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16 August 1915 marked the first anniversary of establishing the Supreme National Committee, which exercised political and organizational supervision over the Polish Legions. On that day, the Column of the Legions was unveiled in front of St. Mary’s Basilica in the Main Market Square in Kraków.

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16 August 1915 marked the first anniversary of establishing the Supreme National Committee, which exercised political and organizational supervision over the Polish Legions. On that day, the Column of the Legions was unveiled in front of St. Mary’s Basilica in the Main Market Square in Kraków. It was a tall wooden post into which every citizen could hammer a nail – an act for which he or she had to donate an appropriate amount, which was then transferred to the relief fund for the families of injured and fallen legionnaires. The nails were of various types (as were the prices), ranging from simple iron studs to decorative, silver nails with the engraved name of the donor. Soon afterwards the shaft of the column would be covered with a dense array nails. Following the example of Kraków, other cities in Galicia funded smaller objects, namely wooden shields, into which nails were also hammered for the purposes of the aforementioned fund. Only the presented finial remains of Kraków’s column have been preserved in the Historical Museum along with a collection of shields including items from Żółkiew, Kałusz, Bochnia, Sucha, Sambor and Rudki. It is the only collection of its kind in Poland.


Elaborated by Janusz Tadeusz Nowak (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Legion’s eagle — the top of the Column of the Legions

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