back to top

    80th Anniversary of Operation “Ostra Brama”: Soviet Deception Against Home Army Soldiers

    Eighty years ago, Operation “Ostra Brama” began with the goal of liberating Vilnius. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Aleksander Krzyżanowski “Wilk,” the soldiers of the Polish Home Army aimed to free the city from German occupation before the arrival of the Soviet Red Army. The operation, meticulously planned in March 1944, saw the combined forces of the Vilnius and Nowogródek Home Army districts working together.

    On the morning of July 7, 1944, the operation commenced. By July 13, the joint efforts of Polish and Soviet forces succeeded in liberating Vilnius from German control. However, the joy was short-lived. At dawn, Polish soldiers hoisted the white and red flag on Castle Hill, only to have it replaced by the Soviet red banner a few hours later. This act foreshadowed the true nature of Soviet intentions towards the Polish forces.

    The NKVD swiftly arrested Polish soldiers, disarming the Home Army’s leadership and personnel. Most were imprisoned or exiled to Siberia. This was a bitter outcome for those who had fought valiantly for their city’s freedom.

    “The clandestine fight in the Vilnius region began long before Operation ‘Ostra Brama.’ Let us all remember that Polish conspirators fought for Polish Vilnius against Soviet wishes since 1939. They continued to fight for a free Poland even after 1945, in an epic struggle that extended from Vilnius to Podlasie, Pomerania, and Lower Silesia,” remarked Dr. Karol Nawrocki, President of the Institute of National Remembrance, during a conference on Saturday titled “Before Warsaw, There Was Vilnius.”

    This anniversary serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the Polish Home Army and the subsequent betrayal by their supposed Soviet allies.

    More in section