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What happend to Leo Grabowsky Niungeniekel

Hi! I found this article in a norwegian web page.. I want to find out what happend with this man, not because I know him, but I hate when stories dont have a ending =) also it would be nice for the people who helped him to find out what happend.. Is there any of you who know what I can do??


In the last years during World War 2, the Pole Leo Grabowsky Niungeniekel spent his time hiding in an earth cottage on Li, Hommersåk, Norway. He was escaping from German detainment, with a death sentence hanging over his head

In 1939, when the German army occupied Poland, Leo participated in the defence of Warsaw.
As we know the Polish army had a terrible defeat and Leo was taken hostage one of the following days. After staying in many concentration camps, he was sent to Norway in 1943. At first he was in a prison champ in Loshavn on Lista. There, together with two fellow prisoners, he was accused of rebellion. Both plotters were executed immediately, whereas Leo was sent to Stavanger. After a long examination and cruel tortures, the Pole was sentenced to death. The executions were supposed to find place the following day, 28th of August 1943.

The death sentence was the start of almost two years in Grønnevik on Li. Leo managed to escape from the prison in Stavanger, and hide behind a juniper bush in Ramsvik boat harbour. The same day Marton Eriksen was down in Ramsvik trying the fishing luck from his sailboat. While Eriksen tried to bale his boat for water, he saw, on the other side of the bay, a hand waving from behind the juniper bush. He row over to the bush and discovered Leo, who tried to ask him if he could enter the boat, on a mix of bad German and Norwegian. Eriksen understood right away that this man was a refugee, and allowed Leo to enter the boat without thinking what the consequences would be. While they were rowing out from the bay, they heard a high shout. The Germans had discovered that Leo had escaped, and was seeking for him with bloodhounds. But Eriksen were resourceful. While Leo tried to hide under the tarpaulin, Eriksen took his fishing rod up to divert the attention from Leo. A German officer aproad. He looked at the boat for quite a long time, and shouted suddenly for Eriksen. Right on that time Eriksen got a bite on the fishing rod, and pulled the catch in while he put a big smile on his face. And luckily for Eriksen and Leo, the German officer took the beat and disappeared.

Now Eriksen understood the risk he was taking by helping the polish refugee. Leo had to be put in land as soon as possible. But were? The Germans would probably not look for him nearby Stavanger. It was most likely that they concentrated their seeking around Ryfylke and the areas around Jæren. A friend of Eriksen had a vacation house in Hommersåk. If Eriksen let Leo enter land in Hommersåk, and then later ask if Leo could stay in the vacation house the problem would be solved. Eriksen therefore let Leo enter land in Grønnevik on Li with a promise to come back the next day with food and shaving stuff.

Eriksen did as he told Leo and returned the next day. Clothes and food were hidden well in the bottom of the boat. When he came to Grønnesvik, there was a white, large motor boat with the dock. He was afraid that it was the Germans who had a razzia, so he turned his boat around and rowed back to Stavanger.

Leo had under Eriksens crossing followed the boat from his hiding place under a rock, and became hopeless when Eriksen turned his boat around. The hunger teared in him and the old uniform was cold.

Nearby his hiding place there were two farms. That night he sneaked over to the cabbage field, but didn’t find anything eatable. In desperation Leo went over to one of the houses. After a while Børre Mærland came out of the house and looked wondering at Leo. Leo tried to speak to Børre on German, a language Børre didn’t understand. Børre became worried and were afraid that it was a conspiracy. People could never be too sure that it maybe was a German spy. But he gathered courage and invited Leo inside to the living room. Afterwards Børre went to Einar Ingebrethsen to discuss the refugee’s further destiny. They both agreed that they should wait for the farms tenant, Otto Rege came home from fishing. When Otto came, they talked and agreed that Leo should be dressed in civil. He got a pair of trousers, jacked and a cap. The tread bared uniform was burned. They also agreed that Leo could stay in a cottage on Lihalsen were he could stay until he was strong enough to move further in to the country.

After a few days Leo found out that he would stay at Li till the war was over. He changed by hiding in some hey at the barn and on the cottage. Otto and his brother, Gustav, meant that it wasn’t any durable solution and started planning the building of an earth cottage. Before they started the digging, they snapped up some rumours about a German razzia in the area. Leo was quickly hidden in a deep forest nearby. After the razzia the plan of an earth cottage speeded up. Stone and shingle that was graved out they emptied in the water. When the earth cottage finally was done, it was 2x2 meter long and 1,25 meters deep. The sealing where made of several layers with tick stake, tar paper and peat. This became Leos hiding place. Otto Reges maid, Agnes Mærland, took the job in transporting the food to Leo. For Leo to recognize Agnes, she sang and whistled happily on the road to the hiding place. If Leo was sure that it was her, he came out and got the food, if not, Agnes put the food somewhere and came and picked up the empty casserole and baskets an hour later.

Leo wanted to be useful on the farm. In the harvest they chopped straw. Leo was helping out, and by an accident he got his hand in the chopper and four of his fingers was destroyed. A Milorg man (milorg is the name of the military resistance organisation that was build up in Norway in the Second World War) by name Heiki Henrichsen, was there also, he saw that it was a serious injury, and got by detours contact with a surgeon called Dr. Ulland at a hospital in Sandnes, nearby Hommersåk. They took a cab to Sandnes, and Leo had to borrow Gustav Reges boarder pas, and had to play deaf-mute in case of a control. The Germans had a big military camp with Vatne, where it was guards on both sides of the road to control people’s boarder pas. When Leo and his accompany was close to the sentry, Henrichsen had a good grip around his gun. If they where discovered the plan was to shot their way trough the barricades, and then hide in the mountains. Luckily it was only the driver’s boarder pas that where controlled. When they came to the hospital, Dr. Ulland wasn’t there, they had to wait. Leo was in very much pain. When Dr. Ulland came, Henrichsen asked him for a private conversation, there he told him everything about Leo, and the surgeon became furious. It was not necessary to tell him everything about this. Now even more people where involved! Dr. Ulland was afraid that Leo would betray himself by talking German or Polish under the anaesthetic. So during the operation he only got local anaesthesia.

In the winter Henrichsen found some material and together with Gustav Rege, he was building a solid cottage in the forest. The place they picked out as building place was on a very inaccessible ground. Kitchen tools where provided, and in the bed there lay reindeer skins. There also was a little hobby workshop. Leo moved into the cottage and lived in a more human way. He was very good with his hands; he played piano, made figures out of wood and made knifes. He always carried around a big knife he made. He said that the Germans never again would take him alive; he had to be on guard all the time. During the winter the snow was a big problem, there couldn’t lead marks back to the cottage, therefore Leo swung himself from tree to tree whenever he had to leave the cottage.

Several times German boats came to Li to chop birch trees for camouflage on their boats. Under a felling like that, a couple of Germans had a rest only a few meters from the cottage. Leo sat by the window and held a good grip around his knife, ready to fight in case the Germans discovered him. Luckily the Germans didn’t notice him, and Leo breathed easily when he saw them leave. Later on a nice and worm summer day he discovered Germans coming to Grønnevik in a motorboat. He figured that the safest place to hide would be in the earth cottage. The Germans brought with them girls, plenty of alcohol and tents. Leo was chocked, they where planning to stay there! The drinking orgies lasted for two whole days. During daytime they relaxed by the water or slept off their drinks. During the night they were drinking and they had many orgies. Luckily Leo managed this time too. The Germans left for Stavanger without noticing Leo who stayed in the cottage for two long days without taste even water and food.

When the war was over, the people in and around the village got to know Leos true background. And Leo once again got to meet his saviour, Marton Eriksen, who helped him escape over the fjord. Leo went back to Poland, with a promise to return to Hommersåk one day, and meet his rescuers.

The last sign from him was a postcard posted in Stockholm, Sweden. After this no one ever heard from him again.

Re: What happend to Leo Grabowsky Niungeniekel

There was no shortage of Poles hidden all over Europe during the war. A significant portion of the “French” underground were Poles.

As to this specific case I would suggest searching for the name “Leon Grabowski” as even Pope Leo is formatted as Leon in Polish and the letter “y” is not orthographic to Polish. “Niungeniekel” has no appearance in Slavic and one can but only guess as to what word transposed itself to the Norwegian ear. Perhaps that was an acquired German name.

The curious point is; why would the Germans ship a Polish prisoner of war to Norway. There were no German POW camps in Norway so this part of the story is suspicious. The Germans did maintain several prisons there however.

“Leon Grabowski” is a relatively common name combination in Polish and as such would be nearly impossible to trace. But I would suggest that on the basis of this specific “Leon” speaking German, being incarcerated in a non-military prison and disappearing after the war, that perhaps one could start with:

-Leon Grabowski, former fiancé of actress Sylwia Dławichowska, mobilized into the Polish 18th regiment, but signed the Volklist and married a German. He disappeared for a period but was a busker in the Gdansk area in the 1970’s. It is a long shot that he is the scoundrel in question but as there is a photo of the Norwegian Leon here: http://www.riskalions.no/news.asp?id=3135 perhaps someone in the Trojmiasto area can confirm whether it is he.

Re: What happend to Leo Grabowsky Niungeniekel

"During the winter the snow was a big problem, there couldn’t lead marks back to the cottage, therefore Leo swung himself from tree to tree whenever he had to leave the cottage. "

Presumably this was before he lost four fingers.....they probably never heard from him on his return to Poland because mail from the soviet bloc was censored. Either that or he was arrested on his return as a spy.

Slepo I was thinking "Lew" rather than Leon. Lew is Polish for lion. The Polish name for the starsign Leo is Lew. It's probably a shortened version of Leon.