The Warszawski Krzyz Powstanczy (Cross of Warsaw uprising) was instituted by the Polish Parliament on July 7th 1981. It was awarded to the soldiers and citizens, that took direct part in the Warsaw uprising 1944. The Cross could be awarded to both the citizens of Poland and to foreign citizens, who contributed by their actions in the uprising.
The Cross can also be entrusted to the relatives of participant in the uprising as memory, when the participant has died.
Warsaw uprising was organized between August 1st 1944 and October 2nd against the German occupation forces. The uprising was organized by the leaders of the Army of Krayovoy (AK) and backed by the Polish Government in Exile in London to seize power in Warsaw, before the Soviet troops could liberate the city. This way the Government in exile could enter the city before the Soviet backed Polish committee of national release (PKWN) could do so.
The Warsaw uprising began without taking into accounts the situation at the Soviet-German front. Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front were forced to conduct heavy fighting north and south of Warsaw and could not show the rebels with any immediate aid. The uprising was weakly prepared. In the beginning the Polish Rebels (about 40 thousand man.) exceeded the German garrison of Warsaw (about 20 thous. pers.), but only 10% (!) of them was armed and ammunition was only sufficient for 2-3 days of combat. Until August 5th the fighting’s were in all of Warsaw and members of the Polish Workers Party and other Underground organisations started participating in the fighting’s. After this fresh German troops started pouring into the city and the Rebels were forced back to the outskirts of the city. On September 14th ,forces of the 1st Belorussian front and some Polish Forces, freed the eastern suburb of Warsaw . On September 15th Polish troops, interacting with the parts of the Soviet Army, crossed the Vistula and took several bridgeheads, but they were knocked out from there by the Germans. On October 2nd, 1944, commanders of the AK signed the dictated terms of surrender to the Germans.
The uprising held out for 63 days. About 25000 Rebels were injured and 18000 were killed or missing in action. Of the civilian population 180.000 people died and the city was almost totally destroyed. On German side there were 9000 wounded, 10.000 killed and another 7000 are missing in action.
The first example of the cross was awarded during the the days of celebration of anniversary of the Warsaw uprising. Among the first to be awarded were Brigadier general Jan Mazurkevich ("Radoslav"), Brigadier general Frantisek Kaminskiy, Colonel Mary Wittek.
The cross is formed by a Greek Cross, made of oxidized metal with silver plating. On the front the cross is lined with longitudinal grooves. In the central part there is placed an arm bandage, as used by the uprisers, with the "anchored" PW (Polska Walczaca = Fighting Poland), the symbol of the Polish Resistance.
The Arm bandage bandage is covered with the enamel of white color (upper half) and red color (lower half). The image of anchor is smooth, polished. The date of the beginning of the uprising is written on the horizontal arm of crosss:
- on the left arm - I.VIII;
- on by right arm - 1944.
The inscription on the obverse of the cross reads on the horizontal arms: "POWSTANCOM WARSZAWY" (To the Insurgents of Warsaw). The inscription passes through an oval, formed by laurel wreath leafs. The obverse is granulated and bordered by a smooth polished border.The dimensions of the cross are 43 X of 43 mm with a base of 8 mm.
The ribbon is multicolored and has a width of 40 mm. In the centre of the ribbon are the two longitudinal strips of white and red color with a width of 7 mm each. On both sides of them are alternating strips of blue and black color located (three blue and two black). Width of blue strips 3 mm, black 2 mm.