Belerski Marian

Marian Belerski - Personal data
Date of birth: 3rd January 1904
Place of birth:
Date of death: 17th April 1980
Place of death: Warszawa
Occupation: lawyer, economist, soldier of the Polish Underground State
Related towns: Lviv, Warsaw

Belerski Marian (03/01/1904, Krotoszyn near Lwów – 17/04/1980 Warsaw) – lawyer, economist, employee and manager of breweries, soldier of the Polish Underground State, participant in the Warsaw Uprising, prisoner of the repression apparatus of the People’s Republic of Poland.

In the Central Archives of Historical Records, there is a Lwów Province birth register in which is recorded that he was born in 1906 – his name was Icsak Meier, with the surname Beller. His father, Beresch Beller, was a timber inspector, while his mother, Sara Beller nee Taube, ran the home. He had four siblings. The family lived very modestly. The parents and the children attended the synagogue.

Of the entire family, only Marian gained a higher education. When he was fourteen-years-old, he was already working physically as a labourer. He also worked as a tutor and a draftsman. This enabled him to have his own money and study in a general humanities high school. Until the end of his life, he knew Greek and Latin. He graduated from the Jan Kazimierz University in Lwów, where he studied in the Economics and Law Faculty, as well as in the School of Economics and Commerce. While he was still a student, he also worked as a tutor, He was an administrative officer and a proofreader.

After some short legal training, he moved in industry. In 1931, he began working in Lwów Breweries, in the Economic, Credit and Law Department, where he became the manager.

Even before the outbreak of war, he was active in the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), at which time he was already using the name “Marian”. In 1932, he married Matylda Beller nee Szapiro (after her Reisler). On 1st June 1939, they had a daughter, Ludwika (“Luiza”, according to her birth record.).

When, in September 1939, the Red Army entered Lwów, the Soviet security authorities ordered an election for the position of brewery director. The employees elected Marian Beller. He remained in that position until the outbreak of the Russian-German war.

When the city came under Nazi occupation, together with his wife Matylda and daughter Ludwiką, he found himself in the local ghetto. In April 1942, to save himself from being deported to a death camp, with his wife and daughter, he escaped to Warsaw. There, he was joined by his brother-in-law Emanuel Singer, with his wife and son.

Marian Beller’s father was probably shot by the Germans on the streets of Lwów. Marian’s mother, with his two sisters, Sonia and Chala, were murdered in the Bełżec extermination camp in 1942. Marian had two brothers. One brother, Leopold perished in the war in September 1939. The other, Jan (Herman), was sent into exile, deported from Lwów, with his family, to Siberia. He was the only one of his family to survive. He managed to join the First Polish Army, thanks to which he managed to leave the USSR.

After reaching Warsaw, Marian Beller contacted his pre-war friend, a Pole, who was then a major in the Polish Army, Ignacy Lubczyński (pseudonym: “Andrzej Krzemień”). Lubczyński headed the “Ewa” Material Evacuation Department, a part of the “Syrena” Air-Drop Department of the Home Army Headquarters. Thanks to his help, the Beller family received “Aryan papers” in the surname of “Panasiewicz” (Marian, Kazimiera, Ludwika). His brother-in-law and his family received papers in the surname of “Borzęcki” (Stanisław, Maria and Kazimierz).

Marian Beller (pseudonym: “Tada”, “Tadeusz”), Matylda Beller and his brother-in-law, Emanuel Singer (pseudonym: “Ryksiarz”), were sworn in as Home Army soldiers in Lubczyński’s unit. Matylda was a liaison in the Air-Drop Unit.

During the war, as a podporucznik [Eng.: second lieutenant], Marian Beller also headed the weapons storehouses in Warsaw. He would go to the places where people and weapons were gathered, most often accompanied by “Lebery” – the pseudonym of Second Lieutenant Aleksander Stromenger – Beller, often using false papers as a German official, Stromenger, in the uniform of an SS officer. They both spoke fluent German. On trains, in compartments reserved for Germans, they carried weapons and ammunition in huge suitcases, including plastic explosives. They also wore belts containing money.

At the beginning of their stay in Warsaw, the Beller family rented an apartment in Otwock. However, after Matylda was blackmailed by szmalcownicy, they separated. Thanks to help from Major Lubczyński, their daughter Ludwika was successfully placed with a Polish family in Otrębusy, The Beller family then lived in separate locations in the capital.

Marian Beller took part in the Warsaw Uprising, being deputy head of the air-drops. His wife, Matylda, served as a nursing-aide in a field hospital in the Old Town, where she witnessed dramatic scenes, including the murder of wounded Polish soldiers by the Germans.

Following the collapse of the Uprising, Marian Beller found himself in the Gross-Born prisoner-of-war camp (located near the town of Kłomino in the Pomorze Province). He escaped on 16th February 1945. After a few days, he reached Warsaw, where he reported for work to the then authorities.

On 22nd February 1945, the Economic Department of the Council of Ministers commission him to secure and establish breweries and malthouses in the following provinces: Bydgoskie, Olsztyńskie, Gdańskie, Poznańskie, Koszalińskie and Szczecińskie. He was appointed executive director of the Brewery-Malthouse Union covering those regions and was based in Bydgoszcz. From 1946, he also headed the Winery Union for those provinces. A year later, both unions were merged into one Central Board. He headed the Board’s management until April 1948, when he was arrested by the Urząd Bezpieczeństwa (Eng.: Security Office).

After the war, Marian used the hyphenated surname “Beller-Belerski” which, over time, became just “Belerski”.

He was accused of abusing his position and, after a cruel, year-long investigation (which included drowning, burns to his body, being ordered to sit on the leg of a stool, having a cocked gun held at his head, beating), along with several co-accused, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The trial was a massive face and was, officially, financial in nature. According to Marian’s son, Tadeusz Belerski, based upon documents in the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), it can be concluded that the trial was used as just a pretext to eliminate, from social and political life, former Home Army members, as well as members of the PPS (Polish Socialist Party) and PSL (Polish People’s Party) who, during the war, belonged to the political underground.

It was only during the trial that Marian Belerski learned that his wife, Matylda, had committed suicide. When she had attempted to provide him with clean underwear in prison, she was informed that “he no longer needed them”. Convinced that her husband had been murdered, Matylda Belerska, upon returning home, took her own life by swallowing cyanide, which she still had from her time serving in the Home Army.

At that time, she already had a second child – a son, Tadeusz, who was only a few months old, The Belerski couple’s daughter, Ludwika, was nine-years-old. For several years, the extended family helped to care for and raise the children, resulting in the siblings being separated. Ludwika was raised by the Singer (Borzęcki) family in Gdynia. Tadeusz was sent to Gliwice, to live with his uncle and aunt.

In 1954, Marian Belerski was conditionally released from prison and, in 1958, he was vindicated by the Supreme Court.

For his military service during the war, Marian Belerski was awarded the Cross of Valour, the Gold Cross of Merit with Swords and the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross. After the war, even prior to him being imprisoned, he was awarded the order of Polonia Restituta. He was affiliated with the Union of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy, thanks to which the communist authorities recognised his wartime services against the German invader, when he was a Home Army soldier.

After being released from prison, for a long time, Marian Belerski could not find employment. Finally, he found it at the “Inco” production plants belonging to the “PAX” group of production plants. For many years, he managed the Scientific, Technical and Economic Information Centre.

He married for a second time – to Halina Belerska nee Desz, whom he introduced to Tadeusz as his mother. Until the end of his life, Marian Belerski did not share, with his son, the story of his Jewish origins nor the dramatic fate of his first wife – Tadeusz’s biological mother. However, he maintained contact with his brother-in-law Emanuel Singer (Borzęcki), who left for Israel after the war.

In 1967, thanks to the testimony of Marian Belerski and others, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem honoured Marian’s superior and wartime friend, Ignacy Lubczyński, with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Following his retirement in 1970, Marian Belerski occupied himself with the development of technical writing at the Central Technical Organisation (NOT).

Tadeusz Belerski

More about the Belerski family

 

Bibliography:

  1. Institute of National Remembrance Archive; Documents regarding Marian Belerski, ref. O, WA WK/6222/09.
  2. Archive of the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, Department of the Righteous Among the Nations; Documents regarding Ignacy Lubczyński, ref. 335.
  3. Belerski M., biography written 18th November1946,  for the Council of Ministers, 16th April1948, in Security Office (UB) in Bydgoszcz, memoirs from pre-war and wartime written circa 1970 (a digital copy exists in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, case ref. DPO.4161.4.2021),the private archive of Tadeusz Belerski.
  4. Ney-Krwawicz M., Komenda Główna Armii Krajowej 1939–1945, Warsaw 1990.
  5. Stromenger A., Człowiek z zakalcem, Warsaw 1970.

 

 

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