Poland went through a turbulent history in the 20th century, often being between a rock and a hard place of two powers: Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. This exhibition tells the story of Russia's aggressive policy towards Poland - from the moment Soviet troops entered in 1939 until their final withdrawal in 1993.

There are tragic tales of betrayal and aggression here, when Poland became a victim of the secret Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, joining the fight against the two hostile powers. Reports of brutal deportations to Siberia, where hundreds of thousands of Poles were forced into hard labour in penal labour camps, stand alongside stories of the massacre at Katyn, where the NKVD murdered more than 22,000 Polish officers.

For the entire period after the Second World War, Poland was under the rule of Soviet Russia, dominated by the puppet government of the PKWN, while the real leaders of Poland were arrested, tortured and murdered in show trials. All this to crush the spirit of a nation that continually resisted repression.

The dark years of the Polish People's Republic (PRL), in which the nation struggled with deep poverty, corruption, cannot be ignored. Brutality and violence were the tools with which the communists maintained their control over Poland, while forcing public opinion throughout the western world to consider the consequences of a nuclear war that could break out in the region.

Despite this repression, Poland did not give in. The resistance, represented by the figure of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko and Solidarity, led to the fall of the communist regime and the withdrawal of Russian troops. Finally, Poland became a sovereign state, although the shadow of Russia still lingers over other countries such as Georgia and Ukraine. We invite you to witness Poland's struggle, perseverance and spirit in the face of adversity that the whole civilised world faces today.

There is only one solution: Soviets go home!

Aggression. The encroachment of Soviet troops into Poland.

On 17 September 1939, a little more than two weeks after Hitler began the Second World War with his attack on Poland, treacherous Soviet troops crossed the eastern borders of Poland. Without any formal declaration of war. This betrayal marked the implementation of the secret agreements of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Poland became the arena of a total war waged by two totalitarian ideologies - Nazism and communism.

Deportations. Forced deportations to Siberia

The period from 1940 was an era of brutal deportations, forced deportations and mass extermination of Polish citizens by the Soviet authorities. Gulags - camps of hard labour, became a tragic symbol of repression and loss of human dignity. Polish families were torn from their homes, sent to remote corners of Siberia and forced to work to exhaustion in inhuman conditions.

Genocide - Katyn.

In the spring of 1940, the NKWD - the Soviet secret police - carried out the mass execution of more than 22,000 Polish officers. This was a planned genocidal action aimed at eliminating the Polish intellectual and military elite. The silhouette of a Soviet guard shooting a Polish prisoner of war in the back of the head has become a grim symbol of the Katyn Massacre.

Surrender. Lack of Sovereignty - PKWN

In July 1944, while the Second World War was still in progress, the Soviets set up the Polish Committee of National Liberation - a puppet government to act as an instrument of Soviet domination in post-war Poland. The authentic national elite and the Polish underground state were replaced, forcing Poland to accept vassalage to the USSR.

Lawlessness - Trial 16

In June 1945, sixteen leaders of the Polish Underground State were arrested and deported to Moscow. The show trial was a predetermined act of lawlessness designed to discredit the Polish resistance movement and consolidate Soviet control over Poland. It was another stage in the elimination of the Polish political elite.

Murder. Violence - Cursed Soldiers

After the end of the Second World War, despite the installation of a new communist regime in Poland, many members of the Polish resistance continued to fight. These soldiers, known as the 'Cursed', did not recognise the new, externally imposed power and resisted repression. They were mercilessly persecuted by the communist authorities. Their symbol became the wolf track, and the wolf became the symbol of struggle, perseverance and steadfastness.


In December 1944, when the front line moved, fires, requisitions and looting began along with the Soviets, raping girls. Rape led to unwanted pregnancies and the spread of venereal diseases. The greatest violence took place after the victory over the Germans, when the Soviet soldiers were returning home. Depravity knew no bounds. Children, pregnant women or concentration camp inmates did not escape rape.


The communist period was a time of severe trials for Polish society. Everyday thievery, corruption, rationing and the blandishments of life made it difficult to function normally. These were years of economic stagnation, lack of hope for a better tomorrow, and society was mired in stagnation and apathy.

Threats - Atomic annihilation.

Ryszard Kuklinski, a colonel in the Polish Army, acted as a CIA agent during the Cold War. The information he provided to the West revealed, among other things, plans for a Soviet invasion of NATO countries, and the disastrous consequences for Poland and the entire Eastern Bloc in the event of a nuclear conflict. Poland was to be almost wiped off the face of the earth.


The period of the PRL was full of repression: brutal pacification of resistance, ubiquitous censorship, political stealth and forced emigration of those who dared to oppose the system. This repression was a tool for maintaining power in the hands of the communist regime and sustaining its domination

Indoctrination. Fight against the Church.

The authorities of the People's Republic of Poland (PRL) waged an open fight against the Catholic Church, a symbol of national identity and moral values. One of the most drastic expressions of this was the murder of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko in 1984. This event remains to this day a symbol of the ruthlessness with which the communist system sought to destroy faith and national identity.

Violence - Martial Law.

In December 1981, in response to growing popular resistance, the communist authorities imposed martial law. Thousands of people were arrested, many were killed and the whole of society was subjected to repression. It was a desperate attempt to halt the agony of the communist regime.

The Fall - 17.09.1993 r.

After forty years of Soviet domination, Poland regained full sovereignty. The withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1993 symbolised the end of the 'Evil Empire' and opened the way to full independence and integration with the West. 17.09.1993 - the last Soviet soldier left the territory of Poland.

Russki Mir - Georgia, Ukraine.

Even after the collapse of the USSR, Russia did not give up trying to rebuild its influence over its former allies. The aggression in Georgia in 2008, followed by the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the conflict in eastern Ukraine have shown that the spirit of the 'Russki Mir' is still alive. These events are a reminder of the Kremlin's continued dangerous policies. An example is the ongoing war in Ukraine and the ruthless barbaric behaviour of the Russian aggressor.
Soviets Go Home

Polska w XX wieku przeszła burzliwą historię, będąc często pomiędzy młotem a kowadłem dwóch potęg: nazistowskich Niemiec i komunistycznej Rosji. Ta wystawa opowiada o agresywnej polityce rosyjskiej wobec Polski - od chwili wkroczenia wojsk
sowieckich w 1939 roku, aż do ich ostatecznego wycofania w 1993 roku.

Poland went through a turbulent history in the 20th century, often being between a rock and a hard place of two powers: Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. This exhibition tells the story of Russia's aggressive policy towards Poland - from the moment Soviet troops entered in 1939 until their final withdrawal in 1993.