THE ENDURING SOLDIERS by National Bank of Poland

Not being afraid to produce long running coin series, the excellent Stanislaw August and History of Polish Coin series being evidence of that, the National Bank of Poland (Narodowy Bank Polski NBP) has embarked on another epic set of silver coins. With tensions higher than normal between Poland and Russia over the Ukrainian conflict, it seems that they felt it was time for a reminder of why there exists such distrust between the two countries on many levels.

This series celebrates and remembers some of the brave individuals that fought the Soviet Communists after the Second World War. The first coin will be a general remembrance, while following ones will look at some of the most famous participants in the resistance. We’re not going to go into detail here as the NBP has done a terrific job with its release information and you can read more about each coin below by clicking the MORE button. Suffice to say it’s a fine theme, well deserving of the permanence that numismatics often bring.

Each coin will be struck in half-ounce of sterling silver and have a small band of colour on the reverse face, something the NBP doesn’t do very often. Coins to date have been designed by Dobrochna Surajewska and/or Urszula Walerzak, and struck by the Mint of Poland, the mint that strikes Polish commemorative coins. These aren’t fancy coins, devoid of all the current trends permeating the precious metal commemoratives market and they’re all the better for it. Sometimes the subject of the coin should take precedence and we think that’s the case here.

It appears there will be 22 coins in the set, with two or three being released annually. That would indicate that the series would potentially be split over 4-5 years, not too long with current trends. It’s good to see traditional coin styles still being put out there and we’d imagine the theme would resonate strongly in todays Poland. The coins sell for around the 160 Zloty mark (€38 / $40 / £32). A noble series and one that Poles in particular would do well to look at.

2017 The Enduring Soldiers Accursed by the Communists

The name “Enduring Soldiers” or “Cursed Soldiers” is used to refer to the post-war Polish independence and anti-Communist underground movement. Even though World War II had formally ended, as many as 200,000 soldiers of the Second Polish Republic continued to fight for a free Poland. The struggle against the Soviets and their Polish collaborators went on for the next 10 years, i.e. until the mid-1950s. Between 1945-1947 the guerrillas were ofen the sole masters of the territory. Their principal goal was to defend Poles against Soviet terror – plundering, rape and murder.

The soldiers belonged to various formations of the armed underground movement – Freedom and Independence (Zrzeszenie “Wolność i Niezawisłość”), National Armed Forces (Narodowe Siły Zbrojne), National Military Union (Narodowe Zjednoczenie Wojskowe), Underground Polish Army (Konspiracyjne Wojsko Polskie), Resistance Movement of the Home Army (Ruch Oporu Armii Krajowej), the 5th and 6th Vilnius Brigade of the Home Army, Józef Kuraś “Błyskawica” Group and many others, including youth organizations.

2017 Danuta Siedzikówna ‘Inka’

The daughter of Wacław Siedzik, a forest ranger, and Eugenia Tymińska. During the Second World War she lost both parents. She grew up in the cult of the January Uprising of 1863, in which her ancestors had taken part. She joined the Polish Home Army in December 1943, and took on a pseudonym “Inka” (in remembrance of a school friend). In October 1944, she started working as a clerk in the forest district office of Narewka.

Along with all other employees, she was arrested by an NKVD (Soviet secret police agency) and UB (Polish secret police under Communism) group in June 1945 on the charge of collaboration with “bands of reactionary underground movement”. Released by one of patrols of the 5th Wileńska Brigade of the Polish Home Army, commanded by Major Zygmunt Szendzielarz alias Łupaszka. Aferwards she could continue as a clerk in the Miłomłyn forest district office but she chose to fght for Poland, by joining, as an orderly, the squadron of Major Zdzisław Badocha alias Żelazny.

2017 Witold Pilecki ‘Witold’

Witold Pilecki was born in an aristocratic family (coat of arms of Leliwa) in Olonets in Karelia on 13 May 1901. During his youth he was active in the Scout movement. In the years 1918-1921 he served in the Polish Army. He fought in the Polish-Soviet War and was twice awarded with the Cross of Valour. In the newly independent Poland he managed the Sukurcze estate near Lida (today in Belarus) which was recovered by the Pilecki family.

At the initiative of Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz, Pilecki began to cooperate with the Polish counterintelligence, known as the “second department”. He fought in the Polish defensive war in September 1939, after which he co-organized one of the frst anti German resistance groups: the Secret Polish Army, which joined the Home Army. On 19 September 1940 he voluntarily went to the Auschwitz death camp on behalf of the Secret Polish Army. The goal of his mission was to gather intelligence on the ground and establish a conspiracy self-help and armed resistance movement among the prisoners (Military Organization Union), which was supposed to liberate the camp with help from outside.

2017 Feliks Selmanowicz ‘Zagończyk’

Born on 6 June 1904 in Vilnius. He had completed 5 grades of middle school before the outbreak of WWI. In September 1918, he volunteered to the Vilnius Vigilante Organization, and later to the 1st Battalion of Neman River Rifles with which he fought in the Polish-Soviet War. He subsequently worked for the People’s Militia in the Neutral Zone – an area under international control afer fghting between Lithuania and Poland was over. In free Poland he worked as a civil servant and ran a farm. He was probably associated with Polish as well as French military intelligence.

In August 1939, he was mobilized to the Border Security Corps as a sergeant. He took part in the fghting against the Red Army on 17 September 1939. Afer being interned by the Lithuanian authorities, he managed to escape from the camp in November and returned to Vilnius, where he became involved in the Polish conspiracy movement. In January 1940, he was arrested by the Lithuanian police, but was released because no evidence was found to prove his guilt. When the Soviets marched into the town, he was arrested once again, handed over to the NKVD (the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs), and condemned to death for espionage. However, the death sentence was not executed since he fled from the transport afer the German troops entered Vilnius.

From January 1944 he fought in the Vilnius Brigades of the Home Army: the 3rd Brigade of Col. Gracjan Fróg alias Szczerbiec, the 5th Brigade of Mjr Zygmunt Szendzielarz alias Łupaszka (deputy platoon commander), and the 4th Brigade of 2LT Longin Wojciechowski alias Ronin (company commander). Promoted to second lieutenant, wounded twice, he received the Cross of Valour.

In July 1944, following the disarmament of his troop by the Soviets, he was interned in Kaluga. In April 1945, he managed to escape and return to Vilnius, from where he was repatriated to Poland six months later. At the end of 1945 and the beginning of 1946, he established contact with Major Szendzielarz, who was reassembling the 5th Vilnius Brigade of the Home Army in Pomerania. He took command of a 5-strong independent combat and diversionary patrol of the Gdańsk and Olsztyn region, whose task was to obtain funds for organisational activity and to conduct propaganda campaigns.

He was arrested on 8 July 1946 in a conspirators’ flat in Sopot; three Security Ofce (UB) functionaries were said to have been killed during his attempted escape. He was then transported to a remand centre in Gdańsk and subjected to a brutal interrogation. He made a failed escape attempt. On 17 August the District Military Court in Gdańsk sentenced Second Lieutenant Selmanowicz to death. He was murdered on 28 August 1946 at 6.15 am in the cellar of the Gdańsk prison in Kurkowa Street, together with Danuta Siedzikówna alias Inka, a medic of the 5th Vilnius Brigade of the Home Army. Both of them cried “Long live Poland!” before their death.

The Provincial Court in Gdańsk cancelled the death sentence in 1997. In 2014, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) found the remains of Feliks Selmanowicz hidden by the communists under paving slabs at the Garrison Cemetery in Gdańsk. On 28 August 2016, a ceremonial state funeral of Zagończyk and Inka was held there to mark the 70th anniversary of the death sentence. President Andrzej Duda posthumously promoted Second Lieutenant Selmanowicz to lieutenant colonel.

Tadeusz Płużański

2017 Henryk Glapiński ‘Klinga’

Henryk Glapiński was born on 28 December 1915 in Częstochowa. In 1937, he graduated from the Feliks Fabiani Gymnasium in Radomsko. He was a member of the Gymnastic Society “Sokół”. In the years 1937–1939, he served in the military, initially at the military academy of the 27th Infantry Regiment in Częstochowa, and from 1938 in Komorów. Before the outbreak of World War II, he was transferred to the 77th Infantry Regiment in Lida.

In September 1939, he was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant. From October 1939 to May 1940, he was in Lwów and then returned to Radomsko. At the turn of 1941 and 1942, he joined the Home Army and became a platoon commander. In the second half of 1942, Glapiński was appointed as the head of the Home Army “Centre No. 1” for the town of Radomsko, and at the end of June 1944, as the deputy commander of the local Home Army

He was arrested by the Gestapo in July 1944 and was deported to the German concentration camp Gross-Rosen. He returned to Radomsko in May 1945. He did not accept the Soviet occupation of Poland as liberation. In February 1946, he joined one of the largest anti-communist organizations – the Underground Polish Army (code names “Lasy”, “Bory”) – assuming the nom de guerre “Klinga”. At the beginning of March 1946, he was appointed as the head of the District Command of the Underground Polish Army, code name “Motor” (district of Radomsko), and in mid-March 1946 – the chief commander of the Underground Polish Army Stanisław Sojczyński “Warszyc” appointed him as his adjutant. In April, Glapiński became the commander of the partisan unit of the Society Protection Service “Motor”, operating in the districts of Częstochowa and Radomsko. He was responsible for special military operations. He conducted, among others, attacks on the outposts of the Citizens’ Militia in Silniczka and Kobiele Wielkie, capturing dozens of weapons from the occupiers.

On the night of 19 to 20 April 1946, his unit took part in an attack on Radomsko. While it failed to capture the headquarters of the communist Polish Workers’ Party and the secret police, the Polish soldiers achieved their main objective – they seized the local prison and liberated 57 Polish patriots who were detained and tortured there. During the retreat Glapiński’s unit stopped a vehicle of the pro-Soviet Internal Security Corps, and confscated 358 sets of uniforms and military equipment. On 20 April, the soldiers of the Underground Polish Army won a battle with the much more numerous Communist forces that were chasing them.

In mid-May 1946, pursuant to an order of Stanisław Sojczyński, he re-established the partisan unit of the Society Protection Service (consisting of 30 persons), which received a new code name – “Warszawa”. From that point on, Glapiński was pursued by Communist henchmen and had to escape increasingly frequent raids. On 8 June 1946, his unit fought a battle near the village of Kamieńsk. On 16 June, “Warszyc” promoted him to the rank of Captain.

He was arrested through the use of deception. An agent of the Communist secret police posing as a liaison of General Władysław Anders offered to help Glapiński in the evacuation to the West. On 31 August 1946, he was arrested in Warsaw by the communist military counter-intelligence and was handed over to the Provincial Public Security Ofce in Łódź. He was sentenced to death on 17 December 1946 by the District Military Court in Łódź, an illegal tribunal established by the occupiers. According to ofcial data, he was murdered on 19 February 1947, together with Stanisław Sojczyński. The sentence was annulled in October 1992. The remains of Henryk Glapiński “Klinga” have not been found to this day

Tadeusz Płużański

2018 August Emil Fieldorf ‘Nil’

August Emil Fieldorf was born on 20 March 1895 in Kraków. He graduated from the men’s college of St. Nicholas and later from a men’s seminary there. In 1910, he joined the Sport and Gymnastic Society ”Strzelec” (Shooter), where he fnished the school for non-commissioned officers.

On 6 August 1914, Fieldorf volunteered to join the Polish Legions and set out for the Russian front, where he served as a deputy commander of an infantry platoon. In 1916, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and a year later he was sent to the officer training school. After the oath crisis, he was forced to join the Austro-Hungarian Army and transferred to the Italian front. He deserted and joined the Polish Military Organisation in his home city of Kraków in August 1918.

After the Republic of Poland regained independence, Fieldorf served in the Polish Army from November 1918, first as a platoon commander, and from March 1919 – as a commander of the heavy machine gun company in the Polish Legion’s First Infantry Regiment. In the years 1919-1920, he participated in the campaign of Vilnius and – as a company commander – in the Polish-Bolshevik War, when he participated in the liberation of Dyneburg and Żytomierz, the expedition to Kiev and the Battle of Białystok.

Afer the war, Fieldorf remained on active duty, was promoted to the rank of major and as such he was posted to the Polish Legion’s First Infantry Regiment as a battalion commander. In 1931, he became its second-in-command. In 1932, he became a lieutenant colonel. Three years later, Fieldorf was transferred to the position of a commander of the “Troki” independent battalion of the Border Guard Corps (KOP) in the KOP’s “Wilno” Regiment. In 1936, he was made the district commander of the Polish Riflemen’s Association in France.

In March 1938, Fieldorf became the commander of the 51st Giuseppe Garibaldi Riflemen’s Regiment in Brzeżany in the eastern fringes of Poland. He was with the regiment for the whole military campaign during the Polish Defensive War of 1939. Afer the battle of Iłża, he reached his native Kraków. He was stopped at the Slovak border during an attempt to get to the West to join the Polish Army under formation. He was interned, but managed to escape from a camp and reached France, where he later completed staff courses and was promoted to full colonel on 3 May 1940. Afer the capitulation of France and after the Polish authorities and the army moved to the United Kingdom, he was appointed the first emissary of the Government-in-Exile and Commander-in-Chief to Poland. On 17 July 1940, Fieldorf set out from London to Warsaw, which he reached on 6 September.

Fieldorf was active in the Union of Armed Struggle in Warsaw and later, from 1941, in Vilnius and Białystok. In 1942, he was appointed a commander of Kedyw (directorate of underground sabotage operations) of the High Command of the Home Army. It was on his order that the German SS General Franz Kutschera was assassinated in Warsaw.

In April 1944, Fieldorf started to form a highly secretive Niepodległość (NIE) organisation, which was designed to continue operations during the expected Soviet occupation of Poland. On the order of the Supreme Commander Kazimierz Sosnkowski of 28 September 1944, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In October 1944, he became the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Home Army under General Leopold Okulicki and kept the post till 19 January 1945 when the Home Army was disbanded.

On 7 March 1945, Fieldorf was arrested by the Soviet NKVD in the town of Milanówek under the false name of Walenty Gdanicki. Unrecognized as a general, ‘Nil’ was transferred from the NKVD headquarters in Włochy to a camp in Rembertów, and on 21 March 1945 he was sent to the labour camps of Bieriozovka, Stupino and Hudiakowo, in the Ural Mountains . After serving his sentence, he was released and returned to Poland in October 1947. Under his assumed name, he settled in Biała Podlaska, abandoning his underground activities. After moving between Warsaw and Kraków, he fnally settled in Łódź.

On 10 November 1950, he was arrested by the Regional Military Replenishment Unit in Łódź, transferred to Warsaw and placed under arrest in Rakowiecka Street. On 16 April 1952, he was sentenced to death as a ”fascist-Hitlerite criminal”. The sentence was carried out, by hanging, on 24 February 1953. In July 1958, the Prosecutor’s Office discontinued the investigation against General August Emil Fieldorf, citing lack of evidence of guilt. In March 1989, he was rehabilitated afer it was found that “he had not committed the crime he was accused of”. The remains of the hero have not been found until today

by Tadeusz Płużański

2018 Hieronim Dekutowski ‘Zapora’

Polish Army Major Hieronim Dekutowski was born on 24 September 1918 in Tarnobrzeg. Dekutowski was characterized by an active attitude of patriotic responsibility already in his youth. He belonged to the “Jan Henryk Dąbrowski” Scout Team and was a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He fought as a volunteer in the Polish defensive war of 1939, and on 17 September he crossed the border with Hungary, where he was interned. He escaped from the internment camp and fled to France, where he fought against the Germans as a member of the Polish Armed Forces. He was then evacuated to England. In March 1943 he was sworn in as a member of the so-called “Cichociemni” (the Silent Unseen) paratroopers. He adopted the pseudonyms “Zapora” and “Odra” (he mainly used the frst one, however).

On the night of 16-17 September 1943 Hieronim Dekutowski was sent to the “Garnek” 103 outpost in the vicinity of Wyszków, as part of the “Neon 1” operation during which members of the Silent Unseen paratroopers were parachuted into the Polish territory. The flight from England aboard the Halifax BB-378 “D”  aeroplane, which belonged to the RAF, lasted 12 hours and 30 minutes.

Dekutowski initially commanded the Home Army unit in the Zamość Inspectorate, defending the people of the Zamość region against forced expulsions. In January 1944 he became the head of the Home Army’s Directorate for Subversion (“Kedyw”) in the Inspectorate of Lublin – Puławy.

One of his fellow soldiers recalled him in the following way: “He soon gained the opinion of an outstanding commander. He was characterized by courage, swift  decision-making skills, and at the same time, caution and a great sense of responsibility for the people. He was thoroughly trained in the use of hand guns and machine guns. He was inconspicuous, but also had great personal charm. He knew how to be demanding and he maintained iron discipline in his units, but he also combined that with moderation and concern for each soldier, as a result of which he was held in high esteem by his subordinates. They referred to him as “the old man” even though he was not yet thirty.

Dekutowski’s unit consisted of two hundred men and carried out 83 combat operations and subversive activities. He took part in “Operation Tempest” (Akcja “Burza”) in the Lublin region, after which he unsuccessfully attempted to break through to the capital in order to help the  soldiers fighting in the Warsaw Uprising.

Dekutowski did not lay down his arms afer the Soviet forces entered Poland. In response to the communist terror, he created a post-Home Army self-defence unit, which consisted of about 200 men, just like during the German occupation. He conducted many courageous retaliatory actions against the Soviet Union’s NKVD, as well as the Department of Security (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa – UB), the Internal Security Corps (Korpus Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego – KBW) and the Citizens’ Militia (Milicja Obywatelska – MO). Because he was the most distinguished commander of the underground resistance, the majority of the Freedom and  Independence (Zrzeszenie Wolność i Niezawisłość) units in the Lublin region submitted to his leadership. He even sacrificed his private life to the struggle for national liberation. He told his beloved fiancée: “I’m going to the forests, I don’t know if I’ll make it out alive, we can’t be together”.

Dekutowski was arrested by the communist security services in September 1947 in Nysa, together with the commanders of his group’s subunits. The captured freedom fighters were transported to the detention centre at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw and were subjected to brutal interrogation. On 15 November 1948 seven members of Dekutowski’s unit were sentenced to death by a communist court. Hieronim Dekutowski was murdered by a shot in the back of the head on 7  March 1949. His remains were only found and identifed in 2013.

For many years of the Polish People’s Republic, the communist authorities purposefully distorted his biography. The situation was different in the West, where in 1964 the legitimate Government of the Republic of Poland in exile posthumously awarded Major Hieronim Dekutowski “Zapora” with the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari. It was only in 1994 that the Warsaw Regional Court determined that Hieronim Dekutowski and his murdered soldiers were engaged in the struggle for the sovereignty of the Polish State.

by Tadeusz Płużański

2019 Stanisław Kasznica ‘Wasowski’

Stanisław Kasznica was born to a family of lawyers in Lvov on 25 July 1908. His father, Stanisław Wincenty Kasznica, a descendant of Antoni Trębicki, who was a deputy to the FourYear Sejm, was a Doctor of Law, a member of the National Democratic Party, and a senator of the Second Republic of Poland.

After his family moved to Poznań, where his father was appointed director of the University of Poznań, young Stanisław finished the local Karol Marcinkowski Lower Secondary School, and then graduated in law from the University of Poznań. During his studies, he became a member and one of the leaders of the AllPolish Youth. He was also a member of the student organisation “Brotherly Help”, the Academic Fraternity “Helionia” (as its president from 1938), as well as the Poznań Academic Aero Club. In 1934, he joined the National Radical Camp. As the party was declared illegal, he joined its clandestine multi-level leadership structure called the Polish Organisation.

He performed his military service in the Artillery Reserve Officer Cadet School in Włodzimierz Wołyński, and served as a lieutenant of the reserve in the 7th  Greater Poland Horse Artillery Division (DAK) in Poznań. Until the outbreak of the war, he worked at Ignacy Weinfeld’s law office in Warsaw and as a legal adviser in Gniezno.

In the defensive war of 1939, he was in command of a battery platoon in the 7th Horse Artillery Division, which wassubordinated to the Greater Poland Cavalry Brigade assigned to the “Poznań” Army. He fought in the battles of the Bzura,Laski, and Sieraków and defended Warsaw. For bravery in the battlefield, he was awarded the Virtuti Militari Grand Cross Order Class V.

After the September defeat, he focused on pro-independence activities in the clandestine Polish Organisation. In 1942, he participated in the establishment of a new military organisation – the National Armed Forces (NSZ). Its primary objective was to fight both the Germans and the Soviets, counteract the communist
influence, and establish Poland as a national-Catholic country after the war.

Stanisław Kasznica was among those who refused to accept integration with the Home Army. In July 1944, he was appointed Head of the 1st Section of the National Armed Forces Headquarters. Even though he opposed the launch of the Warsaw Uprising, he fought in the Ochota district. After the failure of the Warsaw Uprising, he conducted anti-communist activities in the fields of army, intelligence, politics, and among youth. In August 1945, he was appointed as acting chief commander of the National Armed forces. At the turn of 1945, along with part of the surviving staff, he joined the National Military Union. He was one of the Enduring Soldiers most wanted by the UB (Poland’s Department of Security) and the NKVD (the Soviet secret service agency) – a high reward was offered for his capture. How much the Soviets wanted to seize Kasznica is shown by the fact that reports on efforts to capture him were requested by Lawrientiy Beria, People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs of the USSR.

The last chief commander of the National Armed Forces fell into the hands of the communists on 15 February 1947 in Zakopane, where he was staying with his family. The brutal interrogation in the prison at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw was conducted for nearly a year. On 2 March 1948, he received four death sentences.
He was murdered on 12 May 1948.

In 1992, thanks to the efforts of his family, the sentence was overturned. Pursuant to the decision made by Lech Kaczyński, President of the Republic of Poland, on 20 August 2009, Stanisław Kasznica was posthumously awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his outstanding contribution to the independence of the Republic of Poland. His remains were exhumed in 2012 and transferred to “Łączka” (“The Meadow”) in the Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw.

by Tadeusz Płużański

2019 Łukasz Ciepliński ‘Pług’

Łukasz Ciepliński was born in the village of Kwilcz on 26 November 1913. He graduated from elementary school and enlisted in the Cadet Corps in Rawicz. In 1936, he graduated from the Infantry Cadet School in Komorowo, Ostrów Mazowiecka. In 1936, he joined the 62nd Infantry Regiment in Bydgoszcz.

In the defensive war of 1939, he was in command of an antitank company and fought in the Battle of the Bzura and in the Kampinos Forest. General Tadeusz Kutrzeba personally awarded Ciepliński the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari for destroying six German tanks and two commander’s vehicles with an anti-tank gun. He participated in the defence of Warsaw. Assigned with the mission to organise a transit route, Ciepliński crossed over to Hungary, and after receiving military training returned to Poland. He was arrested by Ukrainian policemen and imprisoned in Sanok, but managed to escape.

In the environs of Rzeszów, Ciepliński was active in the Organisation of the White Eagle/ZWZ (Union for Armed Struggle)/the Home Army. Not only was he involved in combat actions, but he also organised a successful intelligence and counterintelligence network responsible for liquidating German informers. His unit intercepted V-1 and V-2 rocket parts and his operatives located a secret headquarters of Adolf Hitler.

Ciepliński participated in Operation Tempest, which led to the liberation of Rzeszów. As he opposed the idea which required Home Army soldiers to reveal themselves to the other occupying power, the Soviets, he joined an underground movement. On the night of 7 October 1944, he conducted an unsuccessful operation to free 400 Home Army soldiers imprisoned by the NKVD (the Soviet secret service agency) at Rzeszów Castle.

Ciepliński continued his activity in other anti-Soviet organisations, including the NIE resistance movement, the Armed Forces Delegation for Poland and, ultimately, in the WIN (Freedom and Independence) association. In January 1947, he was elected president of the 4th Management Board of WIN, the direct organizational, personal and ideological successor of the Home Army. He mainly focused on intelligence and propaganda activity.

Ciepliński was arrested by the UB (Department of Security) in Zabrze on 28 November 1947. In the UB torture house at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw, he was brutally interrogated for three years. This is what he said about the interrogation: ”During the interrogation, I was lying in a puddle of my own blood. In these conditions, my mental state was such that I could not be aware of what the investigating officer was writing”. As a result of the beatings, he went deaf in one ear, and when he could no longer walk, he was carried for interrogations on a blanket.

On 14 October 1950, the court condemned him in a perjurious ruling to, “five death sentences, the loss of public rights and honorary civil rights forever, and the forfeiture of all property.” He told the Military District Court in Warsaw, ”I am facing the charge of treason against the Polish nation, but after all, I offered my life to Poland already in my youth and wanted to work for it. For me, the Polish cause was the most sacred thing.”

On 16 December 1950, in the majesty of Stalin-era lawlessness, the higher court upheld the ruling, and then President Bolesław Bierut, pursuant to the decision of 20 February 1951, refused to grant clemency in the case. On 1 March 1951, the President of the 4th Management Board of WiN, Lieutenant Colonel Łukasz Ciepliński, was murdered with a shot to the back of his head in the basement of the prison at Rakowiecka Street.

Ciepliński was aware that he would not be buried, and that his body would be dumped under cover of the night into some nameless hole. Therefore, just before death he swallowed a scapular medal. However, this has so far been insufficient to identify his remains in the Meadow of the Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw.

by Tadeusz Płużański

2020 ‘Freedom & Independence’ Association

The “Freedom and Independence” Association (full name: the Resistance Movement without War and Sabotage “Freedom and Independence”), better known or its Polish acronym WiN, was a successor of the Polish Home Army in its ideas and activity. WiN was mostly
made up of Home Army soldiers and it also took over its organisational structures. As opposed to the Home Army, it was civilian in principle, yet there were also numerous military units among its ranks, particularly in the Białystok, Lublin and Warsaw districts. Hence WiN was an organisation that was both military and political. That is why the successive four commandants of WiN (who would also identify themselves as “presidents” to emphasise their civilian role) – Col. Jan Rzepecki, Col. Franciszek Niepokólczycki, Lt. Col. Wincenty Kwieciński and Lt. Col. Łukasz Ciepliński – should also be referred to as Home Army commandants.

The biggest underground army in the German-occupied Europe – the Home Army (AK) – was disbanded on 19 January 1945 by General Leopold Okulicki. Nonetheless, as the country was threatened by Soviet oppression, the guiding idea of AK was reborn on 7 May 1945 in the form of the Armed Forces Delegation for Poland, which in turn established the “Freedom and Independence” Association on 2 September 1945. Initially, WiN’s goal was to prevent the electoral victory of communists in Poland by political means, keeping the free world informed of their crimes, lies, frauds and deception; however, the mounting Soviet terror forced the organisation to continue its armed struggle as well. Guerrilla units defended civilians against the occupier, forcibly entered into prisons freeing the prisoners, attacked the headquarters of the Department of Security and the Citizens’ Militia, fought with the Internal Security Corps and liquidated the functionaries and agents of the Communist regime.

In 1946, the organisation placed itself under the authority of the Polish government-in-exile and the Commander-inChief of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. WiN did not recognize the Polish borders established in Yalta, it demanded that the Red Army and NKVD leave Poland, and protested against political prosecution and the destruction and pillage of the national property. It looked to the Western states for
aid, hoping for the outbreak of World War III in particular. Its social agenda included the socialisation of enterprises, universal education and agricultural reform.

The association was being broken up by Soviet and Communist agencies. Its members either died in combat or were arrested, subjected to brutal investigations and very often murdered under unlawful court sentences. From spring 1948, the association was under the control of the so-called 5th WiN Headquarters, which proved to be a set-up by the Department of Security, as a consequence of which by December 1952 the organisation had been totally infiltrated and compromised (including the foreign delegacy), deprived of its means of operation and broken up.

On 1 March 1951, at the Communist prison at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw, sev n commanding officers of the last pro-independence 4th Headquarters (Chief Command) of WiN, with Lt. Col. Łukasz Ciepliński at the helm, were murdered with a shot in the back of the head. In 2011, to commemorate the heroic attitude of the pro-independence and anti-communist underground
movement, the 1st of March was established as an official national holiday in Poland – the Enduring Soldiers’ National Remembrance Day

2020 Mieczysław Dziemieszkiewicz ‘Roj’

Mieczysław Dziemieszkiewicz, alias Rój, was born to a patriotic family in Zagroby on 25 January 1925. He was the son of Adam and Stefania, née Świerczewska. In 1939, he finished the primary school in Różan. During the German occupation, young as he was, he engaged in the underground activity undertaken by the National Armed Forces. In the spring of 1945, he was drafted into the Polish People’s Army, but he deserted on hearing that his brother died – Lt. Roman Dziemieszkiewicz, alias Pogoda, was murdered by Soviet soldiers in November 1945.

Mieczysław Dziemieszkiewicz enlisted as a soldier with the 16th District of the National Military Union (Northern Mazovia), adopting the pseudonym “Rój”. From 1946, at the time of mass arrests made by the secret police, he was in command of a detachment of the Special Action Unit of the National Military Union in the administrative district of Ciechanów. Soon, he was awarded the Cross of Valour for his bravery.

In 1948, he was promoted to the rank of Senior Sergeant. He performed dozens of actions against the officials of the Communist Party, the officers of the terror apparatus, and secret police confidants. He was also involved in raiding the communist secret service prison in Pułtusk (25/26 November 1946) and releasing his sixty five colleagues detained there. On 6 November 1949, in the town of Gołotczyzna near Ciechanów, he stopped a passenger train – his soldiers handed out anticommunist leaflets, and the commander himself delivered an anti-Soviet speech. Educating the society conquered by the Soviet occupant was one of Mieczysław Dziemieszkiewicz’s ways of combat.

Soldiers admired his deep religiousness – he started each day with a prayer and partisans of his detachment wore gorgets featuring the Mother of God. Meanwhile, the communist propaganda disseminated the image of “Rój” as a bloodthirsty warlord, imputing to him crimes he never committed. His death was brought about by his fiancée – the secret service blackmailed her into indicating the soldier’s whereabouts, threatening to make her family suffer the consequences if she wouldn’t. Surrounded in the household of the Burkacki family in the village of Szyszki, Sergeant Mieczysław Dziemieszkiewicz died in a fight against 270-man strong joint operational group of the Department of Security and Citizens’ Militia on 13 April 1951. His murderers dragged his body behind their car. So far, no one has been able to locate his remains.

by Tadeusz Płużański

2021 Kazimierz Kamieński ‘Huzar’

Kazimierz Kamieński was born in Markowo-Wólka, a village in the commune of Nowe Piekuty in the district of Wysokie Mazowieckie, on 8 January 1919. The future Captain Kamieński, alias Huzar, finished elementary school in Hodyszewo, and then the lower secondary school of commerce in Wysokie Mazowieckie. He completed his military service at the Reserve Cadet School of Cavalry in Grudziądz.

Kamieński fought in the defensive war of 1939 in the 9th Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. He was taken prisoner by the Germans during the battle of Kock, from where he managed to flee. Kamieński returned to his hometown, which was then occupied by the Soviets. He was involved in eliminating a number of NKVD (Soviet secret police) operatives and informers. In early 1942, he joined the Home Army, became a platoon commander and from 1944 he was made an adjutant of Wiktor Leszko, alias Witold, the commander of the Home Army’s Sub-district of Wysokie Mazowieckie.

After the Red Army advanced onto Polish territory, Kamieński went into hiding. In December 1944, he escaped the Citizens’ Militia (MO) when they tried to arrest him. In January 1945, he resumed contact with Wiktor Leszko and took command of a self-defence unit of the Citizens’ Home Army Sub-district of Wysokie Mazowieckie. Afterwards, he joined the Freedom and Independence (WiN) Association.

Unlike the soldiers under his command, Kamieński did not reveal himself during the communist amnesty of 1947. Conversely, he organised a well-armed and fully uniformed partisan unit. From the summer of 1948, Captain Kazimierz Kamieński was deputy to Capitan Władysław Łukasiuk, alias Młot, the Commander of the 6th Wilno Brigade of Freedom and Independence. After the commander’s death, he took the command in June 1949.

The unit conducted military operations in the area of Ostrów Mazowiecka, Wysokie Mazowieckie and Łapy, Bielsk Podlaski, Siemiatycze, Biała Podlaska, Łosice and Sokołów Podlaski. A total of 120 people passed through the unit; however, its membership was never higher than 50 at any one time. Its patrols carried out expropriation operations and executions of Polish secret police, members of the Citizens’ Militia and Soviet secret police NKVD, fought in several skirmishes and battles, but also fought banditry.

In 1952, Captain Kamieński established contact with the 5th Command of Freedom and Independence, unaware that it was part of the Polish secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa, UB) entrapment (code-named “Cezary”). After he followed the order of his “superiors” to arrive in Warsaw, he was arrested on 23 October 1952. What happened next was easy to predict. Kamieński was brutally interrogated and on 26 March 1953 – sentenced summarily to six consecutive death sentences by the Regional Military Court in Warsaw during the away session in Łapy. He was executed in the Białystok prison at 1.30 p.m. on 11 October 1953.

The remains of “Huzar” have never been found. His symbolic grave is located at a cemetery in Poświętne. On 13 March 1997, his sentence was annulled by a court in Białystok. (Tadeusz Płużański)

2022 Zdzislaw Broński “Uskok”

Zdzisław Broński was born on 24 December 1912 in Radzic Stary in the Lublin region, to a large peasant family. He attended the Stefan Batory Gymnasium in Lublin, and in 1934 was called up for military service in the 50th Infantry Regiment in Włodzimierz Wołyński, where he completed non-commissioned officer school. He was active in self-education circles and the Union of Rural Youth “Siew”.

In the defensive war of September 1939, he was taken prisoner by the Germans. After escaping from a stalag (prisoner of war camp), he returned to his homeland to become involved in the Polish Armed Organisation (Polska Organizacja Zbrojna), which merged with the Home Army. He headed a unit (eventually 60 soldiers) which was part of the “Lublin” Inspectorate, operating mainly in the forests of Parczew, Zawieprzyce and Kozłówka. In May 1944, he was promoted to the rank of reserve second lieutenant, and a month later he was assigned to the 27th Volhynian Infantry Division of the Home Army.

He participated in Operation Tempest. After the Red Army seized the Lublin region, he was searched for, but could not be caught. He reconstructed his flying column of several dozen men, which became part of the “Freedom and Independence” (WiN) organisation. His family was repressed: on 26 April 1945, the communists burned the buildings of the family house, and on 24 April 1946 they arrested his father, Franciszek, on charges of helping his son.

Promoted on 1 June 1945 to the rank of lieutenant, Zdzisław Broński, “Uskok”, became a commander of all partisan groups in the Lubartów District; he was directly subordinate to Major Hieronim Dekutowski, alias Zapora, the commander of the Lublin Region units and member of the Silent Unseen paratroopers (Cichociemni). Lieutenant Broński’s partisans took part in many actions against the communist units, e.g. on the night of 31 October to 1 November 1946 they captured Łęczna, where they disarmed the local headquarters of the Citizens’ Militia (Milicja Obywatelska).

Due to communist manhunts and terror, “Uskok” changed his tactics of fighting and divided the unit into several patrols, which operated in the Lubartów District. By an order of 12 September 1947, Major Dekutowski, who decided to cross to the West, appointed Broński, promoted to the rank of captain, his successor. In a private letter to “Uskok” he wrote: “Mate, most importantly, don’t let anyone trick you or sway you, when I go there I’ll sort out our affairs first. We’ll be in contact anyway. Cheers – Hieronim.”

From autumn 1947 Zdzisław Broński was hiding in a bunker under the Lisowski family barn in Dąbrówka (now Nowogród). The communists twice offered a financial reward for revealing his whereabouts. “Uskok” was handed over by his former subordinate, Franciszek Kasperek, alias “Hardy”, who, after revealing himself, became an agent of the UB (Department of Security) after coming out of hiding.

On 21 May 1949 an operational group of the Citizens’ Militia, the Internal Security Corps and the UB surrounded the hideout of Broński, who, not wanting to fall into the hands of the communists, blew himself up with a grenade. His body was taken to Lublin and presented to his family for identification, and then abandoned at a location unknown to this day.

Before his death, Captain Zdzisław Broński wrote in his diary: “Life is worth sacrificing only for one idea, the idea of freedom! If we fight and sacrifice, it is because we want to live, but live as free people, in a free homeland.”

by Tadeusz Płużański

2022 Antoni Zubryd ‘Zuch’

Antoni Żubryd “Zuch” was born on 4 September 1918 in Sanok. This pre-war graduate of non-commissioned officer school in Śrem took part in the defence of Warsaw in September 1939 as a deputy platoon commander in his home 40th Infantry Regiment “Children of Lviv” (40 Pułk Piechoty im. Dzieci Lwowskich). During the fighting he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and awarded with the Cross of Valour. After the capitulation of Warsaw, he was taken prisoner, but then released. He returned to Sanok, where he joined the underground movement.

At the beginning of 1940, he and his wife were arrested by the NKVD. The couple were released after the German attack on the USSR on 22 June 1941. “Zuch” was arrested by the Germans on 5 November 1941, imprisoned in Sanok, Tarnów, and then in St. Michael’s prison in Kraków. On 6 September 1943, the German Special Court (Sondergericht) in Cracow sentenced him to death. When the convicts were being taken to the place of execution, they attacked the escort and Antoni Żubryd – as the only one – managed to escape. He remained in hiding, but maintained contact with the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) and conducted combat training.

After the Soviets entered the Sanok region, the Polish underground sent him as an infiltrator to the infamous communist Public Security Office in Sanok, in other words, to the local headquarters of the secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa, UB). There he was supposed to warn conspirators about the planned arrests and assist in their escapes. In June 1945, when he was unmasked, he left his job and freed several arrested members of the Home Army. In retaliation, the secret police arrested Żubryd’s mother-in-law Stanisława Praczyńska and his four-year-old son Janusz for “collaboration with Żubryd’s gang”. In response, Antoni Żubryd – with the consent of his superiors – carried out an attack on Tadeusz Sieradzki, the head of the Public Security Office in Sanok


The son and mother-in-law were released after “Zuch” threatened to shoot seven captive policemen from the local police headquarters in Haczów. Żubryd subordinated his unit, the NSZ Independent Operational Battalion “Zuch”, to the National Armed Forces (Narodowe Siły Zbrojne, NZS). Composed of former Home Army soldiers and deserters from the police (going in Poland under a typical communist designation of Citizen’s Militia), from the Ministry of Public Security and from the Polish People’s Army, it was 300 men strong at its peak in 1946. The unit carried out more than 200 armed actions, executed secret police officers, police officers, Internal Security Corps soldiers, Polish Workers’ Party members and secret police confidants, but its main goal was to defend the Polish population from the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) attacks.

Żubryd was pursued by the communist apparatus, but remained untraced. The task of dealing with him was finally assigned by the secret police to his trusted subordinate, Jerzy Vaulin, whom they had managed to recruit. Documents reveal that on 24 October 1946 at 7 p.m. V a u l i n shot Żubryd and his wife in a forest, at a site located about two kilometres from the village of Malinówka in the Brzozów district. On that tragic day Jerzy Vaulin first went with Antoni Żubryd, ostensibly to jointly check the route of a planned march for their unit. In the forest near Malinówka, he shot his commander in the back of the head. He then lured Janina Żubryd to the same place and murdered her on the spot. The bodies were discovered and transported to the vicinity of a local shop by a forester from Malinówka. On the following day secret police functionaries transported them to the prison in the Rzeszów castle. The bodies of Antoni and Janina Żubryd vanished without a trace there and their remains have never been found.

Żubryd’s death meant the end of his unit’s activity, although the hunt for its members continued. According to the IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) files, secret police officers killed 23 and arrested 115 of them. 38 collaborators of the unit were also captured. Communist authorities handed over Żubryd’s son, Janusz, to an orphanage run by nuns and supervised by the secret police. After being adopted by his mother’s sister, he took the surname Niemiec. (Tadeusz Płużański)

2023 Józef Kuraś “Ogień”

Józef Kuraś (“Ogień”, “Orzeł”) was born on 23 October 1915 in Waksmund near Nowy Targ. In 1934, he became a member of the People’s Party (Stronnictwo Ludowe), a peasant party in Poland. Drafted into the army in 1936, he served in Sanok and Słobodka near Vilnius.

During the September campaign of 1939, he fought in the ranks of the 1st Podhale Rifle Regiment, a mountain infantry unit. After an unsuccessful attempt to get through to France, he returned to Waksmund. In November 1939, he became involved in underground activities. He was a soldier of the Tatra Confederation (Konfederacja Tatrzańska) and the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he also commanded the People’s Security Guard (Ludowa Straż Bezpieczeństwa) units and the execution squad of the county branch of the Government Delegation for Poland (the highest authority of the Polish underground state and an agency of the Polish Government in Exile) in Nowy Targ.

In June 1943, in retaliation for the execution carried out by Kuraś’s unit on two policemen who were Gestapo agents, the Germans murdered his wife, two-and-a-half-year-old son and father. The bodies of the murdered and Kuraś’s family house were burned. It was then that Józef Kuraś adopted the pseudonym “Ogień”, which means “Fire” in Polish.

At the beginning of 1945, Kuraś participated in the creation of the structures of the police (the so-called Citizens’ Militia) and the secret police (Urząd  Bezpieczeństwa, UB) in Nowy Targ, implementing the recommendations of the opposition party, i.e. the People’s Party led by Stanisław Mikołajczyk, for its sympathizers to take over from within the control of the state power structures established on the territories liberated by the Soviets. When this vision turned out to be unrealistic and the communists’ grip on power proved firm, Kuraś formed the “Błyskawica” partisan unit.

On 13 April 1945, he held a briefing in the mountains for his former subordinates, announcing an open fight against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and against the communists. He carried it out in the Podhale region and in other parts of the Kraków province until 1947, in many places becoming a real local military power and even a political power to contend with due to the initial weakness and porousness of the communist rule. The units led by “Ogień” also organised actions against the Slovaks, who were in favour of the annexation of the Polish parts of Spisz and Orawa by the Slovak state. The “Błyskawica” group had an excellent intelligence service and enjoyed wide popular support.

On 21 February 1947, major “Ogień” was finally surrounded by units of the UB and the Internal Security Corps in the village of Ostrowsko near Nowy Targ and attempted to commit suicide. The next day he died from his wounds in a hospital in Nowy Targ. To this day, his burial place is unknown. (Tadeusz Płużański)

2023 Stanisław Sojczyński “Warszyc”  

Stanisław Sojczyński “Warszyc” was born on 30 March 1910 in Rzejowice. Before the Second World War, he worked as a Polish teacher. During the war, he was an officer with the Polish Victory Service (Służba Zwycięstwu Polski), the Union for Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej) and the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). He came to fame owing to a daring raid on the German prison in Radomsko on the night of 7 August 1943. The soldiers under his command freed about 50 captives: more than 40 Poles and 11 Jews and retreated without any casualties. In recognition of his bravery, Lieutenant Sojczyński, then using the alias “Wojnar”, was awarded the Silver Cross of the War Order of Virtuti Militari. He proved himself as a competent commander of the partisan unit he organized in the Częstochowa Inspectorate of the Home Army.

He fought in Operation Tempest, leading the 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry Regiment of the Home Army. Sojczyński’s troops failed to break through to Warsaw to help the insurgents during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. In December 1944, Sojczyński was part of a team guarding the British military mission codenamed “Freston” in occupied Poland. The aim of the mission was to collect information for the British government about the situation in Poland, particularly about the Polish underground and the Red Army’s attitude to it. On 1 January 1945, the “Manewr” battalion under “Warszyc’s” command fought a fierce battle with the Germans near Katarzynów in defence of the mission. In January 1945, Sojczyński was promoted to captain.

Stanisław Sojczyński, who assumed the alias “Warszyc”, did not surrender arms to the Soviet occupiers. On 3 May 1945, he restored his organisation. Its primary objective was to defend the Poles against terror and to liquidate collaborators. Sojczyński’s units operated under the name of the Underground Polish Army (Konspiracyjne Wojsko Polskie, KWP) with the codenames of “Lasy” and “Bory”. It numbered approx. 4,000 troops in the Łódzkie and Kieleckie regions, but it also operated in Silesia and the Poznań region. The KWP units conducted numerous spectacular operations against the outposts of the police – the so-called “Citizens’ Militia” (MO) – and the secret police (UB) as well as their local informers.

In his open letter of 12 August 1945 to Col. Jan Mazurkiewicz alias “Radosław”, Captain Sojczyński called Mazurkiewicz’s appeal to surrender treason and urged him to continue fighting against the communists. “Warszyc” was counting on the outbreak of World War III and the success of the Polish People’s Party in a truly free general election in Poland, guaranteed during the conference of the leaders of the three allied powers.

On the night of 19 April 1946, Sojczyński reprised his WWII operation. Approximately 170 partisans led by Jan Rogulka alias “Grot” attacked Radomsko. They freed 57 detainees from the prison of the secret police district headquarters. However, they failed to find all the members of the Polish Workers’ Party sentenced to death by the KWP leadership, who were to be executed. During the retreat, the partisans defeated a unit of the Internal Security Corps, which was three times more numerous. It was then that the communists vowed to retaliate.

The ordeal started on 27 June 1946, after “Warszyc” was arrested as a result of denunciation by a former member of the organization who had agreed to collaborate with the secret police. The trial that Sojczyński and other KWP members stood before the Military District Court in Łódź on 9 -17 December 1946 was merely an approval of a sentence given in the party and secret police offices. Stanisław Sojczyński was murdered on 19 February 1947 in Łódź, three days prior to the announcement of an amnesty. His final resting place is unknown. (Tadeusz Płużański)

2024 Zygmunt Szendzielarz “Lupaszka”

Zygmunt Szendzielarz was born in Stryj in 1910. His family moved afterwards to Vilnius. He studied in the Infantry Cadet School in Ostrów Mazowiecka, and then in Cavalry Cadet School in Grudziądz. Having graduated from there, he was assigned to the 4thNiemen Uhlan Regiment.

In September 1939, his regiment formed part of the Northern Grouping of the Reserve Army “Prusy”, and then of general Anders’ Operational Group. Lt. Zygmunt Szendzielarz commanded the 2nd squadron. Following the defeat and a failed attempt to get through to the forming Polish army in the West, he stayed in Vilnius, where he organized the local underground under the auspices of the Union for Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej).

In 1943, under the nickname “Łupaszka”, Szendzielarz became commander of a Polish guerilla unit in the Vilnius District, which morphed into the Home Army 5th Vilnius Brigade, the most numerous and the strongest in the region. In 1943–1944, the brigade fought in several dozen battles and skirmishes with German troops, with Lithuanian formations collaborating with the Third Reich and with the Soviet partisans terrorizing the Polish populace. In January 1944, the commander of the Vilnius District, Colonel Aleksander Krzyżanowski, nickname “Wolf”, awarded “Łupaszka” with the Cross of Valour

Szendzielarz did not trust the Soviets and did not participate in the Vilnius uprising (Operation Gate of Dawn). Thanks to this decision, he evaded disarmament and internment, which befell most soldiers and officers of the Vilnius branch of the Home Army. He remained in the underground, rebuilt the Home Army 5th Vilnius Brigade, and then he established the Home Army 6th Vilnius Brigade. He moved the fight with the Red Army and the NKVD as well as with their Polish collaborators from the communist secret police, state police and military counterinsurgency corps to Podlachia, the Białystok region, Warmia, Masuria and Pomerania. The Soviets put a bounty on him.

“Łupaszka” also conducted propaganda work. A fragment of probably his most famous leaflet, dated March 1946, reads: “We are not a band, as traitors and the impious sons of our homeland call us. We come from Polish cities and villages. We want Poland to be ruled by Poles committed to its cause and elected by the entire Nation […]”.

Finally, Szendzielarz abandoned the armed struggle and tried to return to civilian life. In June 1948, the secret police figured out and broke the structures of the Home Army Vilnius District. “Łupaszka” was arrested on 30 June in Osielec near Zakopane.

In the subsequent show trial organized by communists, he was sentenced to death penalty on eighteen counts. On 8 February 1951, he was murdered in the secret police torture chamber at Rakowiecka Street in Warsaw. After 1989, courts exonerated him from all charges. In 2007, the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński awarded “Łupaszka” post mortem with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for outstanding service to the independence of the Republic of Poland. Zygmunt Szendzielarz’s remains were found by the experts of the Institute of National Remembrance on a site of clandestine burials performed by the communist secret police – the so-called Łączka (Meadow) in the Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw. In August 2013, the Institute of National Remembrance confirmed his identity. (Tadeusz Płużański)

2024 Henryk Flame “Bartek” (coming November 2024)

2024 Rev. Wladyslaw Gurgacz (coming November 2024)


Each coin comes packed in a grey coin box which are small and neat. They hold a certificate of authenticity. As yet, we've seen or heard nothing regarding a box to hold the whole set, but the mint did produce one for the Stanislaw August series, so there may yet be one to come. Each coin has a mintage of 15,000 pieces, although the 2020 coin dropped that to 11,000 pieces, possibly for pandemic related reasons..

MINT Mint of Poland
COMPOSITION 0.925 sterling silver
WEIGHT 14.14 grams (0.5 std oz)
DIAMETER 32.0 mm
MODIFICATIONS Highlight coloured
MINTAGE 15,000 per design (2020, 11k)
BOX / COA Yes / Yes

Coin images and subject history texts are reproduced from official NBP release material and remain their copyright.