Brig. Gen. Stefan Klemens Bałuk (15 Jan. 1914 - 30 Jan. 2014 )
Stefan Klemens Bałuk (15 January 1914 in Warsaw - 30 January 2014 in Warsaw) a Polish General, who was best known as one of the last surviving members of the Cichociemni (the Unseen and Silent) special forces paratroops of the Armia Krajowa (AK or Home Army). Stefan Bałuk attended the Warsaw University during the mid 1930s where he studied law, but as WWII broke out in September 1939, Stefan enlisted in the Polish Army and served in the 10 Brygada Kawalerii (10th Motorised Cavalry Brigade) under the command of Col. Stanisław Maczek. The Germans nick-named the 10th Cavalry Brigade "Die Schwarze Brigade" – "The Black Brigade", because of the black jackets worn by Polish mechanised troops.
After escaping the Nazis, Stefan Bałuk made his way to England and underwent intensive training with the the Special Operations Executive’s (SOE) in the United Kingdom for several years, alongside other Poles who volunteered to be parachuted back into their homeland as one of the Cichociemni special forces paratroops of the Armia Krajowa. Having been parachuted back into occupied Poland on 9 April 1944, Stefan "Straba" Bałuk fought during the Warsaw Rising of 1944 in the "Agaton" battlegroup. After the end of WWII Bałuk was arrested by the Polish communist regime in 1945 and was imprisoned for approximately two years until he was set free in March 1947. Like many former AK soldiers Stefan Blauk suffered discrimination by the communist regime and at first was only able to get a job as a taxi driver although he was a skilled photographer. Many years later, and after the collapse of the communist regime the Polish President, Bronisław Komorowski, awarded Gen. Baluk with the Order of Polonia Restituta. Eventually Stefan Baluk was able to take up professional photography as his career. He died in his beloved Warsaw at the age of 100.
Obituary in The Times
Letter in The Times - 27 February 2014