Antoniego Kocjana street
Antoni Kocjan (1902–1944) was one of the most successful Polish glider designers.
In October 1929 in the RWD-2 airplane, together with Franciszek Żwirko he set a new international altitude record — 4.004 metres. In 1931 after receiving his engineer’s diploma he started work at the Experimental Aviation Workshop. In the same year he built “Czajka” glider. A year later as the main designer he started working at the Glider Workshop. His designs, such as the above-mentioned Czajka, or Komar, Mewa (designed together with Szczepan Grzeszczyk), Orlik, Sokół, Sroka, Wrona and their further versions, were the basis for Polish glider training in the period before World War II and “Orlik 3” glider placed second in 1939 in a competition for the standard glider of Summer Olympic Games of 1940. The whole world of aviation at that time praised the exceptional design of Antoni Kocjan’s gliders. Paul Schweizer an American designer and glider pilot said that: Orlik is the most beuatiful bird that has ever flown in American sky and Kocjan’s talent will be recognized by the history of Aviation again and again.
During the German invasion of Poland Kocjan was wounded. After the defeat of the Polish Army he joined Polish Underground State. He was arrested during a round-up in the streets of Warsaw and transferred to the concentration camp in Oświęcim. He was released thanks to a bribe. His arrest and imprisonment in the concentration camp didn’t deter him from further underground activity. After his release he became even more engaged in underground work as the head of the department of aircraft industry of Home Army’s Headquarters. Using counterfeit documents he used to order parts for weapons held by the Home Army from
German workshops. However, Antoni Kocjan’s biggest achievement in underground activity was delivering information from the exploration of a German missile range. It was thanks to Antoni Kocjan that it was possible to obtain precious information concerning German ballistic missiles V-1 and V-2. He personally prepared documentation concerning production and construction (together with drawings) of missiles, which was handed over to allied forces in Great Britain together with acquired missile parts. This was one of the most precious pieces of information in World War II.
In June 1944 Antoni Kocjan was accidentally arrested for the second time and imprisoned in the infamous Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Two months later he was murdered together with a group of last 40 prisoners of Pawiak. The place of his burial is still unknown. For valour and outstanding achievements in gathering information about V-1 and V-2 missiles after his death he was awarded 5th class Military Order of Virtuti Militari by the chief commander of the Home Army at that time, general Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski.
Polish staff officer who passed on the information about German industry to allied forces, said the following about Antoni Kocjan: I think that no exalted, lofty words can suffice to pay tribute to engineer Antoni Kocjan — Pole with a burning heart, engineer of a great mind, man who won the war.
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