SECRET UNDERGROUND STATE
The Polish Underground State was formed by the Political Agreement Committee comprised of the representatives of
Poland's political parties. Their main objective was to establish policies that would be implemented in a post-war
democratic Poland. On January 9, 1944, it was renamed Rada Jednosci Narodowej(RJN), the Council of Unity. On
March 15, 1944, a declaration was made entitled, "For What the Polish Nation Fights" which outlined the political,
economic and social objectives of the Polish nation. It sought a free and independent Poland, with the restoration of
its eastern boundary along the Riga Line, as established by the Riga Treaty with the Soviets in March 1921. It also
called for a parliamentary and democratic system, with a strong central government. Reforms were planned
concerning land ownership, granting peasants more autonomy, industrial development, encouraging private
enterprise, as well as that of small and medium-sized businesses. The goal was to lay the groundwork for a more
equitable society for all classes. Special consideration was given to families with children, the youth, peasants, and the
working class. All were to be given an equal opportunity to progress. Education was to be made free for those who
could least afford it.
While the Polish government-in-exile was lead by President-General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the underground government
in Poland was represented by the Delegatura Rzadu ( Home Government) directed by Vice-Premier Jan Stanislaw
Jankowski, and several Ministers. Jankowski held the position from March 1, 1943 until March 28, 1945 when he was
arrested with the other members of the Delegatura, by the Soviet NKVD.
The Home Government consisted of five branches;
The head of this branch was the Chief Delegate of the Government, the Regional Delegates who controlled twelve
departments, and the Directors who were equivalent to the Ministers of the Polish-government-in-exile. Their objective
was in organizing and maintaining the autonomy and secrecy of its administration. One should not overlook the fact
that neither the Home Government nor the Polish-government-in-exile, ever collaborated with the Germans. Unlike
other Nazi-occupied countries, there was no Quisling in Poland. In fact, every decree issued by the Underground
commanded total allegiance of the Polish people, and warned that not a single German law or decree was to be
obeyed. In every city, every county, every community, there was an underground official whose authority was
recognised by the Polish State, and through whom the Polish people were informed of policies.
It was headed by a Commander-in-Chief and Regional Commanders. Their authority was approved by Presidential
decree. They had the right to issue edicts, guide the population, and conscript men for military service.
Political Representation The Underground Parliament represented each of the four major political parties. Though
each party conducted its own propaganda and resistance, they were all united under one official body, to which the
Chief Delegate and the Commander- in-Chief of the Army were responsible. Parliament controlled the finances of the
underground and made decisions concerning the representation and administration of its offices, that is, the Secret
Deputy Administration, and the Chief and Regional Delegates. Through its' representatives sent to London, the
political parties had considerable influence on the Polish-government- in-exile. Together they formed the Political
The Directorate of Civil Resistance
As its main objective they encouraged all Poles to participate in the resistance, and discouraged any Pole from
collaborating with the hated Nazis. There existed Regional branches secretly operating from within central Poland, that
is, the Nazi's General Gouvernement. There were also secret tribunals where Polish traitors were accused and
sentenced. Any Pole who disobeyed orders or was unable to justify his behaviour with the enemy was convicted of
infamy and ostracized, until criminal proceedings would resume after the war. There was no appeal.
This branch refers to Polish individuals and groups scattered throughout Poland who did not have formal connections
with any of the other four branches of the Underground State. Consequently, they did not have access to military and
financial resources, but they were able to keep up morale through a variety of covert activities in political economic,
religious, and educational concerns. They also printed underground newspapers. The combined forces of the
Underground State and the will of the Polish people "had perfectly institutionalized Polish hostility to the invaders".
This unyielding spirit never relented throughout the war.
The Home Government addressed a wide range of concerns through its various departments, as follows:
Department of Internal Affairs focused on plans for a future national police force.
Department of Information and the Press was dedicated to planning and carrying out counter-propaganda.
Department of Education and Culture ensured the continuation of secret education in Nazi-occupied Poland. The
Nazi's had closed all schools and universities, except grade school, and forbade the use of the Polish language. In
1942, almost two million children were receiving an underground education. In some sectors of Warsaw there were
almost three times as many students enrolled than before the war.
Department of Labor and Social Welfare
It's mission was to protect the valuable members of Polish society - the intelligentsia; professors, writers, artists,
doctors, scientists, lawyers, and many more, but especially the families of political prisoners. It's budget in 1942 was
approximately 5 million zloty, far surpassing that of any other Department.
Department of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Justice, Liquidation of the Results of the War, Public Works,
Treasury Post and Telegraph, and Transportation
The major task of this department was to observe and analyze the policies of the occupying force in specific regions
and to record the losses incurred as a result of their activities.
Department of National Defense
A great deal of time and attention was given to unifying the disparate military units of various political parties - the
National Military Organization of the National Party, the Peasant's Battalion of the People's Party, and the Socialist
Military Organization of the Polish Socialist Party. However, the National Armed
Forces (NSZ) did not come under the command of the Home Army (AK) even though it had official recognition of the
On June 30, 1943, the Gestapo arrested General Rowecki. His successor, General Bor-Komorowski was named
Commander-in-Chief of the AK. The Chief of Staff of the High Command, Colonel Janusz Albrecgt, was captured by
the Germans, and subsequently committed suicide. His post was given to General Tadeusz Pelczynski.
The High Command was divided into several sections: the organizational section, communications section, the
Command of Diversion (KEDYW), the section of Military Bureau (Portfolio) and the Bureau of Information and
Propaganda. The military administration was organized on a regional basis, dividing Poland into three areas; Warsaw,
Lwow, and the West, which were subdivided into voivodships, and districts, then again into counties, and townships.
Each district as well as subdistrict had a commander and staff. Among them were smaller units called platoons which
were comprised of three sections and in turn each section was comprised of fifteen soldiers grouped into three squads.
Bureau of Information and Propaganda operated from with the ranks of the AK. The Home Army Press was its main
instrument, and reached a circulation of over 200,000 copies. Among the numerous publications were over fifty
periodicals and many books. The subjects ranged from culture, literature, scouting, political satire, and of course,
propaganda. They were printed in several languages: Polish, French, English, Hebrew, Yiddish and German.
The Civilian Defense, headed by Stefan Korbonski, published Code of the Rights and Obligations of Poles which
called for a strict code of behaviour among the population. Any Pole found guilty of violating the sentenced to death.
Death sentences would be carried out only upon the approval of the Delegatura, or a military commander. " To kill a
German General or high official was difficult - to kill a would-be Polish collaborator was relatively child's play " The
Polish underground succeeded in maintaining a high degree of resistance despite German efforts to entice Poles to
collaborate with them. Two hundred death sentences were carried out by the Civilian Defense. Offenses of a lesser
nature were punished by flogging. Polish women who had socialized with the Germans or had intimate
relations with them, had their heads shaven.
There was a constant stream of messages and communication between the Polish Goverment-in-exile in London, and
the Delegatura in occupied Poland. The Chief Delegate, the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Army, the Director of
the Office of the Delegate constantly relayed messages expressing their hopes and vision for a post-war Poland
based on principles of freedom and equality with a government that would have a democratic parliamentary system.
Included in their messages were urgent appeals for military weapons and supplies, as well as troop reinforcements.
Poles never flinched under the German threat. All over Warsaw, young patriots spray painted in red, the letters
P and W. joined together. It stood for POLSKA WALCZY! POLAND FIGHTS! It took enormous courage to do even
this because to be caught by the Germans meant certain death