Poland 50 Zloty banknote 1975 Karol Swierczewski

Poland Banknotes 50 Zloty banknote 1975 Karol Swierczewski
Poland Banknotes 50 Zloty banknote 1975 Order of the Cross of Grunwald
Poland Banknotes 50 Zloty banknote 1975 Karol Swierczewski
National Bank of Poland - Narodowy Bank Polski
Polish People's Republic - Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa

Obverse: Portrait of Karol Świerczewski (alias Walter 1897-1947, activist of the Polish Communist Party, Lieutenant General of the Polish Army)
Reverse: Order of the Cross of Grunwald.

Watermark: White Eagle - Coat of arms of Poland.
President of the National Bank of Poland - Zdzislaw Pakuła
Chief Treasurer of the National Bank of Poland - Zbigniew Marski
Dimension: 138 x 63 mm
Printer: PWPW - Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartościowych S.A. (Polish Security Printing Works, Warsaw, Poland)
Banknote design by Andrzej Heidrich, engraved by Edward Konecki.
In Circulation: from December 1, 1988 to January 1, 1995.

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Karol Swierczewski
Karol Wacław Świerczewski (callsign Walter; 22 February 1897 – 28 March 1947) was an ethnic Pole and Soviet military officer and army general. He served as a communist general in the wars fought by the Soviet Union, Republican Spain, and the Soviet-sponsored Polish Provisional Government of National Unity following World War II.
   Born in Warsaw in Congress Poland, Karol Świerczewski grew up in a poor family and began working at age 12 in a local Warsaw factory. In 1915, at the age of 18 he was evacuated to Moscow by the Tsarist army during the First World War. In 1918 he joined the Bolshevik Party, and fought in the Russian Civil War as a soldier of the Red Army. During the Polish-Soviet War he fought on the Soviet side against the Polish Second Republic and was wounded. In 1928 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of establishment of the Red Army he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner no. 146, his first military award.
   From 1921, Świerczewski taught in the Soviet School for the Red Commissars. In 1927 he graduated from Frunze Military Academy in Moscow and worked in the Red Army General Staff.
In 1936, under the name General Walter, he went to Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, where he led the XIV International Brigade in the battle of Lopera, and later the 35th International Division in the Segovia offensive, and the battles of Brunete, Belchite, Teruel, and the Aragon Offensive.
General in the Red Army
   Following the outbreak of the Second World War and the Soviet invasion of Poland, Świerczewski served as general in the Soviet Army. His Russian commanders, seeing Świerczewski's complete incompetence and worsening alcoholism, moved him to a reserve command away from the front lines— the decision was made by General Georgi Zhukov himself. The fact that Świerczewski gave most of his orders under influence of alcohol, had tragic consequences for his soldiers, described in Zygmunt Berling's book Wspomnienia (Memories). In 1943 he became one of the generals charged with the creation of the Soviet-controlled Polish Armed Forces in the East, the 1st Polish Army. His alcoholism and disregard for the life and health of his soldiers stirred conflict with Zygmunt Berling, and led to his removal from the command on several occasions. Świerczewski's alcoholism-related orders gained criticism from other Polish generals as well, including General Aleksander Waszkiewicz.
   In 1944 he became one of the leaders of the Polish Workers' Party and the government of People's Republic of Poland. In the winter of 1944 and the spring of 1945 he led the Polish Second Army during the fighting for western Poland and the Battle of Berlin. His leadership in the Battle of Bautzen (Budziszyn) has been severely criticized by modern historians, and he is held responsible for the Second Army's very heavy casualties in that engagement. While commanding, he might have been drunk, and was temporarily relieved of his command. However, due to important backing in the Soviet political apparatus (most likely the NKVD), not only did he retain his command, but his mistakes were hushed up, and after the war he was gloried as a hero.
   In February 1946 Świerczewski became the Deputy Defense Minister of Poland. He was involved in the persecution of the independence movement in Poland, and signed many death sentences, while establishing the communist regime.
   Świerczewski was heavily wounded in a skirmish near Baligród in March 1947 while driving in a car without escort for the inspection of Polish troops fighting Ukrainian partisans. He was ambushed by a unit of Ukrainian Insurgent Army, and died from his wounds within hours. There were several conspiracy theories claiming, that the ambush has been arranged by the Soviet intelligence due to his insubordination. According to one theory, the information about the general's arrival to the area was passed to Ukrainians by the NKVD and his escort prevented from leaving by mechanical problems with both trucks transporting soldiers. Most other hypothesis also suggest Soviet or even direct Stalin's orders. The general, a Pole by ethnicity but essentially a Soviet officer with a heroic record from the Spanish Civil War and a long Red Army war record, had been previously placed lower in the command structure than prewar Polish officers Berling and Rola-Żymierski.
   For several years after the Second World War ended, the Ukrainian Nationalist insurgency led mainly by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army continued fighting in the South-East of Poland. This war largely supported by the local Ukrainian part of the population, continued until 1949, with some sporadic fights taking place as late as 1956. Świerczewski's death was used as direct cause for the forcible expulsion of the Ukrainian civilian population in Operation Vistula from the territories in the South Eastern part of the post-war Poland to the "Recovered Territories" (Ziemie Odzyskane, areas of western Poland gained after the war). In the socialist Poland many myths were created around Karol Świerczewski ("The General of Three Armies"), but details of his life and especially his service in the Red Army during Polish-Soviet War as well as the details of his Spanish War record were never mentioned.
   In People's Republic of Poland, the Polish communist propaganda made him into a hero, and many controversial aspects of his life such as alcohol abuse and his incompetence during the Battle of Bautzen, as well as postwar Stalinist crimes were hushed up. In 1953, a Polish two-part film depicting the life of Świerczewski, Żołnierz zwycięstwa (A Soldier of Victory), was released. Józef Wyszomirski portrayed the General.
   After 1989, as Poland regained independence from Soviet rule with the end of the Warsaw Pact and the coming to power of Solidarity, many of his monuments were removed and streets renamed because of his role in implementing the communist regime in Poland.
On May 21, 2003, the Polish organization of former veterans and independence fighters applied to the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) to investigate crimes against the Polish nation committed by Karol Świerczewski. In a letter, they recall that he was "one of the people who consciously worked towards the enslavement of Polish nation, through enforced communist regime that was a vassal towards Moscow". Among crimes that are not subject to expiry and should be investigated by the IPN are 29 death sentences on Polish soldiers and officers, which were signed by Świerczewski during his command of the Soviet-controlled 2nd Polish Army.

Order of the Cross of Grunwald
The Order of the Cross of Grunwald (Polish: Order Krzyża Grunwaldu) was a military decoration created in Poland in November 1943 by the High Command of Gwardia Ludowa, a World War II Polish resistance movement organised by the Polish Workers Party. On 20 February 1944 it was confirmed by the State National Council and on 22 December by the Polish Committee of National Liberation and further confirmed on 17 February 1960 by the government of the People's Republic of Poland. Conferred to Polish or allied military for valour or merit in combat with Nazi Germany. After the end of the Second World War it continued to be awarded for outstanding merit in commanding or outstanding contribution to the development of the Polish Armed Forces. It was disestablished by the President of Poland via Parliament in 1992.