Orders, decorations, and medals of Poland

The following is a list of medals, awards and decorations in use in Poland. Most of them are awarded by the Polish Army, but some of them are civilian decorations that may be worn by the military personnel.

Most of these decorations ceased to be awarded; some were awarded before the World War II only, and some in the People's Republic of Poland only; order of some of them was changed by law.

The state awards may be awarded only by the President of Poland. The order of precedence was last reformed in 2007. The order of precedence is: 6 orders (order) in specific order of precedence (see table below); other orders in order they were received; 12 crosses (krzyż), 3 medals (medal) and 6 stars (gwiazda) in specific order of precedence; other crosses and awards in order they were received.

National ordersEdit

Order of the White Eagle Order of Polonia Restituta Order of the Cross of Independence Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
   

Military ordersEdit

Order Virtuti Militari Order of the Military Cross
 

Currently recognized state awards subject to order of precedenceEdit

Award I class II class III class IV class V class Description Established in
Order of the White Eagle
Order Orła Białego
  Poland's highest decoration awarded to both civilians and the military for their merits. 1705
Virtuti Militari           Poland's highest military decoration for valor in the face of the enemy 1792
Order of Polonia Restituta
Order Odrodzenia Polski
Order of Poland Reborn
          Awarded to both civilians and the military for their merits. 1921
Order of Military Cross
Order Krzyża Wojskowego
      Awarded to military personnel for actions in peacetime. 2006
Order of the Cross of Independence
Order Krzyża Niepodległości
    Awarded for struggle for independence in 1939-1956 period. 2010
Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
Order Zasługi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
          Awarded to foreigners for contributing to good foreign relations. 1990
Other orders in the order they were received.
Cross of Valour
Krzyż Walecznych
  Polish military decoration awarded to a person who "has demonstrated deeds of valor and courage on the battlefield." 1920
Military Cross
Krzyż Wojskowy
  Combat decoration, conferred to a military, irrespective of rank and service for combat valor against an act of terror in the territory of Poland or while on a mission of the Armed Forces overseas. 2007
Cross of Merit for Bravery
Krzyż Zasługi za Dzielność
  For recognition of military or police personnel. 1928
Gold Cross of Merit with Swords
Złoty Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami
  Awarded for deeds of bravery and valor not connected with direct fight, as well as for merit rendered in perilous circumstances. 1942
Cross of Freedom and Solidarity
Krzyż Wolności i Solidarności
  Awarded to members of anti-communist opposition movement in PRL. 2010
Virtus et Fraternitas Medal
Medal Virtus et Fraternitas
  For those who keep remembrance about people of Polish nationality or Polish citizens of other nationalities who are victims of Soviet crimes, Nazi German crimes, nationalist crimes or other crimes against peace, humanity or war crimes, in the period from November 8, 1917, until July 31, 1990. 2017
Gold Cross of Merit
Złoty Krzyż Zasługi
  Civil state award established to recognize services to the state. 1923
Silver Cross of Merit with Swords
Srebrny Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami
  Awarded for deeds of bravery and valor not connected with direct fight, as well as for merit rendered in perilous circumstances. 1942
Silver Cross of Merit
Srebrny Krzyż Zasługi
  Civil state award established to recognize services to the state. 1923
Bronze Cross of Merit with Swords
Brązowy Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami
  Awarded for deeds of bravery and valor not connected with direct fight, as well as for merit rendered in perilous circumstances. 1942
Bronze Cross of Merit
Brązowy Krzyż Zasługi
  Civil state award established to recognize services to the state. 1923
Military Cross of Merit with Swords
Air Force Cross of Merit with Swords
Navy Cross of Merit with Swords
Wojskowy Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami
Lotniczy Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami
Morski Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami
 

 

 
Conferred for meritorious service in combat operations against acts of terrorism at home or during military missions overseas. 2007
Military Cross of Merit
Air Force Cross of Merit
Navy Cross of Merit
Wojskowy Krzyż Zasługi
Lotniczy Krzyż Zasługi
Morski Krzyż Zasługi
 

 

 
Bestowed for outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service. 2007
Medal for Sacrifice and Courage
Medal za Ofiarność i Odwagę
  Civil award for risking one's life to save another's. 1960
Medal for Long Service
Medal za Długoletnią Służbę
      Conferred for long service in the armed forces, police, fire service, education, justice, central or local administration; awarded for 30, 20 and 10 years of service respectively 1938, reactivated in 2007
Medal for Long Marital Life
Medal Za Długoletnie Pożycie Małżeńskie
  For a marriage lasting 50 years or more. 1960
Stars
Gwiazdy
 

 

 

 

 

 
Afghanistan Star (for service in Afghanistan; since 2002)

Iraq Star (for service in Iraq; 2003–2008)

Chad Star (for service in EUFOR Tchad/RCA and MINURCAT; 2008–2009)

Congo Star (for service in EUFOR RD Congo; 2006)

Mediterranean Sea Star (for service in Active Endeavour; since 2005)

Air Crew Star (for service, inter alia, in Baltic Air Policing; since 2005)
2008 (2)
2010 (3)
2012 (1)
Other crosses and awards in the order they were received.

Presidential awardsEdit

Award I class II class III class Description Established in
Cross of the Deported to Siberia
Krzyż Zesłańców Sybiru
  For deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan and northern Russia by the Soviet regime after September 17, 1939, as well to their children who were born there 2003
Eastern Cross
Krzyż Wschodni
  For foreigners who helped and saved Polish citizens in 1917-1991 period in former Polish territory and Soviet Union 2016
Western Cross
Krzyż Zachodni
  For foreigners who helped and saved Polish citizens in 1939-1989 period in opposition to German occupants (during World War II) and Polish communist government (after war) 2017
Medal of the Centenary of Regained Independence
Medal Stulecia Odzyskanej Niepodległości
  For Polish citizens who contributed to the regaining or strengthening of the sovereignty of the Republic of Poland, including, in particular, the building of a Polish citizens' community and a sense of national identity, development of science, praising the good name of Poland through culture and art, social development and strengthening ties with Poles abroad and building the economic prosperity of the state. 2018

Ministerial awardsEdit

Award I class II class III class Description Established in
Medal of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland
Medal Siły Zbrojne w Służbie Ojczyzny
      For Polish military personnel awarded for long service in the Polish armed forces 1951. Ministry of Defence award since 2008.
Medal of Merit for National Defence
Medal Za Zaslugi dla Obronnosci Kraju
      Presented to Polish military personnel and civilian employees for meritorious activities to strengthen military power of the country. 1966 and revised 1991
Polish Army Medal
Medal Wojska Polskiego
      Services to the Polish armed forces by foreign civilian and military personnel 1999
Medal of Merit for Police
Medal za Zasługi dla Policji
      For outstanding achievements 2001
Medal of Merit for the Border Guard
Medal za Zasługi dla Straży Granicznej
      2004
Medal of the National Education Commission
Medal Komisji Edukacji Narodowej
  Outstanding contribution to education 1967
Medal for Merit to Culture
Medal Zasłużony Kulturze Gloria Artis
      Distinguished contributions to the Polish culture and heritage. 2006
Decoration of Honor "Meritorious for Polish Culture"
Odznaka honorowa Zasłużony dla Kultury Polskiej
  Distinguished contributions to the Polish culture and heritage. 1969
Decoration of Honor "Bene Merito"
Odznaka Honorowa "Bene Merito"
  For activities aiming at strengthening of the position of Poland on the international arena. 2009
Decoration of Honor "For Merit In Actions Outside the Republic of Poland"
Odznaka Honorowa "Za zasługi w działaniach poza granicami RP"
  For merits of personnel of Police, Firefighters, BOR and Border Guard during service abroad. 2011 (in general); 2013 (detailed)
Pro Patria Medal
Medal Pro Patria
  For special merits in cultivating the memory of the struggle for the independence of the Polish 2011
Pro Memoria Medal
Medal Pro Memoria
  For outstanding contributions in perpetuating the memory of the people and deeds in the struggle for Polish independence during World War II 2005
Decoration of Honor "For Merit To Human Rights Protection"
Odznaka honorowa "Za Zasługi dla Ochrony Praw Człowieka"
  For extraordinary achievements in defense of human rights. 2009
Decoration of Honor "For Merits to the Rights of the Child Protection"
Odznaka Honorowa za Zasługi dla Ochrony Praw Dziecka
  For extraordinary achievements in defense of the Rights of the Child. 2013
Guardian Medal of the Places of National Remembrance
Medal Opiekuna Miejsc Pamięci Narodowej
    Special merits in promoting the idea of national memory and the distinctive activities of the commemoration of struggle and martyrdom of the Polish Nation 1976

Former awardsEdit

Award I class II class III class IV class V class Description Established in
Cross of Independence with Swords
Krzyż Niepodległości z Mieczmi
  1930
Cross of Independence
Krzyż Niepodległości
  1930
Medal of Independence
Medal Niepodległości
  1930
Krzyż Ochotniczy za Wojnę 1918-1921
Volunteer Cross for War 1918-1921
  1939
Krzyż na Śląskiej Wstędze Waleczności i Zasługi
Cross on Silesian Ribbon of Valour and Merit
    1921
Cross of Military Merits
of Central Lithuania
  1922
Medal za Ratowanie Ginących
Life Saving Medal
  1928
Army Medal for War 1939-45
Medal Wojska za Wojnę 1939-45
  1945
Air Force Medal for War 1939-45
Medal Lotniczy za Wojnę 1939-45
  1945
Navy Medal for War 1939-45
Medal Morski za Wojnę 1939-45
  1945
Merchant Marine Medal for War 1939-45
Medal Morski PMH za Wojnę 1939-45
  1945
Krzyż Monte Cassino
Cross of Monte Cassino
  1944
Krzyż Armii Krajowej
Home Army Cross
  1966
Commemorative Medal for War of 1918-1921   1928
Medal of the 10th Anniversary of Independence   1928
Order of the Builders of People's Poland
Order Budowniczych Polski Ludowej
  Highest civil decoration of the People's Republic of Poland. 1949-1992
Order of the Cross of Grunwald
Order Krzyża Grunwaldu
      Awarded by the Gwardia Ludowa for acts of heroism in armed combat with the German occupiers for fighting for freedom and Polish Independence. 1943-1992
Order of the Banner of Work
Order Sztandaru Pracy
    Awarded for unique achievements for the Nation and the Country. 1949-1992
Order of Merit of the People's Republic of Poland
Order Zasługi Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej
          Awarded to foreigners for contributing to good foreign relations. 1974-1989
Zasłużonym na Polu Chwały
For Merits in Field of Glory
      1943-1992
Partisan Cross
Krzyż Partyzancki
  1945
Krzyż Oświęcimski
Auschwitz Cross
  1985
Za waszą wolność i naszą
For our freedom and yours
  1956
Za Udział w Wojnie Obronnej 1939
For Defence War 1939
  1981
Za Udział w Walkach w Obronie Władzy Ludowej
For Fighting in defence of People's Rule
  1983
Śląski Krzyż Powstańczy
Cross for Silesian Uprisings
  1946
Wielkopolski Krzyż Powstańczy
Cross for Great Poland Uprising
  1957
Warszawski Krzyż Powstańczy
Cross for the Warsaw Uprising
  1981
Medal Za Warszawę 1939-1945
For Warsaw 1939-1945
  1945
Medal za Odrę, Nysę i Bałtyk
For Odra, Nysa and Baltic
  1945
Medal Zwycięstwa i Wolności
For Victory and Freedom
  1945
Medal Za Udział w Walkach o Berlin
For Battle of Berlin
  1966
Medal of the 10th Anniversary of People's Poland
  1954
Medal of the 30th Anniversary of People's Poland   1974
Medal of the 40th Anniversary of People's Poland   1984
Krzyż Waleczności
Lithuanian-Belarusian Division
of Gen. Bułak-Bałachowicz
  1918
Civil awards that can be worn on a military uniform without requiring the approval of one's superiors.
Krzyż harcerski
Scouting cross
None
miniature worn instead
 

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit