Ronald Clarence "Ron" Jeffery (6 September 1917 – 24 September 2002), also Józef Kawala, Stanisław Jasiński, Sporn and Botkin, was an English soldier and an agent of British and Polish intelligence during World War II. Jeffery was described by the Gestapo as "one of the foxiest devils in Europe".
Ron Jeffery was born on 6 September 1917 in Kent, to an English mother and a New Zealand West Coast miner who settled in England after World War I. Jeffery served as a Lance Corporal in the 6th West Kent Battalion and was captured during the Battle of France by the Wehrmacht in 1940 near Doullens. He was transported to the German prisoner of war camp at Szubin in occupied Poland. Later, Jeffery was moved to Ostrzeszów, renamed by Germans to Schildberg, and from there, travelled with other prisoners of war to the camp in Łódź, named Litzmannstadt under occupation. He escaped twice from two camps and finally joined up with Polish underground members in Warsaw.
Jeffery spoke three languages; German, French and English. Soon after his capture, he began to develop a basic understanding of the Polish language, which made him very useful to Polish underground fighters. Under forged documents issued under false Polish and German names, Jeffery began to serve as a courier in the Polish underground as a part of several missions to occupied cities such as Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin and Hamburg. He was also a member of selective Kedyw groups (patrole), which carried out executions of Nazi collaborators and traitors sentenced by special underground courts.
In beginning of 1944, Jeffery eluded the Abwehr and travelled to London via Oslo and Stockholm with a report from Poland to the British government. His efforts were at first highly regarded but subsequently ignored by the British, which a disillusioned Jeffery later attributed to the treachery of Kim Philby and other high-ranking communist agents entrenched in the British system.
After World War II, Jeffery migrated from England to New Zealand where he ran a business. There, he compiled his memoirs, Red Runs the Vistula, published in 1985 in New Zealand and in Poland in 2006. His story was also the inspiration for the documentary movie The Betrayal by New Zealand producer John Anderson in 1996.
- Jeffery was awarded the Armia Krajowa Cross.
- In 1943, Home Army General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski personally awarded Jeffery the Polish Cross of Valour.
- In 1995, the President of Poland, Lech Wałęsa, awarded him the Commander of the Order or Merit, one of the highest honours the Polish Government can bestow on a foreigner.
- Arnold Pickmere (28 September 2002). "Obituary: Ron Jeffery". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Ron Jeffery, Red Runs the Vistula (1985), Nevron Associates Publ., Manurewa, Auckland, ISBN 0-908734-00-X
- Jan Nowak-Jeziorański in Foreword of Polish edition book of Ron Jeffery - "Wisła jak krew czerwona", Wydawnictwo Bellona 2008, ISBN 978-83-11-11268-1