The Home Army Museum, the only one of its kind in Poland, was created as a joint venture of the administrations of the City of Krakow and the Province of Malopolska (Little Poland). It was opened on September 27, 2000. The 11 year long struggle of a group of ex-members of the
Polish Home Army, to create the Museum and find a safe home for the collections of memorabilia of the battles against foreign invaders, had reached its successful conclusion.
For 45 years, Soviet occupiers and communist Polish governments tried unsuccessfully to obliterate memories of the Home Army and the Polish resistance movement. They tried to maintain the fiction that the only resistance against the Nazis had come from communist partisans. During this time ex-combatants had safeguarded documents, weapons and other memorabilia in secret hiding places.
The political changes taking place in 1989 made it possible to bring them out into the open. A group of members of the Association of Home Army Soldiers living in the Cracow region took the first steps to organize a museum. They issued an appeal to all members of the military and civilian organizations in the resistance movement to bring to them hidden documents and other materials. On February 12, 1990 they entered the Mankowski Palace, then called the Lenin Museum, at 5 Topolowa Street in Cracow, and removed the huge statue of Lenin and all the displays associated with the October Revolution. In their place they organized an exhibition "Our Road to Independence", which was opened to the public in April 2000. It remained open until the end of 1991 and was seen by over 30,000 enthusiastic visitors from Poland and abroad. The entire venture was carried out by the group of Home Army volunteers who had to overcome numerous obstacles and the indifference of the authorities, without any external organizational or financial support.
At the end of 1991, a court decreed the reprivatization of the Mankowski Palace and its return to its previous owners. With the assistance of some friendly Polish Army officers, the exhibits were transferred to an empty army building at 13 Bosacka Street.
The Foundation of the Home Army Museum received legal approval November 6, 1991 and took over ownership of the exhibits. Its Board of Directors consisted of Kazimierz Kemmer, Marian Barbach, Ryszard Ciepiela, Leon Wysocki, Tadeusz Musiał, Antoni Śliwa, Mieczysław Figa.
On May 16, 1992 the new museum was opened to the public, even though the Army authorities did not give official approval until 10 months later.
Building No.4 at 13 Bosacka Street, in which the museum is now located, is itself a historic structure. It was built in 1911 by the Austrian army as staff quarters of the Cracow Fortress. It extends three floors underground and is connected by still existing tunnels with the Central Railway Station. The structure is still very sound and the basements remain well sealed against the ingress of moisture.
At the end of 1997, the Cracow City Council passed a resolution to create a municipal Museum of the Home Army, to include the existing museum and its collections. During 1998 the museum was closed while extensive remodeling was carried out to suitably adapt the upper floors of Building No.4 for museum purposes. In 1999 a complete inventory was made of the entire collections. At that time they included over 3,200 items including, in addition to those given to the museum by private donors, materials loaned by the Military Museum in Warsaw, loaned by the Kosciuszko Foundation in Cracow, the Warsaw Insurgents Club, prof. Jerzy Węgierski and some other private collectors.
At its first meeting on January 19, 2001, the Council of the Museum issued a proclamation recognizing the efforts of the early organizers. They also issued an appeal to all living members of the Polish Home Army (AK), and to
surviving families of those deceased, to donate any artifacts - documents, insignia,
uniforms, photographs, etc - to the Museum.
Financial donations, to assist in the work of maintaining and increasing the
collections, will also be greatly appreciated. Please contact the Museum at the address
shown on the Main Page. You may also contact the Museum by E-mail or Fax.