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Patriots 1944 Citizens 2014

In 2014, we shall celebrate the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, an event holding a particular place in our history and memory. The heroism of those who stood up to fight for free and independent Poland on 1 August 1944 is an example of the highest test of patriotism. The attitude of the insurgents was unique – guided by solidarity, loyalty, and responsibility for the homeland, city, home, for others and for themselves. Today, after 70 years, we demonstrate our patriotism in a different way – in our daily civic attitude, by participating in social and political life, by working pro Res Publica. However, patriotism is still expressed by the same words, as relevant today as ever: responsibility, solidarity, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, care, cooperation, integrity. Its essence is the care for the common good. If we are able to cultivate and develop this attitude, then those who were apparently defeated have actually won.

The Patriots of 1944 were fighting for freedom with weapons in their hands. However, the Warsaw Uprising was not only a battle for each street and each house; it was also 63 days of free Poland. For two months, legal civilian and military authorities operated in Warsaw, as well as the legal judiciary, public order protection services and the fire department. The press of all political orientations was printed, the radio and the field post operated, and own postal stamps were issued (!). Hospitals, field canteens and soldier inns functioned. The Insurgent Republic had its own journalists, operators documenting the Uprising and its own film chronicle. “This state emerging from the underground in Warsaw is only four days old” – reported “Biuletyn Informacyjny” (Information Bulletin), the major daily of the Insurgent Warsaw on the fifth day of the Uprising – “… it is here, without waiting for an end to the fighting, in the fire of battles, directly on the front line – that the state and Polish social life is rapidly appearing from the underground”. And the “Rzeczpospolita Polska” (Republic of Poland), in its issue of 6 August 1944 wrote: “The population of Warsaw passes its exam with an excellent result, as usual … There is nobody who would avoid their civic obligations at such a historic moment for us as this”. This is how, under extreme conditions, the real civic society was born, able to organise itself, imbued with responsibility and care for the Republic (a unique example of this attitude are the two Dzienniki Ustaw RP (Journals of Laws of the Republic of Poland) issued during the Uprising, laying the systemic foundations for the future Poland. The Patriots of 1944 became the citizens of 1944. The example of the Warsaw Uprising proves how strongly these two notions – patriot and citizen – are correlated.

This correlation is reflected by the words placed on the coin reverse: „PATRIOCI OBYWATELE”(Patriots Citizens) and „OBYWATELE PATRIOCI” (Citizens Patriots). This inscription was made by using letters in the style of the font from the “Information Bulletin”. The reference to the Warsaw Uprising is also visible in symbolic form – on the reverse the coin designer has placed the outline of the emblem derived from the famous poster “Long live the government of the Republic. Honour to the courageous Home Army”, dated 1 August 1944.

Piotr C. Śliwowski