‘Forgotten freedom fighters’ honoured

Jarosław Szarek, the head of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) awarded Crosses of Freedom and Solidarity to former activists of Resistance Group “Solidarni,” the grouping acting during the years 1982-1989, opposing the communist regime of the Polish People’s Republic.

‘Solidarity’ chaplain Jerzy Popiełuszko murdered by communists 35 years ago

Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, a symbol of the Polish resistance to the Communist regime, was kidnapped and murdered by officers of the security service...

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Around 60 former members of “Solidarni” were awarded these orders, some posthumously. They were given by Mr Szarek on behalf of the Polish president Andrzej Duda. He stressed that members of “Solidarni” are the “forgotten heroes of the fight for freedom.”

“Launching leaflets into the air with a home-made launcher, big banners placed on townhouses and receiving resistance equipment from abroad – these are only a few examples of the activities of these resistance groups,” the Institute emphasised.

October 19, when the ceremony took place, is the National Day of Remembrance for Steadfast Clergy and marks the 35th anniversary of the tragic death of Reverend Jerzy Popiełuszko, the charismatic chaplain of the Solidarity movement, murdered by communists.

“You chose this date, [the anniversary of] the day when the blessed, and I hope soon Saint Rev. Jerzy Popiełuszko was kidnapped and murdered,” Mr Szarek addressed the awarded activists.

“We have to bear this cross with pride and honour because underneath it there is a slogan which we all support: God, Honour and Homeland. And this is something we should brag about. This is proof that... we did not cooperate with the occupant, because the Security Service was the police of the occupant,” said Jan Kulczycki, one of the awarded, who during the communist period was supplying polygraph materials, tools and medicines to those who were oppressed by the regime.

The Resistance Group “Solidarni” operated during the years 1982-1989. These anti-communist groups included around 300 people from the Solidarity movement.

The Cross of Freedom and Solidarity is modelled on the Independence Cross, the second most important Polish military order after Virtuti Militari during the interwar period.