Only blackman who fought defending Poland against Hitler was a Yorubaman,
Brown Agboola: Account of Courage, The story of the only black soldier that fought in Poland against Hitler in 1939
August Agbola O’Browne was born on 22 July 1895 in Lagos, the largest city of modern-day Nigeria, to Nigerian parents, possibly from the Yoruba tribe.
O’Browne immigrated to Poland in 1922. He lived at Złota Street in Warsaw.
He was a professional musician, a drummer who worked in clubs in Warsaw.
His first album, recorded in 1928, made history, for he was the first West African jazzman to achieve this.
He married a Polish woman; they had two children – Ryszard (Richard) in 1928 and Aleksander (Alexander) in 1929.His friends and neighbors remembered him as a very intelligent, courteous person, and a polyglot (he spoke six languages).
In 1949, he joined the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy.In the survey, he claimed that he fought in the Invasion of Poland in 1939, defending besieged Warsaw, and in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. He stated that in the Uprising his code name was “Ali” and that he belonged to the unit led by Corporal Aleksander Marciński, code-name “Łabędź” (“Swan”).
The unit fought in the Śródmieście district of Warsaw. Based on the name of the commander, historians confirmed that battalion “Iwo” fought in the district of Śródmieście Południowe (Southern Srodmiescie).Jan Radecki, code name “Czarny” (“Black”), another participant of the same uprising claimed that he saw a black man at the HQ of the battalion “Iwo” at ulica Marszałkowska 74 (74 Marszalkowska Street), possibly in the communication section. Radecki did not remember the exact personal data of the black insurgent. There are indications that before the uprising O’Browne was connected with the resistance and distributed illegal, underground newspapers (bibuła).
There is little reliable information on his life after the war. Around 1949 he worked in the Department of Culture and Art of the City of Warsaw; later he continued his music career, playing in restaurants in Warsaw.
O’Browne emigrated to Great Britain in 1958. There he lived anonymously for almost two decades and died around 1976.
Information about O’Browne’s existence was discovered by historian Zbigniew Osiński from the Warsaw Uprising Museum around 2010; another historian Krzysztof Komorowski noted that if the story of his existence and participation in the Uprising as the only documented black insurgent is true, it is quite sensational. Nonetheless, Polish historians have found enough corroborating evidence to conclude that the existence of O’Browne, and the story of his participation in the Uprising, is very likely true.