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UPDATE: Poland honours post-WWII anti-communist fighters

01.03.2023 11:30
Top politicians have paid tribute to Polish post-World War II resistance fighters who suffered brutal repression at the hands of the country’s former communist authorities.
A remembrance ceremony in Warsaw on Wednesday to honour Polish post-WWII resistance fighters.
A remembrance ceremony in Warsaw on Wednesday to honour Polish post-WWII resistance fighters.Photo: PAP/Andrzej Lange

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a remembrance event in Warsaw on Wednesday that the fighters, referred to by some as the “Cursed Soldiers” and by others as "Enduring Soldiers," gave "their lives for a free and independent Poland."

Morawiecki added: "Our nation will be truly free only if we honour all those who fought and died for their homeland."

The commemoration was held at a former prison on Warsaw's Rakowiecka Street, where seven fighters were executed by the communist authorities 72 years ago, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

More tributes were scheduled for later in the day, with President Andrzej Duda expected to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony in the north-central town of Sierpc.

The Polish presidential office said in a Twitter post on Wednesday morning that the anti-communist resistance fighters "stood on the side of freedom to the end and never gave up."

Duda tweeted: "Today, our free and independent Poland is paying tribute to its faithful sons."

After Poland's official underground army (AK) of World War II disbanded, thousands of Poles continued to fight in other formations as the Soviet Red Army extended its grip across the country.

The “Cursed Soldiers” faced a brutal crackdown by Poland’s communist authorities and were a taboo subject during the country’s decades under communist rule.

The fighters were largely stamped out by 1948, although one, Józef Franczak, was gunned down as late as 1963.

An official day of remembrance for the fighters was introduced in 2011, more than two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

March 1 was selected as a poignant date for the day of remembrance, as on this day in 1951, seven prominent members of a postwar resistance force called Freedom and Independence were executed in Warsaw.

Poland's Institute of National Remembrance said in a tweet that the seven leaders of the Freedom and Independence (WiN) organization who were killed 72 years ago were buried in an unmarked grave "because the regime cursed such people and wanted them forgotten, erased from history."


Source: IAR, PAP

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Piotr Miszczuk.