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pre-WW2 Polish Portrait photo of Stefan “Zielan” Zieliński & Wife


23.5cm x 12.5cm, 1936-39 

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A studio photo of a married couple taken in the Salon of Artistic Photography of Halina Skowrońska p.f RAFAEL in Warsaw.

The photo shows Major Officer Stefan “Zielan” Zieliński with his wife. A characteristic feature of the photo are all badges and decorations visible on the uniform.

On the breasts are visible;


Virtuti Militari V class

Independence Cross

Polonia Restituta, 5th class

Cross of Valor awarded four times

The Golden Cross of Merit, probably an private version of Owczarski

Medal of the Polish-Bolshevik War

Medal of the 10 Years of Independence


Undoubtedly, the most interesting item visible in the photo is the GISZ badge (General Inspectorate of the Armed Forces). Issued in 267 pieces, which makes it very rarely seen in photos and collections. This badge is practically absent in studio portrait photos.

Major Stefan “Zielan” Zieliński, born on 4th December 1875, murdered by the Nazi Germans in Palmiry near Warsaw on 21st June 1940. Soldier of the 1st Brigade of Legions, 5th Infantry Regiment. He fought in Tadeusz Wyrwa-Furgalski’s company. Decorated with the Virtuti Militari Cross, four times with the Cross of Valor, Badge of the General Inspectorate of the Armed Forces and other decorations.