English version  prepared by J. and M. Haftek

    Sixty-six years have passed since the Polish Communist Military Courts, acting under the jurisdiction of the Stalinist laws, committed crimes on 925 persons. The majority of the victims were the most faithful soldiers of the Polish underground movement. For years, these crimes have been concealed by the Polish Republic of People (PRL) and despite the fall of the communist regime these crimes continue to be concealed from the public. This document recreates the Central Military Archive files denoted as CAW-III-433-48 and reveals the magnitude of unjust death sentences that were issued to military personnel at the time.

Events of Fall 1944

    A publication by S. Zwoliński in Military Historical Reviews (WPH) [1] informs that,

    "Stalin requested the commanders on the front line...[and General Żymierski too] to instantaneously disarm the Home Army troops and intern all the officers. Stalin ordered that the special auxiliary battalions be formed for the soldiers and lower ranking officers...(Zwolinski 1992)."

    In the beginning of October 1944 Stalin reprimanded the delegation of PKWN (Polish Committee of National Liberation) and insisted that the political repressions in Poland be intensified. Several days later, between the nights of October 12th and the 13th of 1944, 1800 soldiers of the 31st infantry regiment stationed in villages near Krasnystaw deserted their posts. This event was described by a communist historian Zbigniew Załuski in a book, "Fourty Four " [2]. The Military Court demoted and then sentenced the commander of the 31st infantry regiment, the second in command in charge of political affairs, three battalion commanders, and four soviet officers to their deaths. General Żymierski pardoned the remaining officers and commuted several death sentences, instead sending demoted officers to correction camps near the front line. The 31st infantry regiment of the II Polish (People’s) Army, made infamous by a group desertion, was forever removed from the records of the communist Polish Military troops.

    Desertions and low conscription levels to the 2nd Polish Army caused an even greater effort to create a Polish communist army. On October 31st 1944, during a session of the Polish Workers Party Political Bureau, the Polish Military (WP) effectively became a military arm of the Polish Workers Party. It was decided that a desertion would be unconditionally and ruthlessly punished. In addition, a law punishing families and persons hiding deserters was introduced. A wide ranging propaganda campaign filled with calumnies and accusations against fighters from the Polish National Underground was initiated. The Home Army and National Armed Forces were treated as fascist organizations, threatening democracy. Without indictments hundreds of thousands of polish citizens were sent to camps and prisons. Among those sent to prisons where soldiers and sympathizers of the Polish Home Army, as well as, those who opposed the communist government. Based on suspicions, delations, and false accusations State Security (UB), the Military Intelligence, and the NKWD (The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs – Soviet secret police organization) had the authority to imprison tens of thousands of polish citizens. In jails, prisons, and correction camps people were left to die while their tormentors obliterated all the evidence of their crimes. Biological extermination of those who opposed the communist regime in Poland was facilitated by these newly passed laws. Execution of these laws was handed over to the military courts.

        The decree issued by PKWN, dated September 23rd, added to the polish military penal law a statement about the so called “crimes of state”.  “The crimes of state” were based on articles 85, 86, 89, 90, 92, 102, i 103  and most often were punished by death. Subsequently, the decree legalized an infamous legal act, referring to it as a “security of the state”. The decree about the security of the state and its articles one to sixteen were issued on October 30th 1944 and could be applied retroactively. Under these new circumstances, any citizen who held different political views about the future of  the Polish state could be imprisoned by the Security Police. The conditions of imprisonment were rooted in the new stalinist laws issued by PKWN (Polish Committee of National Liberation). In local county jails and prisons under central management of State Security and Polish Military Intelligence, a significant numbers of people were killed. Many of these deaths happened in the times of severe shortages and inaccurate book keeping of those arrested.

      In Polish Army (WP), the Soviets occupied leadership positions in the in divisions, brigades and almost all key positions in regiments, battalions, and companies. For native Poles only the lowest ranking political positions such as leaders of companies, platoons, and the smallest units were available.  Soviet leaders were often heard addressing troops with the word “We Poliaki” (“We Poles” – in Russian). Up to the end of the war polish troops were prepared under Soviet command as “cannon fodder”. The Soviet leadership has never respected human life, not only the lives of its own people but in particular those of other nations i.e. Poles, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Georgians and many other nations who lost their independence.

    Table 1 contains a list of those condemned to death by military courts between October 15th and the 31st of December of 1944. Among those killed, many whom cannot be identified, were deserters from II Polish Peoples Army. It is more than likely that this list is not complete and does not contain all the names of those who deserted or were sentenced to death and executed. A list like this is still important when preserving the truth and the memory of those who perished during these tragic days.