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National Armed Forces

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National Armed Forces
Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (NSZ)
Emblem of the National Armed Forces
Active20 September 1942 - 1947
CountryGerman-occupied Poland
AllegiancePolish Underground State
RoleClosely linked to the National Democracy
Sizec. 80,000 (1942)
Ignacy Oziewicz
Tadeusz Kurcyusz

National Armed Forces (NSZ; Polish: Narodowe Siły Zbrojne) was a Polish right-wing underground military organization of the National Democracy operating from 1942. During World War II, NSZ troops fought against Nazi Germany and communist partisans. There were also cases of fights with the Home Army.[1]

At the end of the war, some units and structures of this organization supposedly cooperated with the Nazis and Gestapo (as in the case of the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade and Hubert Jura)[2][3][1][4] and supposedly committed crimes motivated by antisemitism.[5][6]

Most NSZ units did not submit to the Polish government-in-exile and conducted fratricidal fights with other Polish partisan units.[7] From 1944 to 1946, the NSZ fought as part of the anti-communist resistance, including after the postwar Polish People's Republic was established.


Territorial structure and organization of the NSZ

The NSZ was created on September 20, 1942, as a result of the merger of the Military Organization Lizard Union (Organizacja Wojskowa Związek Jaszczurczy) and part of the National Military Organization (Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa). At its maximum strength in 1943–44, the NSZ reached between 70,000 and 75,000 members, making it the third-largest organization of the Polish resistance (after the Home Army (AK) and the Bataliony Chlopskie).[8] NSZ units participated in the Warsaw Uprising.

In March 1944 the NSZ split, with the more moderate faction coming under the command of the AK. The other part became known as the NSZ-ZJ (the Lizard Union). This branch of the NSZ conducted operations against Polish communist activists, partisans and secret police, the Soviet partisans, NKVD and SMERSH, and their own (NSZ) former leaders.[9]

Political stance

Colonel Ignacy Oziewicz, the first commander of the National Armed Forces

The NSZ's program included the fight for Polish independence against Nazi Germany as well as against the Soviet Union. Its goal was to keep the Second Polish Republic's prewar eastern territories and borders, while regaining additional former German territories to the west, which they deemed "ancient Slavic lands". The General Directive Nr. 3 of the National Armed Forces General Command, L. 18/44 from January 15, 1944, reads:

"In the face of crossing of Polish borders by Soviet forces, the Polish Government in London and its Polish citizens living on the territory of Poland express their unwavering desire for the return of the sovereignty to the entire area of Poland within the Polish borders established prior to 1939 through the mutually-binding Treaty of Riga and reaffirmed by the general principles of the Atlantic Charter, as well as by the declarations of the Allied governments which did not concede to any territorial changes that took place in Poland after August 1939."

During the war, the NSZ fought the Polish communists, including their military organizations such as the Gwardia Ludowa (GL) and the Armia Ludowa (AL).[10] After the war, former NSZ members were persecuted by the newly installed communist government of the Polish People's Republic. Reportedly, communist partisans engaged in planting false evidence, such as documents and forged receipts at the sites of their own robberies, in order to blame the NSZ.[11] It was a method of political warfare practiced against the NSZ also by the Ministry of Public Security of Poland and Milicja Obywatelska (MO) right after the war, as revealed by communist Poland's court documents.[11]

National Armed Forces and Jews

The National Armed Forces (though not uniformly[10]) did not accept Jews in their ranks, and expressed explicit anti-semitic sentiment.[12]

The solution of the Jewish question is almost as important for the future of our nation as the regaining of independence. The loss of independence and the continuation of Jewish presence in Poland are both an equal danger of slow death for the Poles.

— National Armed Forces newspaper Szaniec, cited in Gazeta Wyborcza, 24–5 September 1993[12]

We may condemn the Germans for their bestial methods but we must not forget that Jewry was always and will remain a destructive element in our state organism. The liquidation of the Jews in the Polish territories is of great importance for future development because it frees us from a million-headed parasite.

— National Armed Forces newspaper Barykada, no. 3, March 1943[13]

From November 1944 to mid-1947, during the period of armed anti-communist insurgency against the Soviet takeover of Poland, many Jews who were part of communist groups were killed by the National Armed Forces.[14] In Warsaw, the National Armed Forces killed Jerzy Makowiecki and Ludwik Widerszal, two Polish Home Army officers of Jewish origin.[12][15] Polish historian Alina Cała said that the doctrine of the National Armed Forces was primarily the elimination of what they considered to be Communist bands.[16][17] According to sociologist Tadeusz Piotrowski, these attacks later "became more focused on individual Jews who were placed in highly visible positions of authority in the PRL [People's Republic of Poland]".[18]

In some districts, the National Armed Forces actively pursued Jews. Some units of the National Armed Forces were on the lookout for Jews hiding in the forests to deliver to the Germans.[12] In Radom, the National Armed Forces cooperated with the Germans towards that goal in 1943–1944.[12] According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Polish Jews who had sought shelter among ethnic Poles after escaping from ghettos were directly murdered by the National Armed Forces.[19]

According to other sources, many National Armed Forces soldiers and their families are credited with having saved Jews, including such noted ones as Maria Bernstein, Leon Goldman, Jonte Goldman, and Dr. Turski. The National Armed Forces did have Jews in its ranks, including Calel Perechodnik, Wiktor Natanson, Captain Roman Born-Bornstein (chief physician of the Chrobry II unit), Jerzy Zmidygier-Konopka, Feliks Pisarewski-Parry, Eljahu (Aleksander) Szandcer (nom de guerre Dzik), Dr. Kaminski, a physician who served in an NSZ unit led by Captain Władysław Kolaciński (nom de guerre Zbik), Major Stanisław Ostwind-Zuzga, and others.[20][21]

In January 1945, the National Armed Forces Holy Cross Mountains Brigade (Brygada Świętokrzyska) retreated before the advancing Red Army and, after negotiating a ceasefire with the Germans, moved into the Nazi-controlled Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. It resumed operations against the Nazis on 5 May 1945 in Bohemia, where the brigade liberated prisoners from a concentration camp in Holýšov, including 280 Jewish women prisoners slated for death.[22]


Members of the NSZ, like other "cursed soldiers", and their families were persecuted during the postwar Stalinist period. In the fall of 1946, 100-200 soldiers of an NSZ unit under the command of Henryk Flame, nom de guerre "Bartek," were lured into a trap and massacred by communist military and police forces.[23]

Some of the NSZ were responsible for the 1946 pacification of villages in northeast Poland, in which ethnic Belarusian Polish citizens were attacked; 79 were killed. The National Armed Forces were officially dissolved in 1947.

In 1992, acknowledging its contribution to the fight for Poland's sovereignty, Polish authorities recognized National Armed Forces underground soldiers as war veterans. NSZ soldiers were rehabilitated, including some controversial ones, for instance, Mieczysław Pazderski, who in 1945 murdered almost 200 Ukrainian villagers in Wierzchowina, and who was awarded two medals by Polish president Lech Wałęsa.[24] The Polish Parliament Sejm passed a bill in 2012 commemorating the 70th anniversary of the creation of Narodowe Siły Zbrojne in 1942. Members of the Sejm who supported the resolution pointed out that NSZ members became the most obstinate target of repressions and hate propaganda by security apparatus under Stalinism.[25]

In the 1990s the topic of "cursed soldiers", or anti-communist partisans, was not discussed much in Poland. By the 2000s however, the cult of "cursed soldiers" gained prominence.[24] In 2012, the Polish Parliament (Sejm) passed a bill commemorating the 70th anniversary of the creation of Narodowe Siły Zbrojne in 1942.[26][27]

The role of NSZ and its relations with the Jews remains a controversial topic in modern Poland. The 2012 Sejm declaration has been criticized by former Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller.[27] Several members of parliament criticized the bill and walked out of a related commemorative ceremony.[28][29]

Commandants of National Armed Forces

See also


  1. ^ a b "Jak walczyło NSZ: próby współpracy z Niemcami, rabunki, ataki na AK. Publikujemy dokumenty". oko.press. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  2. ^ "Brygada świętokrzyska. Hitlerowscy kolaboranci na sztandarach prawicy". Przegląd (in Polish). 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  3. ^ "Prof. Friszke: Gdy więźniowie Dachau czekali na egzekucję, Brygada Świętokrzyska piła szampana z Gestapo". wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  4. ^ "Walczyli o Polskę bez komunizmu i... zawarli układ z Niemcami. Dla Brygady Świętokrzyskiej to było "mniejsze zło"". naTemat.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  5. ^ "Mogą żyć, byle nie u nas... Propaganda NSZ wobec Żydów". Więź (in Polish). 20 September 2017. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  6. ^ "Lekcja historii dla premiera Morawieckiego, czyli jak Brygada Świętokrzyska NSZ trzech Żydów spotkała". wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  7. ^ "Sejm uczcił Narodowe Siły Zbrojne. W uchwale znalazła się Brygada Świętokrzyska, która kolaborowała z III Rzeszą". wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  8. ^ Hanna Konopka; Adrian Konopka (1 January 1999). Leksykon historii Polski po II wojnie światowej 1944-1997 (in Polish). Graf-Punkt. p. 130. ISBN 978-83-87988-08-1.
  9. ^ David Cesarani, Sarah Kavanaugh. Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies Routledge, 2004, page 119.
  10. ^ a b Piotrowski, Tadeusz (20 August 1998). Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947. McFarland. ISBN 9780786403714. Retrieved 20 August 2019 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ a b Gontarczyk, Piotr, PPR - Droga do władzy 1941-1944" pg. 347
  12. ^ a b c d e Cooper, Leo (2000). In the Shadow of the Polish Eagle: The Poles, the Holocaust, and Beyond. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York, N.Y.: Palgrave. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-333-99262-3. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  13. ^ Friedrich, Klaus-Peter (2005). "Collaboration in a "Land without a Quisling": Patterns of Cooperation with the Nazi German Occupation Regime in Poland during World War II". Slavic Review. 64 (4): 711–746. doi:10.2307/3649910. eISSN 2325-7784. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 3649910.
  14. ^ Halik Kochanski, The Eagle Unbowed, p. 550.
  15. ^ Piotrowski, Tadeusz (2007). Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947. Jefferson (Carolina del Norte, Estados Unidos): McFarland & Company. pp. 95–96. ISBN 978-0-7864-2913-4.
  16. ^ Bartosz Machalica (28 February 2016). "Alina Cała stwiedza: NSZ zabiły więcej Żydów niż Niemców". Interview for Trybuna.eu. Trybuna Online. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ Piotr Zychowicz (May 2009). "Cała: "Polacy jako naród nie zdali egzaminu"". Rzeczpospolita (2009–05–25). ISSN 0208-9130. Archived from the original on 2012-03-24 – via Internet Archive.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  18. ^ Tadeusz Piotrowski, Poland's Holocaust. ISBN 0786429135.
  19. ^ Israel Gutman, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, p. 1032.
  20. ^ Chodakiewicz, Marek Jan (20 August 2004). Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939-1947. Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739104842. Retrieved 20 August 2019 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Muszyński, Wojciech (2012). Nacjonalizmy różnych narodów - book chapter by Wojciech Muszyński [Nationalisms of different nations] (PDF) (in Polish). Księgarnia Akademicka. p. 140. ISBN 978-83-7638-132-9. The highest-ranking Jew in the structures of NSZ was Feliks Pisarewski "Parry" ... Another relatively high-ranking officer of Jewish origin in the NSZ hierarchy was Stanisław Ostwind vel Zuzga ps. "Kropidło" ... Aleksandr (Eliasz) Szandcer ... sh Jankiel Kleinman "Jasio", cadet. Władysław Hajutin "Władek", kp. Cadet. NN "Zawisza" - son of a doctor from Lviv, the senior shooter "Wujek" - entrepreneur from Chełm region, shot NN "Zawadzki" and a few girls serving as nurses .. brigadier doctors were (Jewish) dr Juliusz Kamiński..In the Brigade served still at least a few Jewish soldiers and paramedics, including NN "Negri" (Widloch 1992: 44), shoot NN "Antoni" and shoot NN "Fryc" ... Jews in the NSZ branches often held responsible functions. Capt. Born- Bornstein..In the same group, there were also: two officers of the Jewish Military Union: Marian Rosenstof and Henryk Gumiński, who joined the assault team of one of the companies commanded by NSZ-ONR staff, and Calel Perechodnik and NN "Ryksiarz". In addition, at "Chrobry II", a large group of Jews used food in the field kitchen, which during the uprising did not have to hide anymore. In turn in the "Gozdawa" group, in the team commanded by Sgt. officer cadet. NSZ Tadeusz Niezabitowski "Lubicz", Jerzy Żmidrygier-Konopka "Poręba" - son of professor Zdzisław Żmidrygier-Konopka from the University of Warsaw fought. "Poreba" took part in many actions, and for a special courage, he was presented by the commander to be decorated with the Virtuti Militari cross and the Cross of Valor. He fell on August 25 in the ruins of the Bank of Poland. (Bojemski 2009: 251-253) Zofia Lipmann participated in the propaganda activities of NSZ during the uprising, and she was listening to foreign radio stations for the "Szaniec" editorial office. The same function in the editorial office of the insurgent NSZ "Żołnierz Starego Miasta" was held by Karolina Stefania Marek "Stefa", and the orderly in this editorial office was also a Jew named NN "Adam".
  22. ^ Antonin Bohun Dabrowski in Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust, edited by Richard Lukas, pg 22. [1]
  23. ^ Rzeczpospolita, 02.10.04 Nr 232, Wielkie polowanie: Prześladowania akowców w Polsce Ludowej Archived 2007-12-19 at the Wayback Machine (Great hunt: the persecutions of AK soldiers in the People's Republic of Poland), last accessed on 7 June 2006
  24. ^ a b [2] The Jews and the "Disavowed Soldiers", AUGUST GRABSKI (translated from Polish by Gunnar Paulsson), in Antony Polonsky, Hanna Węgrzynek, and Andrzej Żbikowski, New Directions in the History of the Jews in the Polish Lands, Academic Studies Press.
  25. ^ Piotr Babinetz, Member of Parliament, Sprawozdanie Komisji Kultury i Środków Przekazu o poselskim projekcie uchwały w związku z 70. rocznicą powstania Narodowych Sił Zbrojnych (Report of the Commission of Culture and Media on the new bill proposal) Sejm Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, Kadencja VII, Sprawozdanie Stenograficzne z 25. posiedzenia Sejmu, pp. 123–125. PDF file, direct download 1.07 MB.
  26. ^ The Sejm (9 November 2012), Uchwała Sejmu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej w związku z 70. rocznicą powstania Narodowych Sił Zbrojnych (An Act of Parliament on the 70th Anniversary of the Creation of National Armed Forces) by Marshal of the Sejm Ewa Kopacz. PDF file, direct download 20.0 KB. (in Polish)
  27. ^ a b "Miller o NSZ: sojusznicy Hitlera. Poseł PiS: tylko ktoś chory z nienawiści może pisać takie głupoty". Wprost (in Polish). 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  28. ^ "Sejm czci wyklętych. Część posłów wychodzi". TVN24.pl. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  29. ^ "Posłowie uczcili pamięć członków NSZ". PolskieRadio24.pl. Retrieved 2020-01-07.

Further reading

  • Siemaszko, Zbigniew S. (1985). Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (2nd ed.). Warszawa: Głos. OCLC 69304656.

External links