Europe

Poland honors anti-communist fighters as founders of freedom

  • Warsaw residents attend state ceremonies in honor of clandestine anti-communist fighters of the post-World War II era in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Poland's Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war, continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then. Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    Warsaw residents attend state ceremonies in honor of clandestine anti-communist fighters of the post-World War II era in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Poland's Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war, continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then. Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Warsaw residents attend state ceremonies in honor of clandestine anti-communist fighters of the post-World War II era in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Poland's Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war, continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then. Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    Warsaw residents attend state ceremonies in honor of clandestine anti-communist fighters of the post-World War II era in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Poland's Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war, continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then. Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man holds a portrait as Warsaw residents attend state ceremonies in honor of clandestine anti-communist fighters of the post-World War II era in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Poland's Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war, continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then. Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    A man holds a portrait as Warsaw residents attend state ceremonies in honor of clandestine anti-communist fighters of the post-World War II era in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Poland's Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war, continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then. Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

Poland's defense minister says the nation owes its freedom to anti-communist fighters who did not lay down arms after World War II.

Minister Antoni Macierewicz spoke Wednesday at ceremonies honoring underground Home Army soldiers who fought the German Nazis during the war and continued their struggle after 1945 against the communist regime imposed on Poland then.

Many were arrested and killed by the communist regime, which also erased them from history books.

When the communist era ended in 1989, the country has sought to restore their memory.

Macierewicz said that thanks to the so-called "cursed soldiers," Poland can now develop and build its independent armed forces.

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo also said the soldiers were an example of true patriotism.