The Government Delegation for Poland
: Delegatura Rządu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na Kraj
) was an agency of the Polish Government in Exile
during World War II
. It was the highest authority of the Polish Secret State
in occupied Poland
and was headed by the Government Delegate for Poland
, a de facto
deputy Polish Prime Minister.
The Government Delegation for Poland was intended as a provisional government of Poland until the Exiled Polish Government could safely return to a liberated Poland.
Initially there were two delegates: one for the Polish areas annexed by Germany
, and one for the General Gouvernment
. A delegate for the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union
was never appointed, but Władysław Zych was an acting delegate. From 1942, power was consolidated and there was only one delegate, in the rank of deputy prime minister. He in turn had 6 deputies for each of the regions, whose responsibilities were further delegated to county
In July 1944 the delegate's three deputies were promoted to ministers, and a Home Council of Ministers (Krajowa Rada Ministrów) was created. The Home Council became the local counterpart of the Polish Government in Exile.
The Delegation's political body was the Political Consultative Committee (Polityczny Komitet Porozumiewawczy), a council comprising 4 main political parties. On March 21, 1943, it was renamed the Home Political Representation (Krajowa Reprezentacja Polityczna) and became an underground coalition parliament, comprising members of the Polish Socialist Party, National Party, People's Party and Labor Party. It became the controlling body of the Delegation and the Headquarters of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). On January 9, 1944, it was turned into a Council of National Unity (Rada Jedności Narodowej), the parliament of underground Poland.
During Operation Tempest, in 1944, the Council's local representatives and local Home Army commanders, as the representatives of the legitimate Polish government and the Polish Army, emerged from underground and welcomed the advancing Red Army. Despite several instances of successful cooperation with the Soviet Union, most of the Polish representatives and commanders were soon arrested by the NKVD and sent to Russian prisons or to the GULag.
During the Warsaw Uprising, the central Government Delegation for Poland likewise came out of hiding and began acting officially as the Polish parliament in the liberated areas of Poland. After the Uprising's suppression, most of the Delegation's members left Warsaw with the civilian population and managed to evade the Germans. However, contact with local branches in Soviet- and German-occupied areas was broken.
In February 1945, the Government Delegate, most members of the Council of National Unity, and the Home Army Commander-in-Chief were invited by Soviet General Ivan Sierov to a conference on their eventual inclusion in the Soviet-backed Provisional Government. They were given safe conducts but were arrested by the NKVD and brought to Moscow, where they were tried in a staged Trial of the Sixteen.
The Delegation was reconstructed and continued in its duties until disbanded on July 1, 1945.
The Delegation's activities encompassed all areas of organized society. It comprised 18 branches, corresponding to the ministries of the Polish Government-in-Exile
- Internal Affairs
- Information and Press
- providing the society with news from abroad
- printing Rzeczpospolita, the official organ of the Office
- Labour and Social Affairs
- Education and Culture
- Industry and Trade
- Liquidation of the Effects of the War
- Public Works and Reconstruction
- National Defence
- Foreign Affairs
- Post Offices, Telegraphs and Communications
Other units and bureaus included:
- Biuro Ziem Nowych (Bureau of the Newly-Acquired Lands) (Established 1942) (Polish Biuro Ziem Nowych) The Bureau's main task was to document the Polish claims on German lands east of the Oder river and the area of Prussia as well as planning of their post-war development. Despite the Allies agreement to grant Poland with the lands east of the Oder-Neisse Line, the plans of the bureau were never fulfilled since most of its workers were arrested by the NKVD and sent to GULags across Russia.
- Kierownictwo Walki Cywilnej (Directorate of Civil Resistance) (since 1941)
- Waldemar Grabowski (1995). Delegatura Rządu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na Kraj. Warsaw: Pax. ISBN 83-211-1392-3.
- Stanisław Dzięciołowski (2004). Parlament Polski Podziemnej 1939-1945. Warsaw: Chancellery of the Sejm and Sejm Press. ISBN 83-7059-665-7.