Born on 1 October 1906 in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Poland, and died on 13 September 1998 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and was buried at Pinecrest Cemetery in Ottawa. Chemical engineer specializing in soil mechanics. A member of the Polish national democratic movement who was well known in Poland and in exile. Officer of the resistance organizations: the National Military Organization (Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa (NOW), and the Polish Armed Forces in the West (Polskie Siły Zbrojne na Zachodzie (PSZ)). His father Karol Teodor was an engineer from Lwów (now Lviv) and his mother was Wirginia Angela neé Hoszowska, Polish coat-of-arms Sas. His father’s family was of Polish-German-Greek ancestry, and his mother’s family belonged to the Polish nobility (land owners). The parents raised Jerzy Mariusz in the spirit of patriotism, fidelity to his fatherland and devotion to God.
He attended high schools in Bochnia, Vienna, and Poznań; studied at the University of Poznań (1924-1925), and at the University of Technology in Lwów (1925-1938). Shortly after receiving a diploma in engineering, he started working as engineer in Tarnobrzeg, Poland.
Years before the war
In 1920, at the age of 18, Ruebenbauer enlisted as a foot guard in Bochnia. During his earliest university years, he got involved with the Polish national democratic movement; was a vicepresident of the All Polish Youth Organization (Młodzież Wszechpolska (MW)) at John II Casimir of Poland University in Lwów (Poland), a vice-president of the Brotherly Help student aid organization, also known as Bratniak. He was a member of the academic fraternal organization “Aquilonia”, and a founder of another academic fraternal organization – “Orlęta Kresowe”. In the 1930s, he joined the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe (SN)) of which he remained member for the rest of his life. After completing military training at the Academic League (Legia Akademicka), he obtained the rank of second lieutenant of the infantry.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Ruebenbauer enlisted into the 40th Regiment of the Dzieci Lwowskie. It was dissolved after the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September 1939. After his return to occupied Lwów, he, as many others, was engaged into reviving the underground Polish National Party, maintaining at the same time his contacts with the Union of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej (ZWZ)). In the spring of 1940, he went to Warsaw to establish a connection with the National Party’s Executive Board. During that period, he lost his first wife Zofia when she was murdered by the NKVD during the Zamarstynowska prison massacre in Lwów on 26 June 1941. After the German occupation of Warsaw in July 1941, he became a member of the National Party’s Regional Board that was organized by Alojzy Stamper.
In January 1942, Ruebenbauer, as being highly respected by the most distinguished national activists in Lwów, was given the task to establish the Polonia-minor Unit for the National Military Organization (Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa (NOW)), and became one of its three commanding officers. In the final days of May 1943, the Germans carried out the large-scale mass arrests of the SN’s and NOW’s members in Lwów. While he managed to escape, he was not underestimating the great danger that he was still facing. He handed over the command to the new commanding officer Capt. Adam Mirecki, and fled to Warsaw. He worked there at the headquarters of NOW and the Home Army (Armia Krajowa (AK)). He participated in the secret conferences with the regional national activists (1943 – 1944). In January 1944 he was appointed as Secretary General for the Kresy Committee of the National Party (Komitet Ziem Wschodnich (KZW) of SN). Its main goal was to support the population of the eastern regions of Poland. During that period, Ruebenbauer was working under the secret name “Rzepiński” and using the code names: “Kowalski”, “Mariusz” and “Sas”.
He was a member of the Delegation of the Government of Poland in Exile, and a member of the Central Command of the National Military Organization (NOW/AK). He was an active fighter in the Warsaw Uprising, and the editor of the bulletin Walka distributed in the central Warsaw district Śródmieście. After the uprising, he was held in German captivity until being liberated by the British Armed Forces.
The post-war activities
Ruebenbauer returned to Poland in November 1945. On 16 December 1945 he managed to get to London by being transported by the Polish Red Cross from Poland, which was newly occupied by the Soviets. At that time, he was using the code name “Mariusz”. With him were the Mirecki siblings: Adam, Kazimierz, Maria and Helena, and others: August Michałowski, Tadeusz Danielewicz and Jan Matłachowski. During the period from 1946 to 1947, he was an officer of the Polish 1st Armored Division of the Polish Armed Forces in the West under the command of Major General Stanislaw Maczek. He was the editor of Defilada newspaper, and later became an active military liaison with Poland. After demobilization, he worked at the Ministry of the Internal Affairs for the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile.
He moved to Belgium where he worked in a laboratory for soil mechanics at the Liége Politechnik; and continued his activities as the executive board member of the National Party in exile.
After immigrating to Canada, Reubenbauer first worked for École Polytechnique of the University of Montréal, and later at the Department of Public Works in Ottawa. He and his wife Zofia became active members of the Ottawa’s Polish community. He served as president for the Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Polish Congress, and as president of the Polish Canadian Club – the oldest Polish organization in Canada established in 1937. He was the Secretary of the Ottawa Committee for Poland’s Millennial Anniversary of Christianity (Ottawski Komitet Obchodów Millenium), and a member of the Roman Dmowski Institute established in New York by Wojciech Wasiutyński.
The Ruebenbauers’ home in the Glebe became a venue for many conferences and activities of the National Party (SN) in-exile. Both spouses were actively engaged in organizing various cultural and charitable events to support the National Treasure Organization (Skarb Narodowy) and their compatriots in Poland.
Jerzy Ruebenbauer died on 13 September 1998 in Ottawa after the two-year period of hospitalization from a serious accident.
- Gold Cross of Merit with Swords
- Armia Krajowa Cross (Home Army Cross)
He published articles in the following journals:
- Walka magazine published by KG AK during the German occupation.
- Defilada weekly magazine published by the Polish 1st Armored Division of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. 1946-1947.
- Myśl Polska magazine published in London by National Party (SN) in exile.
Before the WWI, Ruebenbauer married Zofia Helena Julia neé Strycharska, an activist at the All-Polish Youth organization. She was murdered by the NKVD during the Zamarstynowska prison massacre in Lwów on 26 June 1941.
In 1949, he married his second wife Zofia neé Kuczyńska, Polish coat-of-arms Ślepowron, who was also a member of the national movement circles. They remained married until his death. They had no children. Ruebenbauer had two brothers, Jan and Zbigniew. Jan died during infancy. Zbigniew was a lawyer and economist, officer in both the Brygada Karpacka and the 2nd Polish Corps. He lived and died in exile.
- Jabłoński, A. M., Jerzy Mariusz Ruebenbauer (Rübenbauer). MS. Ottawa. 2016.
- Księga Pamiątkowa na 25-lecie Parafii św. Jacka Odrowąża. Domino Deo Nostro, 1957-1982. Ottawa. 1982.
- Węgierski, Edward. I o nich musimy pamiętać. Polityczni działacze narodowi. Dom Wydawniczy Ostoja. Krzeszowice. 2014.
- Personal communication (conducted by A. M. Jabłoński) with Ewa Kotela and Izabela Syslo. Kraków. 31 July 2017.
- Photo: Jerzy Ruebenbauer (Ottawa, the 1970s.) Personal family archives of Ewa Kotela. Kraków.
English Translation /SH/