THE HOME ARMY
The Home Army (AK) was an underground military organisation active throughout the German and Soviet occupation of 1939-1945 in the territory of Poland within the borders existing before 1 September 1939. The organisation was formed from the Service for Poland’s Victory (SZP), established on 27 September 1939, which was later converted into the Armed Resistance (ZWZ) on 13 November 1939. On 14 February 1942, at the order of the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Władysław Sikorski, the ZWZ changed its name to the Home Army (AK).
The Home Army was subordinated to the commander-in-chief and the Polish Government-in-Exile and formed an integral part of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland. After the war, its soldiers were often persecuted by the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic and many were given unjust sentences, including the death penalty.
In March 1990, the World Association of Home Army Soldiers was established to bring together former members of the Home Army and other military organisations engaged in the struggle for Polish independence that owed their allegiance to the Polish Government-in-Exile during WWII. It was soon after that the Giżycko branch of the organisation was established. Some 115 former Home Army soldiers residing in the poviat of Giżycko submitted their membership declarations at the time. The first president of the Giżycko branch was Romuald Andrzejewski (nom de guerre “Raczek”), followed (in 1993) by Stefan Ejsmont (nom de guerre “Wir”, “Mars”). In 1999, he was succeeded by Andrzej Lessman (nom de guerre “Konar”). On 3 May 1992, local Home Army veterans received a standard financed with member donations, by soldiers from the Giżycko Garrison, local authorities, businesses, and citizens of Giżycko.
From the very beginning, Home Army Veterans and Sybiraks have actively participated in local social and patriotic life. Their goal has been to instil in local youth and residents the ideas enshrined in their respective statutes. Thanks to their struggle to preserve the memory of their brothers-in-arms and companions in adversity, a Cross of Katyń was erected in the communal cemetery (1990), followed by a special obelisk to commemorate Home Army Veterans and Sybiraks (1998). A square in the vicinity of the monument was named “Home Army Veterans and Siberian Exiles Square” (2018).