infantry for a longer time I thought that this was a more practical move and I am sure that my service there would benefit Poland."
It was difficult not to agree with Malkowski. He gave proof of his strong will since he suspended his scouting work for the duration of the war and sought military knowledge as to serve the Homeland.
"I will not stay long in the Canadian army. At the next opportunity I will go to France with the Canadians an then transfer to the Polish army which has just been established," added Malkowski.
This was our last meeting on American soil. In his notes written after the war, Albrycht ends his recollections about Malkowski in the following way:
"In September 1918 Malkowski arrived at Quentin, France, in a Canadian uniform to greet me and then bid farewell. He entered the Polish army and in a few days he was to leave on a special mission to Odessa. On the way he sank with his ship. Later, in Poland, I met Rudlicki, who was aboard that ship with Malkowski. Rudlicki said that Malkowski could have saved himself but did not want to tear himself away from some notes he was writing."
This statement demands some explanation, even if just to complete a biography of such an outstanding individual, as was Andrzej Malkowski.
In September 1918 I was also in Quentin, France, when Malkowski arrived. For several long months when we did not see each other since our meeting in Canada he did not change his "military step" at all. When I saw him crossing the courtyard of the French camp, he wore the wide Canadian cavalryman's coat over his shoulders and looked as if he were wearing a cape. Because he was tall and stout he looked like a colossus in that coat.
We greeted each other warmly, after which he said:
"I am running to the command office. I was assigned to the Polish Army in France as a lieutenant. I am in the process of completing the formalities.
"And you will stay here with us?" I asked.
"I'd be glad to do so, but it appears that they have something special for me in Paris. I must go to the capital. But come with me, we will talk along the way."
The commandant of the camp at Quentin was Colonel Budkowski. Less than an hour later we were in his office.
"Commandant, please let Malkowski stay in Quentin," I asked "He just arrived, but already has a mission..."
Unfortunately it was impossible to change orders. There was an important mission to be completed and no one was as qualified as Lt. Malkowski.
"Is it far away?"
"Far, outside the borders of the neighboring countries. You will have to go by ship."
"Oh, darn. It really must be important!" called out Malkowski while his eyes brightened.
"Very well," I said, "but there were those conversations about the further development of scouting in America..."
"The plans won't get lost. We will yet have much time for this, once Polish independence is recovered," said Malkowski smiling and with great joy.
This was the first time I saw him so excited and so glad to avoid talking about scouting. The change probably occurred because he was to be transformed into a scout, sent to accomplish some matter which was not of a military nature, for it was not intelligence gathering, nor stealthy approach, nor a skirmish. It was a matter of establishing contact -- but with whom I could not learn from Colonel Budkowski.
Just the fact that Malkowski was called to perform an important political mission indicated that he was well known and appreciated, even in Paris.
After his departure for Paris I received a letter from him a month later. Among other things he wrote:
"With little problem I could have remained with you all at Quentin. Here nothing will happen for a while regarding this mission. Everything is still being negotiated. December is approaching and nothing is said about a departure.
"The war is over, so it is unfortunate to waste time on militarism. Now I would be glad to return to scouting work. So far I can't get a furlough to come and see you, my companions from America, at Quentin. I have several projects as concerns my past work in America. During a time of peace we will be able to mount a beautiful campaign for scouting.
"My plan takes in all the organizations and all the [Polish] emigrant community in the United States.
"Do you know what I based this plan upon? Guess! On the centralized Allied command as was used to crush Germany. In such way all the work with American youth must be centralized. There must be a common program, there must be one 'command' just as it was with the Allies when they called upon Marshal Foch to head up all the armies of the coalition.
"If Polonia does not combine its efforts, then it will be crushed by the might of Americanism, it will break and we will not be able to think about victory.
"I do not know when we will see each other, but think about this plan. Imbedded in it is the future of later generations of Poles in the United States."
Later, I received one more letter from Malkowski, but now he was readying for his departure. He revealed the great secret to me, that he was going to Odessa to see General Lucjan Zeligowski, commander of the Polish Forces in southern Russia. It was a question of establishing contact between the Polish Army in France with his divisions in Odessa. What was the character [of this contact] I never learned. Malkowski wrote further:
"As companion for this journey the Main Command of the Polish Army in France has assigned Flying Lt. Jerzy Rudlicki. We will proceed to Marseilles and on January 13, (1919) we will board the steamer 'Chaouia' that sails for Constantinople. Because our army must eventually leave France for Poland
then I will see you next in Poland.
"A sincere clasp of the hands -- Heads up! and On Guard!"
When I read this I envied him this interesting journey.
Unfortunately, it was not in the cards for us to meet in Poland, though we both dreamed of it. A week after the departure of the "Chaouia" an article appeared in the French press that on January 16, or three days after leaving port, the ship struck a stray mine in the Messina Strait (between the southern end of the Appenine Peninsula and Sicily) and was blown up.
Of the 700 passengers only 200 were saved. Among the victims was Lt. Andrzej Malkowski. Lt. Rudlicki escaped safely.
And so our Great Scout found his final resting place at the bottom of the sea.
It must be understood that 500 people lost their lives. It is difficult to believe in the statement by Lt. Rudlicki that "Malkowski could have saved himself but did not want to tear himself away from some important notes he was writing." The 500 dead were probably not occupied with the writing of "important notes." It also must be remembered that the ship struck a mine and was blown up. In such circumstances even a person sitting on the deck resting may not be able to save himself.
These are the broad strokes that show the various stages in the life of Andrzej Malkowski and his work with scouting. He lived exclusively for the idea of an Independent Poland, toward which he steered the then-existing scouting movement and acting in the name of this idea he met his death. It was not granted that he see the results of this work which he started so well in Poland and America. Today, we have Polish scout troops connected to the largest of our organizations in the United States, that includes tens of thousands of youth organized under the banner of scouting.
Malkowski's memory among American Polonia will always live and should grow year by year. The Great Scout is already being honored in the tradition of our Homeland across the ocean. For example, at the Poznan Trade Fair in 1929 where the all-Poland scout jamboree took place, the main scout camp was located on Malkowski Field.
The first center established for scouting is named for Malkowski at Dworek Cisowy in Pieniny, and this was accomplished by Olga Malkowska.
In Warsaw since 1932, there is a private grammar school named for Andrzej Malkowski, and there the teachers are female scouts who teach using scout methods.
And in America, as we develop a Polish youth movement among the generations born here, we should remember in all possible ways the legacy of the Great Scout. The noble path of our work among youth should be marked along the way by the honorable name of a man who had done such service for Poland and Polonia -- Andrzej Malkowski.
Chicago, IL, September 1937.
From: Czyn Zbrojny Polonii Amerykanskiej [The Armed Effort of American Polonia], edited by Artur. L. Waldo; "Dziennik Zjednoczenia," Chicago, IL, 1938, pages: 92-116
Translation by: Peter J. Obst for the Poles in America Foundation, Inc. May 27, 2011.
Notes from P. Obst:
Note 1: It is interesting that Malkowski joined the Canadian Cavalry. Had he been able to share Canadian cavalry experience with his countrymen it would have been this: the use of barbed wire, trenches, machine guns and tanks in WWI had made cavalry obsolete. During the Great War many English and French cavalrymen switched to the budding air forces as this type of fighting appealed to their temperament. Indeed, an early set of regulations for airmen had the item "Spurs will NOT be worn while piloting aircraft" included in the regimen. Poland -- unfortunately in some ways -- had a great cavalry tradition sustained by the fact and legend of Sobieski's breaking the siege at Vienna with his mounted lancers. Would Malkowski have been able to convince the military authorities in charge that a radical switch in attitude was necessary for national survival? It is quite unlikely despite his high standing in Polish society. Military thinking in the 1930s was dominated by horse-loving soldiers such as Boguslaw Wieniawa Dlugoszowski (Pilsudski's favorite) who was proclaimed as the "Reczpospolita's First Uhlan" and a "cavalryman's cavalryman." A very interesting biography of this soldier-roisterer-intellectual was written by Tadeusz Wittllin (who knew Wieniawa in Warsaw before WWII) under the title "Szabla i Kon" [Saber and Horse].
Note 2: The Polish word for scouting now in common use is "harcerstwo"; however in Waldo's story this word only makes its appearance on the final page. Everywhere else Waldo uses the Polish transliteration of the English word, thus "skaut," "skauting" etc.