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Friday, March 1, 2024

Today is the National Day of Remembrance of the Cursed Soldiers

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On March 1, on the anniversary of the shooting of the leaders of the 4th Main Board of the “Freedom and Independence” Association, the National Day of Remembrance of the Cursed Soldiers is celebrated. The post-war pro-independence conspiracy was, until the creation of “Solidarity”, the most numerous form of organized resistance of Polish society against the imposed communist rule.

The Act on the National Day of Remembrance of the Cursed Soldiers was adopted by the parliament in 2011. President Bronislaw Komorowski he signed it on February 9, 2011. The date of March 1 was set to commemorate the events of 1951, when in the prison in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, after a show trial, between 8.00 pm and 8.45 pm, the leaders of the 4th Main Board of the “Freedom and Independence” Association – the president of WiN, Lieutenant Colonel Łukasz Ciepliński ( “Pług”, “Ludwik”) and his closest collaborators. The bodies of the murdered were not handed over to their families. They were buried in an unknown place to this day. The following people died: Łukasz Ciepliński, Adam Lazarowicz, Mieczysław Kawalec, Józef Rzepka, Franciszek Błażej, Józef Batory and Karol Chmiel.

Opening of the reconstructed cell where Lieutenant Colonel Łukasz Ciepliński was imprisoned in Pavilion X of the former Mokotów prison in WarsawPAP/Andrzej Lange

Post-war independence conspiracy

After General Leopold Okulicki “Niedźwiadek” disbanded the Home Army on January 19, 1945, its role was to be taken over by the organization “NIE” (“Independence”). After Okulicki was arrested by the NKVD in March of the same year, “NIE” was considered an unconspired structure and, by order of the Commander-in-Chief, General Władysław Anders, it was liquidated on May 7, 1945.

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On the same day, Anders established the Delegation of the Armed Forces for Poland (DSZ) headed by Colonel Jan Rzepecki. He took over the structures of “NIE” and the liquidated Home Army. When in June 1945 the Provisional Government of National Unity, recognized by the Western powers, was established in Moscow, at the request of Col. Rzepecki, the DSZ was liquidated.

A show of archive materials on the occasion of the Remembrance Day of the Cursed Soldiers at the Archives of New Records in WarsawThe archives are related to such figures as General August Emil Fieldorf “Nil”, Capt. Witold Pielecki, Maj. Witold Szendzielarz “Łupaszka”, Maria Szelągowska “Rysia”PAP/Zofia Bichniewicz

The largest underground pro-independence organization after the war was the “Freedom and Independence” Association, which was established on September 2, 1945. Its first president was Colonel Rzepecki. According to historians, 30,000 activists and soldiers passed through the ranks of “WiN”. In total, for over five years of operation, there were four main management boards of the organization. The association became the most important target fought by the communist services.

The post-war pro-independence conspiracy was, until the creation of “Solidarity”, the most numerous form of organized resistance of Polish society against the imposed power. According to the uncertain data of the Ministry of the Interior from the 1970s, in the period 1945-1955, about nine thousand members of the conspiracy died with guns in their hands. These estimates are incomplete, however, and the resistance was certainly numerically much higher.

Fighting against the forces of the new aggressor, independence soldiers had to face the huge propaganda of People’s Poland aimed at them, which called them “bands of the reactionary underground”. People active in anti-communist organizations and armed units, who were included in the files of the security apparatus, were referred to as “enemies of the people”.

The execution wall in the former Kielce prison. Celebrations on the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance of the Cursed Soldiers are underwayPAP/Piotr Polak

The Cursed Soldiers – the origin of the name

The phrase “Cursed Soldiers” was coined in 1993, when it was used for the first time in the title of the exhibition “Cursed Soldiers – anti-communist armed underground after 1944”, organized by the Republican League at the University of Warsaw. The term was coined by Leszek Żebrowski, an economist and historical journalist, an anti-communist opposition activist. The name refers to a letter received by the widow of one of the underground soldiers, in which, notifying her husband of the death sentence, the commander of the military unit wrote: “Eternal disgrace and hatred of our soldiers and officers accompanies him beyond the grave. Anyone who feels Polish blood in him, curses him – so let his own wife and child renounce him.

The expression “cursed soldiers” was popularized by the journalist and writer Jerzy Ślaski (1926–2002), who published a book under this title in 1996.

Celebrations on the occasion of the National Remembrance Day of the Cursed Soldiers on the so-called “Łączki” – quarters “Ł” in Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw PAP/Albert Zawada

Politicians commemorate the Cursed Soldiers

The Cursed Soldiers are commemorated by politicians. President Andrzej Dudawho will pay a visit to Sierpc, where, among other things, he will lay flowers at the monument to General Emil Fieldorf “Nil”.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Speaker of the Sejm Elizabeth Witek took part in the celebrations at the Museum of Cursed Soldiers and Political Prisoners of the People’s Republic of Poland – the former Warsaw-Mokotów Remand Center. – Our nation will be truly free when we honor all those who fought and died for our homeland. Collective oblivion, collective amnesia is the basis for manipulation. It is very easy to manipulate a society that is just falling into such collective oblivion. This was what the communists wanted, this was what some circles building the Third Republic of Poland wanted. That is why I would especially like to thank those who, over the difficult years since 1989, not only preserved the memory, but also tried to rebuild the truth about the Cursed Soldiers, said Morawiecki.

He added that “it is they who are the great winners today, by the testimony of their lives and their struggle they are truly immortal.”

Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Glinski took part in the laying of wreaths at the plaque commemorating the victims of the Ministry of Public Security on the building of the Ministry of Justice, as well as near the stone commemorating the tragic death of Anoda.

Monument to Jan Rodowicz “Anoda” in the courtyard of the Ministry of JusticePAP/Rafał Guz

The Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak at the headquarters of the Ministry of National Defense inaugurated the honorary blood donation campaign “SpoKREWnieni serving”. The Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro laid a wreath in Warsaw at the plaque commemorating the victims of the former Ministry of Public Security.

Mariusz Błaszczak inaugurated another honorary blood donation campaign “SpoKREWnieni serving”PAP/Rafał Guz

Main photo source: PAP/Piotr Polak

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