During World War II the belligerent and occupied nations suffered enormous casualties, particularly Poland, which had been a battlegound since the Nazi offensive on September 1, 1939. The organized Polish resistance to the occupation is well known and well documented. During the great Soviet offensive in 1944, Polish Home Army units attacked the German rear and cooperated with the Soviets in the capture of many towns and cities. Resistance was not limited to any particular political party or group, but while the majority of political parties eventually subordinated their paramilitary units to the Home Army the radical left and the Communists organized separate "people's armies" which only occasionally cooperated with the Home Army. 1 By late summer 1944, Soviet troops occupied eastern Poland as far as the Vistula river, and as they advanced, they actively supported the Polish Communists by disarming, arresting, and deporting members of the Home Army who had emerged from the underground and offered to cooperate in the struggle against the Germans. Home Army leaders were relentlessly hunted down, arrested and/or deported. Many of them simply disappeared into the hands of the Soviet-led security police.
In an effort to save as many Home Army members as possible from