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Scenes from the life of a Legion soldier

  • Throughout the period of his service - from 1914 to 1918 - Stanisław Janowski, a soldier of the Second Brigade of the Polish Legions, in his photographs and drawings documented the Legions' fights, mainly those of the Second Brigade and 2nd Uhlans' regiment. While looking at the digitized set of war photographs, we see his remarkable camera operating skills. His photos almost resemble paintings or drawings. Janowski himself created a series of drawings based on some of the photographs. They also served as an inspiration for his paintings - created after the war - which can be viewed at our temporary exhibition Polish Legions 1914-1918. His large-sized painting titled Rafajłowa or a slightly smaller work Uhlans, Uhlans, Boys like a Picture... were based on his own photographs.

    The set of photographs was digitalised as part of the project "The landscape of Małopolska on glass negatives".


    Stanisław Janowski (1866-1942), a painter, draughtsman, stage designer, photographer. He studied at the Krakow School of Fine Arts, then in Munich. In the years 1901-1910, he worked as a manager and a stage designer for the theatre of his wife - Gabriela Zapolska. Before the outbreak of World War I, he joined Strzelec [Shooter]. Since September 1914, member of the Polish Legions. Initially he served in the Technical Division of Military Department of the Supreme National Committee, since July 1915 in the rank of sergeant in the 3rd Infantry Regiment. In March 1916, he moved to 2nd Uhlans' regiment, where he served until the end of the unit's existence in February 1918.


    Text by: Piotr Wilkosz – a historian, expert in early firearms and the history of the Polish armoured trains. He works for the Militaria Department. Curator of the exhibition titled Polish Legions, 1914-1918.

  • Stanisław Janowski, Warrant Officer of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment of the Second Brigade of the Polish Legions. On the front-line, Janowski took several several photographs of the officers of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment dressed in nightgowns. It was certainly a form of a joke, but from the perspective of nearly a hundred years, it constitutes a perfect document depicting the type of military underwear worn every day in front conditions.

  • Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Legion camp in Piaseczna. The squadron saddler at work. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • An Uhlan feeding the horses. Camp in Piaseczna. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • An Uhlan on a horse, humorous scene. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Soldiers of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment on a village dance in Czewl. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Daily activities after service. Legion camp in Piaseczna. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Construction of the Legion camp in Piaseczna by the soldiers of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Soldiers of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment on a village dance in Czewl. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Company's camp office. A writer at work. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • A moment of rest for the officers of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment in front of the camp headquarters. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Camp stable of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment. Horses are treated on a par with the Uhlans. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Legion camp in Piaseczna. Soldiers' meal. The photographs perfectly depicts the camp conditions in a relatively calm section of the front-line, which allowed for an opportunity to eat a warm meal.

  • Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Horses of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • Daily activities in the camp of the 2nd Uhlans' regiment in Piaseczna. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

  • The Uhlans sleep next to their horses. Legion camp in Piaseczna. Front-line of the Polish Legions in Volhynia, 1916.

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