Topics of coins

The Slovak National Minority in Poland

The Slovak minority in Poland consists of two historically formed communities – members of the Slovak diaspora in Warsaw and part of the inhabitants of Upper Orava and Upper Spiš.

The Warsaw community was formed as a result of migration before World War I. The then migrants were mainly Slovak merchants and entrepreneurs. This community was integrated into Polish society. Its members were loyal to the Polish state, but at the same time retained a Slovak national consciousness. They considered Poland as their second homeland. During World War II, many of them stood in solidarity with the Polish resistance movement.

In 1942, the underground Slovak National Committee was established in Poland and cooperated with the Polish Underground State. This was possible thanks to the cooperation of the Polish and Czechoslovakian governments in exile in London. Upon the agreement with the Polish Home Army command, the “Slovak” 535th platoon of the Home Army was formed. It also included representatives of other nationalities. Second lieutenant Miroslaw Iringh was the commander of the platoon, which took part in the battles of the Warsaw Uprising.

The regions of Upper Orava and Upper Spiš were incorporated into Poland in 1920 pursuant to the decision of the Conference of Ambassadors, which thus settled the border disputes between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Some of the inhabitants of these regions still claim Slovak nationality.

The most important artist from the Slovak minority community in Poland was the academic sculptor Ludwik Korkoš (1928-1992), whose work is depicted on the reverse of the coin. Korkoš came from the village of Czarna Góra in the Polish Spiš region. He graduated from the School of Applied Arts in Prague and was a professor at the Secondary School of Arts and Crafts in Bratislava from 1953 to 1981. He transformed the motifs, originally inspired by the folk traditions of the Slovaks residing in Poland, into abstract art. Korkoš identified with this community to the end of his life, although he spent his artistic life in Slovakia.

Juraj Marušiak, PhD
Institute of Political Science
Slovak Academy of Sciences

The reverse of the coin features the image of Ludwik Korkoš’s sculpture “Man and the Universe”, against the background representing the tricolour flag of Slovakia.
The obverse features the view of Babia Góra as seen from the village of Jabłonka, which is one of the centres of the Slovak minority, and the armband used by “Slovak” 535th platoon soldiers in the Warsaw Uprising*, as well as silhouettes of people symbolising the Slovak minority community.