Soviet Aggression against Poland –17 September 1939”, a new collector coin issued by NBP

Narodowy Bank Polski has put into circulation a silver coin commemorating the military aggression of the USSR against Poland in September 1939.

The silver collector coin “Soviet Aggression against Poland – 17 September 1939” has been available on sale since 5 September 2023.

The coin with a face value of 20 złoty is made of 925 purity silver, it is oxidised, has a diameter of 38.61 mm and weighs 28.28 grams. It will be minted in up to 12,000 pieces.

The reverse of the coin features a symbolic representation of the events of 17 September 1939 – a Polish soldier fighting the German aggressor is stabbed in the back by a Red Army soldier. The inscription on the obverse reads: „WE WRZEŚNIU 1939 NAPADNIĘCI PRZEZ ARMIE NIEMIECKĄ I BOLSZEWICKĄ – MY POLACY – OFIARĄ KRWI BRONILIŚMY WOLNOŚCI LUDÓW, HONORU I RELIGII” [IN SEPTEMBER 1939, ATTACKED BY THE GERMAN AND THE BOLSHEVIK ARMIES, WE THE POLES, PAID IN BLOOD TO DEFEND THE FREEDOM OF PEOPLES, HONOUR AND RELIGION].

The images used in the design of the coin originate from the medal “Year 1939” authored by renowned sculptor Józef Gosławski (1908–1963). The design came from a deep urge to comment on the tragic historical moment on the part of the artist, who witnessed those events. The sculptor could not exhibit his work in his lifetime, he thus put together both sides of the medal, encased them in plaster and stored them in this form. It was not until 2009 that his family decided to make the work public.

The Soviet aggression in September 1939 was a mortal blow to the Polish Army already engaged in a bloody struggle against the Germans. The aggression did not meet organized resistance, because in its plan in case of war against Germany the Command of the Polish Armed Forces assumed the neutrality of the USSR, thus only token forces were left near the Polish-Soviet border.

Nevertheless, the troops of the Border Protection Corps (BPC) took up the fight on 17 September 1939. The heroic resistance of the few border outposts delayed the actions of the aggressor. The defence of Grodno went down in the annals of Polish military history, as did cavalry engagements near Skidel and Kodziowce, where the positions were gallantly defended by the 101st Uhlan Regiment under Major Stanisław Żukowski. For two weeks the Commander of the Border Protection Corps, General Wilhelm Orlik-Rückemann, led the BPC battle group in hard-fought battles and skirmishes against the Soviets near Sarny, at Ratno, Szack and Wytyczne. In turn, the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the BPC under Colonel Zdzisław Zajączkowski went into battle at Borowicze, Nawóz and Janówka in the Polesie region. The Nowogródek Cavalry Brigade fought near Wola Sudkowska and Władypole. Also troops commanded by General Franciszek Kleeberg won victories at Jabłoń and Milanów.

In north-eastern regions, General Józef Olszyna-Wilczyński tried to mount organized resistance against the Red Army. The situation was exacerbated by sabotage groups formed by national minorities, which attacked units of the Polish Army and killed isolated soldiers or small groups of soldiers as well as members of state administration and their families.

The defence of the Polish state against this incursion involved not only the Polish army but also civilians, in particular scouts and students. Their participation was a testimony to the imperative of defence of the Polish character of Eastern Borderlands.

The silver coin “Soviet Aggression against Poland – 17 September 1939” can be purchased at NBP regional branches  and in the NBP online shop Kolekcjoner at the price of PLN 290.

More information can be found in the brochure.

NBP collector coins and banknotes are sold in commercial packaging with an attached certificate.

The next issue is scheduled on 14 September 2023. On that date, Narodowy Bank Polski will be putting into circulation a silver collector coin “30th Anniversary of the Withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Poland”, with a face value of 10 złoty.


Contact for collectors: e-mail, tel. +48 22 185  17 05

Contact for the media: e-mail, tel. +48 22 185 2012


About NBP

Narodowy Bank Polski holds the exclusive right to issue banknotes and coins in Poland. All currency issued by NBP – including collector banknotes and coins – is legal tender in Poland. Issuing collector items is an occasion to commemorate important historic figures and anniversaries, as well as to develop the interest of the public in Polish culture, science and tradition.

High-resolution images of the coins: