Armia Krajowa

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Polish Secret State
History of Poland
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Armia Krajowa
Szare Szeregi
2 KB and BCh
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See also:
History of Poland (1939–1945)

The Armia Krajowa (Home Army) or AK functioned as the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II in German- occupied Poland, which was active in all areas of the country from September 1939 until its disbanding in January 1945. The Armia Krajowa, which was by far the largest underground resistance movement, with over 300 000 members during World War II, formed the armed wing of what subsequently became known as the " underground state" (państwo podziemne).


Second World War

The AK originated from the Służba Zwycięstwu Polski (Polish Victory Service), set up on 27 September 1939 by General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski. On 17 November 1939 General Władysław Sikorski replaced this organization with the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (Union for Armed Struggle), which after joining with the Polski Związek Powstanczy (Polish Union of Resistance) became the AK on 14 February 1942. While those two were the founders of AK, other Polish resistance movements existed, yet most of them eventually joined AK: Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa (fall 1942/summer 1943, partially), Konfederacja Narodu (fall 1943), Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (summer 1944, partially), Bataliony Chłopskie (partially), Gwardia Ludowa (1943, partially). The most notable movement that did not join with AK was Armia Ludowa.

Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski.
Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski.

Stefan Rowecki (pseudonym Grot, or "Arrowhead"), served as the AK's first commander until his arrest in 1943; Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski commanded from July 1943 until his capture in September 1944. Leopold Okulicki, pseudonym Niedzwiadek ("Bear Cub") led the organisation in its final days.

While the AK did not engender a general revolt, its forces did carry out intensive economic and armed sabotage in addition to engaging the occupying forces in guerilla attacks. In 1944 it acted on a broad scale, notably in initiating the Warsaw Uprising, which broke out on 1 August 1944 with the aim of liberating Warsaw before the arrival of the Soviet Red Army. While the insurgents released a few hundred prisoners from the Gesia St. concentration camp and carried out fierce street-fighting, the Germans eventually defeated the rebels and burned the city, finally quelling the Uprising only on 2 October 1944.

Throughout the period of its existence AK units carried out thousands of armed raids and daring intelligence operations, bombed hundreds of railway shipments, and participated in many partisan clashes and battles with German police and Wehrmacht units. AK also conducted retaliatory operations to assassinate Gestapo officials in response to Nazi terror tactics imposed on the civilian population of Poland.

There are some accusations of negative actions committed by the AK towards ethnic minorities, particularly the Lithuanians (see below).

Major military and sabotage operations included:

  • Operation Belt
  • Operation Tempest
    • Wilno Uprising
    • Lwów Uprising
    • Warsaw Uprising

Armia Krajowa supplied valuable intelligence information to the Allies, for example, about V-1 and V-2 flying bombs.

Axis casualties due to the actions of the Polish underground, of which AK formed the bulk of, are estimated at around 11,000 -150,000.


The AK officially disbanded on 19 January 1945 to avoid armed conflict with the Soviets and a civil war. However, many units decided to continue their struggle under new circumstances.

Soviet Union and Polish communists viewed the underground loyal to the Polish government in exile as a force which had to be removed before they could gain complete control over Poland. Future General Secretary of PZPR, Władysław Gomułka, is quoted as saying: "Soldiers of AK are a hostile element which must be removed without mercy". Another prominent Polish communist, Roman Zambrowski, said that AK had to be "exterminated".

The first AK structure designed primarily to deal with the Soviet threat was NIE, formed in the mid-1943. NIE's goals was not to engage the Soviet forces in combat, but rather to observe and conduct espionage while the Polish governent in exile decided how to deal with the Soviets; at that time the exiled government still believed that the solution could be found through negotiations. On 7 May 1945 NIE ("NO") was disbanded and transformed into Delegatura Sił Zbrojnych na Kraj ("Homeland Armed Forces Delegation"), this organization however lasted only until 8 August 1945, when the decision was made to disband the organization and stop partisan resistance on Polish territories.

The first Polish communist government, PKWN, formed in July 1944, declined jurisdiction over AK soldiers, therefore for more than a year it was the Soviet Union agencies like NKVD that took care of dealing with AK. By the end of the war approximately 60,000 soldiers of AK were arrested, 50,000 of them were deported to Soviet Union's Gulags and prisons; most of those soldiers were captured by Soviets during or in the aftermath of Operation Tempest, when many AK units tried to cooperate with the Soviets in a nationwide uprising against the Germans. Other veterans were arrested when they decided to approach the government officials after being promised amnesty. After such broken promises during the first few years of communist control, AK soldiers stopped trusting the government.

The third AK organization was Wolność i Niezawisłość ("Freedom and Sovereignty"). Again its primary goal was not combat. Rather, it was designed to help the AK soldiers in transition from the life of partisans into that of civilians; the secrecy and conspiracy were necessary in the light of increasing persecution of AK veterans by the communist government. WiN was however in much need of funds, to pay for false documents and to provide resources for the partisans, many of whom had lost their homes and entire life's saving in the war. Viewed as enemies of the state, starved of resources, and with a vocal faction advocating armed resistance against the Soviets and their Polish proxies, WiN was far from efficient. A significant victory for the NKVD and the newly created Polish secret police, Urząd Bezpieczeństwa, came in the second half of 1945, when they managed to convince several leaders of AK and WiN that they truly wanted to offer amnesty to AK members. In a few months they managed to gain information about vast numbers of AK/WiN resources and people. Several months later when the (imprisoned) AK and WiN leaders realised their mistake, the organization was crippled and thousands more of their members were arrested. WiN was finally disbanded in 1952.

Momunent to AK in Sopot.
Momunent to AK in Sopot.

NKVD and UB were certainly not beyond using force. In Autumn of 1946 a group of 100-200 soldiers of NSZ group were lured into a trap and then massacred. By 1947 a colonel of the communist forces declared that "Terrorist and political underground has ceased to be a threatening force, although there are still man of the forests" that need to be dealt with.

The persecution of AK was only part of the big picture of stalinism in Poland. In the period of 1944-1956, approximately 2 million people were arrested, over 20 thousand, such as the hero of Auschwitz, Witold Pilecki, were executed or murdered in communist prisons, and 6 million Polish citizens (i.e. every third adult Pole) were classifed as a 'reactionary or criminal element' and subject to invigilation by state agencies. In 1956 an amnesty released 35,000 former AK soldiers from prisons: for the crime of fighting for their homeland they had spent sometimes over 10 years in prisons. Still, some partisans remained in the countryside, unwilling or simply unable to rejoin the community; they became known as the cursed soldiers. Stanisław Marchewska "Ryba" was killed in 1957, and the last AK partisan, Józef Franczak "Lalek", was killed in 1963 - almost 2 decades after the Second World War ended. It was only four years later, in 1967, that Adam Boryczka, a soldier of AK and a member of the elite, Britain-trained Cichociemny ("The Silent and Hidden") intelligence and support group, was released from prison. Until the end of the People's Republic of Poland AK soldiers were under investigation by the secret police, and it was only in 1989, after the fall of communism, that the sentences of AK soldiers were finally declared invalid and annulled by the Polish courts.

Structure and membership

In the summer of 1943 AK reached it's highest membership numbers, estimated at about 380,000. Estimates of AK membership in the first half of 1944 range from 250,000 to 350,000, with an average being over 300,000 , including a cadre of more than 10,000 officers. Casualties during the war are estimated at about 34,000 -100,000, plus about 20,000 -50,000 after the war (casualties and imprisonment).

The executive branch of the AK was the operational command, composed of many units. Most of the other Polish underground armies became incorporated into the AK, including:

  • The Konfederacja Narodu (Confederation of the People) (1943).
  • The Bataliony Chłopskie ( Peasants' Battalions).
  • A large military organization of the Stronnictwo Ludowe (People's Party).
  • The Socjalistyczna Organizacja Bojowa ( Socialist Fighting Organization), established by the Polska Partia Socjalistyczna (Polish Socialist Party).
  • The Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa (National Military Organisation), established by the Stronnictwo Narodowe (National Party).
  • From March 1944, part of the extreme right-wing organization, the Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (National Armed Forces).

The largest group which refused to join AK was the pro- Soviet and communist Armia Ludowa (AL), which at it's height in 1944 numbered 30,000 people .

The AK divided itself organizationally into sixteen regional branches, subdivided in turn into eighty-nine inspectorates, which further comprised 278 districts. The supreme command defined the main tasks of the AK as preparation for action and, after the termination of German occupation, general armed revolt until victory. At that stage plans envisaged the seizure of power in Poland by the delegatura establishment, the representatives of the London-based Polish government in exile; and by the government-in-exile itself, which would return to Poland.

Area Districts Code-names Sub-units Operation Tempest
Warsaw area
Col. Łaszcz
Warsaw- Praga
Col. Szeliga
Struga (stream), Krynica (source), Gorzelnia (distillery) 10th Infantry Division
Col. Roman
Hallerowo ( Hallertown), Hajduki, Cukrownia (Sugar factory) 28th Infantry Division
Lt. Col. Kazimierz
Olsztyn, Tuchola, Królewiec, Garbarnia (tannery) 8th Infantry Division
South-Eastern area
Col. Janka
Col. Luśnia
Dukat (ducat), Lira (lire), Promień (ray) 5th Infantry Division
Capt. Żuraw
Karaś ( crucian carp), Struga (stream), Światła (lights) 11th Infantry Division
Maj. Zawadzki
Komar (mosquito), Tarcza (shield), Ton (tone) 12th Infantry Division
Western area
Col. Denhoff
Col. Piorun
Borówki (berries), Pomnik (monument)
Col. Kowalówka
Pałac (palace), Parcela (lot)
Independent areas Wilno
Col. Wilk
Miód (honey), Wiano (dowry) "Kaunas Lithuania"
Lt.Col. Borsuk
Cyranka (duck), Nów (new moon) Zgrupowanie Okręgu AK Nowogródek
Col. Monter
Drapacz (sky-scraper), Przystań (harbour),
Wydra (otter), Prom (shuttle)
Col. Leśny
Kwadra (quarter), Twierdza (keep), Żuraw (crane) 30th Infantry Division
Col. Luboń
Hreczka (buckwheat), Konopie (hemp) 27th Infantry Division
Col. Mścisław
Lin (tench), Czapla (aigrette), Pełnia (full moon) 29th Infantry Division
Col. Marcin
Len (linnen), Salon (saloon), Żyto (rye) 3rd Legions' Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division
various commanders, incl. Col. Róg
Gobelin, Godło (coat of arms), Muzeum (museum) 6th Infantry Division
106th Infantry Division
21st Infantry Division
22nd Infantry Division
24th Infantry Division
Kraków Motorized Cavalry Brigade
various commanders, incl. Col. Zygmunt
Kilof (pick), Komin (chimney), Kuźnia (foundry), Serce (heart)
Kielce, Radom
Col. Mieczysław
Rolnik (farmer), Jodła (fir) 2nd Legions' Infantry Division
7th Infantry Division
Col. Grzegorz
Arka (ark), Barka (barge), Łania (bath) 25th Infantry Division
26th Infantry Division
Foreign areas Hungary
Lt.Col. Korkozowicz
Blok (block)

In another dimension the AK was divided into seven sections: Organizations, Information and Espionage, Operations and Training, Logistics, Communications, Information and Propaganda, and finances.

Other important Armia Krajowa sub-units included:

  • Kedyw (also known as 'special operations eight section')
  • Wachlarz (part of Kedyw)

Weapons and equipment

As a clandestine army operating in a country occupied by the enemy, separated by over a thousand kilometers from any friendly territory, the AK faced unique challenges in acquiring arms and equipment. In a tremendous achievement, the AK was able to overcome these difficulties to some extent and put tens of thousands of armed soldiers into the field. Nevertheless, the difficult conditions meant that only infantry forces armed with light weapons could be fielded. Any use of artillery, armor or aviation was obviously out of the question (except for a few instances during the Warsaw Uprising, like the Kubuś armored car). Even these light infantry units were as a rule armed with a mixture of weapons of various types, usually in quantities sufficient to arm only a fraction of a unit's soldiers.

In contrast, their opponents - the German armed forces and their allies - were almost universally supplied with plenty of arms and ammunition, and could count on a full array of support forces. Unit for unit, its German opponents enjoyed a crushing material superiority over the AK. This severely restricted the kind of operations that it could successfully undertake.

The arms and equipment for Armia Krajowa mostly came from four sources: arms buried by the Polish armies on the battlefields after the Invasion of Poland in 1939, arms purchased or captured from the Germans and their allies, arms clandestinely manufactured by Armia Krajowa itself, and arms received from Allied air drops.

From the arms caches hidden in 1939, the AK obtained: 614 heavy machine guns, 1,193 light machine guns, 33,052 rifles, 6,732 pistols, 28 antitank light field guns, 25 antitank rifles and 43,154 hand grenades. However, because of inadequate preservation which had to be improvised in the chaos of the September campaign, most of these guns were in poor condition. Of those that were hidden in the ground and dug up in 1944 during preparation for Operation Tempest, only 30% were usable.

Sometimes arms purchases from German soldiers were conducted on a "grass roots" level. Purchases were made by individual units and sometimes by individual soldiers. As Germany's prospects for victory diminished and the morale in German units dropped, the number of soldiers willing to sell their weapons correspondingly increased and thus made this source more important. All such purchases were highly risky, as the Gestapo was well aware of this black market in arms and tried to check it by setting up sting operations. For the most part this trade was limited to personal weapons, but occasionally light and heavy machine guns could also be purchased. It was much easier to trade with Italian and Hungarian units stationed in Poland, which willingly sold their arms to the Polish underground as long as they could conceal this trade from the Germans.

The efforts to capture weapons from Germans also proved highly successful. Raids were conducted on trains carrying equipment to the front, as well as guardhouses and gendarmerie posts. Sometimes weapons were taken from individual German soldiers accosted in the street. During the Warsaw Uprising, the AK even managed to capture a few German armored vehicles.

Arms were clandestinely manufactured by the AK in its own secret workshops, and also by its members working in German armament factories. In this way the AK was able to procure submachine guns (copies of British Sten, indigenous Błyskawica and KIS), pistols ( Vis), flamethrowers, explosive devices, road mines and hand grenades ( Filipinka and Sidolówka). Hundreds of people were involved in this manufacturing effort.

The final source of supply were Allied air drops. This was the only way to obtain more exotic but highly useful equipment such as plastic explosives or antitank weapons ( PIAT). During the war 485 Allied planes made air drops destined for the AK, delivering 600.9 tons of supplies. During these operations, 70 planes and 62 crews (of which 28 were Polish) were lost. Besides equipment, the planes also parachuted highly qualified instructors (the Cichociemni), of whom 316 were inserted into Poland during the war. Due to the large distance from bases in Britain and the Mediterranean, and lukewarm political support, the airdrops were only a fraction of those carried out in support of French or Yugoslavian resistance movements.

Kotwica, one of the symbols of the Armia Krajowa
Kotwica, one of the symbols of the Armia Krajowa

Relations with other forces

Relations with Jews

In February 1942, the Operational Command of the AK Information and Propaganda Office set up the Section for Jewish Affairs, directed by Henryk Woliński. This section collected data about the situation of the Jewish population, drafted reports and sent information to London. It also centralized contacts between Polish and Jewish military organizations. The AK also organised financial aid for Jews (see Żegota). The AK accepted only a few Jews (about one thousand) into its own ranks: it generally turned down Jewish applicants, since they could be more easily identified by the Nazis.

One of AK members, Witold Pilecki, was the only person to volunteer for imprisonment in Auschwitz. The information he gathered proved crucial in convincing Western Allies about the fate of Jewish population.

The AK provided the Warsaw Ghetto with about sixty revolvers, several hundred hand grenades, and ammunition and explosives. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, AK units tried twice to blow up the ghetto wall, carried out holding actions outside the ghetto walls, and together with GL forces sporadically attacked German sentry units near the ghetto walls. Security Cadre (Kadra Bezpieczeństwa or KB), one of the organizations subordinate to the AK, under the command of Henryk Iwański took a direct part in fights inside the ghetto together with Jewish fighters from ŻZW and ŻOB.

Three out of seven members of the Collective Command of the AK (KG AK) had Jewish origins.

While most historians agree that AK was largely untainted in collaboration with Nazis in the Holocaust, the accusations of the complicity of single AK members or groups in anti-Jewish violence in Poland are frequently brought up to this day. The issue remains a controversial one and is subject to a difficult debate.

Relations with Lithuanians

The issue of Polish and Lithuanian relations during the Second World War is a controversial issue, and some modern Lithuanian and Polish historians still differ in their interpretations of the related events, many of which are related to the operations of Armia Krajowa on territories inhabited by Lithuanians and Poles. In recent years a number of common academic conferences have started to bridge the gap between Lithuanian and Polish interpretations, but significant differences still remain.

Conflicting ideologies

Relations between Lithuanians and Poles were strained during most of the interwar period due to conflicts over the Vilnius region and Suvalkai region, areas whose population was a mixture of Poles and Lithuanians. Germans relocated Lithuanian families to Vilnius region from Western parts of Lithuania by force, and this complicated situation. During the war these conflicts resulted in thousands of deaths, as groups on both sides used the opportunities offered by the war to commit violent acts against those they perceived as enemies.

Polish underground was an amalgam of all Polish prewar political currents, hence some portions of it associated with prewar nationalist circles held a very negative attitude towards Lithuanians and independent Lithuanian state. A significant number of Lithuanians started collaborating with the German occupiers , a prominent example being the Lithuanian Activist Front party, many members of whom came from the National Unionists whose pre-war slogan was 'Lithuania for Lithuanians' . The Lithuanian government, encouraged by the Germans, and who hoped that the Germans would grant Lithuania as much autonomy as it has granted Slovakia . Even through LAF faded after 1941, and Germans never granted the Lithuanians the autonomy they desired, elements within the Lithuanian government, collaborating with Germans, engaged in the program of ethnic and racial purification, targeting Jews, Poles and other non-Lithuanian ethnic minorities. . One of the most infamous series of incidents took place in the town of Ponary, where from 1941 to 1943 Germans and Lithuanians massacred thousands of Jews and Poles

An underground union of Polish leftist parties, the Democratic Union of Vilnius (Wileńska Koncentracja Demokratyczna), partly because of the pro-Nazi stance of Lithuanian authorities, and partly influenced by the nationalist stance of Polish endecja parties, declared in March 1942 that Lithuanians were not ready for the independence and cannot be considered as equal partner of Poland . It stated a plan to occupy Lithuania, submit it under the rule of Polish General Commissariat and to re-educate "corrupt" Lithuanians. On 15 November, 1943, Council of Nationalities (Rada Narodowościowa) at envoy of Polish Underground Government in Warsaw decided that in the nearest future Lithuania would be annexed by Poland . In 1943 a representative of Polish Government for Vilnius region prepared a document containing a plan of dealing with Lithuania. Only two options were envisioned – annexation or formal independence of Lithuania, but under military dominance of Poland. In the second version of the document only the formal autonomy of Lithuania as part of Poland was planned. On March 1, 1944, Polish Convent of Political Parties issued declaration expressing preparation to fight for Eastern territories (Vilnius, Hrodna, Lviv, Lida, Navahradak, and Pinsk). It must be noted, however, that such declarations of local Polish politicians differed significantly from the official statement and actions of the Polish government in exile, which was the only country among the anti-Nazi coalition which declared its support for the cause of Lithuanian independence post-war .

Although Lithuanian and Polish resistance movements had the same enemies - Nazi Germany and Soviet Union - they never became allies. The main obstacle in forming an alliance was the question of Vilnius - the Polish government in exile and the Polish resistance regarded Vilnius as part of Poland, while Lithuanian resistance regarded Vilnius as the capital of Lithuania and aimed for an independent Lithuania, which would include Vilnius. Lithuanian resistance saw Soviet Union as the main enemy and Nazi Germany as its secondary enemy. Polish resistance saw Nazi Germany as the main enemy and had no consensus on the Soviet Union. Only in 1944-1945, after the Soviet reoccupation, did Lithuanian and Polish resistance started cooperating in the fight against Soviet occupants and Soviet activists.

Armed conflict

Lithuanian authorities had been aiding Germans in their actions against Poles since the very beginning of German occupation in 1941, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Poles . In autumn 1943 Armia Krajowa started operations against the Lithuanian collaborative organization, the Lithuanian Secret Police, which has been aiding Germans in their operation since its very creation . Soon a significant proportion of AK operations became directed against Germany-allied Lithuanian Police and local Lithuanian administration. During the first half of 1944 AK killed hundreds of mostly Lithuanian policemen, members of self-defence units, servants of local administration, soldiers of Lithuanian Territorial Defense Force, teachers, foresters and farmers, who were judged to be collaborators with the Nazi regime . In responce, Lithuanian police, who had murdered hundreds of Polish civilians since 1941 , increased it's operations against the Poles, executing many Polish civilians; this further increased the vicious circle and the previously simmering Polish-Lithuanian conflict over the Vilnius area deteriorated into a low-level civil war under German occupation .

In May of 1944, Aleksander Krzyżanowski, AK commander of Vilnius region, commanded over 9000 armed Armia Krajowa partisans. The relations between Lithuanians and Poles were bad. Thousands of Poles were killed by Lithuanian collaborators working with Nazis (like the German subordinated Lithuanian Security Police or the Local Lithuanian Detachment under the command of general Povilas Plechavičius, many more were deported into Germany as slave labour). In return, members of Armia Krajowa often terrorised or killed Lithuanians judged to be collaborators and looted their property in Vilnius region. From 1943 AK especially targeted Lithuanian elementary schools and already in 1943 successfully paralysed activity of schools

On June 23, 1944, in response to an earlier massacre on June 20 of 37 Polish villagers in Glitiškės (Glinciszki) by Lithuanian self defence battalion rogue AK troops acting against specific orders of Krzyżanowski which forbade reprisals against civilians but acting upon the order of commander of the 5th Vilnian Home Army Brigade Zygmunt Szendzielarz "Łupaszka" committed a massacre of Lithuanian civilians, at Dubingiai (Dubinki), where 27 Lithuanian civilians, including women and children were murdered. In total number of victims of Polish revenge action in the end of June of 1944 in Dubingiai and neighbouring towns of Joniškis, Inturkė, Bijutiškis, and Giedraičiai (town), was 70-100 Lithuanian civilians. Massacre at Dubingiai was the only known massacre carried out by units of AK, although even the connection of AK to that massacre is disputed as the involved Polish forces are considered extremists with connections to Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (although at that time closely allied to AK). AK forces in the region, in addition to "Łupaszka"'s group, consisted also of two other AK brigades, "Narocz" and "Brasławska", under Mieczysław Potocki "Węgielny", which Krzyżanowski recently ordered to enter the region to demonstrate their presence and discourage locals from any further anti-Polish actions.

The scale of other killings is a subject of disagreement. Tadeusz Piotrowski notes that thousands of Poles died at the hand of Lithuanian collaborators, and tens of thousands were deported. Polish historian Jarosław Wołkonowski, living in Lithuania, puts the number of the Lithuanians killed by rogue AK elements at under 100. An estimate by a Lithuanian investigator Rimas Bružas is that about 500 Lithuanian civilians were killed by Poles during the war. Estimates of Juozas Lebionka suggest even a higher number of 1000. On 14 July, 1993. The nationalist and extremist Lithuanian Vilnija organization claims that AK killed 4000 residents in ethnic Lithuanian lands. State commission was established by Government of Lithuania to evaluate activities of Armia Krajowa in Lithuania which had to present conclusions by 1 December, 1993. Commission published conclusions that Armia Krajowa was acting against integrity of Lithuania and in Eastern Lithuania committed crimes against humanity, terrorised and killed innocent civilians, mostly Lithuanians. Lithuanian General Prosecutor Office in 1999 established that "partisan units of AK, not recognising the return of Vilnius region in 1939, were performing genocide of the population of Lithuania, i.e. terrorised, robbed, murdered civilians of Lithuanian, Jewish and Russian ethnicities, hoping that these actions will help in the reoccupation of the area after the war." . Investigation of General Prosecutor Office did not end yet and despite the accusations, not a single member of Armia Krajowa, many veterans of which live in Lithuania, have been charged with any crimes as of 2001. A Lithuanian historian Arūnas Bubnys admits that there were no mass murders carried by AK (with the only exception being Dubinki), but that AK was guilty of some war crimes against individuals or selected families; he also notes that any accusations of genocide are false and have an underlying political motive, among them a counteraction to the accusations of widespread German-Lithuanian collaboration and crimes committed by units such as the Lithuanian Secret Police.

Polish political and military underground cells were created all over Lithuania, Polish partisan attacks were usual not only in Vilnius region but across demarcation line as well.

In 1944 Polish underground published letter of AK commander of Vilnius region demanding all Lithuanians to leave region. During the battles for Vilnius, the fighting resulted in the death of many soldiers and civilians, including Lithuanians, Jews, Poles, Russians and Germans.

Another issue of the AK's operation in Lithuania is related to incidents of co-operation with Nazis against the common enemy, the Soviet partisans. During the negotiations between AK and Germans on 10-12 February, 1944, AK leadership agreed not to attack Germans and to help them fight Soviet partisans in Rūdninkai forest. Germans armed several AK units operating in the Lithuanian area, in order to encourage them to act against the Soviets, just as they did with such Lithuanian forces as the Local Lithuanian Detachment. Germans also did not allow Lithuanian Security Police to arrest known commanders of AK and often released arrested AK commanders from prison .

The conflict continiued until Soviets effectively destroyed Armia Krajowa in the fall of 1945.

Postwar developments

The postwar assessment of AK's activities in Lithuania was a matter of controversy. In Communist Poland the actions of AK in general, and particularly the actions of commanders and units operating in Lithuania, were presented in a very negative light. The Communist regime executed or imprisoned commanders of the AK en masse after the war for political reasons, preventing any fair legal examination of crimes they may have committed during wartime. Thus Zygmunt Szendzielarz "Łupaszka", after several years in the postwar underground, was arrested by the Polish Communist authorities, sentenced to death and executed on February 8, 1951, in part for the crimes of his unit against civilians in the Vilnius region (thus including the massacre of Lithuanian civilians in Dubingiai) though the Communist indictment was much more broad and focused on his anti-communist activities. The assessment of his actions outside of Communist Poland was different, and in 1988 he was posthumously awarded the Virtuti Militari, the highest Polish military award, by the Polish government in exile. Similarly the Lithuanian general Povilas Plechavičius who was engaged in fighting the Polish and Soviet partisans received a medal from Lithuanian president. For these reasons, the AK, despite of its record in saving the Poles of Vilnius, are considered to be a controversial organisation in today's Lithuania in a manner somewhat similar to the view taken of Soviet partisans.

In 2004 veterans of AK and some veterans of Local Lithuanian Detachment signed a Declaration of Peace. Veterans of Local Lithuanian Detachment who signed the declaration did so without approval of Union of Soldiers of Local Lithuanian Detachment ( Lithuanian: Lietuvos vietinės rinktinės karių sąjunga).

Relation with the Soviets

Armia Krajowa relations with the Soviets went proverbialy from bad to worse. Not only did the Soviet Union invade Poland together with Germany during the Invasion of Poland in 1939, but even after Germans invaded Soviet Union the Soviets saw Polish partisans loyal to the government in exile as more of an enemy to their plans to take control of post-war Poland then as a potential ally. As ordered by Moscow on June 22 1943 the Soviet partisans engaged Polish partisans in combat, and actually they attacked the Poles more often then they did the Germans. Similarly, the main forces of the Red Army and the NKVD conducted operations against the AK partisans, even during or directly after the Polish Operation Tempest which was designed by the Poles to be a joint Polish-Soviet action against the retreating Germans. Stalin's aim to ensure that an independent Poland would never reemerge in the postwar period.

In late 1943, the actions of Soviet partisans, who were ordered to liquidate the AK forces resulted in a limited amount of uneasy cooperation between some units of AK and the Germans. While AK still treated Germans as the enemy and conducted various operations against them, when Germans offered AK some arms and provisions to be used against the Soviet paristans, some Polish units in the Nowogródek and Wilno decided to accept them. However, any such arrangements were purely tactical and did not evidenced a type of ideological collaboration as shown by Vichy regime in France, Quisling regime in Norway or closer to the region, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The Poles main motivation was to gain intelligence on German morale and preparedness and to acquire some badly needed weapons. There are no known joint Polish-German actions, and the Germans were unsuccessful in their attempt to turn the Poles toward fighting exclusively against Soviet partisans. Even so, most of such collaboration of local commanders with the Germans was condemned by AK High Command. Tadeusz Piotrowski quotes Joseph Rotschild saying "The Polish Home Army was by and large untained by collaboration" and adds that "the honour of AK as a whole is beyond reproach".

Soviet forces continued to engage the elements of AK long after the war.

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