Julian Kulski was a Polish Scout when the Nazis invaded his nation in 1939. He was only 10 years old when the war began. After the invasion the Nazis directed that all schools be closed and that any patriotic clubs and organizations be disbanded under penalty of death.
Concerned about his son’s safety, Kulski’s father urged him to move in with his Scoutmaster, Ludwik Berger, who later revealed the existence of a secret military organization, the Union of Armed Resistance. Kulski joined the resistance in July 1941 at the age of 12 and his Scout troop staged a number of events in defense of the Polish people.
On night, during a troop “outing,” Kulski’s Scoutmaster died, sacrificing himself so his Scouts could avoid capture and likely torture. The boys escaped and in 1945, liberation began to become a reality. Kulski was 16 years old when he became free and made his way to the United States.
“I was a Boy Scout during the Second World War and the Polish Boy Scouts fought very bravely during the war,” Kulski said. “They basically saved my life … being prepared for the horror of the Second World War. In the Battle of Warsaw 1944, tens of thousands of my buddies, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, died and it’s a story which I want people to know.”
“I was only 12 but grown up enough to understand the most important requirement of all: willingness to give one’s life in the fight for freedom,” Kulski said. “I felt more than ready.”
In his book, The Left Handshake, Hilary St. George Saunders recounts the history of the Boy Scout Movement during the Second World War. 1939-1945.