Poland's postwar anti-communist partisans discussed in Brussels
PR dla Zagranicy
The so-called 'Cursed Soldiers' who took up arms against the imposition of communist rule in Poland have been discussed during a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Four members of Poland's anti-communist underground photographed in June 1947. Photo: wikimedia commons
The event was initiated by Anna Fotyga, MEP for the ruling Law and Justice party and former foreign minister (2006-2007).
A number of historians and experts took part in the conference, which was held in the lead-up to Poland's annual Remembrance Day of Cursed Soldiers, which falls on 1 March.
“We had guests from abroad among our audience who perhaps for the first time heard that there was such a thing as a second conspiracy that involved a huge struggle against the new occupation carried out by the Soviets,” commented Professor Tadeusz Wolsza from Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).
The 'Cursed Soldiers' represented a highly taboo subject during Poland's 45-year-spell under communist rule, and if referred to in the official press, they were invariably described as “fascists” or “bandits.”
The guerrillas were largely stamped out by 1948, although one fighter, Józef Franczak, was gunned down as late as 1963.
The Remembrance Day of Cursed Soldiers has been marked since 2011.
Although the partisans – who served across several organisations - have been largely rehabilitated in recent years, controversies remain about some individual leaders. One such example is Romuald Rajs (codename 'Bury'), who according to an IPN probe was responsible for the pacification of several Belarusian villages on Polish territory in 1946. (nh/pk)