Topics of coins

100th Anniversary of the 3rd Silesian Uprising

The 3rd Silesian Uprising broke out on the night of 2–3 May 1921 and was sparked off by the news of the plans to grant most of the industrialised part of Upper Silesia to the Germans. It followed a general strike covering 97% of the industrial plants. The insurgents were led by Wojciech Korfanty, who proclaimed himself the dictator of the uprising. Historians say that the fiercest battles were fought in the region of St. Anne Mountain (Góra Świętej Anny) in the days from 21 to 26 May 1921. The mountain was eventually seized by the Germans. The insurgents, however, managed to maintain the front, and even win the battle of Olza on 23 May 1921.

On 5 July 1921, after having negotiated for several days, the parties to the conflict made a truce. Further lengthy negotiations were opened over the borders, and it was not until October 1921 that the plebiscite area was finally divided under the decision of the League of Nations Council and the Council of Ambassadors. Poland was assigned a smaller, but more industrialised area. The division was more favourable to Poland than the one proposed before the outbreak of the 3rd Uprising. On 15 May 1922, the Geneva Convention was signed, whereby economic issues and minority rights on both sides of the border were regulated. In the following months, Poland took over the area of Upper Silesia that it was granted.

The 3rd Silesian Uprising is one of the Polish national uprisings. It enabled the return of a part of Upper Silesia to the mother country, and the area’s economic potential played a very important role in the reconstruction and development of the rest of the Polish lands. Silesians, in turn, to a large extent gained the opportunity to develop their own culture and advance socially in a free Poland.

The silver coin features two insurgents handling a captured German MG 08 Maxim heavy machine gun. They are wearing civilian clothes, just as most insurgents were. Above the insurgents is the image of the Silesian Uprising Eagle, which was painted on most banners during the 3rd Uprising.

The gold coin features the silhouettes of two insurgents handling a captured German MG 08 Maxim heavy machine gun. Next to the insurgents, the Silesian Uprising banner featuring the words “For You, Poland” and the Silesian Uprising Eagle is depicted. The banner was made at the beginning of 1920 in a workshop by the editorial office of the “Katolik” magazine in Bytom. It was hidden for years by Alojzy Szulc, a participant in the three Silesian Uprisings, who, in May 1968, sold the banner to the Uprisings Museum in Góra Świętej Anny, where it is among the most precious exhibits.

prof. dr hab. Zygmunt Woźniczka