Concept

Kotwica

Summary
The Kotwica (kot'fica; Polish for "Anchor") was a World War II emblem of the Polish Underground State and Armia Krajowa (Home Army, or AK). It was created in 1942 by members of the AK Wawer Minor sabotage unit, as an easily usable emblem for the Polish struggle to regain independence. The initial meaning of the initials PW was Pomścimy Wawer ("We shall avenge Wawer"). This was a reference to the Wawer massacre (26–27 December 1939), which was considered to be one of the first large scale massacres of Polish civilians by German troops in occupied Poland. At first, Polish scouts from sabotage groups painted the whole phrase upon walls. However, it was soon abbreviated to the letters PW, which over time came to symbolise the phrase Polska Walcząca ("Fighting Poland"). Early in 1942, the AK organised a contest to design an emblem to represent the resistance movement, and the winning design (pictured) by Anna Smoleńska, a member of the Grey Ranks who herself participated in minor sabotage operations, combined the letters P and W into the Kotwica. Smoleńska was arrested by the Gestapo in November 1942 and died in Auschwitz in March 1943, at the age of twenty-three. The Kotwica was first painted on walls in Warsaw, as a psychological-warfare tactic against the occupying Germans, by Polish boy scouts on 20 March 1942. On 27 June 1942 it was used to initiate a new form of minor sabotage. In order to commemorate the patron saint's day of the Polish President Władysław Raczkiewicz and the Commander-in-Chief Władysław Sikorski, members of the Armia Krajowa in Warsaw stamped several hundred copies of the German occupation authorities' propaganda newspaper, Nowy Kurier Warszawski (The New Warsaw Courier), with the Kotwica. This became an annual event during the German occupation. In its first year only 500 copies were stamped with the emblem but this number grew to 7,000 the following year. On 18 February 1943, the Armia Krajowa's commander, General Stefan Rowecki, issued an order specifying that all sabotage, partisan and terrorist actions be signed with the Kotwica.
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