The Mint of Poland has released a new commemorative coin series entitled : The Enduring Soldiers accursed by the communists. This silver coin series aims to honour the Polish underground movement, and those individuals who gave their lives to fight against Soviet imposed communist rule in the decade following the end of the Second World War to see a free and independent Polish state.
The Mint of Poland has released the first two coins in a new series of commemorative silver coins. This new series is entitled “The Enduring Soldiers accursed by the communists” and is dedicated to the memory of Polish patriots active in the anti-communist Polish resistance movements during the years 1944-1953.
It is estimated that as many as 200 000 soldiers formed a part of the movement to free Poland from Soviet oppression and communist rule, during this time. The armed underground movement was comprised of a large number of diverse factions including youth groups, the Freedom and Independence Wing(Zrzeszenie “Wolno ść i Niezawis ł o ść ”), National Armed Forces(Narodowe Si ł y 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 Kura ś “B ł yskawica” Group and many others.
After liberating Poland from Nazi rule, the Soviet Red Army was used by Stalin to occupy many eastern block Territories following the war. More than 20 000 of these “Enduring Soldiers” met their deaths during this struggle. Thousands still more found themselves being tortured by the notorious NKVD(The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs / Народный комиссариат внутренних дел / Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del) or Poland’s Department of Security(Urz ą d Bezpiecze ń stwa) or ended up in labour camps, and many were deported to the Soviet Union.
The President of the Bank of Poland, Prof. Adam Glapiński, said the following in a press release announcing the new coins :
“I believe that the issue of the collector coins in the series “The Enduring Soldiers Accursed by the Communists” will be one of the measures that will restore this part of Polish history to the popular consciousness. May these coins become an expression of respect and appreciation for the fighters for an independent Republic of Poland in the difficult post-war era, which was a period of dramatic trials and tribulations for those who could not accept the so-called Yalta order – trials, from which they emerged victorious, because in accordance with the inscription placed on the coins of the series, “they acted as they should”
The series will have a shared obverse deign featuring the proud crowned eagle of the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Poland at the centre of the coin, surrounded by twisted steel mesh of broken prison bars. The symbology, I think, speaks for itself. The words “RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA”(Republic of Poland) are inscribed along the top rim. The denomination and date “10 zł” and “2017” appear below in two lines.
The first coin in the series depicts a group of five enduring soldiers on it's reverse side, set against the backdrop of birch trees. To the top, along the rim, is the coins name :”ŻOŁNIERZE NIEZŁOMNI”(Enduring Soldiers). The red and white Polish flag is draped across the lower right of the coin with the emblem of the Polish Underground State atop of it. Just above the flag is the phrase “Zachowali się jak trzeba” which translates as : “They acted as they should”.
The second coin, and the rest of the series moving forward, is far more specific and personal in nature, rather than honouring the underground resistance as a whole it remembers a specific person. This coin commemorates Danuta Siedzikówna, who was also known in the resistance as “Inka”.
Danuta Siedzikówna lost both her parents during World War II, and as a result joined the Polish Home Army( the dominant Polish resistance movement under both Nazi occupation and the communist regime) at the tender age of only 15. She acted as a courier and a nurse of the 5th Wilno Brigade. After her capture she was held at the Gdańsk prison where she would be interrogated by the secret police. Withstanding being tortured at the hands of the secret police, she refused to co-operate and was sentenced to death. On 28 August 1946, only six days before her 18th birthday, she was executed before a firing squad in the basement of Gdańsk prison.
Before her death she managed to smuggle out a message to her sisters which simply read (in Polish) :
“I feel so sad to die. Tell my grandma that I acted as I should”
According to the official reports of the incident as well as eye witness accounts, her last words before her death were “Long Live Poland!”
She was posthumous promoted to the rank of second Lieutenant of the Polish Army and awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
The reverse of the coin itself depicts a portrait of Danuta Siedzikówna wearing an army uniform and a field cap with a Polish White Eagle badge. The background is populated by Birch trees. Along the top rim is inscribed “DANUTA SIEDZIKÓWNA “INKA” as well as the dates “1928 – 1946” just below “INKA”. The draped flag also appears here along with the phrase “Zachowali się jak trzeba” which translates as “They acted as they should”.
Booth coins measure 32mm(1.2598 inch) and are struck from sterling(.925 Fineness) silver for a weight of 14.14 gram (0.498 oz). The coins are only available in a proof finish and have a maximum mintage figure of 17 000 coins per design.
The coin is shipped in a padded grey Bank of Poland branded presentation box, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. The coins are being released by the Mint of Poland at 120 Polish Zloty(US$31) per coin but they are also available from a number of international coin dealers, where I have seen then trading anywhere from US$39.00 to US$69.00 each. So it might be worthwhile to shop around some if you are interested.