Poland celebrates the Cursed Soldiers National Remembrance Day

On 1 March each year since 2011, Poland commemorates its courageous freedom fighters, known as the Cursed Soldiers.

The Cursed Soldiers, or Żołnierze Wyklęci, were anti-communist resistance fighters who operated in Poland in the aftermath of WWII. That is when Poland found itself under the grip of the Soviet Union. For many Poles, the end of the war did not herald the dawn of freedom but rather marked the beginning of a new struggle for independence.


The term „Cursed Soldiers” refers to the members of various underground organisations, including the Polish anti-communist and anti-Soviet resistance movements such as the National Armed Forces (NSZ), the Home Army (AK), and the Freedom and Independence (WiN) organisation. 

The Cursed Soldiers operated in forests, mountains, and remote areas, engaging in acts of sabotage, guerrilla warfare, and underground resistance against the communist authorities. They aimed to defend Polish independence, protect democratic values, and resist the Sovietisation of Poland.

1 March was chosen as the National Day of the Cursed Soldiers to honour the memory of these brave individuals who defied tyranny and oppression. It is a day to remember their sacrifices, their unwavering commitment to freedom, and their refusal to accept the loss of Poland’s sovereignty.

For Poland, the National Day of the Cursed Soldiers is not merely a historical event but a reaffirmation of national identity and values. It is a day to celebrate the spirit of resistance and resilience that has defined the Polish people throughout their history. It is a day to pay tribute to those who, in the darkest of times, dared to stand up and fight for what they believed in.

President Andrzej Duda wrote an official note for the special occasion in which the memory of the Cursed Soldiers as “a duty of the independent, sovereign Republic of Poland (…) We pay tribute to the heroes who, for their steadfastness, paid with imprisonment, torture, death, and condemnation to oblivion. The memory of them has endured, preserved within families, local communities, and in recent decades has been restored to the entire nation” – reads the President’s message. 


Image: IPN

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen