81st anniversary of Polish Underground State establishment celebrated

Celebrating the 81st anniversary of the establishment of the structures of the Polish Underground State (PPP), one of the largest resistance movements of WWII, deputy Sejm Speakers Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska of the opposition Civic Platform (PO) and Piotr Zgorzelski of the Polish People’s Party (PSL) laid flowers at a number of memorials in Warsaw on Sunday to pay tribute to members of the PPP and the Home Army (AK).

Ms Kidawa-Błońska, Mr Zgorzelski but also deputy head of the PM’s Office Paweł Szrot and Deputy Family Minister Paweł Wdówik laid flowers at the feet of the statue of General Stefan Rowecki “Grot” and the PPP and AK memorial in Warsaw. Besides the said politician, a couple of PO and PSL MPs also took part in the celebrations.

The event coincides with the establishment of the Service for Poland's Victory (SZP), which was the first Polish resistance movement in WWII. It was created by the order of general Juliusz Rómmel on September 27, 1939, when the siege of Warsaw, capital of Poland, where Rómmel commanded Polish defence, was nearing its end.

The flower-laying ceremony was assisted by honorary guard corps of the Polish Army.

The Polish Underground State was a single political and military entity formed by the union of resistance organizations in occupied Poland, that were loyal to the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile in London. The first elements of the Underground State were established in the final days of the German and Soviet invasion of Poland, on September 27, 1939, being just the anniversary celebrated on Sunday in Warsaw.

The Underground State was perceived by supporters as a legal continuation of the pre-war Republic of Poland and its institutions that waged an armed struggle against the country's occupying powers: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Underground State encompassed not only military resistance, one of the largest in the world, but also civilian structures, such as education, culture and social services.

The Home Army (AK) numbered over 400,000 at its height, and is thus recognised as one of the three largest, or even the largest, resistance movement of WWII. The Polish underground dealt a lot of damage, including up to 150,000 fatalities on the part of the Axis. The PPP as a whole contributed immensely to the outcome of WWII, tipping the balance in the Allies’ favour.